FIRST SECTION

DECISION

Application no. 24623/03 
by Stelios RIGA and Meropi KAPNOULLA 
against Cyprus

The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting on 8 June 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 22 July 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 parties’ correspondence,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The applicants, Mr Stelios Riga and Ms Meropi Kapnoulla, are Cypriot nationals living in Nicosia. They were represented before the Court by Mr E. Efstathiou, 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.

The applicants are the administrators of the estate of Mr Demetrios Kapnoulla who died in a traffic accident on 27 January 1989.

On 23 January 1990 the applicants lodged two civil actions (no. 620/90 and no. 621/90) before the District Court of Nicosia requesting compensation from third parties for their responsibility for the death of Mr Kapnoulla.

On 30 January 2002 the applicants requested an adjournment for the purpose of amending their pleadings to include the administrators of the estate of one of the defendants who had died a few years earlier. The court rejected their request and invited the applicants to continue with their case against the first defendant. The applicants’ representative decided that they would not proceed to submit evidence if this would be restricted to the first defendant; they considered that this would deprive the applicants of the opportunity to prove their case against both defendants in breach of their constitutional rights. In view of this, the court dismissed the action for want of prosecution.

The applicants lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court (civil appeal no. 11291), which was dismissed on 28 January 2003.

COMPLAINTS 

1. The applicants complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the excessive length of the proceedings before the Cypriot courts.

2. The applicants also complained about the fairness of the proceedings under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention. In this respect the applicants complained that the district court’s persistence that they ought to have continued with the prosecution of the case had revealed a lack of impartiality on its part and, further, had prevented the applicants from pursuing their case as they had thought best.

THE LAW

By letter dated 4 April 2006 the Government informed the Court that the parties had reached an agreement to settle the case. Subsequently, by letter dated 18 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 8,000 Cyprus pounds in full and final settlement of their claim under the Convention, costs and expenses included. By letter dated 4 May 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

RIGA & KAPNOULLA v. CYPRUS DECISION


RIGA & KAPNOULLA v. CYPRUS DECISION