FOURTH SECTION

PARTIAL DECISION

AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF

Application no. 56161/00 
by Ioan Kornelij KOMANICKÝ 
against Slovakia

The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 18 October 2005 as a Chamber composed of:

Sir Nicolas Bratza, President
 Mr G. Bonello
 Mr K. Traja
 Mr S. Pavlovschi
 Mr L. Garlicki
 Ms L. Mijović, 
 Mr J. Šikuta, judges,

and Mr M. O’Boyle, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 17 August 1999,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The applicant, Mr Ioan Kornelij Komanický, is a Slovakian national who was born in 1943 and lives in Bardejov.

A.  The circumstances of the case

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

1.1  Proceedings concerning the ownership action of 1993 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 8C 3/93)

In 1993 the applicant and his wife brought proceedings before the Bardejov District Court claiming determination of ownership rights in

respect of a plot of land. On 18 April 1996 the District Court dismissed the action. The plaintiffs appealed to the Prešov Regional Court. They were summoned to a hearing scheduled for 19 June 1997. On 14 June 1997 the plaintiffs informed the appellate court that they could not attend. On 19 June 1997 the Prešov Regional Court held a hearing in the plaintiffs’ absence and it upheld the first instance judgment.

On 20 October 1997 the plaintiffs filed an appeal on points of law against the Prešov Regional Court’s judgment of 19 June 1997. The applicant requested that he should be exempted from the obligation to pay a court fee and that an attorney should be appointed by the court to represent the plaintiffs free of charge. The Bardejov District Court, which dealt with the appeal on points of law prior to its submission to the Supreme Court, invited the plaintiffs to rectify shortcomings in their motion on 26 January 1999. The applicant submits that he and his wife complied with that request. On 23 March 1999 the District Court exempted the applicant from the obligation to pay a court fee. On 21 December 2001 the court rejected the plaintiffs’ request that an attorney should be appointed to represent them free of charge.

On 23 April 2004 the District Court reversed its decision of 23 March 1999 and it decided not to exempt the applicant from the obligation to pay a court fee. The applicant appealed and the Regional Court upheld the District Court’s decision on 30 March 2005. It appears that the proceedings on the appeal on points of law of 20 October 1997 are still pending.

1.2   Constitutional proceedings

On 11 February 1999 the applicant filed a motion with the Constitutional Court complaining about the appellate proceedings in the above case. On 27 April 1999 the Constitutional Court invited the applicant to rectify shortcomings in his motion and the applicant responded to this request on 7 May 1999. On 20 May 1999 the Constitutional Court rejected the motion as falling short of the statutory requirements.

On 12 February 1999 the applicant filed a petition with the Constitutional Court complaining about undue delays in the proceedings on the appeal on points of law. In a letter of 12 April 1999, a single constitutional judge informed the applicant that his petition could not be dealt with as it clearly did not meet the statutory requirements.

On 28 May 2004 the applicant lodged a complaint under Article 127 of the Constitution alleging undue delays in the proceedings on the appeal on points of law. He requested that an attorney should be appointed to represent him free of charge by the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court examined the applicant’s financial situation and on 30 June 2004 it dismissed his request as being unjustified with reference to the applicant’s financial situation. On 24 September 2004 the Constitutional Court rejected the complaint of 28 May 2004 for the applicant’s failure to meet the statutory requirement of legal representation.

2.1  Proceedings concerning the applicant’s action of 1995 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 11C 36/96)

On 14 December 1995 the applicant instituted proceedings in the Bardejov District Court claiming modification of a certificate of employment. On 18 February 1999 the District Court held a hearing. The applicant was not present as he was attending a different hearing held by the Bardejov District Court in a different case. The District Court dismissed the applicant’s above action of 14 December 1995 in his absence.

On 18 March 1999 the applicant appealed. The Prešov Regional Court summoned the applicant to a hearing scheduled for 3 December 1999. The hearing was held in the applicant’s absence and the Regional Court upheld the first instance judgment. The applicant submits that he received the summons only on 4 December 1999, and that he was therefore unable to appear at the hearing and to submit his arguments to the court. 

On 30 January 2000 the applicant filed an appeal on points of law against the Prešov Regional Court’s judgment. He alleged that his right of access to a court had been violated in that the Regional Court had held the hearing in his absence. On 28 January 2002 the Supreme Court granted the appeal on points of law. It quashed the Regional Court’s judgment of 3 December 1999 and returned the case to the appellate court for further consideration.

The Prešov Regional Court held a hearing which the applicant attended. On 25 November 2002 it again upheld the District Court’s judgment of 18 February 1999.

On 24 January 2003 the applicant filed an appeal on points of law alleging that the Regional Court’s judgment of 25 November 2002 and the District Court’s judgment of 18 February 1999 were arbitrary. He requested that he should be exempted from the obligation to pay a court fee and that an attorney be appointed to represent him free of charge. On 24 September 2003 the Bardejov District Court, which was dealing with the appeal on points of law prior to its submission to the Supreme Court, exempted the applicant from the obligation to pay a court fee. On 6 October 2003 it appointed an attorney to represent the applicant in the proceedings. The attorney objected to her appointment as the applicant’s legal representative. On 22 December 2003 the District Court acceded to the lawyer’s request, and on 31 December 2003 it appointed a different attorney to represent the applicant in the proceedings. The applicant appealed against these decisions. As can be understood from the applicant’s submissions, the proceedings regarding the appeal on points of law of 24 January 2003 are still pending.

2.2  Constitutional proceedings

On 11 March 1999 the applicant complained to the Constitutional Court that the Bardejov District Court had held a hearing in his absence on 18 February 1999. In a letter of 12 April 1999, a single constitutional court judge informed the applicant that his motion could not be dealt with as it clearly did not meet the statutory requirements.

On 22 April 1999 the applicant complained to the Constitutional Court about undue delays in the proceedings brought on 14 December 1995. The applicant alleges that the Constitutional Court did not deal with his motion at all.

3.1  Defamation proceedings of 1995 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 8C 145/95)

In 1995 the applicant filed a defamation action with the Bardejov District Court. On 22 November 1995 the District Court dismissed the action. The applicant submits that he was notified of the District Court’s judgment on 15 January 1996. He appealed on 29 January 1996.

On 24 February 1997 the Košice Regional Court rejected the appeal for having been lodged belatedly. The Regional Court found that the statutory 15 day time-limit for filing the appeal had expired on 22 January 1996.

On 25 April 1997 the applicant filed an appeal on points of law. He complained that by its conduct the appellate court had prevented him from acting before it and relied on Article 237(f) of the Code of Civil Procedure. On 21 December 1999 the Supreme Court in camera rejected the appeal on points of law as being inadmissible. In its decision the Supreme Court found that there had been no shortcomings within the meaning of Article 237(f) of the Code of Civil Procedure in the appellate proceedings.

The applicant has already complained about the above defamation proceedings in his application to the Court no. 64154/00. Invoking Articles 6 § 1, 8, 13 and 14 of the Convention, he alleged that the courts’ decisions were arbitrary, that he was denied the right of access to a court and that his right to respect for private life was violated as a result of the dismissal of his action. This application was declared inadmissible by a committee of three judges.

3.2  Proceedings regarding the applicant’s motion of 1997 for reopening of the defamation proceedings (the Bardejov District Court file No. 8C 520/97)

On 25 April 1997 the applicant petitioned the Bardejov District Court for reopening of the defamation proceedings of 1995. On 4 August 1999 the Bardejov District Court dismissed the applicant’s petition. On 30 December 1999 the Prešov Regional Court upheld this decision.

On 22 March 2000 the applicant lodged an appeal on points of law against the Regional Court’s decision of 30 December 1999. He requested that he should be exempted from the obligation to pay a court fee. On 21 December 2001 the District Court dismissed the applicant’s request. The applicant appealed against the decision. On 31 December 2002 the Prešov Regional Court quashed the District Court’s decision and returned the case to it for further consideration. On 8 April 2004 the District Court again dismissed the applicant’s request for exemption from the obligation to pay a court fee. On 25 May 2004 the applicant appealed. On 22 December 2004 the Regional Court upheld the District Court’s decision. The proceedings concerning the applicant’s appeal on points of law of 22 March 2000 are pending.

3.3  Constitutional proceedings

On 4 March 1999 the applicant complained to the Constitutional Court about the length of the proceedings regarding his appeal on points of law of 25 April 1997. In a letter of 12 April 1999, a constitutional court judge informed the applicant that his motion could not be dealt with as it did not meet the statutory requirements.

On 24 May 1999 the applicant turned to the Constitutional Court complaining about undue delays in the proceedings concerning his motion of 25 April 1997 for reopening of the defamation proceedings. In a letter of 7 December 1999, a constitutional court judge informed the applicant that his motion could not be dealt with as it did not meet the statutory requirement of obligatory legal representation.

