Application no. 24839/02
by Štefan BOT
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting on 23 May 2006 as a Chamber composed of:
Mr B.M. Zupančič,
Mr L. Caflisch,
Mr C. Bîrsan,
Mrs A. Gyulumyan,
Mr E. Myjer,
Mr David Thór Björgvinsson, judges,
and Mr V. Berger, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 28 November 2000,
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 Štefan Bot, is a Slovenian national who was born in 1943 and lives in Lendava. He is represented before the Court by Mr L. Horvat, a lawyer practising in Murska Sobota.
The Slovenian Government (“the Government”) are represented by their Agent, Mr L. Bembič, State Attorney-General.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
On 26 October 1991 the applicant was injured in a car accident. The perpetrator of the accident had taken out insurance with the insurance company ZT.
On 10 September 1992 the applicant instituted civil proceedings in the Murska Sobota Basic Court, Murska Sobota Unit (Temeljno sodišče v Murski soboti, Enota Murska Sobota) against ZT seeking damages in the amount of 1,880,000 SIT for the injuries sustained. He also requested to be exempt from paying the court fees.
On 1 January 1995 the Celje Local Court (Okrajno sodišče v Celju) gained jurisdiction in the present case due to the reform of the Slovenian judicial system.
On 20 November 1995 the court, owing to the fact that the applicant raised his claim to 5,100,000 SIT (approximately 21,000 euros) declared the case out of its jurisdiction and transferred the case to the Celje District Court (Okrožno sodišče v Celju).
On 26 October 1998, 1 March and 24 June 1999 and 20 June 2000 the applicant lodged a supervisory complaint complaining about the excessive length of the proceedings.
On 16 April 1997, 1 December 1999, 14 July and 6 September 2000, 15 June 2001, 28 November 2001 and 5 June 2002 the court held hearings.
During the proceedings the court appointed two road traffic experts and a medical expert.
At the last hearing the court decided to deliver a written judgment. The judgment, upholding the applicant’s claim in part, was served on the applicant on 13 August 2002.
On 23 August 2002 the applicant appealed to the Maribor Higher Court (Višje sodišče v Mariboru). ZT cross-appealed.
On 24 September 2002 the first-instance court dismissed the applicant’s claim for exemption from paying the court fees. The decision was served on the applicant on 4 September 2002. On 11 September 2002 the applicant appealed against the decision. On 3 February 2004 the Maribor Higher Court allowed the applicant’s appeal in part. The decision was served on the applicant on 2 April 2004.
On 21 September 2004 the Maribor Higher Court upheld in part the applicant’s appeal of 23 August 2002 and increased the damages awarded.
At an undetermined time the applicant and his adversary lodged an appeal on points of law with the Supreme Court (Vrhovno sodišče) which were dismissed on 21 April 2005.
The first-instance court has not yet delivered a decision regarding the costs and expenses of the proceedings.
The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that the length of the proceedings before the domestic courts to which he was a party was excessive. In substance, he also complained about the lack of an effective domestic remedy in respect of the excessive length of the proceedings (Article 13).
On 14 March 2006 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I, Lucijan Bembič, Agent of the Republic of Slovenia, declare that the Government of Slovenia offer to pay ex gratia 2,000 euros to Štefan Bot with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.
This sum is to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, and it will be payable within three months from the date of notification of the decision taken by the Court pursuant to the Article 37 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights...”
On 20 March 2006 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant’s representative:
“I, Štefan Bot, note that the Government of Slovenia are prepared to pay me ex gratia the sum of 2,000 euros with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.
This sum is to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses and will be payable within three months from the date of notification of the decision taken by the Court pursuant to the Article 37 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights...
I accept the proposal waive any further claims against Slovenia in respect of the facts of this application. I declare that this constitutes a final resolution of the case...”
The Court takes note of the agreement reached between the parties (Article 39 of the Convention). It is satisfied that the settlement is based on respect for human rights as defined in the Convention or its Protocols (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention and Rule 62 § 3 of the Rules of Court).
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
Vincent Berger John
BOT v. SLOVENIA DECISION
BOT v. SLOVENIA DECISION