The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 17 March 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
David Thór Björgvinsson,
Mihai Poalelungi, judges,
and Lawrence Early, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 10 June 2005,
Having regard to the formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Iurie Uscov, is a Moldovan national who was born in 1926 and lives in Chişinău. He was represented before the Court by Mr V. Zamă, a lawyer practising in Chişinău. The Moldovan Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr V. Grosu.
A. The circumstances of the case
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
The applicant deposited money in three different accounts in the Savings Bank, which was, during Soviet times, State-owned. After several economic and monetary reforms in Moldova, the value of money deposited with banks decreased drastically.
The applicant initiated court proceedings against the Government, claiming compensation for the effects of inflation on the value of his money. He also relied on Government Decision no. 179 (20 February 2003), according to which partial compensation was due to persons who had deposited money in accounts in the Savings Bank and who were born in 1926 or earlier.
On 17 December 2004 the Buiucani District Court rejected his claims as unfounded, finding that the legislation provided for the payment of limited compensation to those born in 1926 or earlier, but that the applicant did not qualify for such compensation. The court also decided to waive the court fees in view of the applicant’s poor financial situation and his advanced age.
The applicant appealed, referring, inter alia, to his small pension and his advanced age as a reason for granting a court fee waiver.
On 23 March 2005 the Chişinău Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal for the same reasons as the first-instance court. It also waived the court fees because of the applicant’s poor financial situation and advanced age.
In his appeal in cassation the applicant argued that the legislation had evolved to allow persons younger than him (born between 1926 and 1935) to claim partial compensation. He also asked for a court fee waiver in view of his small pension and his advanced age. He submitted a certificate attesting that he received a pension of only 585 Moldovan lei (MDL) (35.5 euros (EUR) at the time).
On 25 April 2005 the Supreme Court of Justice declined to examine his appeal in cassation due to his failure to pay court fees in the amount of MDL 2,204 (EUR 133.8).
The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention of a violation of his right of access to court as a result of the refusal of the Supreme Court of Justice to examine his case.
On 2 February 2009 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I, Vladimir Grosu, Agent for the Government of Republic of Moldova, declare that the Government of Moldova offer to pay 1,000 (one thousand) euros to Mr Iurie Uscov with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights. The Government also offer to pay the applicant 500 (five hundred) euros to cover representation fees.
These sums, which are to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, will be converted into Moldovan lei at the rate applicable on the date of payment, and will be free of any taxes that may be applicable. It will be payable within three months of 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 also received the following declaration signed by the applicant and his representative:
“I, Vitalie Zamă, the applicant’s representative in the above case, note that the Government of Moldova are prepared to pay the sum of 1,000 (one thousand) euros to Mr Iurie Uscov with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights and 500 (five hundred) euros to cover representation fees.
These sums, which are to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, will be converted into Moldovan lei at the rate applicable on the date of payment, and will be free of any taxes that may be applicable. It will be payable within three months of 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.
Having consulted my client, I would inform you that he accepts the proposal and waives any further claims against Moldova in respect of the facts giving rise to this application. He declares 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 can find 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