Application no. 537/07
by Andrej MACKO
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 5 October 2010 as a Committee composed of:
Nebojša Vučinić, judges,
and Fatoş Aracı, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 15 December 2006,
Having regard to the declaration submitted by the respondent Government requesting the Court to strike part of the application out of the list of cases and to the applicant's reply,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The application was lodged by Mr Andrej Macko, a Slovak national who was born in 1938 and lives in Prešov. The Slovak Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mrs M. Pirošíková.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
In 1991 the applicant sought before the Prešov District Court determination that termination of his employment was null and void. He also claimed payment of unpaid salary.
By a judgment of 31 May 1995 the District Court granted the action and hived of the applicant's claim concerning the unpaid salary to a separate set of proceedings. The judgment became final on 10 October 1996.
On 22 July 2003 the District Court dismissed the claim.
On 14 June 2004 the Regional Court quashed the first-instance judgment a remitted the case to the District Court for a new decision.
On 20 May 2005 the District Court delivered a judgment.
On 24 May 2006 the Prešov Regional Court upheld the first-instance judgment in part, quashed the remaining part of the judgment and remitted the case to the District Court, following the applicant's appeal.
On 14 September 2006 the Constitutional Court dismissed the applicant's complaint of the length of the proceedings before the District Court as manifestly ill-founded.
On 1 March 2007 the District Court dismissed the remaing part of the applicant's claim.
On 8 August 2007 the Regional Court upheld the first-instance decision. The decision was served on the applicant on 24 August 2007.
A. Length of the proceedings
The applicant complained of the length of the proceedings. He relied on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention which, in so far as relevant, provides as follows:
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”
By letter dated 28 May 2010 the Government informed the Court that they proposed to make a unilateral declaration with a view to resolving the issue raised by this part of the application. They further requested the Court to strike out the application in accordance with Article 37 of the Convention.
The declaration provided as follows:
“The Government acknowledge the unreasonable duration of the domestic proceedings in which the applicant was involved.
I, Marica Pirošíková, the Agent of the Government of the Slovak Republic before the European Court of Human Rights, declare that the Government offer to pay ex gratia to the applicant Mr Andrej Macko the sum of EUR 5,500 (five thousand five hundred euros). This sum shall cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage together with any costs and expenses incurred by the applicant with respect to the violation of his right under the Convention.
The Government would suggest that the above information be accepted by the Court as “any other reason” justifying the striking out of the case of the Court's list of cases, as referred to in Article 37 § 1 (c) of the Convention.
In the event of the Court's decision pursuant to Article 37 § 1 of the Convention, the Government undertake to pay to the applicant the declared sum within the three months from the date of notification of the decision. In the event of failure to pay this sum within the said three-month period, the Government undertake to apply 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. This payment will constitute the final settlement of the case.”
In a letter of 7 July 2010 the applicant expressed the view that the sum mentioned in the Government's declaration was unacceptably low and requested that the case be examined by the Court.
The Court recalls that Article 37 of the Convention provides that it may at any stage of the proceedings decide to strike an application out of its list of cases where the circumstances lead to one of the conclusions specified, under (a), (b) or (c) of paragraph 1 of that Article. Article 37 § 1 (c) enables the Court in particular to strike a case out of its list if:
“for any other reason established by the Court, it is no longer justified to continue the examination of the application”.
It also recalls that in certain circumstances, it may strike out an application under Article 37 § 1(c) on the basis of a unilateral declaration by a respondent Government even if the applicant wishes the examination of the case to be continued.
To this end, the Court will examine carefully the declaration in the light of the principles emerging from its case-law, in particular the Tahsin Acar judgment (Tahsin Acar v. Turkey, [GC], no. 26307/95, §§ 75-77, ECHR 2003-VI; WAZA Spółka z o.o. v. Poland (dec.) no. 11602/02, 26 June 2007; and Sulwińska v. Poland (dec.) no. 28953/03).
The Court has established in a number of cases, including those brought against Slovakia, its practice concerning complaints about the violation of one's right to a hearing within a reasonable time (see, for example, Frydlender v. France [GC], no. 30979/96, § 43, ECHR 2000-VII; Cocchiarella v. Italy [GC], no. 64886/01, §§ 69-98, ECHR 2006-V; Majewski v. Poland, no. 52690/99, 11 October 2005; and Kuril v. Slovakia, no. 63959/00, §§ 35-43, 3 October 2006; Rapoš v. Slovakia, no. 25763/02, §§ 27-34, 20 May 2008; or Bič v. Slovakia, no. 23865/03, §§ 33-41, 4 November 2008).
Having regard to the nature of the admissions contained in the Government's declaration, as well as the amount of compensation proposed – which is consistent with the amounts awarded in similar cases - the Court considers that it is no longer justified to continue the examination of this complaint (Article 37 § 1(c)).
Moreover, in light of the above considerations, and in particular given the clear and extensive case-law on the topic, the Court is satisfied that respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and the Protocols thereto does not require it to continue the examination of this part of the application (Article 37 § 1 in fine).
B. Remaining complaints
The applicant also complained of unfairness of the proceedings and of a violation of Article 14 of the Convention, taken separately and in conjunction with Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.
However, in the light of all the material in its possession, and in so far as the matters complained of are within its competence, the Court finds that they do not disclose any appearance of a violation of the rights guaranteed under the Convention or its Protocols.
It follows that this part of the application is manifestly ill-founded and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Takes note of the terms of the respondent Government's declaration under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and of the modalities for ensuring compliance with the undertakings referred to therein;
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases in so far as it relates to the above length of proceedings complaint in accordance with Article 37 § 1 (c) of the Convention;
Declares the remainder of the application inadmissible.
Fatoş Aracı Ljiljana
Deputy Registrar President
MACKO v. SLOVAKIA DECISION
MACKO v. SLOVAKIA DECISION