Application no. 7759/03
by Bohumír BLÍŽKOVSKÝ
against the Czech Republic
The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting on 18 October 2005 as a Chamber composed of:
Mr J.-P. Costa, President,
Mr A.B. Baka,
Mr R. Türmen,
Mr K. Jungwiert,
Mr M. Ugrekhelidze,
Mrs A. Mularoni,
Mrs E. Fura-Sandström, judges,
and Mrs S. Dollé, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 4 August 2003,
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 regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government and the observations in reply submitted by the applicant,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Bohumír Blížkovský, is a Czech national, who was born in 1920 and lives in Brno. He is represented before the Court by Mrs R. Volná, a lawyer practising in Brno. The Government is represented by their Agent, Mr. V.A. Schorm, Ministry of Justice.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
On 26 March 1992 the applicant and his sister lodged an action for the restitution of certain property with the Brno-venkov District Court (okresní soud).
On 7 December 1992 the court appointed an expert who drew up his opinion on 3 February 1993.
In the meantime, on 25 January 1993, the applicant modified his and his sister’s action.
On 25 February 1993 a hearing was held before the District Court. On 3 March 1993 the applicant again modified the restitution action.
On 13 September 1993 the court decided that two further persons would be considered as defendants in the proceedings.
An audit expert, who had been appointed on 11 February 1994, submitted his opinion on 12 April 1994.
On 24 September 1994 the applicant’s sister died.
On 30 September 1994 a third expert opinion was drawn up.
On 23 June 1995 the applicant informed the court that he was the only successor to his late sister’s estate. On 1 September 1995 the applicant suggested a further modification of his restitution action.
On 5 September 1995 a hearing was held before the District Court. The next day, the court appointed an expert in order to elaborate a geometrical plan. The expert submitted his report on 5 June 1996.
On 27 June 1996 the applicant modified his action anew.
On 9 August 1996 the proceedings were discontinued in respect of one of the three defendants.
A hearing which was to be held on 22 April 1997 was adjourned, at the applicant’s requests, until 22 July and 26 August 1997 respectively. At a hearing on 14 October 1997 the applicant partly withdrew his action.
On 6 January 1998 the District Court decided that another person would join the proceedings. The same day, it partly discontinued the proceedings. On 29 September 1998 the court, having held a hearing on 21 April 1998, dismissed the applicant’s action.
On 4 April 2002 the Brno Regional Court (krajský soud), upon the applicant’s appeal of 16 November 1998, quashed the lower court’s judgment and remitted the case. Its decision was notified to the parties on 24 June 2002. At the same time, the applicant’s representative was invited to clarify his client’s action.
On 3 December 2002 the District Court, having held a hearing on 24 September 2002, again rejected the applicant’s case.
On 30 May 2003 the Regional Court, upon the applicant’s appeals of 5 December 2002 and 27 January 2003, upheld this decision.
On 15 September 2003 the applicant lodged an appeal on points of law (dovolání) with the Supreme Court (Nejvyšší soud).
On 10 February 2005 the Supreme Court quashed the District and Regional Courts’ decisions of 3 December 2002 and 30 May 2003 respectively, and remitted the case to the District Court for further consideration.
It appears that the proceedings are still pending.
Invoking Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, the applicant originally complained that the proceedings had lasted an unreasonably long time.
The Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I, Vít Schorm, Agent of the Government of the Czech Republic, declare that the Government of the Czech Republic offer to pay 6,200 euros to Bohumír Blížkovský 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 Czech korunas at the rate applicable on the date of payment, 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 the 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 received the following declaration signed by the applicant:
“I, Bohumír Blížkovský, note that the Government of the Czech Republic are prepared to pay me the sum of 6,200 euros 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 Czech korunas at the rate applicable on the date of payment, 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 the Czech Republic in respect of the facts giving rise to this application. I declare that this constitutes a final resolution of the case.”
The Court takes note of the friendly settlement reached between the parties. It finds no special circumstances regarding respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols which require the further examination of the application (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention). Accordingly, the application to the case of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention should be discontinued and the case struck out of the list.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
S. Dollé J.-P.
BLÍŽKOVSKÝ v. THE CZECH REPUBLIC DECISION
BLÍŽKOVSKÝ v. THE CZECH REPUBLIC DECISION