Application no. 21640/02
by Tomasz GAWRYSZEK
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 7 March 2006 as a Chamber composed of:
Sir Nicolas Bratza, President,
Mr G. Bonello,
Mr K. Traja,
Mr S. Pavlovschi,
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 4 September 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 regard to the formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Tomasz Gawryszek, is a Polish national who was born in 1951 and lives in Lublin. The Polish Government (“the Government”) were 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.
The applicant and his wife were granted a divorce by a judgment of the Lublin District Court of 28 January 1994.
On 29 April 1994 the applicant filed with the same District Court an application for a division of the matrimonial property.
The District Court held hearings on the following dates: 17 June, 30 August, 4 and 29 November and 20 December 1994; 17 January, 29 August, 19 September, 21 November, 5 and 18 December 1995; 15 January, 3 September and 21 October 1996; 20 January, 5 May, 10 September and 13 October 1997.
In the course of the proceedings the court obtained some expert reports.
On 12 November 1997 the Lublin District Court gave judgment. It ordered that most of the matrimonial assets should remain in the possession of the defendant. It also ordered that the defendant pay the applicant a sum corresponding to half of the value of the matrimonial property.
The applicant’s former wife appealed against that judgment to the Lublin Regional Court. The Regional Court held hearings on 13 and 27 February and 8 May 1998.
On 22 May 1998 the Lublin Regional Court gave judgment, amending slightly the amount of payment due to the applicant.
On 22 August 1998 the defendant lodged a cassation appeal against that judgment with the Supreme Court.
On 12 March 2001 the Supreme Court refused to entertain the defendant’s cassation appeal. It relied on the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure as amended in May 2000, allowing it not to examine manifestly ill-founded appeals or appeals in cases where no serious legal issue arose, even if those appeals had been brought before 1 July 2000, the date on which the amendments of May 2000 entered into force.
On 3 April 2001 the Lublin District Court provided the applicant with an enforcement order in respect of the judgment of the District Court as amended by the judgment of the Regional Court. As of that date that judgment became final and enforceable.
1. The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the unfairness and unreasonable length of the proceedings.
2. He also complained under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 that as a result of the protracted length of the proceedings the value of the payments ordered by the courts had been significantly reduced at the time of their enforcement.
On 4 January 2006 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant:
“I, Tomasz Gawryszek, note that the Government of Poland are prepared to pay me the sum of 6,000 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 25 January 2006 the Court received the following declaration from the Agent of the Government:
“I declare that the Government of Poland offer to pay 6,000 Polish zlotys to Mr Tomasz Gawryszek 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 friendly settlement reached between the parties. 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, Article 29 § 3 of the Convention should no longer apply to the case 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 and to strike the application out of its list of cases.
Françoise Elens-Passos Nicolas Bratza
Deputy Registrar President
GAWRYSZEK v. POLAND DECISION
GAWRYSZEK v. POLAND DECISION