Application no. 11131/02
by Adam BISOK
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 11 July 2006 as a Chamber composed of:
Sir Nicolas Bratza, President,
Mr G. Bonello,
Mr M. Pellonpää,
Mr K. Traja,
Mr L. Garlicki,
Ms L. Mijović,
Mr J. Šikuta, judges,
and Mr T.L. Early, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 9 August 2001,
Having regard to the decision to apply Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and examine the admissibility and merits of the case together;
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Adam Bisok, is a Polish national who was born in 1946 and lives in Dębowiec. The respondent Government are 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 parties, may be summarised as follows.
In 1943 the applicant’s mother inherited property of approximately 22 hectares. Apparently a part of the property was subsequently, some time in the 1940s, taken away from her and given by the State to a third party and another part was given to an Agricultural Cooperative. Upon the applicant’s mother’s appeals, the Katowice Presidium of the Regional National Council and the District Land Committee returned part of her land. The family lodged several unsuccessful motions to have the remainder of the property restored to them.
On 6 June 1994 the applicant filed a motion with the Bielsko-Biała Governor for repossession of the land. He submitted, inter alia, that his parents’ property had neither been divided into smaller plots before 1 August 1945 nor had it exceeded the statutory threshold of 50 hectares. It did not fall, therefore, within the category of properties which could be expropriated under the 1994 Agrarian Reform Decree. Hence, the decisions under which the property had been taken over by the State were illegal. In his letters of 14 June and 21 September 1994 the Bielsko-Biała Governor refused to return the property to the applicant, finding no legal grounds to do so.
On 30 August 1995 the applicant requested the Ministry of Agriculture to declare the administrative decisions concerning his property null and void. On 7 November 1995 the Minister of Agriculture informed the applicant that the request would be examined in 1996. On 17 December 1996 the Minister again informed the applicant that the examination of his motion would take place in 1997, and on 15 November 1997 the examination was postponed again to 1998.
The applicant received successive letters from the Minister informing him that his application would be dealt with in 1999 (letter of 9 December 1998), in 2000 (letter of 10 November 1999), and in 2001 (letter of 14 November 2000).
On 7 March 2002 the applicant lodged a complaint with the Supreme Administrative Court against the inactivity of the administration and its failure to give a decision on the merits of his request. On 6 May 2002 the Supreme Administrative Court requested the Ministry to lodge its pleadings in reply to the applicant’s complaint and to submit the case file for examination. The Ministry did not comply. The request was repeated on 15 July 2002, again to no avail.
On 3 September 2002 the Minister of Agriculture refused to declare the administrative decisions concerning the seizure of the applicant’s property null and void. The applicant appealed. On 9 May 2003 the decision was upheld. On 26 May 2003 the applicant lodged an appeal with the Supreme Administrative Court. On 8 June 2004 the Supreme Administrative Court quashed the decisions of the Minister of Agriculture of 9 May 2003 and 3 September 2002, finding that they had been given without proper examination of the case and in breach of applicable procedural law.
On 7 October 2004 the applicant complained to the Supreme Administrative Court about the Minister’s failure to issue the required decision or to provide him with any information since the judgment of 8 June 2004. The case is pending. Apparently, the Minister has not issued any decision so far.
1. The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the excessive length of the administrative proceedings.
2. He further complained under Article 13 of the Convention about a lack of an effective domestic remedy in a situation where the Minister of Agriculture has not issued a final decision on the merits of his request for a period of over nine years. He submitted that the judgments of the Supreme Administrative Court ordering the Minister to give such a decision remain ineffective.
3. The applicant also alleges a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 in that his mother’s property was illegally taken over by the State in 1947.
4. Finally he complained that the way his case is being dealt with constitutes discrimination in breach of Article 14 of the Convention.
On 7 May 2006 notice of the application was given to the Government, who were requested to submit their observations on the admissibility and merits of the applicant’s complaint by 4 September 2006.
In a letter of 1 June 2006 the applicant informed the Court that he wished to withdraw the case, since he was satisfied with the way in which his case was being currently processed.
Having regard to Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention, the Court concludes that the applicant no longer intends to pursue the application. Furthermore, in accordance with Article 37 § 1 in fine, the Court finds no special circumstances regarding respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols which require the examination of this application to be continued. Accordingly, the application of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention should be discontinued.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to discontinue the application of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention;
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
T.L. Early Nicolas Bratza
BISOK v. POLAND DECISION
BISOK v. POLAND DECISION