SECOND SECTION

DECISION

Application no. 38436/04 
by Willis THULIN 
against Sweden

The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting on 12 September as a Chamber composed of:

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

Having regard to the above application lodged on 14 October 2004,

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 deliberated, decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The applicant, Mr Willis Thulin, is a Swedish national who was born in 1936 and lives in Hillerstorp. He is represented before the Court by Ms A. Axen Linderl, a lawyer practising in Stockholm.

The respondent Government are represented by their Agent Ms I. Kalmerborn of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

 

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

On 8 June 1994 the Tax Authority (skattemyndigheten) of the County of Jönköping sent a preliminary consideration (övervägande) to the applicant, informing him that it was considering making a revised assessment for arrears (eftertaxering) concerning his tax assessment year 1991, and increasing his income from temporary business by 350,700 Swedish kronor (SEK). Moreover, it was considering imposing tax surcharges on him amounting to SEK 91,743 (roughly EUR 9,950), i.e. 40% of the increased tax liability on the sum.

The applicant was requested to submit any comments he might have before 1 July 1994, which he did.

On 13 September 1994 the Tax Authority decided to follow its preliminary consideration and, on 3 January 1995, the applicant appealed against the decision, disputing the Tax Authority’s findings.

On 20 February 1995 the Tax Authority made its obligatory re-assessment of its decision of 13 September 1994 but decided not to change it. Following this, it forwarded the appeal to the County Administrative Court (länsrätten) in Jönköping.

Before the County Administrative Court, the parties made further submissions and, on 12 January 1998, the court held an oral hearing

On 11 February 1998, the court rendered its judgment. It found that the applicant had provided the Tax Authority with incorrect information, for which reason it had been justified to make a revised assessment for the arrears and increase his income from temporary business. However, it considered that there were no grounds on which to impose tax surcharges and, therefore, quashed the Tax Authority’s decision in this part.

Both the applicant and the Tax Authority appealed to the Administrative Court of Appeal (kammarrätten) in Jönköping, maintaining their claims. The applicant further requested that an oral hearing be held in the case and both parties made additional submissions to the court.

On 13 February 2001, after holding an oral hearing on 16 January 2001, the Administrative Court of Appeal set aside the lower court’s judgment and upheld the Tax Authority’s decision in full.

On 26 March 2001 the applicant appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court (Regeringsrätten) which, on 21 April 2004, refused leave to appeal.

 

COMPLAINTS

Invoking Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, or in the alternative Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention, the applicant complained that the length of the proceedings, which lasted roughly nine years and ten months, was excessive. Moreover, he claimed that he had been deprived of an effective remedy, as guaranteed by Article 13 of the Convention, since his case was not finalised within a reasonable time.

THE LAW

On 2 May 2006 the Court received the following declaration from the Swedish Government, signed by the Agent of the Government on 24 April 2006 and by the applicant’s representative on 25 April 2006:

“On 14 October 2004, Mr Willis Thulin (“the applicant”) lodged application no. 38436/04 against Sweden with the European Court of Human Rights (“the Court”). The application was communicated to the Swedish Government (“the Government”) on 12 December 2005.

The Government and the applicant have now reached the following friendly settlement on the basis of respect for human rights, as defined in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, in order to terminate the proceedings before the Court.

a)      The Government will pay, ex gratia, the sum of SEK 95,000 (ninety-five thousand)1 to the applicant. The sum will be paid to his counsel, Ms Annica Axén Linderl, who has been authorised by the applicant to receive payment on his behalf. Execution of payment will take place when the Government has received the Court’s decision striking the case out of its list of cases.

b)      The applicant declares that he has no further claims on the Swedish State based on the facts of the above application.

This settlement is dependent upon the formal approval of the Government at a Cabinet meeting.”

The settlement was approved by the Swedish Government on 8 June 2006.

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. Dollé J.-P. Costa 
 Registrar President

1 Around EUR 10,300


THULIN v. SWEDEN DECISION


THULIN v. SWEDEN DECISION