FOURTH SECTION

DECISION

Application no. 25313/07 
by Ivan GALLO 
against Slovakia

The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 5 October 2010 as a Committee composed of:

Ljiljana Mijović, President, 
 Ledi Bianku, 
 Nebojša Vučinić, judges,
 
and Fatoş Aracı, Deputy Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 11 June 2007,

Having regard to the declaration submitted by the respondent Government requesting the Court to strike the application out of the list of cases and to the applicant's reply,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The application was lodged by Mr Ivan Gallo, a Slovak national who was born in 1954 and lives in Košice. He was represented before the Court by Mr P. Kerecman, a lawyer practising in Košice. The Slovak Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mrs M. Pirošíková.

On 26 March 1991 the applicant initiated proceedings before the Košice Regional Arbitration Court (Krajská štátna arbitráž) claiming a sum of money for unpaid services against a State-owned company.

In September 1991 the case was transferred to the Košice Regional Court. Courts at two levels of jurisdiction dealt with the applicant's claim.

On 11 January 2005 the Constitutional Court decided that the applicant's right to a hearing within a reasonable time had been violated. It ordered the Regional Court to proceed without unjustified delay and awarded 70,000 Slovakian korunas (SKK)1 to the applicant in just satisfaction for non-pecuniary damage. It also ordered the Regional Court to reimburse the applicant's legal costs.

The case was decided by a decision of the Supreme Court of 16 March 2009. The decision was served on the applicant's legal representative on 28 May 2009.

THE LAW

The applicant complained of the length of proceedings. He relied on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention which, in so far as relevant, provides as follows:

“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”

By letter dated 25 May 2010 the Government informed the Court that they proposed to make a unilateral declaration with a view to resolving the issue raised by the application. They further requested the Court to strike out the application in accordance with Article 37 of the Convention.

The declaration provided as follows:

“The Government acknowledge both the applicant's status of the victim within the meaning of Article 34 of the Convention and the unreasonable duration of the domestic proceedings in which the applicant was involved.

I, Marica Pirošíková, the Agent of the Government of the Slovak Republic before the European Court of Human Rights, declare that the Government offer to pay ex gratia to the applicant Mr Ivan Gallo the sum of EUR 7,800 (seven thousand and eight hundred euros). This sum shall cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage together with any costs and expenses incurred by the applicant with respect to the violation of his right under the Convention.

The Government would suggest that the above information be accepted by the Court as “any other reason” justifying the striking out of the case of the Court's list of cases, as referred to in Article 37 § 1 (c) of the Convention.

In the event of the Court's decision pursuant to Article 37 § 1 of the Convention, the Government undertake to pay to the applicant the declared sum within the three months from the date of notification of the decision. In the event of failure to pay this sum within the said three-month period, the Government undertake to apply 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. This payment will constitute the final settlement of the case.”

In a letter of 22 June 2010 the applicant expressed the view that it was necessary to continue the examination of the case and that the sum mentioned in the Government's declaration was unacceptably low under the circumstances of the case.

The Court recalls that Article 37 of the Convention provides that it may at any stage of the proceedings decide to strike an application out of its list of cases where the circumstances lead to one of the conclusions specified, under (a), (b) or (c) of paragraph 1 of that Article. Article 37 § 1 (c) enables the Court in particular to strike a case out of its list if:

“for any other reason established by the Court, it is no longer justified to continue the examination of the application”.

It also recalls that in certain circumstances, it may strike out an application under Article 37 § 1(c) on the basis of a unilateral declaration by a respondent Government even if the applicant wishes the examination of the case to be continued.

To this end, the Court will examine carefully the declaration in the light of the principles emerging from its case-law, in particular the Tahsin Acar judgment (Tahsin Acar v. Turkey, [GC], no. 26307/95, §§ 75-77, ECHR 2003-VI; WAZA Spółka z o.o. v. Poland (dec.) no. 11602/02, 26 June 2007; and Sulwińska v. Poland (dec.) no. 28953/03).

The Court has established in a number of cases, including those brought against Slovakia, its practice concerning complaints about the violation of one's right to a hearing within a reasonable time (see, for example, Frydlender v. France [GC], no. 30979/96, § 43, ECHR 2000-VII; Cocchiarella v. Italy [GC], no. 64886/01, §§ 69-98, ECHR 2006-V; Majewski v. Poland, no. 52690/99, 11 October 2005; and Kuril v. Slovakia, no. 63959/00, §§ 35-43, 3 October 2006; Rapoš v. Slovakia, no. 25763/02, §§ 27-34, 20 May 2008; or Bič v. Slovakia, no. 23865/03, §§ 33-41, 4 November 2008).

Having regard to the nature of the admissions contained in the Government's declaration, as well as the amount of compensation proposed – which is consistent with the amounts awarded in similar cases – the Court considers that it is no longer justified to continue the examination of the application (Article 37 § 1(c)).

Moreover, in light of the above considerations, and in particular given the clear and extensive case-law on the topic, the Court is satisfied that respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and the Protocols thereto does not require it to continue the examination of the application (Article 37 § 1 in fine).

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Takes note of the terms of the respondent Government's declaration under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and of the modalities for ensuring compliance with the undertakings referred to therein;

Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases in accordance with Article 37 § 1 (c) of the Convention.

Fatoş Aracı Ljiljana Mijović 
 Deputy Registrar President

1.  SKK 70,000 is equivalent to approximately 1,814 euros (EUR) at that time.


GALLO v. SLOVAKIA DECISION


GALLO v. SLOVAKIA DECISION