On 5 April 2004 the applicant complained to the Constitutional Court about undue delays in the proceedings concerning his appeal on points of law of 22 March 2000 relating to the lower courts’ decisions on his request for reopening of the defamation proceedings. On 20 July 2004 the applicant’s attorney was invited to inform the Constitutional Court whether he wished an oral hearing to be held. In his reply of 27 July 2004, the attorney informed the Constitutional Court that an oral hearing was not necessary. On 9 September 2004 the Constitutional Court decided in camera that the applicant’s right to have the case examined without undue delays had not been violated in the proceedings complained of.

4.1  Proceedings concerning the applicant’s claim for reduction of rent of 1997 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 11C 810/97)

On 23 May 1997 the applicant instituted proceedings in the Bardejov District Court claiming that the rent which he had to pay for the use of his flat be reduced. The District Court held a hearing on 2 August 1999 at which the defendant failed to appear. The applicant requested that he should be heard on the case. The District Court adjourned the proceedings instead. Both the applicant and the defendant were heard by the court in the further course of the proceedings.

On 30 May 2000 the applicant modified his claim to request that the defendant be ordered to pay him back a part of paid rent and the court allowed this modification. On 6 July 2000 the applicant modified his claim again. On 12 December 2000 the District Court did not allow a modification of the applicant’s claim. On 2 October 2001 the District Court found in favour of the applicant and ordered the defendant to pay 3,000 Slovakian korunas (SKK)1 to the applicant.

On 6 December 2001 the applicant appealed against the District Court’s judgment complaining that the court had not granted the modified claim. On 28 February 2002 the Prešov Regional Court rejected the appeal on the ground that the applicant lacked standing to appeal against the judgment by which his claim had been granted in full.

On 9 May 2002 the applicant lodged an appeal on points of law against the Regional Court’s decision of 28 February 2002. The Bardejov District Court, which was dealing with the appeal on points of law prior its submission to the Supreme Court, invited the applicant to submit a power of attorney. The applicant subsequently requested that an attorney should be appointed to represent him free of charge. The District Court allowed his request on 22 January 2004. It appears that these proceedings are still pending.

4.2  Constitutional proceedings

On 10 March 1999 the applicant complained to the Constitutional Court about undue delays in the Bardejov District Court proceedings brought on 23 May 1997. In a letter of 12 April 1999, a constitutional court judge informed the applicant that his motion could not be dealt with as it did not meet the statutory requirements.

On 15 March 2004 the applicant lodged a constitutional complaint complaining about undue delays in the proceedings brought on 23 May 1997. On 24 September 2004 the Constitutional Court rejected the complaint as the applicant was not represented by a lawyer as required by the Constitutional Court Act.

5.1  Proceedings concerning the applicant’s action of 1998 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 8C 714/98)

In 1997 the applicant complained about the length of a set of proceedings to the Ministry of Justice. He was invited to pay an administrative fee for lodging his complaint.

On 18 May 1998 the applicant sued the State represented by the Ministry of Justice before the Bardejov District Court. He claimed compensation in respect of the allegedly unlawful acting of the Ministry in that he had been requested to pay the above administrative fee. On 4 August 1999 the District Court dismissed his action. The applicant appealed. On 27 March 2000 the Prešov Regional Court upheld the District Court’s judgment.

On 3 June 2000 the applicant filed an appeal on points of law against the Regional Court’s judgment and he requested that he should be exempted from the obligation to pay a court fee and that an attorney should be appointed to represent him free of charge. On 13 September 2000 the Bardejov District Court did not exempt the applicant from the obligation to pay a court fee. The Prešov Regional Court upheld this decision on 31 August 2001. On 12 July 2002 the District Court rejected the applicant’s request for an attorney to be appointed. On 16 December 2002 the Regional Court upheld this decision. On 24 February 2003 the applicant filed an appeal on points of law against the Regional Court’s decision of 16 December 2002. It appears that the proceedings concerning the appeal on points of law lodged on 3 June 2000 are still pending.

5.2  Constitutional proceedings

On 8 March 1999 the applicant complained to the Constitutional Court about undue delays in the proceedings brought on 18 May 1998. In a letter of 12 April 1999, a constitutional court judge informed the applicant that his motion could not be dealt with as it did not meet the statutory requirements.

On 14 April 2004 the applicant complained to the Constitutional Court about the length of the proceedings concerning his appeals on points of law of 3 June 2000 and of 24 February 2003 respectively. He requested that an attorney should be appointed to represent him free of charge before the Constitutional Court. On 30 June 2004 the Constitutional Court rejected the applicant’s request for appointment of an attorney. On 10 September 2004 the Constitutional Court rejected the applicant’s complaint for falling short of the statutory requirements.

6.1  Constitutional proceedings

On 5 March 1998 the applicant filed a motion with the Constitutional Court alleging a violation of his right to work. As the Constitutional Court had not dealt with his case, he complained to the Constitutional Court, on 13 March 1999, about the length of the proceedings concerning his motion of 5 March 1998. In a letter of 12 April 1999, a constitutional court judge informed the applicant that his motion could not be dealt with as it fell short of the statutory requirements. The view was expressed in the letter that by his submissions the applicant was abusing the right to constitutional protection.

On 22 June 1998 the applicant filed a motion with the Constitutional Court alleging a violation of his right to just and satisfactory working conditions under Article 36 of the Constitution. The Constitutional Court did not deliver a decision on this motion.

6.2  Related proceedings

The applicant brought another eight sets of proceedings concerning his labour disputes and the related claims.

7.1  Proceedings concerning the applicant’s action of 1 October 1997 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 11C 2130/97)

On 1 October 1997 the applicant and his wife filed an action with the Bardejov District Court claiming termination of co-ownership of a plot of land. On 24 April 2003 the District Court granted the plaintiffs’ claim. The District Court’s judgment became final on 11 June 2003.

7.2  Constitutional proceedings

On 9 March 1999 the applicant complained about undue delays in the above proceedings to the Constitutional Court. In a letter of 12 April 1999 a constitutional court judge informed him that his motion could not be dealt with as it clearly did not meet the statutory requirements.

8.1  Proceedings concerning the estate of the applicant’s mother (the Svidník District Court file No. D 240/93)

On 11 March 1992 the applicant claimed before a State Notary in Svidník that the estate of his late mother should be determined. Considering that the proceedings before the State Notary were lengthy, the applicant filed his claim with the Svidník District Court on 9 March 1993. On 28 May 1993 the court started the inheritance proceedings and appointed a notary public to deal with the case.

On 25 August 1998 the applicant requested the Bardejov District Court to inform him whether his brother had been adopted by his parents. In a reply of 21 September 1998, the court informed the applicant that his request for information could not be granted.

On 7 February 2001 the District Court determined the estate, holding that the applicant inherited the whole estate. The court also ordered the applicant to pay the costs of the proceedings to the notary public. The applicant appealed and the Prešov Regional Court upheld the first instance decision on 26 July 2001.

8.2  Enforcement proceedings of 2002 (the Svidník District Court file No. 2E 219/02)

On 15 May 2002 the applicant brought enforcement proceedings against the Prešov Land Register Office claiming, with reference to the above District Court’s decision of 7 February 2001, that the defendant should be obliged to register the applicant’s ownership of the inherited property in the land register.

On 5 December 2002 the District Court discontinued the proceedings on the ground that the applicant’s claim fell outside jurisdiction of ordinary courts. The applicant appealed. On 7 January 2004 the Prešov Regional Court quashed the District Court’s decision stating that after having discontinued the enforcement proceedings for lack of jurisdiction, the District Court should have transferred the case to the relevant administrative authority.

By a decision of 24 May 2004, the District Court discontinued the enforcement proceedings and transferred the case to the Svidník Land Register Administration. The applicant appealed and the Regional Court upheld the first instance decision on 3 August 2004.

8.3  Administrative proceedings before the Land Register

In a letter of 28 March 2002, the Svidník Land Register Administration informed the applicant that the majority of the inherited plots of land had been entered in the land register as being in his ownership following the District Court’s decision of 7 February 2001. It further informed him that several of the inherited plots of land had been re-registered under Act No. 180/1995 and that, therefore, those plots could not be registered as in the applicant’s ownership. The applicant complained about the Svidník Land Register Administration’s actions to the Prešov Land Registry.

The Prešov Land Registry held that the Svidník Land Register Administration should not have entered any of the inherited plots of land in the land register in case that there had been differences in their identification in the court’s decision and in the land register. The Prešov Land Registry further informed the applicant that the aforesaid errors in the land register would be corrected in cooperation with him pursuant to Article 59 of the Land Register Act of 1995. In its letter of 22 October 2002, the Land Registry also stated that, in 1998 the applicant had been invited to file objections to the re-registration of the land if he so wished, and that he had failed to do so. The decision on re-registration had been given on 11 January 1999.

