by Janusz IZYDORCZAK
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 3 March 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Nebojša Vučinić, judges,
and Fatoş Aracı, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 21 July 2008,
Having regard to the formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Janusz Izydorczak, is a Polish national who was born in 1953 and lives in Wejherowo. The Polish Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr J. Wołąsiewicz of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A. The circumstances of the case
The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicant, may be summarised as follows.
1. Criminal proceedings against the applicant
On 16 January 1998 the Gdańsk Regional Prosecutor (Prokurator Prokuratury Okręgowej) opened an investigation against persons unknown, concerning theft and receiving stolen cars.
On 19 October 2001 the applicant was charged with receiving stolen goods.
On 28 December 2001 the Gdańsk Regional Prosecutor (Prokurator Prokuratury Okręgowej) filed a bill of indictment against the applicant with the Gdańsk District Court (Sąd Rejonowy). Since that date the proceedings have been pending against the applicant and eighteen other accused before the Gdańsk District Court as the court of first instance.
Subsequently, several hearings were adjourned. On many occasions the court did not give any reasons for its adjournment decisions. In particular, all hearings scheduled in the period between 5 October 2004 and 18 November 2005 were adjourned. The hearing scheduled for 21 April 2006 was adjourned until 1 September 2006 due to difficulties in finding a date. The hearing listed for 13 April 2007 was adjourned until 6 July 2007 but no reasons were given therefor.
2. Proceedings under the 2004 Act
On an unspecified date the applicant lodged a complaint with the Gdańsk Regional Court 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”).
The applicant sought a ruling that the length of the proceedings before the Gdańsk District Court had been excessive and an award of just satisfaction.
On 13 June 2008 the Gdańsk Regional Court gave a decision in which it acknowledged the excessive length of the proceedings before the Gdańsk District Court, finding that there had been several periods of unjustified inactivity for which the District Court had been responsible. The court did not, however, examine the period prior to the entry into force of the 2004 Act.
The court awarded the applicant 1,000 Polish zlotys (PLN) (approx. 295 euros (EUR)) in just satisfaction.
B. Relevant domestic law and practice
The relevant domestic law and practice concerning remedies for the excessive length of judicial proceedings are stated in the Court's decisions in the cases of Charzyński v. Poland no. 15212/03 (dec.), §§ 12-23, ECHR 2005-V and Ratajczyk v. Poland no. 11215/02 (dec.), ECHR 2005-VIII.
The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the excessive length of proceedings. He also complained about the amount of just satisfaction which he received for the breach of the “reasonable time” requirement laid down in Article 6.
On 12 January 2009 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant:
“I, Janusz Izydorczak, note that the Government of Poland are prepared to pay me the sum of PLN 15,000 (fifteen 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.”
On 23 January 2009 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I, Jakub Wołąsiewicz, Agent of the Government of Poland, declare that the Government of Poland offer to pay PLN 15,000 (fifteen thousand Polish zlotys) to Mr Janusz Izydorczak 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.”
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