(Application no. 26397/02)
26 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 Kordos v. Poland,
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Nicolas Bratza, President,
Nebojša Vučinić, judges,
and Fatoş Aracı, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 5 May 2009,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
“(...) It should be underlined that the obligation to demonstrate the preconditions for an exemption from the costs rests with the claimant.
Examining the claimant’s request, the court considers that it cannot be granted. The claimant did not demonstrate that she was unable to bear the [relevant] costs without entailing a substantial reduction in her and her family’s standard of living.
A person requesting exemption from costs should submit a declaration of means that she is unable to pay the costs, including detailed information about her family status, her assets and her income, which have to be supported by relevant documents.
In a case where a person seeking exemption from costs has a representative who is an advocate, that representative has an obligation to inform his client about the requirements attached to a declaration of means and the necessary information which must be included therein. In that case, the court is not required to summon the representative of a party seeking exemption from costs to submit an additional declaration.
For these reasons, considering that the claimant’s request did not contain the required declaration of means, which implies that there is no information enabling [the court] to examine the merits of the request, the court, pursuant to Article 113 § 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure, held as in the operative part of the decision.”
The Court of Appeal considers that the grounds of appeal do not justify a departure from the findings of the first-instance court in respect of the appellant’s ability to pay the [relevant] costs.
The Court of Appeal draws attention to the fact that the claimant received the whole amount of compensation awarded [by the first-instance court]. Thus, there were no grounds to hold that she was unable to bear the costs without a reduction in her own necessary support.
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW AND PRACTICE
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION ON ACCOUNT OF LACK OF ACCESS TO A COURT.
Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, in so far as relevant provides:
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a ... hearing ... by [a] ... tribunal established by law. ...”
1. The parties’ submissions
(a) The applicant
(b) The Government
2. The Court’s assessment
(a) Principles deriving from the Court’s case law
(b) Application of the above principles to the present case
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION ABOUT THE LACK OF IMPARTIALITY.
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), plus any tax that may be chargeable in respect of non-pecuniary damage, to be converted into Polish zlotys at the rate applicable at the date of settlement;
(b) that 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;
Done in English, and notified in writing on 26 May 2009, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Fatoş Aracı Nicolas Bratza
Deputy Registrar President