On 7 November 2002 and on 17 January 2003 respectively, the Svidník Land Register Administration summoned the applicant to a hearing in the proceedings under Article 59 of the Land Register Act. The applicant replied that he did not intend to appear at the hearing as he considered those proceedings to be erroneous.

8.4  Proceedings concerning the applicant’s claim for damages of 2001 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 1C 328/01)

On 19 April 2001 the applicant sued the Ministry of Justice under the State Liability Act of 1969 claiming damages in respect of undue delays on the part of the notary public in the above inheritance proceedings. He alleged that he had suffered damage in that he had had to pay the costs of the proceedings emanating from the notary public’s inactivity. By a decision of 12 November 2001, the District Court dismissed the applicant’s claim stating that undue delays in the proceedings could not be considered as erroneous official conduct under the State Liability Act of 1969 and that the obligation to pay the costs of the proceedings imposed on the applicant by the court could not be considered as damage suffered by the applicant. The court also held that the applicant had significantly contributed to the length of the proceedings since at least ten hearings had been adjourned due to his absence.

The applicant appealed and the Prešov Regional Court upheld the District Court’s judgment on 10 June 2002. The Regional Court’s decision became final on 2 September 2002.

On 4 November 2002 the applicant lodged an appeal on points of law against the Regional Court’s decision of 10 June 2002 requesting that an attorney should be appointed by the court to represent him free of charge. After having examined the applicant’s financial situation, the District Court, which dealt with the appeal on points of law prior to its submission to the Supreme Court, rejected his request.

On 16 August 2004 the Supreme Court discontinued the proceedings holding that (i) the applicant had failed to comply with the statutory requirement of legal representation and (ii) the appeal on points of law had been lodged beyond the statutory one month time-limit.

8.5  Constitutional proceedings

On 21 March 1999 the applicant filed a motion with the Constitutional Court alleging a violation of his right to receive information in respect of the Bardejov District Court’s refusal to inform him whether or not his brother had been adopted. In a letter of 12 April 1999 a constitutional court judge informed the applicant that his motion could not be dealt with as it clearly did not meet the statutory requirements.

On 19 September 2002 the applicant complained to the Constitutional Court about the alleged violation of his right to judicial protection in that the courts had not granted his claim for damages in the proceedings of 2001 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 1C 328/01). The Constitutional Court examined the judgments of both the District Court and the Regional Court finding no indication of arbitrariness in them. It therefore rejected the complaint as being manifestly ill-founded on 8 January 2003. The applicant submits that, prior to the delivery of the decision, he did not know who was the presiding constitutional court judge in his case. In his view, that judge was biased.

On 11 December 2003 the applicant complained to the Constitutional Court about undue delays in the Bardejov District Court’s processing of his appeal on points of law of 4 November 2002. On 24 March 2004 the Constitutional Court rejected the complaint as being manifestly ill-founded. The Constitutional Court held that the periods of the District Court’s inactivity were insignificant in the context of the case and that the applicant had himself contributed to the length of the proceedings.

On 6 February 2004 the applicant lodged a complaint with the Constitutional Court alleging undue delays in the enforcement proceedings of 2002. On 10 November 2004 the Constitutional Court rejected the complaint as being manifestly ill-founded holding that the length of the enforcement proceedings had not been unreasonable.

On 8 November 2004 the applicant complained to the Constitutional Court about the alleged violation of his right to peaceful enjoyment of his possessions and of his right of access to a court in respect of the courts’ decisions in the enforcement proceedings of 2002. Having found no indication of arbitrariness in the courts’ decisions in issue, the Constitutional Court rejected the complaint as being manifestly ill-founded on 16 February 2005. The Constitutional Court also held that it was open to the applicant to file a judicial action challenging the inactivity of the administrative authority.

9.1  Proceedings concerning the estate of the applicant’s aunt (the Prešov District Court file No. D 2730/92)

On 14 February 1992 the applicant’s sister instituted inheritance proceedings concerning a newly discovered inheritance from her late aunt before the Prešov District Court. The applicant was not a party to the proceedings and he acted as the claimant’s representative. In a letter of 21 April 1996 the applicant, acting on behalf of his sister, requested that the above proceedings be discontinued. By a decision which became final on 29 May 1998, the District Court discontinued the inheritance proceedings.

9.2  Proceedings before the Constitutional Court

On 8 June 2004 the applicant complained about a violation of his rights in the above proceedings concerning the estate of his aunt. On 16 February 2005 the Constitutional Court rejected the applicant’s complaint holding that the applicant lacked standing in the case as he had not been a party to the proceedings in issue. The Constitutional Court also found that the applicant was neither a testamentary nor a legal heir of his aunt.

9.3  Proceedings concerning the estate of the applicant’s great-grandparents (the Prešov District Court file No. D 579/93)

On 25 March 1993 the Prešov District Court started, at the applicant’s request, inheritance proceedings concerning the allegedly newly discovered inheritance from his great-grandparents. On 6 February 1996 the court discontinued the proceedings holding that no new property had been discovered. This decision became final on 28 March 1996.

On 2 April 1996 the applicant requested the Prešov District Court to re-open the above proceedings. On 5 September 1996 the District Court dismissed his motion. The applicant appealed. The outcome of the appellate proceedings is unknown.

9.4  Proceedings concerning the estate of the applicant’s grandmother (the Prešov District Court file No. D 581/93)

On 11 March 1992 the applicant and his siblings instituted inheritance proceedings concerning a newly discovered inheritance from their late grandmother. A notary public was appointed by the Prešov District Court to deal with the case. In February 1996 the notary public invited the applicant to submit an expert opinion on the value of the inheritance in question. In a letter of 27 March 1996, the applicant informed the notary that he would not comply with the request as it lacked any legal ground. The applicant also alleged that the costs of the expert opinion would probably exceed the value of the inheritance.

On 21 August 1996 the District Court ordered the applicant’s sister to submit the relevant expert opinion failing which the proceedings would be discontinued. The applicant’s sister did not comply with the court’s order.

On 13 October 2003 the District Court discontinued the proceedings holding that, as the party to the proceedings had failed to submit the requested documents, the court could not proceed with the case. No appeal was available against the District Court’s decision.

9.5  Related proceedings

In December 2004 the applicant instituted restitution proceedings claiming that the above newly discovered property (plots of land) be restored to him. In June 2005 he re-instituted inheritance proceedings concerning a newly discovered inheritance from his late grandmother, aunt and great-grandfather. These two sets of proceedings are apparently still pending.

10.1  Background information

In 1993 the applicant’s request for a free medical treatment in a spa resort was granted by the Social Security Administration. After several days of cure, the applicant was excluded from the treatment by a decision of the head physician of the spa resort for having been under the influence of alcohol during the cure.

10.2  Proceedings concerning the applicant’s claim for damages of 1995 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 11 C 581/95)

On 27 November 1995 the applicant sued the Ministry of Health under the State Liability Act of 1969 claiming damages in respect of his exclusion from the medical treatment in the spa. He alleged that he had suffered damage in that he had been unlawfully excluded from the treatment and he claimed that a sum equivalent to the treatment costs be paid to him by the defendant. The costs of the spa treatment were covered by the Social Security Administration.

On 2 March 1998 the Bardejov District Court dismissed the applicant’s action as falling outside the scope of the State Liability Act since the action of the head physician could not be considered as a public official’s action within the meaning of this Act. The court also held that the applicant had failed to prove that he had suffered any damage in respect of the head physician’s action. The applicant appealed.

The Prešov Regional Court summoned the applicant to a hearing scheduled for 16 November 1998 at 12.00 hours. The applicant alleges that he waited in front of the hearing room from 11.50 till 12.28 hours but the hearing room was locked and the judges did not appear. The applicant left the court building at 12.30 hours. On the same day the Regional Court gave a decision on the case upholding the District Court’s judgment of 2 March 1998. The appellate court found that the applicant’s action fell within the scope of the State Liability Act. The court further held that, although the head physician had not acted in compliance with the procedure prescribed by law when deciding on the applicant’s exclusion, the applicant’s claim for damages could not be granted since he had not suffered any damage as a result of this erroneous acting.

Subsequently the applicant lodged an appeal on points of law against the Regional Court’s decision complaining that the appellate court had held a hearing in his absence. On 28 January 2000 the Supreme Court rejected the applicant’s appeal on points of law without holding a hearing on the case. The Supreme Court found that, according to the minutes of 16 November 1998, the appellate court had held the hearing at 12.15 hours and that both parties had been absent without having requested that the hearing be postponed. The Supreme Court held that the insignificant delay of 15 minutes should not have prevented the applicant from attending the hearing and that the applicant had not given any other reason for his absence at the hearing. The Supreme Court concluded that there had been no violation of the applicant’s right of access to a court in respect of the Regional Court’s acting.

