SECOND SECTION

PARTIAL DECISION

AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF

Application no. 38394/03 
by Jiří BERAN and Věra BERANOVÁ 
against the Czech Republic

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

Mr J.-P. Costa, President
 Mr A.B. Baka
 Mr R. Türmen
 Mr K. Jungwiert
 Mr M. Ugrekhelidze
 Ms D. Jočienė, 
 Mr D. Popović, judges
and Mrs S. Dollé, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 25 November 2003,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The applicants, Mr Jiří Beran and Ms Věra Beranová, are Czech nationals who were born in 1945 and 1951, respectively, and live in Prague.

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

On 28 April 1994 the Písek District Court (okresní soud) held that the applicants were heirs to a certain A.K., who had died on 4 November 1992. At the same time, it determined the net value of A.K.’s assets at CZK 1,358,441 (EUR 47, 967).

On 30 June 1994 the České Budějovice Regional Court (krajský soud), following the applicants’ appeal in which they challenged the evaluation of the inheritance, quashed the District Court’s decision and remitted the case to it.

On 22 May 1997 the District Court decided anew that the net value of the inheritance was CZK 1,318,182 (EUR 46,545). At the same time, it approved the heirs’ agreement on the distribution of the estate.

On 26 November 1997 the Regional Court, on the applicants’ appeal, quashed the aforesaid decision and sent the case back to the District Court, which, 22 June 1999, established the net value of the estate at 1,209,931 (EUR 42,723).

However, the applicants appealed and the Regional Court, on 27 October 1999, again quashed the first instance decision and remitted the case to the District Court which, on 6 March 2001, held that the net value of the inheritance was CZK 1,210,377 (EUR 42,739).

On 28 November 2001 the Regional Court modified this decision and determined the net value of the estate at CZK 1,454,085 (EUR 51,344).

On 31 May 2002 the District Court confirmed the inheritance and the distribution of the applicants’ shares.

On 31 July 2002 the Regional Court, having granted the applicants’ appeal, quashed this decision and remitted the case to the District Court which, on 30 June 2003, decided anew. Its decision became final on 9 July 2003.

COMPLAINTS

The applicants complain under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention of the Convention that the proceedings lasted an unreasonably long time.

Invoking Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 they complain that they could not enjoy their possessions.

THE LAW

Invoking Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, the applicants complain that the national courts did not examine their case within a reasonable time. They also allege that their property rights were violated. Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, as far as relevant, provides:

“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. (...)

Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention provides:

“Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.

The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.”

As regards the second applicant

The Court observes that the final decision in the present case, within the meaning of Article 35 § 1 of the Convention, was the decision of the Písek District Court adopted on 30 June 2003. This decision became final on 9 July 2003. However, the second applicant joined the procedure before the Court on 12 May 2005, which is more than six months after the District Court’s finalised decision.

It follows that this part of the application falls outside the six months’ time-limit and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention.

As regards the first applicant

In respect of the first applicant, the Court considers that it cannot, on the basis of the case-file, determine the admissibility of this complaint and that it is therefore necessary, in accordance with Rule 54 § 3 (b) of the Rules of the Court, to give notice of this part of the application to the respondent Government.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Decides to adjourn the examination of the first applicant’s complaints under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1;

Declares the remainder of the application inadmissible.

S. Dollé  J.-P. Costa 
 Registrar President

BERAN AND BERANOVÁ v. THE CZECH REPUBLIC DECISION


BERAN AND BERANOVÁ v. THE CZECH REPUBLIC DECISION