The European Court of Human Rights has handed down its judgment in Sarkocy v. Slovak Republic, No. 51334/21, in which the complainant complained about the length of the civil court proceedings. The European Court of Human Rights found a violation of the complainant's right to a trial within a reasonable time, guaranteed by Article 6(1) of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
In July, the complainant brought an action for the protection of his personality before the District Court Bratislava I. In September 2022, the applicant lodged a complaint with the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic on the ground that the proceedings in question, which had been initiated by the action for the protection of personality, had taken an unreasonably long time, thereby violating his rights.
Consequently, a few days after filing his complaint with the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic, the complainant withdrew the action for protection of personality filed with the District Court Bratislava I on the grounds that the action had lost its significance for him after such a long period of time due to the length of the proceedings.
The Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic ruled in April 2021 that the Complainant's right had been violated due to the length of the proceedings. However, it did not grant the applicant's claim for financial compensation. On the ground that the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic considered it fair, following the withdrawal of the action and the Complainant's lack of interest in pursuing the proceedings, to conclude the case with satisfaction in the form of a declaration by the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic that the Complainant's rights had been violated without financial compensation. The complainant subsequently applied to the European Court of Human Rights on the ground of inadequate compensation.
The European Court of Human Rights pointed out that the civil proceedings in question had lasted 6 years and 3 months at two stages of the proceedings without the courts having ruled on the merits of the case. The civil proceedings in question were therefore characterised by considerable delays in the proceedings. The European Court of Human Rights further held that the applicant's withdrawal of the action was logical and considered that, at the time of lodging the constitutional complaint, the applicant still had an interest in expediting the proceedings and could not be blamed for having exercised his procedural right to withdraw the action.
For the reasons given above, the European Court of Human Rights considered the remedy obtained by the applicant at domestic level to be inadequate and awarded the applicant the sum of €2,300 as compensation for the damage and non-pecuniary harm suffered as a result of the violation of his right to a hearing within a reasonable time.
In the light of the foregoing, it should be added that the withdrawal of the action does not affect the infringement of the right to a hearing within a reasonable time and the appropriate compensation in the form of pecuniary damages in respect of the loss and non-pecuniary loss.