10.3  Constitutional proceedings

On 22 March 1999 the applicant filed a motion with the Constitutional Court complaining about the action of the Prešov Regional Court in the appellate proceedings. In a letter of 12 April 1999, a constitutional court judge informed the applicant that his motion could not be dealt with as it did not meet the statutory requirements.

On 6 April 1999 the applicant lodged a petition with the Constitutional Court alleging a violation of his constitutional right to protection of health in respect of his exclusion from the medical treatment. On 21 April 1999 the Constitutional Court rejected the petition on the ground that the case fell within the jurisdiction of ordinary courts and that the Constitutional Court was not called upon to act as a court of third instance.

On 14 May 1999 the applicant complained to the Constitutional Court about the length of the proceedings before the Bardejov District Court. The applicant was requested to submit a power of attorney. He failed to do so. On 22 September 1999 the Constitutional Court discontinued the proceedings for the applicant’s failure to comply with the statutory requirements.

10.4  Related proceedings (the Bardejov District Court files No. 4C 34/96 and 4C 212/96)

In 1996 the applicant brought two sets of proceedings (including proceedings concerning his claim for protection of his personal rights) related to his exclusion from the spa treatment before the Bardejov District Court. The final decisions in these sets of proceedings were given on 10 September 1997 and on 27 November 1997 respectively.

11.1  Proceedings concerning the appeal on points of law of 1996

On 11 May 1993 the applicant instituted compensation proceedings before the Bardejov District Court. On 20 January 1994 the District Court dismissed the action. On 26 May 1995 the Košice Regional Court upheld the District Court’s decision. The Regional Court’s judgment became final on 20 July 1995 when it was delivered both to the applicant and the defendant.

On 19 January 1996 the applicant lodged an appeal on points of law against the Regional Court’s judgment. On 9 December 1999 the Supreme Court rejected it as having been lodged beyond the statutory one month time-limit.

11.2  Defamation proceedings of 1992 (the Bratislava Municipal Court file No. 5C 17/92)

On 19 June 1989 the District Administration of Telecommunications in Bardejov disconnected the applicant’s telephone as he had failed to pay the fees. The applicant challenged this decision. In its decision of 8 May 1991, the Post and Telecommunications Administration in Bratislava gave a decision in which it stated, inter alia, that the applicant had been convicted of an offence. The final decision in respect of disconnection of the applicant’s telephone was given on 30 October 1991.

On 6 January 1992 the applicant filed a defamation action against the Post and Telecommunications Administration alleging that the aforesaid statement interfered with his personal rights. On 7 September 1992 the Municipal Court in Bratislava dismissed the action. On 16 February 1993 the Supreme Court upheld the first instance judgment.

The applicant complained about different aspects of this case in his application no. 32106/96 (decision of 13 September 2001).

11.3  Constitutional proceedings

On 29 March 1999 the applicant complained to the Constitutional Court that the above Post and Telecommunications Administration’s decision of 8 May 1991 interfered with his personal rights. In a letter of 8 February 2000, a constitutional court judge informed the applicant that his motion could not be dealt with since the Constitutional Court lacked jurisdiction to act as the court of third instance.

On 23 May 1999 the applicant filed a petition with the Constitutional Court complaining about the length of the proceedings concerning his appeal on points of law of 19 January 1996. A constitutional court judge invited the applicant to submit a power of attorney. The applicant replied to the Constitutional Court stating that he could not afford to pay an attorney as he was indigent. The Constitutional Court informed the applicant that should he fail to submit the power of attorney within the given time-limit, the proceedings would be discontinued. It also instructed the applicant to address his request for legal representation to the Slovak Bar Association. As the applicant did not respond within the indicated time-limit, the Constitutional Court discontinued the proceedings on 5 January 2000.

11.4  Related proceedings

The applicant brought another three sets of proceedings before the ordinary courts and two sets of constitutional proceedings related to the disconnection of his telephone line. Two sets of proceedings are apparently still pending before ordinary courts.

12.1  Proceedings concerning the action for protection of ownership rights of 1991 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 7C 107/91)

On 14 February 1991 the applicant and his wife filed an action with the Bardejov District Court claiming protection of their ownership rights in respect of two plots of land. In the course of the proceedings, the plaintiffs supplemented their action claiming protection of their ownership rights in respect of another plot of land and claiming that the defendants should be obliged to remove garbage from the relevant plots.

On 31 October 1996 the District Court ordered the defendants to refrain from interfering with the plaintiffs’ ownership rights in respect of two plots of land and it decided to deal with the remaining claim in a separate set of proceedings (the Bardejov District Court file No. 4C 1313/98).

On 4 March 1998 the Prešov Regional Court upheld the District Court’s judgment of 31 October 1996 which thus became final on 21 August 1998.

12.2  Proceedings concerning enforcement of the Bardejov District Court’s judgment of 31 October 1996

In 1998 the applicant and his wife requested the Bardejov District Court to enforce its judgment of 31 October 1996.

On 21 April 1999 the District Court imposed a fine on the defendants for their failure to respect the above final judgment. The defendants appealed against the decision. On 28 February 2000 the Prešov Regional Court upheld the District Court’s decision on the fine.

The applicant repeatedly informed the District Court about the defendants’ failure to respect the final judgment of 31 October 1996 claiming that the court should impose a fine on them in this respect. The applicant submits that the court did not react to his motions.

12.3  Proceedings concerning the applicant’s outstanding claim for protection of ownership rights (the Bardejov District Court file No. 4C 1313/98)

As regards the claim concerning the third plot of land, which the Bardejov District Court decided to determine in a separate set of proceedings, hearings were scheduled for 4 February 1999, 18 February 1999 and 18 March 1999. At these hearings the case was adjourned due to absence of the defendants’ representative. The District Court adjourned the case also on 18 May 1999 requesting that the parties submit certificates of ownership.

On 9 June 1999 the District Court held a hearing. The applicant alleges that, while questioning the defendants, the judge called one of the defendants “comrade”. When the defendant protested against it, the judge told him that he had been a “comrade” himself and that he was not ashamed of it. The applicant submits that he wanted to express his opinion on the judge’s statement but the judge did not allow him to speak.

On the same day the District Court gave a judgment ordering the defendants to refrain from interfering with the plaintiffs’ ownership rights. The court further decided to deal with the remaining claim concerning the prohibition to enter the third plot and the obligation to remove garbage in a separate set of proceedings. The plaintiffs appealed against the District Court’s judgment. On 19 April 2004 the Prešov Regional Court quashed the part of the District Court’s judgment concerning the obligation imposed on the defendants and returned the case to the first instance court.

On 8 August 2004 the applicant challenged the District Court judge alleging that he was acting in the case with undue delays. On 8 September 2004 the Regional Court decided that the District Court judge was not excluded from hearing the case.

On 10 December 2004 the defendants submitted a sale contract to the court according to which they had sold the relevant plots of land to third persons. The District Court invited the plaintiffs to inform the court whether they maintained their claim and it adjourned the case.

On 28 December 2004 the applicant informed the court that the plaintiffs maintained their claim. The proceedings are apparently still pending.

12.4  Interlocutory proceedings of 1999

In 1999 the applicant and his wife requested that an interim measure be issued pending the outcome of the above proceedings (file no. 4C 1313/98). On 7 April 2000 the District Court dismissed the motion. On 19 September 2001 the Regional Court upheld the District Court’s decision.

12.5  Constitutional proceedings

On 24 June 1999 the applicant complained to the Constitutional Court about the Bardejov District Court judge’s conduct at the hearing of 9 June 1999. On 9 September 1999 the Constitutional Court rejected the applicant’s petition as being manifestly ill-founded.

On 5 July 1999 the applicant filed a motion with the Constitutional Court complaining about continuous interference with his ownership rights. On 18 August 1999 the Constitutional Court rejected the applicant’s motion for his failure to meet the statutory requirement of legal representation.

On 7 July 2004 the applicant lodged a complaint with the Constitutional Court objecting to undue delays in (a) the Bardejov District Court’s proceedings (file nos. 7C 107/91 and 4C 1313/98) and (b) the related Prešov Regional Court’s proceedings. He also alleged a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 in that he could not enjoy his possessions peacefully. On 28 October 2004 the Constitutional Court invited the applicant to specify his complaint about the Prešov Regional Court’s proceedings and his claim in this respect. The applicant failed to do so.

On 15 December 2004 the Constitutional Court declared admissible the part of the complaint concerning the length of the Bardejov District Court’s proceedings. It rejected the Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 complaint as being premature and the complaint concerning the length of the Prešov Regional Court’s proceedings for the applicant’s failure to specify this part of the complaint despite the Constitutional Court’s invitation of 28 October 2004.

