by Stanislaw DEPTUCH
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 12 May 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Nicolas Bratza, President,
David Thór Björgvinsson,
Mihai Poalelungi, judges,
and Fatoş Aracı, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 15 June 2007,
Having regard to the formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Stanisław Deptuch, is a Polish national who was born in 1964 and lives in Świebodzin. 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 applicant, may be summarised as follows.
On 17 February 2004 the Zielona Góra Social Security Board (Zakład Ubezpieczeń Społecznych) gave a decision in which it quashed the applicant’s disability pension. The applicant appealed against this decision.
On 29 June 2005 the Zielona Góra Regional Court (Sąd Okręgowy) dismissed the appeal finding that the applicant should be considered fit for work. The applicant appealed against the judgment.
On 26 September 2006 the Poznan Court of Appeal (Sąd Apelacyjny) dismissed the appeal. It appears that the applicant was served with the written reasons for the Court of Appeal’s judgment after 30 October 2006.
On 27 November 2006 the applicant requested the Court of Appeal to appoint him a legal-aid lawyer to lodge a cassation appeal on his behalf with the Supreme Court. The applicant applied for an exemption from court fees. He submitted that he could not hire a lawyer as he was disabled and was unemployed. The applicant had one child and was supported by his wife.
On 19 December 2006 the Poznan Court of Appeal dismissed the applicant’s request for the appointment of a legal-aid lawyer. The decision contained no reasons. The applicant submitted that the decision was notified to him at the end of January 2007, after the expiry of the time-limit for lodging the cassation appeal.
B. Relevant domestic law
Article 871 of the Code of Civil Proceedings lays down the principle of mandatory assistance of a lawyer in cassation appeal proceedings. Article 3982 § 1 provides a right to lodge a cassation appeal in cases concerning the right to a pension.
The applicant complained that the Court of Appeal had wrongly dismissed his application for the appointment of a legal aid lawyer in the cassation appeal proceedings and thus had deprived him of a possibility to have his case examined by the Supreme Court.
Relying on Articles 2 and 6 of the Convention he also complained about the outcome of the proceedings.
On 26 November 2008 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I declare that the Government of Poland offer to pay EUR 2,000 (two thousand euros) to Mr Stanislaw Deptuch 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 converted into Polish zlotys 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 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 18 March 2009 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant:
“I note that the Government of Poland are prepared to pay me the sum of EUR 2,000 (two thousand euros) 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 converted into Polish zlotys 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 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.
Fatoş Aracı Nicolas Bratza
Deputy Registrar President