Application no. 10851/02
by Jan WÓJCIK
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 4 April 2006 as a Chamber composed of:
Sir Nicolas Bratza, President,
Mr J. Casadevall,
Mr G. Bonello,
Mr K. Traja,
Mr S. Pavlovschi,
Mr L. Garlicki,
Ms L. Mijović, judges,
and Mrs F. Elens-Passos, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 28 February 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 applicant, Mr Jan Wójcik, is a Polish national who was born in 1957 and lives in Wrocław. The respondent Government are represented by Mr Jakub Wołąsiewicz, the Government’s Agent.
The circumstances of the case
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
On 12 November 1993 the plaintiff, a housing co-operative in Wrocław, lodged suits for payment against the applicant and other co-respondents with the Wrocław District Court. The financial documents of the plaintiff proved to be incorrect and the plaintiff subsequently submitted corrected documents on 13 February 1995.
On 22 February 1995 the court decided to assign an expert in the case.
On 1 April 1997 the court assigned the expert, who allegedly did not have the specialist knowledge necessary for the case. The expert submitted his opinion to the court on 2 October 1997.
On 17 March 1998 the expert, questioned by the defendants during the court hearing, could not give proper replies to the questions.
On 25 June 1997, in response to the defendants’ questions in writing, the expert submitted a complementary opinion.
On 27 November 1999 the expert submitted a second complementary opinion.
On 25 January 2000 the defendants, upon the court’s request, submitted pleadings regarding issues that the expert had been unable to explain.
On 1 March 2000 the court delivered a judgment and demanded the applicant pay interest from the date on which the case had been brought to the court. The court delivered written grounds for the judgment on 31 May 2000.
On 15 June 2000 the applicant appealed.
On 30 May 2001 the Wrocław Regional Court dismissed the appeal. On 4 June 2001 the applicant asked to have written grounds of the judgment prepared. The judgment with the reasons was served on the applicant on 3 September 2001.
The applicant complained under Article 6 of the Convention about the excessive length of the proceedings in his case, the result of which is that the amount of the interest he has had to pay exceeded by three times the amount of the debt.
On 6 October 2005 the Court decided to communicate the application to the Government.
On 8 February 2006 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant:
“I, Mr Jan Wójcik, note that the Government of Poland are prepared to pay me the sum of 2.600 euros with a view of 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 PLN at the rate applicable on the date of payment and 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 39 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 of this application. I declare that this constitutes a final resolution of the case.”
On 15 February 2006 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I, Jakub Wołąsiewicz, Agent of the Government before the ECHR, declare that the Government of Poland offer to pay 2.600 euros to Mr Jan Wójcik 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 PLN at the rate applicable on the date of payment and 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 39 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.”
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
Declares to discontinue the application of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention;
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
Françoise Elens-Passos Nicolas Bratza
Deputy Registrar President
WÓJCIK v. POLAND DECISION
WÓJCIK v. POLAND DECISION