On 15 March 2005 the Constitutional Court held that the Bardejov District Court had violated the applicant’s constitutional right to have the case decided without undue delays and ordered the District Court to proceed with the case. The Constitutional Court found that the Bardejov District Court had been inactive without any justification from 16 November 1995 till 22 July 1996 (a total of 9 months) and that there had been several formal errors in its handling of the case which had contributed to the total length of the proceedings. The Constitutional Court also found that the applicant’s behaviour had significantly contributed to the length of the proceedings as he had failed to appear at three hearings, he had modified his claim several times and he had challenged the judge twice (in 1992 and in 2004 respectively). It therefore decided not to award the applicant just satisfaction in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

12.6  Related proceedings

The applicant was involved in another two sets of proceedings concerning a dispute over ownership of the above plots of land.

13.1  Background information

On 30 November 1995 the Bardejov Town Office decided on the applicant’s obligation to pay a tax. On 29 January 1996 the Bardejov District Office dismissed the applicant’s appeal and upheld the above decision.

On 27 June 1997 the Ministry of Finance did not accept the Košice Regional Prosecutor’s protest against the District Office’s decision. The applicant challenged the ministry’s decision by means of an administrative complaint to the minister. On 19 December 1997 the minister dismissed the applicant’s administrative complaint and upheld the ministry’s decision of 27 June 1997.

On 2 February 1996 the applicant challenged the District Office’s decision of 29 January 1996 before the Bardejov District Court. The District Court transferred the case to the Košice Regional Court for reason of jurisdiction.

On 20 August 1997 the Regional Court quashed the District Office’s decision of 29 January 1996 and the Town Office’s decision of 30 November 1995 and returned the case to the District Office.

13.2  Proceedings concerning judicial review of the ministry’s decision of 1997 (the Supreme Court file No. 4 Sz 4/99)

On 11 August 1997 the applicant challenged the decision of the Ministry of Finance of 27 June 1997 before the Prešov Regional Court. The case was transferred to the Supreme Court for reasons of jurisdiction. On 18 December 1998 the applicant extended his claim challenging also the minister’s decision of 19 December 1997. The applicant requested that he should be exempted from the obligation to pay a court fee and that an attorney be appointed by the Supreme Court to represent him free of charge.

On 2 September 1999 a single Supreme Court judge discontinued the proceedings. The decision stated that none of the challenged decisions had constituted, modified or quashed any of the applicant’s substantive rights or obligations. Pursuant to Article 244 § 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, these decisions could not be challenged by an individual. The judge also found that the District Office’s decision of 29 January 1996 and the Town Office’s decision of 30 November 1995, by which the tax obligation had been imposed on the applicant, had been quashed by the Regional Court already on 20 August 1997. The applicant’s request for exemption from the obligation to pay a court fee and for assignment of an attorney was rejected as the court considered his action to be clearly devoid of any prospect of success.

14.1  Proceedings concerning the claim for arrears of rent (the Bardejov District Court file No. 12C 647/95)

Since 1968 the applicant has lived in a block of flats owned by a co-operative.

On 22 December 1995 the co-operative claimed arrears of rent from the applicant and his wife. On 29 December 1995, without holding a hearing on the case, the Bardejov District Court issued a payment order granting the plaintiff’s claim. The applicant and his wife challenged the order.

On 14 April 1999 the District Court discontinued the proceedings as the plaintiff had withdrawn the action. The applicant and his wife appealed. On 30 November 1999 the Prešov Regional Court upheld the District Court’s decision.

On an unspecified date the applicant lodged an appeal on points of law against the Regional Court’s decision requesting that an attorney should be appointed to represent him free of charge. On 31 August 2004 the Bardejov District Court, which dealt with the appeal on points of law prior its submission to the Supreme Court, dismissed the applicant’s request for an attorney to be appointed with reference to the applicant’s financial situation. The Prešov Regional Court upheld this decision. On 25 May 2005 the Supreme Court rejected the appeal on points of law for the applicant’s failure to meet the statutory requirement of legal representation.

14.2  Proceedings concerning the applicant’s action against the co-operative of 5 March 2001 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 1C 204/01)

On 5 March 2001 the applicant brought proceedings against the co-operative claiming that its rent assessment should be declared null and void. The Bardejov District Court invited the applicant to pay a court fee and the applicant requested to be exempted from this obligation. After examining the applicant’s financial situation, the court rejected the applicant’s request and it discontinued the proceedings on the merits on 1 June 2001. On 14 June 2001 the applicant paid the court fee and the court subsequently quashed its previous decision to discontinue the proceedings.

On 22 June 2004 the District Court dismissed the applicant’s claim. The applicant appealed. As the applicant failed to pay the court fee for his appeal, the District Court discontinued the appellate proceedings on 16 September 2004. This decision became final on 27 October 2004.

14.3  Constitutional proceedings

On 26 March 2004 the applicant complained to the Constitutional Court about undue delays in the Bardejov District Court proceedings concerning his appeal on points of law. On 5 May 2004 the Constitutional Court rejected the complaint as being manifestly ill-founded. The Constitutional Court held that the applicant’s appeal on points of law was manifestly unsubstantiated since it was directed against the Regional Court’s decision by which the District Court’s decision to discontinue the proceedings against the applicant had been upheld, that is a decision which had been given in the applicant’s favour.

On 9 May 2004 the applicant lodged a complaint with the Constitutional Court alleging undue delays in the Bardejov District Court’s proceedings concerning his action of 5 March 2001 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 1C 204/01). On 14 April 2005 the Constitutional Court found that the Bardejov District Court had violated the applicant’s constitutional right to have the case decided without undue delays. The Constitutional Court held that the Bardejov District Court had been inactive without any justification from 17 July 2001 till 13 March 2002 (a total of eight months) and also from 11 April 2002 till 10 November 2003 (a total of seventeen months). It awarded the applicant SKK 20,000 (equivalent of app. 500 euros) as just satisfaction in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

14.4  Related proceedings

The applicant has been involved in sixteen other sets of proceedings concerning rent disputes which he brought against the co-operative.

15.1  Proceedings concerning the applicant’s request for transfer of a flat to his ownership (the Bardejov District Court file No. 8C 60/96)

In 1992 the applicant requested, pursuant to newly adopted legislation, that the flat in which he lived as a tenant since 1968 should be sold to him. In a letter of 28 February 1994, the applicant informed the co-operative which owned the flat that he wished to terminate his membership in it. Pursuant to the co-operative’s articles, the applicant’s membership of the co-operative ended two months after he had expressed his wish to terminate it.

The co-operative did not react to the applicant’s request for sale of the flat. The applicant therefore filed, on 10 January 1996, an action with the Bardejov District Court claiming that the co-operative should be obliged to transfer the flat to the applicant’s ownership and to settle the related property and non-property rights.

The court repeatedly invited the applicant to specify the part of his claim concerning the settlement of property and non-property rights.

On 28 January 1999 the District Court dismissed the applicant’s claim concerning the requested transfer of the flat to his ownership. The decision stated that, since the applicant’s membership in the co-operative had been terminated in April 1994, he did not meet the statutory requirement of being a member of the co-operative. The flat could not, therefore, be transferred to his ownership. The court discontinued the proceedings concerning the applicant’s claim for settlement of property and non-property rights on the ground that the applicant had failed to specify it despite the court’s requests. The applicant appealed.

On 14 February 2000 the Prešov Regional Court upheld the District Court’s decision to discontinue the relevant part of the proceedings. The Regional Court further quashed the part of the judgment by which the applicant’s action had been dismissed. That part of the case was returned to the first instance court for further proceedings.

On 6 December 2000 the District Court reversed its decision of 28 January 1999 by which it had exempted the applicant from the obligation to pay a court fee. The Regional Court upheld the District Court’s decision on 31 July 2000.

It appears from the applicant’s submissions that the proceedings on the merits of his claim for transfer of the flat to his ownership are still pending.

On 2 April 2000 the applicant lodged an appeal on points of law against the part of the Regional Court’s decision of 14 February 2000 by which the District Court’s decision to discontinue the proceedings concerning one of the applicant’s claims had been upheld. On 27 March 2000 the District Court discontinued the proceedings concerning the applicant’s appeal on points of law as it fell short of the statutory requirements. The Regional Court upheld the District Court’s decision on 31 July 2000.

On 5 September 2000 the applicant lodged an appeal on points of law against the Regional Court’s decision of 31 July 2000.

On 28 September 2001 the applicant filed an appeal on points of law against the Regional Court’s decision of 31 July 2000 by which the District Court’s decision of 6 December 2000 (regarding exemption from the obligation to pay a court fee) had been upheld. It appears that the proceedings concerning the applicant’s appeals on points of law of 5 September 2000 and of 28 September 2001 are still pending.

