Application no. 19401/03
by Růžena PÁLKOVÁ
against the Czech Republic
The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting on 4 October 2005 as a Chamber composed of:
Mr J.-P. Costa, President,
Mr I. Cabral Barreto,
Mr K. Jungwiert,
Mr V. Butkevych,
Mr M. Ugrekhelidze,
Mrs A. Mularoni,
Mrs E. Fura-Sandström, judges,
and Mrs S. Dollé, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 16 June 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 regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government and the observations in reply submitted by the applicant,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Růžena Pálková, is a Czech national who was born in 1929 and lives in Prague. She was represented before the Court by Mr Z. Rudolecký, a lawyer practising in Hradec Králové.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
The applicant owned one half of a hotel in Poděbrady. On 26 July 1995 she brought a civil action against the second co-owner claiming CZK 1,555,120 (EUR 51,837) on the ground that he had used the totality of the hotel premises and had obtained material benefit which he had not shared with the applicant.
On 9 October 1995, 10 January, 26 February, 29 May and 2 October 1996, 14 October 1998, 8 March and 14 June 1999 eight hearings were held before the Nymburk District Court (okresní soud).
The proceedings were suspended between 2 October 1996 and 18 June 1998, pending the outcome of other civil proceedings having an impact on the current proceedings.
On 10 November 2000 the applicant extended her action claiming CZK 3,785,950 (EUR 126,198).
On 3 October 2001 the District Court held a hearing.
On 8 March 2002, the applicant complemented her action upon the District Court’s request of 15 February 2002.
Another hearing was held before the District Court on 18 September 2002.
On 4 October 2002 the applicant supplemented her arguments upon the District Court’s request of 28 March 2002.
On 14 November 2002 the District Court informed the applicant that a hearing scheduled for 14 November 2002 had been adjourned.
On 22 November 2002 the court invited the parties to supplement their submissions. They complied on 12 and 16 December 2002 respectively.
On 12 December 2002 the applicant again supplemented her arguments.
On 10 April 2003 the applicant supplemented her action at the court’s request of 24 March 2003.
On 4 August 2003 the District Court, having been informed about the defendant’s death on 22 May 2003, discontinued the proceedings.
On 11 September 2003 the Constitutional Court (Ústavní soud) dismissed as unsubstantiated the applicant’s constitutional appeal (ústavní stížnost) of 17 June 2003 where she complained of delays in the proceedings.
On 29 September and 12 November 2004 and 2 January, 26 March, 10, 11 and 17 May, 28 June, 18 October 2004 and 3 and 31 March 2005 the District Court took different procedural steps.
It seems that the proceedings are still pending.
The applicant originally complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the length of the proceedings.
The Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I, Vít Schorm, Agent of the Government of the Czech Republic, declare that the Government of the Czech Republic offer to pay 9,000 euros to Růžena Pálková 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 Czech korunas at the rate applicable on the date of payment, 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 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 received the following declaration signed by the applicant:
“I, Růžena Pálková, note that the Government of the Czech Republic are prepared to pay me the sum of 9000 euros 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 Czech korunas at the rate applicable on the date of payment, 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 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 the Czech Republic in respect of the facts giving rise to this application. I declare that this constitutes a final resolution of the case.”
The Court takes note of the friendly settlement reached between the parties. It finds no special circumstances regarding respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols which require the further examination of the application (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention). 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
Declares to strike the application out of its list of cases.
S. Dollé J.-P.Costa
PÁLKOVÁ v. THE CZECH REPUBLIC DECISION
PÁLKOVÁ v. THE CZECH REPUBLIC DECISION