Application no. 77420/01 
against Poland

The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 29 November 2005 as a Chamber composed of:

Sir Nicolas Bratza, President
 Mr J. Casadevall
 Mr G. Bonello
 Mr R. Maruste
 Mr S. Pavlovschi
 Mr L. Garlicki, 
 Mr J. Borrego Borrego, judges,

and Mr M. O’Boyle, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 1 August 2000,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:


The applicant, Mr Ryszard Kryszkiewicz, is a Polish national who was born in 1945 and lives in Warszawa.

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

In 1975 a plot of land located in Warsaw, owned by the applicant’s mother, was expropriated for the purpose of building an apartment block. However, the buildings were constructed only on a part of the plot and the rest remained unused.

On 5 July 1992 the applicant and his brother lodged an application for restitution of the expropriated land with the Warsaw District Office (Urząd Rejonowy) under Section 69 of the Law of 29 April 1985 on the Land Administration and Expropriation (Ustawa o gospodarce gruntami i wywłaszczaniu nieruchomości). This Section stipulated that the former owner (or his legal successor) of the expropriated property could lodge an application for restitution provided that the property no longer served a purpose specified in the expropriation decision.

The applicant’s mother died and on 23 May 1994 the Warsaw District Court declared the applicant and his brother to be her only heirs.

The authorities failed to take any steps until 1994 when they requested information from several other institutions as to the legal situation of the property. It appears that the applicant repeatedly requested information as to the course of the proceedings.

In 1995 the Warsaw-Bemowo Municipal Office (Urząd Gminy) informed the applicant that the 1975 decision on expropriation was still in force and was final.

On 25 January 1996 the Head of the Warsaw District Office (Kierownik Urzędu Rejonowego) stayed the proceedings and informed the applicant that he could institute another set of the proceedings concerning the division of the property in question.

Subsequently, the applicant instituted such proceedings in which he sought to divide the expropriated property. It appears that the first decision in this set of proceedings was given on 23 June 1998 dismissing the request. Finally, on 30 September 1998 the Warsaw Self-Government Board of Appeal (Samorządowe Kolegium Odwoławcze) discontinued the proceedings.

On 9 November 1998 the applicant requested the resumption of the proceedings concerning restitution of the property.

On 7 October 1999 the Mayor of the Warsaw District (Starosta Powiatu Warszawskiego) resumed the proceedings and on the same date it discontinued them considering that the matter was res judicata.

The applicant appealed.

On 18 November 1999 Warsaw Self-Government Board of Appeal allowed the appeal, quashed the decision and remitted the case.

Since the Mayor failed to take any decision the applicant lodged on 1 February 2001 a complaint about his inactivity with the Warsaw Self-Government Board of Appeal. The Board failed to take any action. On 30 January 2002 the applicant complained about the inactivity of both authorities to the Supreme Administrative Court (Naczelny Sąd Administracyjny).

On 10 June 2002 the Mayor of the Warsaw District gave a decision in which it allowed the applicant’s action and returned to him and to his brother the property in question.

On 18 June 2002 the Supreme Administrative Court examined the applicant’s complaint about the inactivity of the administrative authorities and dismissed it, inter alia, in view of the Mayor’s decision of 10 June 2002.

The Warsaw-Bemowo Mayor (Burmistrz) lodged an appeal against the decision of 10 June 2002 with the Mazowiecki Governor (Wojewoda Mazowiecki).

On 11 October 2002 the Mazowiecki Governor allowed the appeal, quashed the impugned decision and remitted the case.

The applicant lodged a complaint against this decision, but on 19 March 2004 the Regional Administrative Court (Wojewódzki Sąd Administracyjny) dismissed it. The applicant lodged a cassation appeal with the Supreme Administrative Court.

If view of the length of the proceedings before the administrative courts, on 7 June 2004, the applicant made a complaint about a breach of the right to a trial within a reasonable time under the 2004 Act.

On 30 September 2005 the Supreme Administrative Court dismissed his complaint finding that the length of the proceedings before it did not exceed a reasonable time.

The cassation proceedings are pending before the Supreme Administrative Court.


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

2.  He also complained that the facts of the case disclosed a violation of the right to peaceful enjoyment of his possession in breach of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention.


1.  The applicant complained that the length of the administrative proceedings in his case had exceeded a reasonable time within the meaning of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.

The Court considers that it cannot, on the basis of the case file, determine the admissibility of this complaint and that 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.

2.  The applicant also complained of an infringement of his right to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions within the meaning of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.

Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 reads:

“Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.

The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.”

The Court first observes that Poland ratified Protocol No. 1 on 10 October 1994. Insofar as the applicant’s complaint relates to facts or decisions regarding his property rights prior to that date, the Court reiterates that, in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, a State can only be held responsible in respect of events following the ratification of the Convention. It follows that the Court is competent ratione temporis only in respect of events which occurred after 10 October 1994 (see Futro v. Poland (dec.), 51832/99, 12 December 2000).

The Court observes that the domestic proceedings to determine the applicant’s claims are currently pending before the Supreme Administrative Court. Therefore, in so far as the applicant relies on Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention, the Court considers that it would be premature to take a position on the substance of this complaint. In so far as the applicant complains about the length of those proceedings, the Court considers that Article 1 of Protocol No.1 complaint does not give rise to any separate issue (see, for example, Zanghì v. Italy, judgment of 19 February 1991, Series A no. 194-C, § 23, Di Pede v. Italy, judgment of 26 September 1996, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1996-IV, p. 17, § 35, Beller v. Poland, no. 51837/99, § 74, 1 February 2005).

It follows that this complaint is manifestly ill-founded and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Decides to adjourn the examination of the applicant’s complaint concerning the unreasonable length of the proceedings;

Declares the remainder of the application inadmissible.

Michael O’Boyle Nicolas Bratza 
 Registrar President