SECOND SECTION

DECISION

Application no. 26656/03 
by Jaroslav PRAVDA 
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 13 August 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 FACTS

The applicant, Mr Jaroslav Pravda, is a Czech national who was born in 1941 and lives in Smržice. He was represented before the Court by Mr L. Salaj, a lawyer practising in Prostějov.

The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.

On 22 October 1993 the applicant filed a restitution action with the Litoměřice District Court (okresní soud).

On 18 May and 19 October 1994 and 9 October 1995 and 4 March, 22 May and 27 November 1996 the court held hearings.

On 10 December 1996 it ordered an expert opinion.

On 16 January 1997 the Ústí nad Labem Regional Court (krajský soud), upon the defendant’s appeal of 31 December 1996, quashed a decision of the District Court by which the defendants had been ordered to pay an advance of fees connected with the expert opinion.

On 5 March 1997 the District Court again ordered the defendants to advance the expert fees. On 9 July 1997 the expert opinion was drawn up.

By a judgment of 3 December 1997 the District Court decided in the applicant’s favour.

On 7 July 1998 the Regional Court, following the defendants’ appeal of 9 April 1998, quashed this judgment and sent the case back to the District Court which, by a judgment of 8 June 1999, rejected the applicant’s restitution action, after having held hearings on 1 March, 9 April and 31 May 1999.

On 20 November 2000 the Regional Court, on the applicant’s appeal of 13 August 1999, upheld this judgment, after having held hearings on 8 and 20 November 2000.

On 28 May 2001 the Supreme Court (Nejvyšší soud), upon the applicant’s appeal on points of law (dovolání) of 2 January 2001, quashed the judgments of the lower instances and returned the case to the District Court which, on 27 June 2002, decided in the applicant’s favour, after having held hearings and taken other procedural steps.

On 18 September 2002 the defendants appealed against this judgment.

On 19 November 2003 the Regional Court modified the first instance judgment.

On 21 January 2004 the applicant filed an appeal on points of law.

It seems that the proceedings are still pending before the Supreme Court.

COMPLAINT

Invoking Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, the applicant originally complained that the proceedings lasted an unreasonably long time.

THE LAW

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 8,000 euros to Jaroslav Pravda 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, Jaroslav Pravda, note that the Government of the Czech Republic are prepared to pay me the sum of 8,000 euros with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.

This sum, 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  
 Registrar President

PRAVDA v. THE CZECH REPUBLIC DECISION


PRAVDA v. THE CZECH REPUBLIC DECISION