15.2 Constitutional proceedings

On 14 August 2000 the applicant filed a petition with the Constitutional Court in which he challenged both the above District Court’s decision of 28 January 1999 and the Regional Court’s decision of 14 February 2000 (the relevant parts concerning the discontinuation of the proceedings regarding the claim for settlement of property and non-property rights). On 20 September 2000 the Constitutional Court rejected the petition for lack of jurisdiction stating that the applicant could obtain redress as regards the alleged violation of his right to judicial protection in the proceedings concerning his appeal on points of law of 2 April 2000 which were pending at the relevant time.

On 29 March 2001 the applicant filed a petition with the Constitutional Court complaining that the co-operative had not transferred the flat into his ownership. He alleged a violation of his right to property guaranteed under Article 20 of the Constitution. On 27 April 2001 the Constitutional Court rejected the petition for lack of jurisdiction to deal with issues which fell within the jurisdiction of ordinary courts.

On 15 March 2004 the applicant complained to the Constitutional Court about the length of the proceedings in which the District Court dealt with his appeals on points of law of 5 September 2000 and of 28 September 2001. On 16 March 2005 the Constitutional Court rejected the complaint as being manifestly ill-founded.

On 3 August 2004 the applicant turned to the Constitutional Court alleging a violation of Article 6 of the Convention and of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 in respect of the above proceedings on the merits, i.e. proceedings concerning his request for transfer of the flat to his ownership (the Bardejov District Court file No. 8C 60/96). He requested that an attorney be appointed to him free of charge. After rejecting the applicant’s request for an attorney, the Constitutional Court rejected the applicant’s complaint as falling short of statutory requirements on 10 November 2004.

15.3  Related proceedings

The applicant has been involved in nine other sets of proceedings concerning ownership of the above flat.

16.1  Proceedings concerning the applicant’s obligation to return an allowance (the Bardejov District Court file No. 7C 77/95)

In 1991 the applicant was granted a loan in form of an advance payment by the Bardejov District Labour Office. He failed to pay it back within the time-limit.

In 1995 the Bardejov District Labour Office sued the applicant before the Bardejov District Court claiming the return of the above advance payment. On 13 September 1995 the Košice Regional Court upheld the District Court’s judgment of 15 March 1995 by which the applicant had been obliged to return the relevant sum. These decisions became final on 15 November 1995. The District Court’s judgment was enforced in January 1998.

On 17 November 1995 the applicant filed an appeal on points of law against the Regional Court’s decision of 13 September 1995. On 17 June 1998 the Supreme Court quashed both the Regional Court’s decision and the District Court’s decision finding that the courts had lacked jurisdiction to decide on the case. The case was transferred to the National Labour Office for further proceedings.

16.2  Proceedings concerning the applicant’s claim for damages against the Ministry of Justice of 1999 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 8C 783/99)

On 8 December 1999 the applicant filed an action against the Ministry of Justice claiming damages in respect of the courts’ actions in the above proceedings concerning his obligation to return the advance payment.

On 11 July 2001 the Bardejov District Court discontinued the proceedings on the ground that another set of proceedings concerning the same claim of the applicant was pending before that court. On 21 December 2001 the Prešov Regional Court upheld the District Court’s decision.

16.3 Proceedings concerning the applicant’s claim for damages against the Ministry of Labour of 1999 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 5C 74/99)

In 1999 the applicant brought proceedings against the Ministry of Labour claiming compensation for damage under the State Liability Act of 1969. On 28 October 1999 the Bardejov District Court dismissed the applicant’s claim. On 21 February 2000 the Prešov Regional Court upheld the District Court’s judgment.

On 17 May 2000 the applicant filed an appeal on points of law against the Regional Court’s judgment claiming that an attorney should be assigned by the court to represent him free of charge. On 7 November 2002 his request for an attorney was rejected.

On 26 June 2003 the Supreme Court discontinued the proceedings on the applicant’s appeal on points of law for his failure to meet the statutory requirement of legal representation in the proceedings. The Supreme Court also held that, had the proceedings not been discontinued on formal grounds, the appeal on points of law would have to be rejected as being inadmissible.

16.4 Proceedings concerning the applicant’s claim against the National Labour Office (the Bardejov District Court file No. 7C 75/99)

On 3 February 1999 the applicant sued the National Labour Office before the Bardejov District Court claiming a sum of money. The District Court dismissed the applicant’s claim on 9 September 1999. The applicant appealed and on 10 April 2000 the Prešov Regional Court rejected his appeal for being lodged out of time.

On 7 June 2000 the applicant filed an appeal on points of law against the Regional Court’s decision. The Bardejov District Court, which dealt with the appeal on points of law prior to its submission to the Supreme Court, invited the applicant to rectify shortcomings of his motion and to submit the power of attorney. The applicant requested that he should be exempted from the obligation to pay a court fee and that an attorney be appointed to represent him. The courts of two instances dealt with his request rejecting it with reference to the applicant’s financial situation. On 2 September 2004 the Supreme Court discontinued the proceedings holding that the applicant had failed to comply with the statutory requirement of legal representation.

16.5 Constitutional proceedings

In November 2004 the applicant complained to the Constitutional Court about undue delays in the Bardejov District Court’s processing his appeal on points of law of 7 June 2000. On 14 April 2005 the Constitutional Court held that the Bardejov District Court had violated the applicant’s constitutional right to have the case decided without undue delays. The Constitutional Court found that the Bardejov District Court had been inactive without any justification from 27 July 2001 till 20 September 2002 (a total of thirteen months) and from 4 November 2002 till 7 January 2004 (a total of fourteen months). The Constitutional Court also found that the applicant’s behaviour had significantly contributed to the length of the proceedings as he had repeatedly sent to the court incomplete motions and the court had had to invite him to rectify the shortcomings in them. It therefore decided not to award the applicant just satisfaction in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

16.6  Related proceedings

In 1999 and in 2001 respectively the applicant brought another four sets of proceedings regarding similar claims before the Bardejov District Court.

17.  Proceedings concerning the applicant’s action of 15 January 1999 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 7C 26/99)

On 31 March 1992 the applicant acknowledged his debt in respect of the District Labour Office.

On 15 January 1999 he instituted proceedings in the Bardejov District Court claiming that the above acknowledgement of debt should be declared null and void. The court held a hearing on the case which the applicant failed to attend. He neither excused his absence nor did he claim that the hearing be postponed. On 31 August 1999 the court dismissed the action. The applicant appealed against the judgment. On 7 December 1999 he filed a motion with the appellate court claiming that the proceedings should be divided into two separate sets. He was summoned to a hearing scheduled for 21 February 2000. The applicant informed the appellate court that he could not attend.

On 21 February 2000 the Prešov Regional Court held a hearing in the applicant’s absence and it upheld the District Court’s judgment. In its decision, the appellate court found no reason for splitting the case into two separate sets of proceedings as requested by the applicant.

On an unspecified date the applicant filed an appeal on points of law against the Regional Court’s judgment of 21 February 2000 and requested that he should be exempted from the obligation to pay a court fee. The courts of two instances reviewed his financial situation finding no ground for the requested exemption. On 20 September 2002 the Bardejov District Court discontinued the proceedings concerning the applicant’s appeal on points of law for his failure to meet statutory requirements. The Regional Court upheld this decision on 13 November 2002. The applicant lodged an appeal on points of law also against the Regional Court’s decision of 13 November 2002. On 26 November 2003 the Supreme Court discontinued the proceedings concerning this appeal on points of law due to formal shortcomings.

18.  Other proceedings

The applicant was involved in eight different sets of proceedings. After receiving first instance decisions the applicant appealed against them. The appellate courts decided on the appeals. The applicant submits that the appellate courts acted contrary to Article 158 § 3 of the Code of Civil Procedure since the period between the oral delivery of the judgments and the dispatching to the parties of their written decisions with reasons exceeded thirty days.

B.  Relevant domestic law and practice

1.  Constitution and Constitutional Court’s practice

Article 48(2) of the Constitution provides, inter alia, that every person has the right to have his or her case tried without unjustified delay.

Pursuant to Article 130(3) of the Constitution, as in force until 30 June 2001, the Constitutional Court could commence proceedings upon the petition (“podnet”) presented by any individual or a corporation claiming that their rights had been violated.

 According to its case-law under the former Article 130(3) of the Constitution, the Constitutional Court lacked jurisdiction to draw legal consequences from a violation of a petitioner’s rights under Article 48(2) of the Constitution. It could neither grant damages to the person concerned nor impose a sanction on the public authority liable for the violation found. In the Constitutional Court’s view, it was therefore for the authority concerned to provide redress to the person whose rights had been violated.

