by Ivanka Pencheva and Alexandar Dimitrov MANLIEVI
The European Court of Human Rights (Fifth Section), sitting on 16 June 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Zdravka Kalaydjieva, judges,
and Claudia Westerdiek, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The case originated in an application lodged with the Court on 19 November 2003 by two Bulgarian nationals, Mrs Ivanka Pencheva Manlieva and Mr Alexandar Dimitrov Manliev, who were born in 1957 and 1954 respectively and lived in Plovdiv. The applicants, who were spouses, were represented before the Court by Mrs K. Boncheva and Mr M. Ekimdzhiev, lawyers practising in Plovdiv.
The respondent Government were represented by their Agents, Mrs M. Dimova and Mrs S. Atanasova of the Ministry of Justice.
The applicants complained of the length of a set of civil proceedings which had started in 1993 and were still pending as of the applicants’ latest communication on the point of November 2007. The applicants also complained that they did not have any effective remedies in respect of the length of the proceedings.
On 25 February 2008 the President of the Chamber to which the case had been allocated communicated the application to the respondent Government.
On 13 March 2008 the second applicant passed away. In a letter dated 20 March 2008 his heirs – his daughter Ms Katerina Alexandrova Manlieva and the first applicant – informed the Court that they wished to continue the present proceedings in his stead. Ms Katerina Alexandrova Manlieva was also represented by Mrs K. Boncheva and Mr M. Ekimdzhiev.
On 4 April 2008 and 30 April 2009 the Court received friendly settlement declarations signed by the parties. Under the terms of the declarations, the Government undertook to pay to Mrs Ivanka Pencheva Manlieva and Mr Alexandar Dimitrov Manliev 8,500 euros to cover any non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses. Mrs Ivanka Pencheva Manlieva and Ms Katerina Alexandrova Manlieva agreed to waive any further claims against Bulgaria in respect of the facts giving rise to this application. The parties agreed that the sum above would be converted into Bulgarian levs at the rate applicable on the date of payment, and free of any taxes that may be applicable. It would be payable within three months from the date of notification of the decision taken by the Court pursuant to Article 37 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In the event of failure to pay this sum within the said three-month period, the Government undertook to pay simple interest on it, from expiry of that period until settlement, at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points. The parties agreed that the payment would constitute the final resolution of the case.
In their communication of 20 March 2008 Ms Katerina Alexandrova Manlieva and the first applicant expressed preferences as to the repartition of the amount between them and between and their legal representatives.
The Court notes the wish of the heirs of Mr Alexandar Dimitrov Manliev to continue the present proceedings in his stead. It finds that they have standing to do so.
Furthermore, the Court takes note of the friendly settlement reached between the parties. It is satisfied that the settlement is based on respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols and finds no public policy reasons to justify a continued examination of the application (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention).
In view of the above, it is appropriate to strike the case out of the list.
The Court observes also that under the terms of the declarations for friendly settlement the Government undertakes to pay 8,500 euros to the two applicants. However in view of Mr Manliev’s demise, the sum is to be paid jointly to the first applicant, Mrs Ivanka Pencheva Manlieva, who is also his heir, and to Ms Katerina Alexandrova Manlieva.
As to the expressed preferences concerning the repartition of the amount offered by the Government between the first applicant, her daughter and their legal representatives, the Court considers this to be an internal matter between them.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Holds that the heirs of the second applicant have standing to continue the present proceedings in his stead and that the sum offered by the Government is to be paid jointly to Mrs Ivanka Pencheva Manlieva and to Ms Katerina Alexandrova Manlieva;
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
Claudia Westerdiek Peer Lorenzen