FIRST SECTION

DECISION

Application no. 19372/05 
by OFFICIAL RECEIVER AND PROVISIONAL LIQUIDATOR OF SAMOA CLOTHING INDUSTRY LTD and others 
against Cyprus

The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting on 11 July 2006 as a Chamber composed of:

Mr C.L. Rozakis, President
 Mr L. Loucaides
 Mrs F. Tulkens
 Mrs E. Steiner
 Mr K. Hajiyev
 Mr D. Spielmann, 
 Mr S.E. Jebens, judges
and Mr S. Nielsen, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 19 May 2005,

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 parties’ correspondence,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The first applicant is the Official Receiver and Provisional Liquidator of Samoa Clothing Industry Ltd, a company registered under Cypriot law. The second and third applicants, Mr Loukis Papachristophorou and Ms Dora Papachristophorou, are the directors of the relevant company which has been subject to liquidation. They are Cypriot nationals living in Nicosia. The applicants were represented before the Court by Mr S. Drakos, a lawyer practising in Nicosia. The Cypriot Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr P. Clerides, Attorney-General of the Republic of Cyprus.

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

On 15 March 1993 the second applicant signed certain bills of exchange for the benefit of a welfare fund for the employees of a factory ran by Samoa Clothing Ltd. Further, he and the third applicant signed as guarantors for the relevant company. Following the refusal of the company and the second and third applicants to proceed with the payment of the relevant sum, the fund lodged civil actions nos. 409/97 and 410/97 before the District Court of Nicosia on 13 January 1997.

In its decision of 17 October 2002 the court found in favour of the plaintiff. It held that the documents in dispute were valid bills of exchange. Furthermore, it rejected evidence that had been put forward by the second applicant as his oral submissions to the court had not been found to be credible. On the basis of the court’s judgment the applicants had to pay the relevant amounts to the plaintiff by virtue of an agreement between themselves and the employees’ trade unions. These amounts included, inter alia, the employees’ contribution to the relevant fund, which the applicants, as employers, had undertaken to deposit with the plaintiff.

The applicants lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court on 28 November 2002. They subsequently withdrew all their grounds of appeal except the one contesting the validity of the relevant bills of exchange.

On 21 December 2004, the Supreme Court dismissed the applicants’ appeal. It held that on a plain reading of section 3 of the Bills of Exchange Law Cap.262 the validity of the relevant bills had been ascertained.

COMPLAINTS

The applicants complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the following:

(a) the protracted length of the proceedings;

(b) the judgments of the domestic courts had erred in law and had been contrary to the Cyprus Constitution and judicial precedent;

(c) the domestic courts had failed to properly examine the submissions and evidence that had been presented by the applicants; and finally,

(d) the decision of the Supreme Court had not been duly reasoned.

THE LAW

By letter dated 11 April 2006 the Government informed the Court that the parties had reached an agreement to settle the case. Subsequently, by letter dated 27 April 2006, the Government informed the Court that the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Cyprus had approved the terms of the friendly settlement and that the Government would pay the applicants jointly 5,500 Cyprus pounds in full and final settlement of their claim under the Convention, costs and expenses included. By letter dated 6 June 2006 the applicants confirmed the settlement and informed the Court that they wished to withdraw their application.

The Court takes note of the friendly settlement reached between the parties and the applicants’ wish to withdraw their application. It is satisfied that the settlement is based on respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols and finds no public policy reasons to justify a continued examination of the application (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention).

Accordingly, the application of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention to the case should de discontinued and it should be struck out of the list.

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.

Søren Nielsen Christos Rozakis  
 Registrar President

OFFICIAL RECEIVER AND PROVISIONAL LIQUIDATOR OF SAMOA CLOTHING

INDUSTRY LTD AND OTHERS v. CYPRUS DECISION


OFFICIAL RECEIVER AND PROVISIONAL LIQUIDATOR OF SAMOA CLOTHING  

INDUSTRY LTD AND OTHERS v. CYPRUS DECISION