(Application no. 17904/04)
24 March 2009
This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Dorota and Zbigniew Nowak v. Poland,
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Nicolas Bratza, President,
Nebojša Vučinić, judges,
and Fatoş Aracı, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 3 March 2009,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
A. First set of proceedings
B. Proceedings under the 2004 Act
C. The second set of proceedings
D. Proceedings under the 2004 Act
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW AND PRACTICE
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION ON ACCOUNT OF THE UNREASONABLE LENGTH OF THE FIRST SET OF PROCEEDINGS
29. The Court notes that the applicants availed themselves of the remedy provided for by the 2004 Act and they lodged a complaint about a breach of the right to a trial within a reasonable time (see paragraph 10 above).
30. The Regional Court acknowledged a breach of the applicants' right to a hearing within a reasonable time and awarded them the equivalent of EUR 2500 in respect of the length of the proceedings (see paragraph 12 above). The just satisfaction awarded by the Regional Court, the maximum amount which can be claimed and granted under the 2004 Act, amounts to over 50 per cent of what the Court would be likely to have awarded the applicants at that time in accordance with its practice, taking into account the particular circumstances of the proceedings.
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION ON ACCOUNT OF THE UNFAIRNESS OF THE SECOND SET OF PROCEEDINGS
“1. The Court may only deal with the matter ... within a period of six months from the date on which the final decision was taken...”
It follows that this part of the application has been introduced out of time and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention.
III. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION ON ACCOUNT OF THE UNREASONABLE LENGTH OF THE SECOND SET OF PROCEEDINGS
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”
The Court has already examined that remedy for the purposes of Article 35 § 1 of the Convention and found it effective in respect of complaints about the excessive length of judicial proceedings in Poland (see Michalak v. Poland (dec.) no. 24549/03, §§37-43). For these reasons, the Government's plea of inadmissibility on the ground of non-exhaustion of domestic remedies must be dismissed.
There has accordingly been a breach of Article 6 § 1.
IV. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”
B. Costs and expenses
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicants, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 2,200 (two thousand two hundred euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage, to be converted into Polish zlotys at the rate applicable at the date of settlement, plus any tax that may be chargeable;
(b) that 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;
Done in English, and notified in writing on 24 March 2009, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Fatoş Aracı Nicolas
Deputy Section Registrar President