 As from 1 January 2002, the Constitution has been amended in that, inter alia, individuals and legal persons can complain about a violation of their fundamental rights and freedoms pursuant to Article 127. Under this provision the Constitutional Court has the power, in case that it finds a violation of Article 48(2) of the Constitution, to order the authority concerned to proceed with the case without delay. It may also grant adequate financial satisfaction to a person whose constitutional right has been violated as a result of excessive length of proceedings (for further details see, e.g., Andrášik and Others v. Slovakia (dec.), nos. 57984/00, 60237/00, 60242/00, 60679/00, 60680/00, 68563/01, 60226/00, 22 October 2002).

2.  The Code of Civil Procedure

Pursuant to Article 158 § 3, a written judgment shall be sent to parties within thirty days from the date of its oral delivery unless the President of the court concerned decides otherwise for important reasons.

COMPLAINTS

1.  As regards the proceedings concerning the ownership action of 1993 and the related constitutional proceedings (see point 1 of “The Facts” above):

(a)  The applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that (i) the length of the proceedings in the ownership action of 1993 has been excessive, (ii) he did not have a public hearing before the Prešov Regional Court, (iii) the courts’ judgments of 18 April 1996 and 19 June 1997 respectively are arbitrary, and (iv) he was denied judicial protection and did not have a hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal as the Constitutional Court did not deal with his petitions of 11 February 1999 and of 12 February 1999 respectively.

(b)  Under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 the applicant complains that, as a result of the courts’ decisions, he has been unable to use the property which is the subject-matter of the proceedings brought in 1993.

2.  As regards the proceedings concerning the applicant’s action of 1995 and the related constitutional proceedings (see point 2 of “The Facts” above):

(a)  The applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that (i) the length of both the proceedings on his action of 14 December 1995 and the proceedings before the Constitutional Court regarding his motion of 22 April 1999 is excessive, (ii) he did not have a public hearing before the Bardejov District Court and the Prešov Regional Court since the courts had held hearings in his absence on 18 February 1999 and on 3 December 1999 respectively and (iii) he was denied judicial protection and did not have a hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal as the Constitutional Court did not deal with his petition of 11 March 1999.

3.  As regards the defamation proceedings of 1995 and the related constitutional proceedings (see point 3 of “The Facts” above), the applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that (i) the length of the defamation proceedings of 1995, of the proceedings regarding the motion for reopening of those proceedings filed in 1997 as well as the length of the proceedings before the Constitutional Court regarding the motion of 24 May 1999 was excessive, (ii) he did not have access to the Košice Regional Court in the defamation proceedings brought in 1995 and that he did not have a public hearing before the Supreme Court in the proceedings concerning the appeal on points of law lodged on 25 April 1997 as well as before the Constitutional Court in the proceedings concerning his motion of 5 April 2004, (iii) he was denied judicial protection and did not have a hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal as the Constitutional Court did not deal with his motion of 4 March 1999 and (iv) the Constitutional Court’s decision of 9 September 2004 is erroneous.

4.  As regards the proceedings concerning the applicant’s claim for reduction of rent of 1997 and the related constitutional proceedings (see point 4 of “The Facts” above):

(a)  The applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that (i) the length of the proceedings on his action of 1997 has been excessive, (ii) the District Court judge did not hear him at the hearing held on 2 August 1999 and (iii) he was denied judicial protection and he did not have a hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal as the Constitutional Court did not deal with his motion of 10 March 1999.

(b)  Under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 the applicant complains that he suffered damage as, due to inflation, the sum of money claimed by him in 1997 had lost its value considerably by the time when it was awared to him in 2002.

5.  As regards the proceedings concerning the applicant’s action of 1998 and the related constitutional proceedings (see point 5 of “The Facts” above), the applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention (i) about the length of the proceedings brought on 18 May 1998 and (ii) that he was denied judicial protection and that he did not have a hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal as the Constitutional Court did not deal with his motion of 8 March 1999.

6.  As regards the two sets of constitutional proceedings of 1998 (see point 6 of “The Facts” above):

(a)  The applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the length of the constitutional proceedings concerning his motions of 1998 and he also alleges that the Constitutional Court did not meet the requirements of an independent and impartial tribunal.

(b)  Under Article 8 § 1 of the Convention, the applicant complains that the Constitutional Court judge, by alleging that the applicant’s submissions were abusive, interfered with his personal rights.

(c)  The applicant alleges a violation of Articles 3, 4 § 2 and 8 of the Convention in that he has been unemployed.

(d)  Without specifying his allegations and without invoking any Article of the Convention, the applicant complains that the decisions given in the related proceedings are arbitrary.

7.  As regards the proceedings concerning the applicant’s action of 1 October 1997 and the related constitutional proceedings (see point 7 of “The Facts” above), the applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention (i) about the length of the proceedings before the Bardejov District Court brought in 1997 and (ii) that he was denied judicial protection and did not have a hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal as the Constitutional Court did not deal with his motion of 9 March 1999.

8.  As regards the proceedings concerning the estate of the applicant’s mother, the enforcement proceedings of 2002, the administrative proceedings before the Land Register, the proceedings concerning the applicant’s claim for damages of 2001 and the related constitutional proceedings (see point 8 of “The Facts” above):

(a)  The applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that (i) the length of both the inheritance proceedings and the proceedings concerning his claim for damages of 2001 was excessive, (ii) the above two sets of proceedings were unfair and that he did not have a public hearing before the court in the inheritance proceedings, (iii) he was denied judicial protection and he did not have a hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal as the Constitutional Court did not deal with his motion of 21 March 1999 and (iv) his right to have the case heard by an independent and impartial tribunal was violated as he could not challenge the constitutional judge dealing with his complaint of 19 September 2002.

(b)  Under Article 6 of the Convention the applicant claims that a court should order the Svidník Land Register Administration to register the applicant’s ownership of the inherited property.

(c)  Under Article 10 of the Convention the applicant alleges a violation of his right to information in that the Bardejov District Court did not inform him whether his brother had been adopted.

(d)  Under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 the applicant complains that he has been restricted in the peaceful enjoyment of the inherited possessions.

9.  As regards the three sets of inheritance proceedings and the related proceedings (see point 9 of “The Facts” above):

(a)  The applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the length of (i) the proceedings concerning his aunt’s estate (the Prešov District Court file No. D 2730/92) and (ii) the proceedings concerning the estate of his grandmother (the Prešov District Court file No. D 581/93).

(b)  The applicant further alleges a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 in respect of the outcome of the three sets of inheritance proceedings.

(c)  Without specifying his allegations and without invoking any Article of the Convention, the applicant complains about unfairness of the related proceedings brought in 2004 and 2005 respectively.

10.  As regards the proceedings concerning the applicant’s claim for damages of 1995, the constitutional proceedings and the related proceedings (see point 10 of “The Facts” above):

(a) The applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that (i) the length of the proceedings concerning his claim for damages of 1995 was excessive, (ii) he did not have a public hearing both before the Regional Court and before the Supreme Court, (iii) the judges dealing with his case were not independent and impartial as they acted in favour of the State, (iv) the ordinary courts’ decisions are arbitrary, (v) he was denied judicial protection and he did not have a hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal as the Constitutional Court did not deal with his petitions of 22 March 1999 and of 14 May 1999 respectively and (vi) the courts’ decisions given in the related proceedings are arbitrary.

(b) The applicant alleges a violation of Article 8 in that he was excluded from the medical treatment.

11. As regards the proceedings concerning the appeal on points of law of 1996, the defamation proceedings of 1992, the constitutional proceedings and the related proceedings (see point 11 of “The Facts” above):

(a) The applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that (i) the length of both the proceedings concerning his appeal on points of law of 19 January 1996 and the constitutional proceedings brought on 29 March 1999 was excessive, (ii) the courts’ decisions in the defamation proceedings of 1992 were arbitrary, (iii) he was denied judicial protection in that the Constitutional Court did not deal with his petition of 23 May 1999 and (iv) the Constitutional Court did not decide on the merits of his motion of 29 March 1999.

(b) The applicant also alleges a violation of Article 6 § 2 and of Article 8 of the Convention in respect of the Post and Telecommunications Administration’s statement indicating that he had been convicted of an offence.

(c)  Under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 the applicant complains that his telephone was disconnected.

(d)  Without invoking any Article of the Convention, the applicant complains that the decisions given in the related proceedings are arbitrary.

12.  As regards the proceedings concerning the action for protection of ownership rights of 1991, the enforcement proceedings, the constitutional proceedings and the related proceedings (see point 12 of “The Facts” above):

(a)  The applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that (i) the length of the proceedings concerning his action for protection of ownership rights of 1991 including the proceedings concerning his outstanding claim filed in that context was excessive, (ii) the Bardejov District Court judge who dealt with his case was not independent and impartial in view of his conduct at the hearing of 9 June 1999 and (iii) he was denied judicial protection in that the Constitutional Court did not deal with his motion of 5 July 1999 due to his inability to afford legal representation.

