Application no. 62078/00
by Michael SCHISAS
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting on 25 October 2005 as a Chamber composed of:
Mr C.L. Rozakis, President,
Mr L. Loucaides,
Mr P. Lorenzen,
Mrs N. Vajić,
Mrs S. Botoucharova,
Mr K. Hajiyev,
Mr A. Kovler, judges,
and Mr S. Quesada, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 10 October 2000,
Having regard to the parties’ correspondence,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Michael Schisas, is a Cypriot national, who was born in 1947 and lives in Limassol, Cyprus. He is represented before the Court by Mr C. Clerides, a lawyer practising in Nicosia, Cyprus.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
The applicant is the owner of seven building sites situated at Archbishop Makarios III Avenue in the town of Limassol.
On 7 December 1990 a Notice (no. 3874) was published in the Official Gazette of the Republic, pursuant to section 12 of the Streets and Buildings Regulation Law-Cap. 96, concerning the widening of, inter alia, the above-mentioned avenue. In the Notice the properties to be affected thereby were described with reference to the District Land Office particulars and did not mention the owners’ names. The Notice provided that any objection to the street alignment scheme could be lodged within seventy-five days from the date of its publication.
The applicant maintained that he learned about the street-alignment scheme much later. On 3 April 1991 he filed his objections with the Minister of Interior claiming, amongst others, that the scheme irreparably affected the value and future development of his property.
On 18 June 1991 the Ministry of Interior informed the applicant that his objections had been filed out of time and, accordingly, could not be examined.
On 20 August 1999, the Notice of Compulsory Acquisition (no. 1001) was published in the Official Gazette, in accordance with section 4 of the Compulsory Acquisition Law of 1962. The Notice declared the intention of the Republic to compulsorily acquire part of a number of plots, including those of the applicant, for the purpose of widening and/or improving the streets. The affected properties were described by reference to the corresponding District Land Office particulars. The owners’ names were not mentioned. The Notice provided that any objections on behalf of the affected owners should be addressed to the Ministry of Interior within fifteen days from the date of its publication.
On 10 December 1999, an Order of Acquisition (no. 1463) was published in the Official Gazette, in accordance with section 6 of the Compulsory Acquisition Law of 1962. It referred to Notice no. 1001 and ordered the compulsory acquisition of the properties mentioned therein.
On 17 May 2000 the applicant wrote to the Minister of Interior complaining about the above notices and order. He stressed that the manner in which they were published in the Official Gazette was insufficient and therefore, in violation of his property rights under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention. He also requested that an offer of compensation be sent to him as soon as possible, in view of the fact that he intended to lodge an application with the Court.
On 6 July 2000 the Ministry informed the applicant that he had failed to comply with the time-limits set out in Notices (nos. 3874 and 1001) and that his claim in respect of the street-widening scheme and his objection to the compulsory acquisition were time-barred. It also informed the applicant that an offer of compensation in respect of all the plots had already been sent to him on 20 June 2000.
The applicant was offered 50 Cypriot pounds (CYP) for each of the five plots and CYP 15,300 and CYP 1,065 for the remaining two.
On 27 December 2001 the Government applied to the District Court of Limassol for the determination of the amount payable as compensation. The proceedings were concluded on 25 November 2004 by way of friendly settlement.
The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that he had been deprived of his right of access to a court, because he had not been duly informed and in time, of the publication of the notices of compulsory acquisition of his property. He further complained under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 that the compensation offered to him did not correspond to the value of the property compulsorily acquired, having regard to the fact that the compulsory acquisition had not been effected in the public interest within the meaning of that Article.
The Court recalls that Article 37 of the Convention provides, in the relevant part, as follows:
“1. The Court may at any stage of the proceedings decide to strike an application out of its list of cases where the circumstances lead to the conclusion that
(a) the applicant does not intend to pursue his application; or
(b) the matter has been resolved...
However, the Court shall continue the examination of the application if respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and the Protocols thereto so requires...”
By letter dated 9 September 2005, the Government informed the Registry that the parties had reached an agreement to settle the case. By letter dated 16 September 2005, the applicant confirmed the settlement and informed the Court that he wished to withdraw his application.
The Court takes note of the friendly settlement reached between the parties and the applicant’s wish to withdraw his application. It is satisfied that the settlement is based on respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols and finds no public policy reasons to justify a continued examination of the application (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention). Accordingly, the application should be struck out of the list.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously.
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
Santiago Quesada Christos Rozakis
Deputy Registrar President
SCHISAS v. CYPRUS DECISION
SCHISAS v. CYPRUS DECISION