CASE OF KORELC v. SLOVENIA
(Application no. 28456/03)
12 May 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 Korelc v. Slovenia,
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Boštjan M. Zupančič,
Luis López Guerra,
Ann Power, judges,
and Stanley Naismith, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 14 April 2009,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
The applicant further alleged under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that the length of the proceedings before the domestic courts to which he was a party had been excessive. In substance, he also complained that there was no effective domestic remedy in respect of excessive length of proceedings (Article 13 of the Convention).
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
B. Main set of proceedings
C. Proceedings related to reimbursement of expenses for the refurbishment of the apartment
D. Enforcement proceedings
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW
1. The Act on the Protection of the Right to a Trial without undue Delay (Zakon o varstvu pravice do sojenja brez nepotrebnega odlašanja, Official Gazette of the RS no. 49/2006)
Section 25 - Just satisfaction for damage sustained prior to implementation of this Act
“(1) In cases where a violation of the right to a trial without undue delay has already ceased and the party has lodged a claim for just satisfaction with the international court before the date of implementation of this Act, the State Attorney's Office shall offer the party a settlement on the amount of just satisfaction within four months after the date of receipt of the case referred by the international court for the settlement procedure. The party shall submit a settlement proposal to the State Attorney's Office within two months of the date of receipt of the proposal of the State Attorney's Office. The State Attorney's Office shall decide on the proposal as soon as possible and within a period of four months at the latest.
(2) If the proposal for settlement referred to in paragraph 1 of this section is not acceded to or the State Attorney's Office and the party fail to negotiate an agreement within four months of the date on which the party made its proposal, the party may bring an action before the competent court under this Act. The party may bring an action within six months of receiving the State Attorney's Office reply that the party's proposal referred to in the previous paragraph has not been acceded to, or after the expiry of the period fixed in the previous paragraph for the State Attorney's Office to decide to proceed with settlement. Irrespective of the type or amount of the claim, the provisions of the Civil Procedure Act concerning small claims shall apply in proceedings before a court.”
2. The Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia (Ustava Republike Slovenije, Official Gazette of the RS no. 33/1)
“In Slovenia everyone shall be guaranteed equal human rights and fundamental freedoms irrespective of national origin, race, sex, language, religion, political or other conviction, material standing, birth, education, social status or any other personal circumstance.
All are equal before the law.”
3. The 1991 Housing Act (Stanovanjski zakon, Official Gazette of the RS no. 18/91 with amendments)
“Close family members under this Act are the spouse of an owner or a person with whom the owner lives in a long-lasting life community, their children or adopted children, parents and adoptive parents and persons whom they are obliged by law to support.
The provisions of the previous paragraph shall also be used mutatis mutandis for the determination of close family members of a tenant.”
“If the tenant dies, the owner of the apartment is obliged to conclude a contract of lease with the tenant's spouse or with a person who lived with the tenant in a long-lasting life community or with one of the close family members stated in the contract of lease...”
4. The Marriage and Family Relations Act (Zakon o zakonski zvezi in druZinskih razmerah, Official Gazette of the RS no. 15/76 with amendments)
“A long-lasting life community of a man and a woman, who have not entered into a marriage, shall have for them the same legal consequences enshrined in this Act as if they had entered into [a marriage] if no such reason existed which would render the marriage between them void; and it shall have effect in other areas if the law so provides.
If a decision concerning rights or obligations depends on the existence of a life community referred to in the previous paragraph, this existence shall be established in the proceedings concerning these rights or obligations. The decision on this question will only have legal effect in the matter in which it was resolved.”
5. Registration of Same-Sex Civil Partnership Act (Zakon o registraciji istospolne partnerske skupnosti, Official Gazette of the RS no. 65/2005)
“If the partners cannot agree after the cessation or annulment of the partnership on who will remain in housing to which one or both have leasing rights, a court shall decide the claim of the other partner, at his request, in non-litigious proceedings. The court shall take into account in this the housing needs of the partners, their justifiable interest and other circumstances of the case.
If a partner who is a tenant of the housing dies or is declared deceased, the other partner who is stated in the contract of lease and actually lives in the property has the right to claim the conclusion of a contract of lease from the lessor.”
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION AS TO THE LENGTH OF THE PROCEEDINGS AND OF ARTICLE 13 OF THE CONVENTION
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a ... fair ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”
“Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in [the] Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.”
1. Article 6 § 1
There has accordingly been a breach of Article 6 § 1.
2. Article 13
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 8 IN CONJUNCTION WITH ARTICLE 14 OF THE CONVENTION AND OF ARTICLE 6 OF THE CONVENTION AS TO THE FAIR TRIAL
Article 14 of the Convention provides:
“The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in [the] Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.”
Article 8 of the Convention provides in its relevant part:
“1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life [and] his home ...
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”
A. The parties' submissions
B. The Court's assessment
III. 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 applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 3,000 (three thousand euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage, 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 amounts at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;
5. Dismisses the remainder of the applicant's claim for just satisfaction.
Done in English, and notified in writing on 12 May 2009, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Stanley Naismith Josep Casadevall
Deputy Registrar President