FOURTH SECTION

DECISION

Application no. 54103/09 
by Juraj ŠIMKO 
against Slovakia

The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 7 September 2010 as a Committee composed of:

Giovanni Bonello, President, 
 Lech Garlicki, 
 Ján Šikuta, judges,
 
and Fatoş Aracı, Deputy Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 21 September 2009,

Having regard to the declaration submitted by the respondent Government requesting the Court to strike the application out of the list of cases,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The application was lodged by Mr Juraj Šimko, a Slovak national who was born in 1929 and lives in Bratislava. 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.

On 13 May 1986 the applicant lodged an action for distribution of matrimonial property. The proceedings were finally concluded on 17 April 2009 when the Bratislava IV District Court's decision to discontinue the proceedings became final.

On 7 February 2008 the Constitutional Court found a violation of the applicant's right to a hearing within a reasonable time. It ordered the responsible court to proceed with the case and awarded the applicant the equivalent of 1,497 euros (at that time) in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

COMPLAINTS

1. The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the length of the proceedings.

2. The applicant also complained that his right to an impartial tribunal guaranteed under Article 6 § 1 had been violated.

3. The applicant further alleged a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.

THE LAW

A.  Length of proceedings

The applicant complained about the length of the proceedings and relied on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention which, in its relevant part, provides:

“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”

On 5 May 2010 the Court received the Government's unilateral declaration signed on the same day. The Government acknowledged both the applicant's victim status within the meaning of Article 34 of the Convention and the unreasonable duration of the domestic proceedings in which the applicant was involved. They offered to pay to the applicant the sum of 6,900 euros (six thousand nine hundred euros) to 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. They suggested 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 undertook to pay to the applicant the sum indicated above within 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, they undertook 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. This payment would constitute the final settlement of the case.

The applicant submitted no comments.

The Court reiterates that it may strike out an application or a part thereof under Article 37 § 1 (c) if

“for any other reason established by the Court, it is no longer justified to continue the examination of the application”.

It also reiterates that, under certain circumstances, it may do so on the basis of a unilateral declaration by a respondent Government even if the applicant wishes the examination of the case to be continued.

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; and 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 (see, for the relevant principles, Tahsin Acar v. Turkey [GC], no. 26307/95, §§ 75-77, ECHR 2003-VI; and also Haran v. Turkey, no. 25754/94, 26 March 2002).

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).

It should therefore be struck out of the list in accordance with Article 37 § 1 (c) of the Convention.

B.  Remaining complaints

Relying on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention the applicant complained that his case had not been dealt with by an impartial tribunal. He further complained of a violation of his property rights guaranteed under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.

However, in the light of all the materials in its possession, the applicant has not shown that he had raised these complaints in a complaint to the Constitutional Court under Article 127 of the Constitution.

It follows that this part of the application must be rejected under Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention for non-exhaustion of domestic remedies.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Takes note of the terms of the respondent Government's declaration 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 length of proceedings complaint in accordance with Article 37 § 1 (c) of the Convention;

Declares the remainder of the application inadmissible. 

Fatoş Aracı Giovanni Bonello 
 Deputy Registrar President

ŠIMKO v. SLOVAKIA DECISION


ŠIMKO v. SLOVAKIA DECISION