FOURTH SECTION

DECISION

Application no. 69207/01 
by Karol MAGULA 
against Slovakia

The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 28 March 2006 as a Chamber composed of:

Sir Nicolas Bratza, President
 Mr J. Casadevall
 Mr M. Pellonpää
 Mr R. Maruste
 Mr S. Pavlovschi
 Mr J. Borrego Borrego, 
 Mr J. Šikuta, judges
and Mr M. O’Boyle, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 11 December 2000,

Having regard to the decision to apply Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and examine the admissibility and merits of the case together,

Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The applicant, Mr Karol Magula, is a Slovakian national who was born in 1958 and lives in Košice. The Government of the Slovak Republic (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mrs A. Poláčková.

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

1.  Proceedings against the Government’s Office

On 21 October 1999 the applicant sued the Office of the Government of the Slovak Republic before the Košice I District Court. He sought the protection of his personal rights alleging that the employees of the defendant had not dealt with the applicant’s submissions in an appropriate manner.

On 13 November 2000 the District Court discontinued the proceedings on the ground that the defendant lacked legal personality. On 10 January 2001 the Košice Regional Court quashed the first instance decision.

On 28 January 2002 the Košice Regional Court excluded the Košice I District Court judges from dealing with the case at their request. It further decided that the case should be examined by the Košice – okolie District Court.

On 28 January 2005 the Košice – okolie District Court discontinued the proceedings.

On 8 February 2005 the defendant appealed against the District Court’s decision concerning the parties’ costs and expenses. On 30 June 2005 the Regional Court in Košice upheld the relevant part of the first instance decision.

2.  Proceedings against the General Prosecutor’s Office

On 5 November 1999 the applicant brought proceedings against the General Prosecutor’s Office before the Košice I District Court. He alleged that the defendant, by failing to deal with the applicant’s submissions in an appropriate manner, had interfered with his personal rights. The applicant claimed SKK 10 million in compensation for damage.

On 28 February 2002 the Košice Regional Court excluded all Košice I District Court judges from dealing with the case at their request. It further decided that the case should be examined by the Košice – okolie District Court.

On 30 June 2003 the District Court dismissed the applicant’s request for an exemption from the obligation to pay the court fee and for appointment of a lawyer free of charge. The appellate court upheld this decision on 29 December 2003.

On 18 February 2004 the District Court discontinued the proceedings as the applicant had failed to pay the court fee. On 30 November 2004 the Regional Court in Košice upheld this decision.

3.  Proceedings before the Constitutional Court

(a)  Proceedings No. III ÚS 221/03

On 20 May 2003 the applicant filed a complaint to the Constitutional Court. He alleged that the Košice I District Court had failed to proceed speedily with his above action against the Office of the Government.

On 12 May 2004 the Constitutional Court found that the Košice I District Court had violated the applicant’s constitutional right to a hearing without unjustified delay. The Constitutional Court awarded SKK 20,0001 as just satisfaction to the applicant.

(b)  Proceedings No. II. ÚS 3/04

On 22 May 2003 the applicant complained to the Constitutional Court that the Košice I District Court had violated his right to a hearing without unjustified delay in the above proceedings concerning his action against the General Prosecutor’s Office.

On 18 June 2003 the applicant filed another complaint alleging undue delays in the ensuing proceedings before the Košice – okolie District Court.

On 14 January 2004 the Constitutional Court rejected both complaints.

(c)  Proceedings concerning the applicant’s petitions of 1999 and 2000

On 9 September 1999 the applicant filed a petition under Article 130(3) of the Constitution. He alleged that various bodies subordinated to the Ministry of the Interior had failed to draw appropriate consequences from his complaint that he had been the victim of an offence in that his property had been unlawfully disposed of in the context of tax enforcement.

The Constitutional Court rejected the petition on 10 November 1999.

On 4 August 2000 the applicant filed a new petition relating to the same issue. The Constitutional Court rejected it on 4 October 2000.

COMPLAINTS

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

2.  Under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention the applicant complained that the Constitutional Court had arbitrarily refused to entertain his petitions filed in 1999 and in 2000 respectively.

THE LAW

The Court observes that by a letter of 17 October 2005 the applicant was invited to reply, by 30 November 2005, to the observations of the Government on the above application and to submit any claims for just satisfaction.

On 28 October 2005 the lawyer appointed by the applicant informed the Court that she no longer represented the applicant and that the latter would reply himself to the Government’s observations.

By a registered letter of 10 January 2006 the Registrar of the Fourth Section informed the applicant that the period allowed for submission of his observations and claims for just satisfaction had expired and that no extension of time had been requested. The applicant’s attention was drawn to Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention which provides:

“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...

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.”

On 27 January 2006 a postal delivery report (avis de réception) was received at the Court indicating that the registered letter of 10 January 2006 had been received by the applicant on 18 January 2006.

The Court has received no reply to the above letters.

In the light of the above, the Court considers that the applicant does not intend to pursue his application. The Court also considers that respect for human rights as defined in the Convention does not require it to continue the examination of the case. The application should therefore be struck out of the list of cases in accordance with Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Decides to discontinue the application of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and to strike the application out of its list of cases.

Michael O’Boyle Nicolas Bratza 
 Registrar President

1 SKK 20,000 was then the equivalent of approximately 500 euros.


MAGULA v. SLOVAKIA DECISION


MAGULA v. SLOVAKIA DECISION