FOURTH SECTION

DECISION

Application no. 30513/02 
by František TIMÁR 
against Slovakia

The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 28 March 2006 as a Chamber composed of:

Sir Nicolas Bratza, President
 Mr J. Casadevall
 Mr G. Bonello
 Mr K. Traja
 Mr S. Pavlovschi
 Mr L. Garlicki, 
 Mr J. Šikuta, judges
and Mr M. O’Boyle, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 5 August 2002,

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 observations submitted by the respondent Government,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The applicant, Mr František Timár, is a Slovakian national who was born in 1973 and lives in Žiharec-Kilič. He was represented before the Court by Mrs E. Ľalíková, a lawyer practising in Bratislava. The Slovakian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mrs A. Poláčková.

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

1.  Proceedings concerning the custody of the applicant’s daughter

In March 1999 the applicant’s wife left the household. Their daughter born in 1996 continued living with the applicant.

On 16 April 1999 the applicant brought proceedings before the Bratislava V District Court seeking custody of his daughter.

On 1 June 1999 the child’s grandparents claimed that the girl should be placed in their custody.

The applicant took care of his daughter until the beginning of October 1999. As from October 1999 the girl started living with his wife’s parents.

On 11 May 2001 the District Court granted custody of the child to her grandparents and ordered both parents to contribute to the child’s maintenance.

On 25 June 2001 the applicant appealed.

On 13 February 2002 the Bratislava Regional Court upheld the District Court’s judgment.

On 2 October 2002 the Bratislava V District Court, in the context of a different set of proceedings, declared the divorce of the applicant and his wife, granted the custody of their daughter to the parents of the mother and ordered both parents of the girl to contribute to her maintenance.

2.  Proceedings concerning the applicant’s right of access to his daughter

On 21 May 2002 the applicant filed an action with the Bratislava V District Court claiming the right to meet his daughter at intervals indicated in his action. He submitted that the court had not decided on the claim in the above proceedings and that the child’s grandparents had not allowed him to meet his daughter.

On 30 June 2003 the District Court dismissed the action. On 30 July 2004 the applicant appealed. He contended that the grandparents had not allowed him to meet his daughter and that he had been de facto deprived of his parental rights without any legal ground.

On 1 June 2004 the Bratislava Regional Court upheld the first instance judgment after having taken further evidence. It noted that the grandparents were willing to allow the applicant to see the child and it found nothing to show that in the past the applicant had had a real interest in meeting his daughter. There was therefore no reason for a court to determine the issue. It remained open to the applicant to seek judicial assistance in case the grandparents refused him access to the child in the future.

3.  Constitutional proceedings

(a)  Complaint of 22 May 2002

On 22 May 2002 the applicant lodged a complaint to the Constitutional Court. He complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the length of the proceedings concerning his claim of 16 April 1999 and also about several shortcomings in those proceedings. He also alleged a violation of Article 8 of the Convention in that the courts had denied him the right to educate his daughter.

On 12 June 2002 the Constitutional Court dismissed the complaint.

(b)  Complaint of 5 August 2004

On 5 August 2004 the applicant complained to the Constitutional Court that the decision on his claim for access to his daughter was arbitrary and contrary to his right to respect for his family life. He relied on Article 6 § 1 and 8 of the Convention.

On 25 November 2004 the Constitutional Court declared the complaint manifestly ill-founded.

COMPLAINTS

1.  The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that (i) the courts dealing with his above claims had decided arbitrarily, (ii) in the custody proceedings the Bratislava V District Court had refused to determine his right of access to his daughter, and (iii) the proceedings concerning the custody of his daughter had lasted an unreasonably long time.

2.  Under Article 8 of the Convention the applicant complained that the judicial decisions in both sets of proceedings were contrary to his right to respect for his family life.

THE LAW

The Court observes that by a letter of 27 October 2005 the applicant was invited to reply, by 14 December 2005, to the observations of the Government on the above application and to submit any claims for just satisfaction.

By a registered letter of 10 January 2006 the Registrar of the Fourth Section informed the applicant that the period allowed for submission of his observations in reply and claims for just satisfaction had expired and that no extension of time had been requested. The applicant’s attention was drawn to Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention which provides:

“The Court may at any stage of the proceedings decide to strike an application out of its list of cases where the circumstances lead to the conclusion that

(a)  the applicant does not intend to pursue his application...

However, the Court shall continue the examination of the application if respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and the Protocols thereto so requires.”

On 30 January 2006 a postal delivery report (avis de réception) was received at the Court indicating that the registered letter of 10 January 2006 had been received by the applicant’s representative on 18 January 2006.

The Court has received no reply to the above letters.

In the light of the above, the Court considers that the applicant does not intend to pursue his application. The Court also considers that respect for human rights as defined in the Convention does not require it to continue the examination of the case. The application should therefore be struck out of the list of cases in accordance with Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention.

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.

Michael O’Boyle Nicolas Bratza  
 Registrar President

TIMÁR v. SLOVAKIA DECISION


TIMÁR v. SLOVAKIA DECISION