Application no. 35038/02
by Jan SOVIČKA
against the Czech Republic
The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting on 5 July 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 Mr S. Naismith, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 17 September 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 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 applicant, Mr Jan Sovička, is a Czech national who was born in 1941 and lives in Zlín. He is represented before the Court by Mr J. Brož, a lawyer practising in Brno.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
On 15 February 1993 the applicant and two other unsuccessful candidates for a public tender, regarding the purchase of a market hall, lodged a civil action with the Zlín District Court (okresní soud), seeking a declaration to annul a sales contract between the Zlín Restaurants and Canteens (Restaurace a jídelny Zlín, s.p,), a State owned catering company in liquidation, and Mr D.
On 28 April 1994 the Brno Regional Court (krajský soud) upheld the District Court’s judgment of 19 October 1993, which had dismissed the action.
On 3 April 1997 the Supreme Court (Nejvyšší soud) quashed the judgment of 28 April 1994 and remitted the case to the Regional Court, which, on 5 August 1997, quashed the District Court’s judgment and transferred the case for reasons of competence to the Brno Regional Commercial Court (Krajský obchodní soud).
On 1 January 2001 the Regional Commercial Court merged with the Regional Court. On 30 August 2001 the latter declared the sales agreement null and void and, on 9 October 2001, it corrected its judgment.
On 31 May 2004 the Olomouc High Court (Vrchní soud) quashed the Regional Court’s judgment and remitted the case to it for further consideration.
The proceedings are still pending.
The applicant originally complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that the length of the proceedings was excessive and, under Article 13 of the Convention, that he had no effective remedy at his disposal in respect of the delays.
On 18 May 2005 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant on 9 May 2005:
“I note that the Government of the Czech Republic are prepared to pay ex gratia the sum of 10,000 euros to Jan Sovička with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.
This sum, to be converted into Czech crowns at the rate applicable at the date of settlement, is to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses. This amount will be payable within three months from the date of notification of the judgment by the Court pursuant to Article 39 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 of this application. I declare that this constitutes a final resolution of the case.
This declaration is made in the context of a friendly settlement which the Government and the applicant have reached. ...”
On 1 June 2005 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I declare that the Government of the Czech Republic offer to pay ex gratia the sum of 10,000 euros to Jan Sovička with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.
This sum, to be converted into Czech crowns at the rate applicable at the date of settlement, is to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses. This amount will be payable within three months from the date of notification of the judgment by the Court pursuant to Article 39 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 takes note of the friendly settlement reached between the parties. 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, Article 29 § 3 of the Convention should no longer apply to the case and it should be struck out of the list.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
S. Naismith J.-P.
Deputy Registrar President
SOVIČKA v. THE CZECH REPUBLIC DECISION
SOVIČKA v. THE CZECH REPUBLIC DECISION