(Application no. 12605/03)
21 July 2009
This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Leon and Agnieszka Kania v. Poland,
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Nebojša Vučinić, judges,
and Lawrence Early, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 30 June 2009,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
1. Facts prior to 1 May 1993
2. Facts after 1 May 1993
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW AND PRACTICE
1. Inactivity of administrative authorities
For a presentation of the relevant domestic law, see Kaniewski v. Poland, no. 38049/02, 8 February 2006; Koss v. Poland, no. 52495/99, 28 March 2006; and Borysiewicz, no. 71146/01, 1 July 2008.
2. Enforcement proceedings involving the administration
The relevant domestic remedies for non enforcement of a final administrative decision are listed in the Law of 17 June 1966 on enforcement proceedings in administration (ustawa o postępowaniu egzekucyjnym w administracji). In particular, Section III applies to the execution of non-pecuniary obligations. Chapter II in so far as relevant (Articles 119 et seq.) provides for a possibility of imposing a pecuniary penalty on an individual or a natural person compelling him to comply with an imposed obligation.
3. Length of proceedings
The relevant domestic law and practice concerning remedies for the excessive length of judicial proceedings, in particular the applicable provisions of the Law of 17 June 2004 on complaints about a breach of the right to a trial within a reasonable time (Ustawa o skardze na naruszenie prawa strony do rozpoznania sprawy w postępowaniu sądowym bez nieuzasadnionej zwłoki) (“the 2004 Act”), are stated in the Court's decisions in the cases of Charzyński v. Poland no. 15212/03 (dec.), §§ 12-23, ECHR 2005-V; Ratajczyk v. Poland no. 11215/02 (dec.), ECHR 2005-VIII; and the judgment in the case of Krasuski v. Poland, no. 61444/00, §§ 34-46, ECHR 2005-V.
4. Provisions on permissible level of noise
The relevant provisions on acoustic pollution levels emitted into the environment are provided for by the Law of 27 April 2001 on the protection of the environment (Ustawa o ochronie środowiska). Article 113 of the said Law gives the Minister of the Environment the authority to determine permitted external noise-reception levels by reference to the main user of each of the areas. By the Regulation of 29 July 2004 the Minister of the Environment (Rozporządzenie Ministra Środowiska) established permissible noise thresholds for different areas marked on the city development plans, to be issued by the competent administrative authorities.
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION ON ACCOUNT OF THE UNREASONABLE LENGTH OF THE PROCEEDINGS
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”
The period in question ended on 29 November 2004. It thus lasted eleven years and seven months for three levels of jurisdiction.
78. The Court notes that the applicants lodged several complaints alleging inactivity on the part of the administrative authorities with the respective higher authority, as provided by the Polish Code of Administrative Procedure of 1960 (see paragraphs 55 and 63 above), which were found to be well-founded (see paragraph 57 above ). Further, the Court notes that the applicants also had recourse to the remedy available under the Law on enforcement proceedings in administration of 1966 (see paragraph 41 above). It follows that the remedies the applicants used were adequate and sufficient to afford them redress in respect of the alleged breach.
There has accordingly been a breach of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.
II ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 13 OF THE CONVENTION
“Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in [the] Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.”
III. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 8 OF THE CONVENTION
“1. Everyone has the right to respect for his ... home ...
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”
IV. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”
B. Costs and expenses
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicants jointly, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 6,600 (six thousand six hundred euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage, to be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement, plus any tax that may be chargeable;
(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amount at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;
Done in English, and notified in writing on 21 July 2009, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Lawrence Early Nicolas Bratza