The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 31 January 2012 as a Committee composed of:
Zdravka Kalaydjieva, judges,
and Fatoş Aracı, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 26 July 2009,
Having regard to the decision to grant priority to the above application under Rule 41 of the Rules of Court,
Having regard to the comments submitted by the parties,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
A. The circumstances of the case
1. Proceedings common to the whole of the disputed property
2. Proceedings relating to plots no. 684/17, 684/7, 684/8, 684/20 and 684/22
3. Proceedings concerning the remaining plots of land
B. Relevant domestic law and practice
1. Provisions concerning inactivity of administrative authorities
2. Provisions concerning the right to restitution of expropriated property
A. Alleged violation of Article 6 of the Convention
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”
1. The parties’ submissions
39. The Government argued that the applicant had failed to exhaust available domestic remedies, as in view of the continuing inactivity of the Mayor of Gdańsk following her two consecutive hierarchical complaints under Article 37 of the Code of Administrative Procedure, she had not lodged a further complaint in this respect with the competent administrative court. The Government also stressed that as of 11 April 2011, i.e. the date of the entry into force of the amendment to the Code of Administrative Procedure, the hierarchical complaint under Article 37 of the Code of Administrative Procedure became even more effective, as the amended legal provisions made it possible to complain not only about the authorities’ failure to issue an administrative decision within the time-limits prescribed by law, but also, expressis verbis, about the protracted conduct of the proceedings. The Government argued that the applicant had not had recourse to the improved remedy after the relevant amendment had entered into force. Likewise, she had not sought compensation on account of the excessive length of the proceedings by lodging a civil claim under Article 417 of the Civil Code.
2. The Court’s assessment
(a) Proceedings relating to plots nos. 684/17, 684/7, 684/8, 684/20 and 684/22
(b) Proceedings relating to the remaining plots of land
B. Remaining complaints
Insofar as the complaint concerns the plots of land covered by the decision of the Pomorski Governor of 23 November 2009, the Court observes that the relevant plots of land have already been returned to the applicant. Accordingly, she can no longer claim to be a victim of the alleged violation of her property rights. It follows that the complaint is manifestly ill-founded and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 (a) and 4 of the Convention.
As to the remaining plots of land, the Court notes that the administrative proceedings instituted by the applicant with a view to having the disputed property returned to her are still pending. Accordingly, leaving aside other admissibility criteria, the Court finds that the complaint is in any event premature and as such must be declared inadmissible for non exhaustion of domestic remedies, pursuant to Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Declares the application inadmissible.
Fatoş Aracı Päivi Hirvelä
Deputy Registrar President