FOURTH SECTION

DECISION

AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF

Application no. 12386/03 
by Marianna CIEŚLAK 
against Poland

The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 30 May 2006 as a Chamber composed of:

Sir Nicolas Bratza, President, 
 Mr J. Casadevall, 
 Mr M. Pellonpää, 
 Mr K. Traja, 
 Mr S. Pavlovschi, 
 Mr L. Garlicki, 
 Ms L. Mijović, judges, 
and Mr T.L. Early, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 28 March 2003,

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, Ms Marianna Cieślak, is a Polish national who was born in 1923 and lives in Bobolice, Poland. She is represented before the Court by her son, Mr T. Cieślak.

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

On 18 May 1995 the applicant instituted non-contentious proceedings before the Warsaw District Court (Sąd Rejonowy) requesting that the co-ownership of her late husband’s and his mother’s property be dissolved (dział spadku).

On 30 June 1995 the applicant was exempted from the payment of court fees.

Over the next two years the court tried to obtain the case-file concerning another set of proceedings pending before the Warsaw Regional Court.

On 8 December 1997 the District Court stayed the proceedings on the ground that another set of proceedings, the outcome of which could be decisive for the case, was pending before the Warsaw Regional Court.

In May 1998 a legal aid lawyer was appointed for the applicant.

In June 1998 the applicant, represented by the lawyer, requested that the proceedings be resumed.

Subsequently and again unsuccessfully, the District Court tried to obtain the case-file concerning the second set of proceedings from the Warsaw Regional Court.

The District Court scheduled the first hearing for 11 April 2000. However, it was cancelled and a new date was set for 10 October 2000. On the latter date the court held the first hearing at which it decided that an expert opinion should be obtained.

The expert submitted his opinion to the court in February 2002.

Subsequently, the court held hearings on 5 November 2002, 27 March and 13 May 2003. On the last date the court ordered that a new expert opinion be prepared.

In April 2004 the expert submitted his opinion to the court.

At the subsequent hearing on 8 July 2004 the court heard the parties.

On 15 July 2004 the Warsaw District Court gave a decision in which it dissolved the co-ownership.

The other party to the proceedings lodged an appeal and it appears that the proceedings are pending before the appellate court.

On 21 January 2005 the applicant lodged with the Warsaw Regional Court (Sąd Okręgowy) a complaint about a breach of the right to have her case heard within a reasonable time. She relied on the Law of 17 June 2004 on complaints about a breach of the right to a trial within a reasonable time (for details see Charzyński v. Poland (dec.), no. 15212/03, ECHR 2005-...). On 17 March 2005 the Regional Court dismissed her complaint. The court held that some delays in the proceedings could not be attributed to the District Court. The decision was notified to the applicant on 18 April 2005. The applicant was also informed that the domestic law did not provide any appeal against it.

COMPLAINT

The applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 about the unreasonable length of the proceedings.

THE LAW

On 4 January 2006 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant:

“I, Marianna Cieślak, note that the Government of Poland are prepared to pay me the sum of PLN 18,000 (eighteen thousand Polish zlotys) 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 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.”

On 12 April 2006 the Court received the following declaration signed by the respondent Government:

“I declare that the Government of Poland offer to pay PLN 18,000 (eighteen thousand Polish zlotys) to Mrs Marianna Cieślak 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 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.”

The Court takes note of the agreement reached between the parties and considers that the matter has been resolved (Article 37 § 1 (b) of the Convention). 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 the application to be continued. Accordingly, the application to the case of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention should be discontinued and the case struck out of the list.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Decides to discontinue the application of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and to strike the application out of its list of cases.

T.L. Early Nicolas Bratza 
 Registrar President

CIEŚLAK v. POLAND DECISION