(b)  The applicant alleges a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 in that (i) the enforcement of the District Court’s judgment of 31 October 1996 was not effective and (ii) the courts have not yet decided on his claim for protection of his ownership rights which has been the subject matter of the District Court’s proceedings (file nos. 7C 107/91 and 4C 1313/98).

(c)  The applicant alleges a violation of Articles 3 and 10 of the Convention in respect of the District Court judge’s statements and his conduct at the hearing of 9 June 1999.

(d)  Without specifying his allegations and without invoking any Article of the Convention, the applicant complains that the decisions given in the related proceedings are arbitrary.

13.  As regards the proceedings concerning judicial review of the ministry’s decision of 1997 (see point 13 of “The Facts” above), the applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that (i) the Supreme Court lacked jurisdiction to deal with his case, (ii) the Supreme Court was not independent and impartial since the applicant was not informed about it’s composition, (iii) the Supreme Court did not hold a public hearing and it did not hear him on the case, (iv) an attorney was not appointed to represent him, (v) the length of the Supreme Court’s proceedings was not reasonable and (vi) no remedy was available against the Supreme Court’s decision.

14.  As regards the proceedings concerning the claim for arrears of rent of 1995, the proceedings concerning the applicant’s action against the co-operative of 5 March 2001, the constitutional proceedings and the related proceedings (see point 14 of “The Facts” above):

a) The applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that (i) he did not have a public hearing in the Bardejov District Court proceedings prior to the delivery of the payment order, (ii) the length of the proceedings concerning the co-operative’s claim for arrears of rent was excessive and (iii) the length of the proceedings concerning the applicant’s action of 5 March 2001 was excessive. He maintains, in particular, that the sum of just satisfaction awarded to him by the Constitutional Court when dealing with his case under the amended Article 127 of the Constitution is inadequate.

b) Without specifying his allegations and without invoking any Article of the Convention, the applicant complains that the decisions given in the related proceedings are arbitrary.

15.  As regards the proceedings concerning the request for transfer of the flat to the applicant’s ownership, the constitutional proceedings and the related proceedings (see point 15 of “The Facts” above):

a)  The applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that (i) the length of the proceedings concerning his claim for transfer of the flat to his ownership was excessive, and (ii) he was denied judicial protection in that the Constitutional Court did not deal with the merits of his petition of 29 March 2001.

b)  The applicant alleges a violation of Article 8 § 1 of the Convention and of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 in that the flat was not transferred to his ownership.

c)  Without any further specification and without invoking any Article of the Convention, the applicant complains that the decisions given in the related proceedings are arbitrary.

16.  As regards the proceedings concerning the applicant’s obligation to return an allowance, the proceedings concerning the applicant’s claim for damages against the Ministry of Justice of 1999, the proceedings concerning the applicant’s claim for damages against the Ministry of Labour of 1999, the proceedings concerning the applicant’s claim against the National Labour Office of 1999, the constitutional proceedings and the related proceedings (see point 16 of “The Facts” above):

a) The applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that (i) the length of both the proceedings concerning the obligation to return the allowance of 1995 and the proceedings concerning his claim for damages against the Ministry of Justice of 1999 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 8C 783/99) was not reasonable, (ii) the length of the proceedings concerning the applicant’s appeal on points of law of 7 June 2000 in the proceedings concerning his claim against the National Labour Office was excessive and, in particular, that the Constitutional Court did not award him any just satisfaction in respect of undue delays which had occurred, (iii) the courts lacked jurisdiction to act in the proceedings concerning his obligation to return the allowance of 1995 and that they were not independent as they acted in favour of the plaintiff, (iv) he did not have access to a court in that the Supreme Court discontinued the proceedings concerning his appeal on points of law of 17 May 2000 in the original proceedings regarding the applicant’s claim for damages against the Ministry of Labour of 1999 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 5C 74/99).

b) Without invoking any Article of the Convention and without any further specification, the applicant complains that the courts’ decisions given in the related four sets of proceedings are arbitrary.

17.  As regards the proceedings concerning the applicant’s action of 15 January 1999 (see point 17 of “The Facts” above), the applicant alleges a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention in that (i) the Prešov Regional Court did not grant his motion for dividing the proceedings into two sets of separate proceedings and that he did not have a public hearing before this court, (ii) the judges involved were not independent and impartial, and (iii) the courts’ decisions were arbitrary.

18.  Under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention the applicant complains that the length of eight sets of appellate proceedings (see point 18 of “The Facts” above) was not reasonable as a result of the appellate courts’ failure to produce written judgments within the statutory 30 days time-limit.

19.  The applicant further alleges a violation of Articles 13 and 14 of the Convention with reference to the above complaints.

THE LAW

The applicant complains that his rights guaranteed under Articles 3, 4 § 1, 6 §§ 1 and 2 and under Articles 8, 10, 13, 14 of the Convention, as well as under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 were violated on numerous occasions in the sets of proceedings referred to in “The Facts” above.

a) The applicant complains under Articles 6 § 1 and 13 of the Convention about the length of the proceedings concerning:

(i) the ownership action of 1993 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 8C 3/93);

(ii) the applicant’s action of 14 December 1995 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 11C 36/96);

(iii) the applicant’s claim for reduction of rent of 1997 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 11C 810/97);

(iv) the applicant’s action of 18 May 1998 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 8C 714/98);

(v) the applicant’s action of 1 October 1997 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 11C 2130/97);

(vi) the estate of the applicant’s mother (the Svidník District Court file No. D 240/93);

(vii) the applicant’s appeal on points of law of 19 January 1996;

(viii) the applicant’s action for protection of ownership rights of 1991 (the Bardejov District Court file Nos. 7C 107/91 and 4C 1313/98);

(ix) the co-operative’s claim for arrears of rent of 1995 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 12C 647/95);

(x) the applicant’s action of 5 March 2001 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 1C 204/01);

(xi) the applicant’s claim for transfer of the flat to his ownership of 1996 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 8C 60/96);

(xii) the applicant’s appeal on points of law of 7 June 2000 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 7C 75/99).

The Court considers that it cannot, on the basis of the file, determine the admissibility of these complaints. It is therefore necessary, in accordance with Rule 54 § 2 (b) of the Rules of Court, to give notice of this part of the application to the respondent Government.

b) The applicant further alleges a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 and of Article 13 of the Convention in that, due to the protracted length of the proceedings concerning his action for protection of ownership rights of 1991 (the Bardejov District Court file Nos. 7C 107/91 and 4C 1313/98), he has been unable to peacefully enjoy his possessions which have been the subject of those proceedings.

The Court considers that it cannot, on the basis of the file, determine the admissibility of these complaints. It is therefore necessary, in accordance with Rule 54 § 2 (b) of the Rules of Court, to give notice of this part of the application to the respondent Government.

c) The Court has also examined the other complaints raised by the applicant but finds, to the extent that such complaints have been substantiated and fall within its competence, that they do not disclose any appearance of a violation of the Convention or its Protocols.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Decides to adjourn the examination of

1.  the applicant’s complaints under Articles 6 § 1 and 13 of the Convention related to the length of the proceedings concerning:

(i)  the ownership action of 1993 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 8C 3/93);

(ii)  the applicant’s action of 14 December 1995 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 11C 36/96);

(iii)  the applicant’s claim for reduction of rent of 1997 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 11C 810/97);

(iv)  the applicant’s action of 18 May 1998 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 8C 714/98);

(v)  the applicant’s action of 1 October 1997 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 11C 2130/97);

(vi)  the estate of the applicant’s mother (the Svidník District Court file No. D 240/93);

(vii)  the applicant’s appeal on points of law of 19 January 1996;

(viii)  the applicant’s action for protection of ownership rights of 1991 (the Bardejov District Court file Nos. 7C 107/91 and 4C 1313/98);

(ix)  the co-operative’s claim for arrears of rent of 1995 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 12C 647/95);

(x)  the applicant’s action of 5 March 2001 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 1C 204/01);

(xi)  the applicant’s claim for transfer of the flat to his ownership of 1996 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 8C 60/96);

(xii)  the applicant’s appeal on points of law of 7 June 2000 (the Bardejov District Court file No. 7C 75/99);

2.  the applicant’s complaints under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 and Article 13 of the Convention related to the length of the proceedings concerning the applicant’s action for protection of his ownership rights of 1991 (the Bardejov District Court file Nos. 7C 107/91 and 4C 1313/98).

Declares the remainder of the application inadmissible.

Michael O’Boyle Nicolas Bratza 
 Registrar President

1 At the relevant time SKK 3,000 was the equivalent of approximately 75 euros.


KOMANICKÝ v. SLOVAKIA DECISION


KOMANICKÝ v. SLOVAKIA DECISION