by Ivan ŠTOBER
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting on 27 January 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 23 May 2003,
Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government,
Having regard to the settlement agreement signed by the parties,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Ivan Štober, is a Slovenian national who was born in 1952 and lives in Velenje. He was represented before the Court by Ms M. Končan - Verstovšek, a lawyer practising in Celje. 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 22 December 1999 the applicant instituted civil proceedings against the insurance company ZT in the Celje District Court (OkroZno sodišče v Celju) seeking damages for the injuries sustained in an accident at work.
During the proceedings three hearings were held and the parties filed several written submissions.
On 11 December 2003 the Celje District Court delivered a judgment, upholding the applicant’s claim in part.
On 30 March 2005 the Celje Higher Court (Višje sodišče v Celju) upheld the applicant’s appeal of 26 March 2004 in part and changed the first-instance court’s judgment accordingly. On 14 July 2005 the Celje Higher Court corrected its judgment of 30 March 2005.
Subsequently, the applicant lodged an appeal on points of law, which was rejected by the Supreme Court on 20 September 2007.
The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the excessive length of civil proceedings and about the lack of an effective domestic remedy in that regard (in substance, Article 13 of the Convention).
On 4 June 2008 the President of the Chamber decided that the case should be communicated to the Government for observations on its admissibility and merits, requesting them to specifically address the issue concerning the availability of domestic remedies in respect of the length of proceedings complaint in view of the Act on the Protection of the Right to a Trial without undue Delay (Zakon o varstvu pravice do sojenja brez nepotrebnega odlašanja, Official Gazette, no. 49/2006).
On 26 September 2008 the Government submitted their observations and informed the Court that they had made a settlement proposal to the applicant.
By the settlement agreement signed by the State’s Attorney’s Office and the applicant on 28 October and 11 November 2008 respectively, the former acknowledged a violation of the right to a trial within a reasonable time and accepted to pay the applicant 1,080 euros (EUR) for non-pecuniary damage and EUR 285,70 for costs and expenses. The applicant accepted the mentioned amount as a full compensation for the damage sustained due to the length of the above proceedings and waived any further claims against the Republic of Slovenia in respect of this complaint.
On 18 November 2008 the applicant informed the Court that he had reached a settlement with the State’s Attorney’s Office and that he wished to withdraw his application introduced before the Court.
The Court recalls Article 37 of the Convention which, in the relevant part, reads as follows:
“1. The Court may at any stage of the proceedings decide to strike an application out of its list of cases where the circumstances lead to the conclusion that
(a) the applicant does not intend to pursue his application; or
(b) the matter has been resolved;
However, the Court shall continue the examination of the application if respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and the Protocols thereto so requires.”
The Court takes note that following the settlement reached between the parties the matter has been resolved at the domestic level and that the applicant does not wish to pursue his application. It is satisfied that respect for human rights as defined in the Convention or its Protocols does not require the examination of the application to be continued (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention).
Therefore, the case should be struck out of the list in accordance with Article 37 § 1 (a) and (b) of the Convention.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
Santiago Quesada Josep Casadevall