by Regina KOZŁOWSKA
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 17 March 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Nicolas Bratza, President,
Nebojša Vučinić, judges,
and Lawrence Early, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 6 October 2008,
Having regard to the formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Ms Regina Kozłowska, is a Polish national who was born in 1956 and lives in Czechowice-Dziedzice. 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 parties, may be summarised as follows.
On an unknown date in 2005 a certain J. B. sued the applicant for rectification of an entry in a local land register. He claimed that he was in fact the rightful owner of a certain plot of land which was listed under the applicant's name in the land register. The applicant objected.
On 17 October 2007 the Bielsko Biała District Court gave judgment and considered J. B's claim to be justified.
The applicant appealed and asked to be exempted from court fees.
On 8 February 2008 the Bielsko-Biała Regional Court upheld the first instance judgment.
On an unspecified later date the applicant requested the Regional Court to appoint her a legal-aid lawyer with a view to filing a cassation appeal.
On 4 June 2008 the Regional Court refused the applicant's request for a legal-aid lawyer. That decision did not contain any reasons.
Meanwhile, the applicant attempted to institute criminal proceedings against unknown persons who had allegedly deprived her of her property. On 25 September 2007 the Oswiecim District Prosecutor refused her request. This decision was upheld by the Oswiecim District Court on 14 February 2008.
B. Relevant domestic law and practice.
Legal provisions concerning compulsory legal representation in cassation appeal proceedings applicable at the material time are set out in paragraphs 27 31 of the Court's judgment in the case of Laskowska v. Poland, no. 77765/01, 13 March 2007.
On 27 January 2009 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I, Jakub Wołąsiewicz, Agent of the Polish Government, declare that the Government of Poland offer to pay PLN 7,600 (seven thousand six hundred Polish zlotys) to Ms Regina Kozłowska 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.”
On 11 February 2009 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant:
“I, Regina Kozłowska, note that the Government of Poland are prepared to pay me ex gratia the sum of PLN 7,600 (seven thousand six 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.”
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