by Józef KRAMARZ
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 15 September 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Nebojša Vučinić, judges,
and Fatoş Aracı, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 24 September 2007,
Having regard to the formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Józef Kramarz, is a Polish national who was born in 1953 and lives in Dębica. 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. Civil proceedings instituted by the applicant
On 30 August 1999 the applicant lodged a civil claim against a certain E.S. with the Przemyśl Regional Court (Sąd Okręgowy). The applicant sought overdue remuneration for the use of his copyright.
On 20 November 1999 the applicant requested to have his claim protected by interim measures directed at E.S.’assets.
On 21 December 1999 the Przemyśl Regional Court gave an order, partly protecting the applicant’s claim.
On an unspecified date the applicant extended his statement of claim and asked for an exemption from court fees.
On 18 July 2000 the Przemyśl Regional Court partly exempted the applicant from payment of the fees.
On 10 October 2000 a hearing was held. The trial court considered whether to join the examination of the applicant’s claim to the proceedings for the termination of a contract, instituted by E.S. against the applicant in 1998.
On 17 November 2000 the Przemyśl Regional Court declared that it was not competent to examine the claim lodged by E.S. and referred the case to the Tarnów District Court.
On 3 August 2001 the Przemyśl Regional Court stayed the proceedings, pending the termination of the above-mentioned proceedings for dissolution of the contract instituted by E.S.
On 16 September 2002 Przemyśl Regional Court refused the applicant’s motion to have the proceedings resumed and dismissed his request to protect the claim by means of interim measures.
On 30 June 2003 the Kraków Regional Court delivered a final judgment in the above-mentioned proceedings for termination of the contract.
On 4 November 2004 the proceedings before the Przemyśl Regional Court were resumed. The court declared that it was not competent to examine the case and referred it to the Tarnów Regional Court. It appears that this decision was quashed on appeal.
On 14 September 2006 the Przemyśl Regional Court returned the applicant’s extended statement of claim. The applicant lodged an interlocutory appeal.
On 1 December 2006 the Rzeszów Court of Appeal (Sąd Apelacyjny) dismissed his interlocutory appeal.
On 28 December 2006 the Przemyśl Regional Court gave judgment, dismissing the applicant’s claim. The applicant appealed.
On 19 March 2007 the Przemyśl Regional Court rejected the applicant’s appeal on formal grounds.
On 26 March 2007 the applicant lodged an interlocutory appeal, which was dismissed by the Rzeszów Court of Appeal on 22 February 2008.
B. Proceedings under the 2004 Act
On 1 December 2004 the applicant lodged a complaint with the Rzeszów Court of Appeal about a breach of his right to a trial within a reasonable time in respect of the civil proceedings instituted by him and asked for just satisfaction. He relied on 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 14 January 2005 the Rzeszów Court of Appeal dismissed his complaint. The court considered that the proceedings had lasted a long time but found no “unreasonable delays” in the overall course of the proceedings. It further stressed the fact that the applicant had repeatedly made use of his procedural rights, which had led tocaused delays in the trial.
On 16 January 2006 the applicant lodged yet another complaint about a breach of his right to a trial within a reasonable time.
On 23 March 2006 the Rzeszów Court of Appeal dismissed his complaint. Having analysed the conduct of the Regional Court between 14 January 2005 and the date on which the applicant had lodged his complaint, the court found no undue delay in the proceedings.
On 26 March 2007 the applicant lodged another complaint about a breach of his right to a trial within a reasonable time.
On 11 April 2007 the Rzeszów Court of Appeal rejected his complaint on formal grounds. It held that the applicant had failed to indicate circumstances that might have caused the alleged delays in the proceedings.
On 17 April and 16 May 2007 the applicant lodged complaints about the undue length of the examination of his motion for legal-aid which he had lodged with the Rzeszów Court of Appeal on 1 March 2006. The applicant claimed that he had requested to have a legal-aid counsel appointed with a view to lodging a cassation appeal against the refusal to exempt him from payment of court fees in the proceedings under the 2004 Act.
On 10 May and 11 June 2007 the Rzeszów Court of Appeal rejected his complaints. It held that regardless of other reasons for inadmissibility, a complaint about a breach of the right to a trial within a reasonable time in respect of proceedings under the 2004 Act was not possible under Polish law. The court stressed that a complaint under the 2004 Act had to be examined before one level of jurisdiction.
On 15 June 2007 the applicant complained under the 2004 Act about the Rzeszów Court of Appeal’s decision of 11 June 2007.
On 21 June 2007 the Rzeszów Court of Appeal rejected his complaint under section 9 of the 2004 Act, holding that the applicant had failed to indicate circumstances that would justify his request.
On 29 June, 7 August and 5 October 2007 the applicant complained about the undue length of the examination of several of his motions and interlocutory appeals lodged with the Przemyśl Regional Court.
His complaints were rejected by the Rzeszów Court of Appeal on 31 July, 27 September and 26 October 2007, respectively. Referring to earlier decisions, the court considered that the applicant had failed to indicate circumstances that would justify his request, as required by section 6 of the 2004 Act. Furthermore, in a decision of 26 October 2007 the court underlined that the applicant himself, having made excessive use of his procedural rights, had contributed to the length of the proceedings pending before the Przemyśl Regional Court.
On 7 July 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 12,000 (twelve thousand Polish zlotys) to Mr Józef Kramarz 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 it 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 12 May 2009 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant:
“I, Józef Kramarz, note that the Government of Poland are prepared to pay me the sum of PLN 12,000 (twelve 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 it 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.
I accept the proposal and waive any further claims against Poland in respect of the facts giving rise to this application. I declare 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