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Application no. 35062/02
by Željko KARAN
against Slovenia

The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting on 23 November 2006 as a Chamber composed of:

Mr J. Hedigan, President,
Mr B.M. Zupančič,
Mr V. Zagrebelsky,
Mrs A. Gyulumyan,
Mr E. Myjer,
Mrs I. Ziemele,
Mrs I. Berro-Lefevre, judges,
and Mr V. Berger, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 4 September 2002,

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 and the observations in reply submitted by the applicant,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:


The applicant, Mr Željko Karan, is a Croatian national who was born in 1954 and lives in Nedelišče. He was represented before the Court by the Verstovšek lawyers. The Slovenian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr L. Bembič, State Attorney-General.

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

On 20 November 1997 the applicant was injured in an accident at work and broke his elbow. The applicant’s employer had taken out insurance with the insurance company ZT.

On 7 September 1998 the applicant instituted civil proceedings against ZT in the Celje District Court (Okrožno sodišče v Celju) seeking damages in the amount of 4,017,650 Slovenian tolars (approximately 16,750 euros) for the injuries sustained.

On 5 January and 4 October 2000 the applicant requested that a date be set for a hearing.

On 8 November 2000 the applicant lodged preliminary written submissions and adduced evidence.

On 23 November 2000 the court held a hearing and decided to appoint a medical expert.

On 19 January 2001 the court appointed a medical expert to deliver an opinion concerning the applicant’s injuries.

On 16 July 2001 the applicant lodged preliminary written submissions and requested that a date be set for a hearing.

On 2 October 2001 the court held a hearing and decided to deliver a written judgment. The judgment, upholding the applicant’s claim in part, was served on the applicant on 4 December 2001.

On 19 December 2001 the applicant appealed to the Celje Higher Court (Višje sodišče v Celju).

On 23 May 2002 the court dismissed the applicant’s appeal. The judgment was served on the applicant on 8 July 2002.

On 26 July 2002 the applicant lodged an appeal on points of law with the Supreme Court (Vrhovno sodišče) and sought a recusal of one of the judges.

On 13 January 2003 the president of the Supreme Court dismissed the request for a recusal.

On 28 August 2003 the court allowed the appeal on points of law in part and increased the amount of the damages awarded. The judgment was served on the applicant on 9 October 2003.

On 5 November 2003 the applicant requested a correction of the judgment, seeking reimbursement of some costs. The court dismissed the request on 3 December 2003. This decision was served on the applicant on 15 January 2004.


The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that her right to a fair trial was violated by the excessive length of proceedings. In substance, he also complained that about the lack of an effective domestic remedy in respect of the excessive legal proceedings (Article 13 of the Convention).


The applicant complained about the excessive length of the proceedings. He relied on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, which reads as follows:

“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”

In substance, the applicant further complained that the remedies available for excessive legal proceedings in Slovenia were ineffective. He relied on Article 13 of the Convention, which reads as follows:

“Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in [the] Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.”

a) Article 6 § 1

The period to be taken into consideration began on 7 September 1998, the day the applicant instituted proceedings with the Celje District Court, and ended on 15 January 2004, the day the Supreme Court decision was served on the applicant. It therefore lasted five years and four months for three levels of jurisdiction.

The Court reiterates that the reasonableness of the length of proceedings must be assessed in the light of the circumstances of the case and with reference to the following criteria: the complexity of the case, the conduct of the applicant and the relevant authorities and what was at stake for the applicant in the dispute (see, among many other authorities, Frydlender v. France [GC], no. 30979/96, § 43, ECHR 2000-VII).

The Court does not find the domestic proceedings neither factually nor procedurally complex.

The Court acknowledges that the case was of some importance to the applicant and that his conduct in the proceedings did not produce any extraordinary delays in the proceedings.

The above findings notwithstanding, the Court considers that the domestic courts that examined the applicant’s claims in the impugned proceedings processed the case swiftly. The initial delay of over two years and two months, which elapsed between the institution of the proceedings and the first hearing, was compensated for by the speedy examination of the applicant’s appeals in the second- and third-instance court.

Having examined all the material submitted to it, and having regard to its case-law on the subject, the Court considers that in the instant case the length of the proceedings was not excessive and failed to meet the “reasonable-time” requirement. Moreover, in the circumstances of the present case, the overall length of the proceedings still appears to be reasonable (see, e.g., S.I. v. Italy (dec.), no. 49363/99, 1 September 1999).

It follows that the applicant’s complaint is manifestly ill-founded and must be declared inadmissible n accordance with Article 35 §§ 4 and 5 of the Convention.

b) Article 13

The Court recalls that Article 13 requires the State to provide an effective legal remedy to deal with the substance of an “arguable complaint” under the Convention and to grant appropriate relief (see Sürmeli v. Germany [GC], no. 75529/01, § 98, 8 June 2006). Considering that the complaint about the excessive length of the proceedings is inadmissible as manifestly ill-founded, the Court finds that the applicant did not have an arguable claim that his right to an effective remedy within the meaning of Article 13 was violated. Therefore, this claim does not reveal any appearance of violation of this provision.

Accordingly, this complaint is manifestly ill-founded and must be declared inadmissible in the meaning of Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Declares the application inadmissible.

Vincent Berger John Hedigan
Registrar President