Application no. 17189/02
by Henryk KARNAS
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 4 April 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 Mrs F. Elens-Passos, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 29 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 applicant, Mr Henryk Karnas, is a Polish national who was born in 1961 and lives in Goleniów, Poland. He is represented before the Court by Mr Władysław Karnas, his court-appointed guardian and Ms K. Winkler-Marecka, a lawyer practising in Szczecin. The respondent Government are represented by their Agent Mr J. Wołąsiewicz, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicant, may be summarised as follows.
In February 1991 the applicant concluded before a public notary an agreement by which he exchanged his flat for a flat owned by Mr and Mrs L.
On 25 September 1991 the Szczecin Regional Court (Sąd Wojewódzki) decided to incapacitate the applicant due to his mental disorder. On 21 November 1991 the applicant’s father, Mr Władysław Karnas, was appointed as his guardian (opiekun).
On 21 November 1991 the applicant’s guardian, on the applicant’s behalf, lodged with the Szczecin Regional Court an action requesting a declaration that the agreement of February 1991 was null and void.
Subsequently, hearings were held on 19 February 1992, 23 September 1993, 4 March 1994 and 22 November 1995. The presiding judge was changed.
On 17 May 1996 and 10 June 1997 the court held hearings.
On 14 October 1997 the Szczecin Regional Court gave judgment. The court allowed the action and annulled the agreement concluded by the applicant. The other party to the proceedings appealed.
On 7 May 1998 the Poznań Court of Appeal (Sąd Apelacyjny) allowed the appeal and remitted the case.
After the remittal of the case the Regional Court held the first hearing on 7 January 1999.
On 9 March 2000 the Szczecin Regional Court (Sąd Okręgowy) gave a judgment in which it dismissed the action.
On 12 December 2000 the Poznań Court of Appeal dismissed the applicant’s appeal. The applicant lodged a cassation appeal with the Supreme Court (Sąd Najwyższy).
On 28 March 2001 the Poznań Court of Appeal rejected the cassation appeal as it had been lodged out of time. The applicant’s appeal against this decision was dismissed by the Supreme Court on 12 June 2001. The applicant submits that he was notified about this decision on 12 October 2001.
The applicant complained under Article 6 of the Convention about the unreasonable length of the civil proceedings. In addition, he complained that the proceedings in his case were unfair.
On 21 February 2006 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant’s court-appointed guardian:
“I note that the Government of Poland are prepared to pay the sum of PLN 10,000 (ten thousand Polish zlotys) to Mr Henryk Karnas 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 27 February 2006 the Court received the following declaration signed by the respondent Government:
“I declare that the Government of Poland offer to pay PLN 10,000 (ten thousand Polish zlotys) to Mr Henryk Karnas 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.
Françoise Elens-Passos Nicolas Bratza
Deputy Registrar President
KARNAS v. POLAND DECISION
KARNAS v. POLAND DECISION