by Małgorzata ŁONIEWSKA
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 24 November 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Nebojša Vučinić, judges,
and Lawrence Early, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 10 January 2008,
Having regard to the formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Ms Małgorzata Łoniewska, is a Polish national who was born in 1954 and lives in Ząbki. 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.
Following a news item broadcast by the TVN television in which the applicant’s house was depicted as a den for criminals, the applicant instituted civil proceedings against the Warsaw Police Headquarters for protection of her good name and compensation. On 26 October 2006 the Warsaw Regional Court dismissed the claim. The applicant’s appeal was likewise dismissed on 24 May 2007 by the Warsaw Court of Appeal.
On a later unknown date the Warsaw Court of Appeal allowed the applicant’s request to have a legal aid lawyer assigned to the case to prepare a cassation complaint. In a letter to the court dated 14 September 2007 the lawyer explained that she had found no grounds on which to prepare a cassation complaint in the applicant’s case. She further stated that the time limit for lodging a cassation appeal would expire on 16 September 2007.
The applicant complained under Article 5 of the Convention that on an unspecified date she had been detained for 36 hours at a police station for questioning.
She also alleged that the proceedings in her case had been unfair and that she had been denied an effective access to a court, since the legal aid lawyer had refused to prepare a cassation complaint for filing with the Supreme Court. The lawyer had informed her about the refusal only two days before the expiry of the time-limit for lodging a cassation appeal.
On 28 April 2009 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant:
“I, Małgorzata Łoniewska, note that the Government of Poland are prepared to pay me the sum of PLN 9,100 (nine thousand one hundred 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. 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.”
On 5 May 2009 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I declare that the Government of Poland offer to pay PLN 9,100 (nine thousand one hundred Polish zlotys) to Ms Małgorzata Łoniewska 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. 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.”
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.
Lawrence Early Nicolas Bratza