by Izabella DREBSZAK
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 7 April 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Nebojša Vučinić, judges,
and Lawrence Early, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 28 December 2006,
Having regard to the formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Ms Izabella Drebszak, is a Polish national who was born in 1951 and lives in Warszawa. The Polish Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr J. Wołąsiewicz of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The circumstances of the case
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
1. Proceedings for pension increase
On 13 August 1979 the applicant was injured in an accident. On 29 May 1985 she was granted the right to a pension due to her inability to work.
On 1 January 1993 the Warsaw Regional Court (Sąd Wojewódzki) increased the applicant’s pension.
On 14 November 1996 the applicant lodged a claim with the Warsaw District Court (Sąd Rejonowy), seeking to have her pension increased. At the same time the Social Security Board (Zakład Ubezpieczeń Społecznych) lodged a claim for the applicant’s pension to be reduced.
On 4 June 1997 the Warsaw District Court decided to join the two cases.
On 2 July 2002 the Warsaw District Court referred the case to the Warsaw Regional Court (Sąd Okręgowy).
On 10 July 2006 the Warsaw Regional Court dismissed the Social Security Board’s claim and increased the applicant’s pension. On 13 September 2006 the applicant appealed. In her appeal she contested the amount of the increased pension.
On 22 May 2007 the Warsaw Court of Appeal (Sąd Apelacyjny) dismissed the applicant’s appeal.
2. The applicant’s complaint under the 2004 Act
On 18 February 2005 the applicant filed with the Warsaw Court of Appeal a complaint about a breach of the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time (Ustawa o skardze na naruszenie prawa strony do rozpoznania sprawy w postępowaniu sądowym bez nieuzasadnionej zwłoki) (“the 2004 Act”), which entered into force on 17 September 2004.
On 6 April 2005 the court dismissed the applicant’s complaint. The court held that the 2004 Act produced legal effects as from the date of entry into force. It found that during the relevant part of the proceedings, there had been no inactivity or undue delay on the part of the authorities. In that connection, the court held that there had been no breach of the right to a trial within a reasonable time in the period after 17 September 2004.
On 19 February 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 11,000 (eleven thousand Polish zlotys) to Ms Izabella Drebszak 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 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 26 January 2009 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant:
“I, Izabella Drebszak, note that the Government of Poland are prepared to pay me the sum of PLN 11,000 (eleven 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 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