by Władysław KUBICA
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 28 August 2008 as a Chamber composed of:
David Thór Björgvinsson,
Mihai Poalelungi, judges,
and Lawrence Early, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 5 January 2007,
Having regard to the Court’s decision to examine jointly the admissibility and merits of the case (Article 29 § 3 of the Convention),
Having regard to the formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Władysław Kubica, is a Polish national who was born in 1955 and lives in Poniszowice. 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.
1. Proceedings for division of marital property
On 10 April 1998 the applicant’s former wife filed an action for division of marital property with the Kędzierzyn District Court (Sąd Rejonowy).
On 23 November 2004 the Kędzierzyn District Court delivered a judgment ordering the plaintiff to pay a certain amount to the applicant.
The applicant’s wife appealed.
On 22 March 2005 the Opole Regional Court (Sąd Okręgowy) quashed the first-instance judgment and remitted the case.
On 20 June 2006 the Kędzierzyn District Court delivered a judgment.
On 22 November 2006 the Opole Regional Court partly upheld the first instance judgment and partly dismissed the appeal.
2. Proceedings under the 2004 Act
On 21 July 2005 the applicant lodged a complaint about the unreasonable length of proceedings under the Act 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 asserted that the proceedings, in which he had been involved, had been pending too long before the Kędzierzyn District Court.
On 29 August 2005 the Opole Regional Court dismissed the complaint. The court held that the 2004 Act had retroactive effect only under the condition that the delays in the proceedings, which were the subject of the length complaint, continued to occur or to have effect also after the date of the entry into force of the 2004 Act.
The court found that the delays and inactivity on the part of the trial court had occurred only prior to the date when the 2004 Act entered into force and that afterwards the case was examined without undue delay.
The relevant domestic law and practice concerning remedies for the excessive length of judicial proceedings, in particular the applicable provisions of the 2004 Act, 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, and the judgment in the case of Krasuski v. Poland, no. 61444/00, §§ 34-46, ECHR 2005-V.
The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that the civil proceedings for division of marital property had been unreasonably lengthy.
He also complained under Article 13 of the Convention that the remedy provided by the 2004 Act was ineffective. In this connection the applicant submitted that the domestic court which had examined his length complaint had not taken into consideration the period prior to the entry into force of the 2004 Act when the proceedings had been pending before the first instance court. Moreover, the applicant maintained that the 2004 Act did not allow for an appeal against the decision on the complaint about the length of the proceedings. Finally, the applicant complained that he was barred from lodging a complaint about the length of the proceedings before a civil court under Article 417 of the Civil Code because he had already made use of the remedy provided by the 2004 Act.
On 2 June 2008 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I declare that the Government of Poland offer to pay 12,000 PLN (twelve thousand zlotys) to Mr Władysław Kubica 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 the 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 6 June 2008 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant:
“I note that the Government of Poland are prepared to pay us the sum of 12,000 PLN (twelve thousand 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 payable within three months from the date of the 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 resolutions 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