by Almir SOFTIĆ
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting on 23 June 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Boštjan M. Zupančič,
Luis López Guerra,
Ann Power, judges,
and Santiago Quesada, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 16 February 2005,
Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government,
Having regard to the settlement agreement signed by the parties,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Almir Softić, is a Slovenian national who was born in 1973 and lives in Velenje. He was represented before the Court by Mr B. Verstovšek, a lawyer practising in Celje. The Slovenian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr Lucijan Bembič, State Attorney-General.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
On 26 January 2000 the applicant instituted civil proceedings against T.J. in the Slovenj Gradec District Court (OkroZno sodišče v Slovenj Gradcu) seeking damages for the injuries sustained in an accident at work.
During the proceedings four hearings were held and the parties filed several written submissions.
On 28 September 2005 the Slovenj Gradec District Court delivered a judgment, upholding the applicant’s claim in part.
Both parties appealed against the judgment.
On 17 October 2006 the Maribor Higher Court (Višje sodišče v Mariboru) dismissed both appeals.
Subsequently, the applicant lodged an appeal on points of law, which was rejected by the Supreme Court (Vrhovno sodišče) on 6 December 2007.
The Supreme Court’s judgment was served on the applicant on 4 January 2008.
The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the excessive length of civil proceedings and under Article 13 of the Convention about the lack of an effective domestic remedy in that regard.
On 10 July 2008 the President of the Chamber decided that the case should be communicated to the Government for observations on its admissibility and merits.
On 27 October 2008 the Government submitted their observations and informed the Court that they had made a settlement proposal to the applicant.
By the settlement agreement signed by the State’s Attorney’s Office and the applicant, the former acknowledged a violation of the right to a trial within a reasonable time and accepted to pay the applicant 1,800 euros (EUR) for non-pecuniary damage and 424.47 euros (EUR) for costs and expenses. The applicant accepted the amount as a full compensation for the damage sustained due to the length of the above proceedings and waived any further claims against the Republic of Slovenia in respect of this complaint.
On 6 November 2008 the applicant informed the Court that he had reached a settlement with the State’s Attorney’s Office and that he wished to withdraw his application introduced before the Court.
The Court recalls Article 37 of the Convention which, in the relevant part, reads as follows:
“1. The Court may at any stage of the proceedings decide to strike an application out of its list of cases where the circumstances lead to the conclusion that
(a) the applicant does not intend to pursue his application; or
(b) the matter has been resolved;
However, the Court shall continue the examination of the application if respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and the Protocols thereto so requires.”
The Court takes note that following the settlement reached between the parties the matter has been resolved at the domestic level and that the applicant does not wish to pursue his application. It is satisfied that respect for human rights as defined in the Convention or its Protocols does not require the examination of the application to be continued (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention).
In view of the above, it is appropriate to strike the case out of the list in accordance with Article 37 § 1 (a) and (b) of the Convention.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
Santiago Quesada Josep Casadevall