THIRD SECTION

DECISION

Application no. 1045/02 
by Pavel PETEK 
against Slovenia

The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting on  
26 January 2006 as a Chamber composed of:

Mr J. Hedigan, President
 Mr B.M. Zupančič
 Mr C. Bîrsan, 
 Mrs M. Tsatsa-Nikolovska
 Mr V. Zagrebelsky
 Mr E. Myjer
 Mrs I. Ziemele, judges
and Mr V. Berger, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 26 March 2002,

Having regard to the decision to apply Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and examine the admissibility and merits of the case together,

Having regard to the formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The applicant, Mr Pavel Petek, is a Slovenian national who was born in 1951 and lives in Celje. He was represented before the Court by the Verstovšek lawyers.

The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.

On 20 December 1991 the applicant was injured in a car accident. The owner of the car used by the perpetrator of the accident had taken out insurance with the insurance company OS. The company responsible for maintenance of the road on which the accident occurred had taken out liability insurance with the insurance company ZT.

a) The first set of proceedings

On 30 December 1993 the applicant instituted civil proceedings against the perpetrator of the accident, the owner of the car and the insurance companies OS and ZT in the Celje Basic Court, Celje Unit (Temeljno sodišče v Celju, Enota v Celju) seeking damages in the amount of 8,775,784 tolars (approximately 36,600 euros) for the injuries sustained.

Between 14 March and 24 May 1994 the applicant lodged four preliminary written submissions and requested that a date be set for a hearing.

On 1 January 1995 the Celje District Court (Okrožno sodišče v Celju) gained jurisdiction in the present case due to the reform of the Slovenian judicial system.

Between 24 October 1994 and 7 January 1998 the applicant lodged sixteen preliminary written submissions and/or adduced evidence. During this time he made twenty requests that a date be set for a hearing.

Neither of the two hearings held on 24 May 1995 and 20 January 1998 was adjourned at the request of the applicant.

During the proceedings the court appointed a medical expert.

At the last hearing the court decided to deliver a written judgment. The judgment, upholding the applicant’s claim in part, was served on the applicant on 12 March 1998.

On 20 March 1998 the applicant appealed to the Celje Higher Court (Višje sodišče v Celju). Defendants cross-appealed.

On 24 May 2000 the court allowed the appeals in part and remitted the case to the first-instance court for re-examination.

The judgment was served on the applicant on 6 July 2000.

On 25 July 2000 the applicant lodged an appeal on points of law with the Supreme Court (Vrhovno sodišče) and sought a recusal of one of the judges.

On 12 January 2001 the president of the court dismissed the request for a recusal.

On 17 May 2001 the court dismissed the appeal.

The judgment was served on the applicant on 9 June 2001.

Between 3 December 2001 and 30 August 2002 the applicant lodged nine preliminary written submissions and/or adduced evidence.

Neither of the two hearings held on 11 December 2001 and 5 November 2002 was adjourned at the request of the applicant.

At the last hearing the court decided to deliver a written judgment. The judgment, upholding the applicant’s claim in part, was served on the applicant on 2 December 2002.

On 4 December 2002 the applicant appealed to the Celje Higher Court. Defendants cross-appealed.

On 11 February 2004 the court dismissed the appeals.

The judgment was served on the applicant on 1 April 2004.

On 14 April 2004 the applicant lodged an appeal on points of law with the Supreme Court.

The proceedings are still pending.

b) The second set of proceedings

On 10 March 1994 the applicant and two other individuals who were also injured in the car accident instituted civil proceedings against the perpetrator of the accident, the owner of the car and the insurance companies OS and ZT in the Celje Basic Court, Celje Unit (Temeljno sodišče v Celju, Enota v Celju) seeking damages in the amount of 1,474,547 tolars (approximately 6,100 euros) for the injuries sustained.

Between 29 March and 26 May 1004 the applicant lodged three preliminary written submissions and requested that a date be set for a hearing.

On 1 January 1995 the Celje Local Court (Okrajno sodišče v Celju) gained jurisdiction in the present case due to the reform of the Slovenian judicial system.

Between 24 October 1994 and 13 July 1999 the applicant lodged twelve preliminary written submissions and/or adduced evidence.

Between 24 October 1994 and 15 September 1999 he made fourteen requests that a date be set for a hearing.

Of the seven hearings held between 9 May 1995 and 27 November 2003 none was adjourned at the request of the applicant.

During the proceedings the court appointed a medical expert and a road traffic expert. Subsequently the court replaced the appointed road traffic expert. The court also sought an additional opinion from the appointed medical expert.

At the last hearing the court decided to deliver a written judgment. The judgment, upholding the applicant’s claim in part, was served on the applicant on 21 January 2004.

On 26 January 2004 the applicant appealed to the Celje Higher Court. Defendants cross-appealed.

On 25 November 2004 the court allowed the applicant’s appeal in part and dismissed the defendants’ appeals.

The judgment was served on the applicant on 30 December 2004.

COMPLAINTS

The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that the length of the proceedings before the domestic courts to which he was party was excessive. In substance, he also complained about the lack of an effective domestic remedy in respect of the excessive length of the proceedings (Article 13 of the Convention).

THE LAW

On 19 July 2005 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:

“I, Lucijan BEMBIČ, Agent of the Republic of Slovenia, declare that the Government of Slovenia offer to pay ex gratia 4,000 euros to Pavel PETEK 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 Slovenian tolars at the rate applicable on the date of the payment, free of any taxes that may be applicable. It will be payable within three months from the date of notification of the decision by the Court pursuant to the Article 37 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights...”

On 19 July 2005 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant’s representative:

“I, Pavel PETEK, note that the Government of Slovenia are prepared to pay me ex gratia the sum of 4,000 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 Slovenian tolars at the rate applicable on the date of the payment, 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 the Article 37 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights...

 I accept the proposal waive any further claims against Slovenia 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 agreement reached between the parties (Article 39 of the Convention). It is satisfied that the settlement is based on respect for human rights as defined in the Convention or its Protocols (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention and Rule 62 § 3 of the Rules of Court). Accordingly, Article 29 § 3 of the Convention should no longer apply to the case and it should be struck out of the list.

For these reasons, the Court, unanimously,

Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.

Vincent Berger John Hedigan 
 Registrar President

PETEK v. SLOVENIA DECISION


PETEK v. SLOVENIA DECISION