AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF
by Franc SELIČ
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting on 22 September 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 7 April 2005,
Having regard to the written submissions of the parties,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Franc Selič, is a Slovenian national who was born in 1937 and lives in Laško. He was not represented before the Court. 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 7 June 1991, in the context of a real estate dispute, the applicant brought an action before the Celje Basic Court (Temeljno sodišče v Celju) against J.L.
On 26 May 2000 the renamed Celje District Court (OkroZno sodišče v Celju) delivered a judgment rejecting the applicant’s claim. The applicant appealed against this judgment.
On 4 October 2001 the Celje Higher Court (Višje sodišče v Celju) dismissed his appeal.
On 20 December 2001 the applicant lodged an appeal on points of law. On 15 January 2003 the appeal on points of law was partly dismissed on procedural grounds and partly rejected by the Supreme Court (Vrhovno sodišče).
The applicant subsequently lodged a constitutional appeal which was dismissed by the Constitutional Court (Ustavno sodišče) on 20 September 2004.
The Constitutional Court’s decision was served on the applicant on 1 October 2004.
The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that the proceedings were too long and were unfair. In substance, under Article 13 of the Convention, the applicant complained that the remedies at his disposal for the length-of-proceedings complaint were ineffective.
The applicant submitted that the length of the domestic court proceedings to which he had been a party had been excessive. He further alleged that these proceedings had been unfair. He relied on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, which reads as follows:
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ... everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal ...”
In substance, the applicant further complained that the remedies available in Slovenia for excessively long proceedings were ineffective.
Article 13 of the Convention reads as follows:
“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.”
On 16 September 2008 the respondent Government were informed of the present application under Article 54 § 2(a) of the Rules of Court.
In reply, the Government submitted that the decision of the Constitutional Court had been served on the applicant on 1 October 2004, whereas the application had only been lodged on 7 April 2005. The Government also produced to that effect a copy of a signed service form dated 1 October 2004.
The applicant, on the other hand, submitted that the Constitutional Court decision had only been served on him on 12 October 2004 and that the signature on the service form was not his own. However, he did not produce any documents in this connection.
The Court reiterates at the outset that, according to Article 35 § 1 of the Convention, it may only deal with an individual application lodged with it after all domestic remedies have been exhausted, according to generally recognised rules of international law, and within six months of the date on which the final decision has been taken.
The Court takes note of the service form submitted by the Government and observes that no doubt arises as to the authenticity of the applicant’s signature, which appears to be identical to the ones on the application form and the applicant’s letters. In view of the above, the Court concludes that the final decision in the present case was served on the applicant on 1 October 2004 as indicated in the service form submitted by the Government.
It follows that the application was introduced out of time and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Declares the application inadmissible.
Santiago Quesada Josep Casadevall