by Władysława MĄCZEŃSKA
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 1 September 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Nebojša Vučinić, judges,
and Fatoş Aracı, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 4 August 2008,
Having regard to the formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Ms Władysława Mączeńska, is a Polish national who was born in 1924 and lives in Mielec. She was represented before the Court by Mr E. Świderski, her son-in-law. The Polish Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr J. Wołąsiewicz of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
A. Proceedings for division of property
On 30 December 1996 the applicant filed a motion for division of property with the Kraków District Court (Sąd Rejonowy).
On 11 June 1997 the court refused to grant the applicant legal aid holding that the case was not complicated.
The first hearing took place on 9 June 1998.
The applicant on several occasions unsuccessfully complained that the length of the proceedings before the Kraków District Court had been excessive. In particular, on 28 September 1998 she filed a complaint with the President of the District Court (Prezes Sądu Rejonowego). On 2 November 1998 she complained to the President of the Regional Court (Prezez Sądu Wojewódzkiego). On 11 February 2000 she requested the Kraków District Court to proceed speedily with the claim.
On 22 November 2000 the Kraków District Court gave a preliminary decision (postanowienie wstępne) whereby it divided, provisionally, the property and ordered that certain works be carried out to it.
On 22 November 2000 the defendant lodged an appeal against the preliminary decision.
On 27 April 2001 the Kraków Regional Court (Sąd Okręgowy) dismissed the appeal.
On an unspecified date the defendant filed a cassation appeal against that decision. On 10 May 2001 the Supreme Court (Sąd Najwyższy) rejected the appeal.
On 26 June 2003 the Kraków District Court stayed the proceedings. Upon an appeal by the applicant, the Kraków Regional Court quashed the decision on 5 November 2003.
The proceedings are still pending before the court of first instance.
B. Proceedings under the 2004 Act
On 12 October 2004 the applicant lodged a complaint under section 5 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”).
On 13 December 2004 the Kraków Regional Court dismissed her complaint. The court analysed the course of the proceedings and concluded that the length of the proceedings before the Kraków District Court had not been excessive.
On 22 March 2007 the Kraków Regional Court dismissed the applicant’s subsequent complaint under the 2004 Act. It referred, however, only to the period after the dismissal of her previous complaint. The court found that during the relevant period between 13 December 2004 and 22 March 2007 there had been no inactivity or undue delay on the part of the Kraków District Court. Further, the court noted that the delays resulted in particular from the necessity to obtain numerous expert reports.
On 17 June 2008 the Kraków Regional Court dismissed the applicant’s subsequent complaint under the 2004 Act. The court examined the applicant’s claim only in respect of the period between 22 March 2007 and 17 June 2008 and concluded that there had been no inactivity or undue delay on the part of the domestic court.
The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the unreasonable length of the civil proceedings.
On 8 June 2009 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I, Jakub Wołąsiewicz, Agent of the Polish Government, declare that the Government of Poland offer to pay PLN 10,000 (ten thousand Polish zlotys) to Ms Władysława Mączeńska with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.
This sum, which is to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, will be free of any taxes that may be applicable and will 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 undertake 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 payment will constitute the final resolution of the case.”
On 9 June 2009 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant:
“I, Edward Świderski, Ms Władysława Mączeńska’s representative, note that the Government of Poland are prepared to pay the applicant the sum of PLN 10,000 (ten thousand Polish zlotys) with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.
This sum, which is to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, will be free of any taxes that may be applicable and will 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. 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.
Having consulted the applicant, I would inform you that she accepts the proposal and waives any further claims against Poland in respect of the facts giving rise to this application. She declares that this constitutes a final resolution of the case.”
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 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.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
Fatoş Aracı Nicolas Bratza
Deputy Registrar President