FOURTH SECTION

DECISION

Application no. 69485/01 
by EKOBS, spol. s r.o. 
against Slovakia

The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 26 April 2005 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 9 May 2001,

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 formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case.

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The applicant company, EKOBS, spol. s r.o., is a limited liability company which was established in 1994 and has its registered seat in Martin. It is represented before the Court by Mr I. Siakeľ, a lawyer practising in Martin. The respondent Government are represented by Mrs A. Poláčková, their agent.

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

1.  The proceedings on the applicant company's action of January 1997

In January 1997 the applicant company lodged an action against an individual seeking an order to pay an amount of money which was due under a contract of lease of business premises of 31 March 1996.

Later in 1997 the Martin District Court (Okresný súd) issued a payment order (platobný rozkaz) in the applicant company's favour in summary proceedings and the order was subsequently quashed on the defendant's protest (odpor).

On 22 June 1999 the District Court granted the action in ordinary proceedings.

On 7 November 2000 the Žilina Regional Court (Krajský súd) dismissed the defendant's appeal.

2.  The proceedings on the applicant company's action of June 1997

On 19 June 1997 the applicant company lodged an action against a private entrepreneur seeking an order to pay an amount of money which was due under a contract of lease of business premises of 19 April 1996.

Later in 1997 the Bratislava III District Court issued a payment order in the applicant company's favour in summary proceedings. The order was then quashed as it had been impossible to serve a copy of it on the defendant in person.

On 14 February 2001 the District Court granted the action in ordinary proceedings. The judgment became final and binding on 10 March 2001.

COMPLAINT

The applicant company complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that the length of the above two sets of proceedings was excessive.

THE LAW

On 14 March 2005 the Court received the following declaration from the applicant:

“I, Ivan Siakeľ, representative of EKOBS s.r.o., note that the Government of the Slovak Republic are prepared to pay the sum of 3,650 (three thousand six hundred and fifty) euros to EKOBS s.r.o. with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.

This sum, which is to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, will be converted into Slovakian korunas at the rate applicable on the date of payment and free of any taxes that may be applicable. It will be payable within three months from the date of notification of the decision taken by the Court pursuant to Article 37§ 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. From the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amount at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points.

I accept the proposal and waive any further claims against Slovakia in respect of the facts giving rise to this application. I declare that this constitutes a final resolution of the case....”

On 22 March 2005 the Court received the following declaration from the Agent of the Government:

“I, Alena Poláčková, Agent of the Government of the Slovak Republic, declare that the Government of the Slovak Republic offer to pay 3,650 (three thousand six hundred and fifty) euros to EKOBS s.r.o. with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.

This sum, which is to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, will be converted into Slovakian korunas at the rate applicable on the date of payment and free of any taxes that may be applicable. It will be payable within three months from the date of notification of the decision taken by the Court pursuant to Article 37 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In the event of failure to pay this sum within the said three-month period, the Government undertake to pay simple interest on it, from expiry of that period until settlement, at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points. The payment will constitute the final resolution of the case...”

The Court takes note of the friendly settlement reached between the parties. 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, Article 29 § 3 of the Convention should no longer apply to the case and it should be struck out of the list.

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

EKOBS, spol. s r.o. v. SLOVAKIA DECISION


EKOBS, spol. s r.o. v. SLOVAKIA DECISION