Last Updated on September 21, 2023 by LawEuro

The applicant complained of the excessive length of civil proceedings, which it had initiated with several other plaintiffs on 15 July 2014 before the Trnava District Court (‘the District Court’), seeking to have a lease agreement declared null and void.

(Application no. 51217/21)
21 September 2023

This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.

In the case of Poľnohospodárske družstvo Dechtice v. Slovakia,

The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Krzysztof Wojtyczek, President,
Lətif Hüseynov,
Ivana Jelić, judges,
and Viktoriya Maradudina, Acting Deputy Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 31 August 2023,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:


1. The case originated in an application against Slovakia lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) on 14 October 2021.

2. The applicant cooperative (“the applicant”), registered in Slovakia, was represented by Mr O. Urban, a lawyer practising in Bratislava, until 11 April 2023 when the latter was no longer authorised to act as a representative in any present and future cases before the Court, under Rule 44D §§ 1 and 2 of the Rules of Court.

3. The Slovak Government (“the Government”) were given notice of the application.


4. The applicant’s details and information relevant to the application are set out in the appended table.

5. The applicant complained of the excessive length of civil proceedings, which it had initiated with several other plaintiffs on 15 July 2014 before the Trnava District Court (‘the District Court’), seeking to have a lease agreement declared null and void.

6. On 7 February 2018 the District Court delivered its judgment, against which the parties appealed. On 1 August 2019 the District Court submitted the case file to the Trnava Regional Court (‘the Regional Court’).

7. On 4 September 2019 the Regional Court quashed the decision of the District Court and remitted the case for further proceedings.

8. The proceedings before the District Court had been stayed once upon the parties’ request referring to the out‑of‑court negotiations, and twice on account of inheritance proceedings following the death of two plaintiffs, respectively: (i) from 19 January to 24 October 2017, when the District Court decided on the plaintiffs’ request to resume the proceedings, (ii) from 3 December 2019 until 20 August 2020, and (iii) from 4 September 2020 until 10 September 2021.

9. On 26 August 2021 the Constitutional Court found a violation of the applicant’s right to a trial within a reasonable time in the proceedings before the District Court, ordered it to act without further delay and awarded the applicant 500 euros (EUR) in just satisfaction (III. ÚS 225/2021). In this regard the Constitutional Court took into account, inter alia, that the applicant had not contributed to the overall length of the proceedings, and that on account of out-of-court negotiations, and subsequently the death of the two plaintiffs, the impugned proceedings had to be stayed for a total of approximately one year and six months. It further considered that the District Court had delayed the proceedings by its inefficient conduct, among other instances, when on 24 October 2017 it resumed the proceedings, having ruled on the request four months after the plaintiffs had asked to continue with the proceedings.

10. In March 2022 the proceedings were pending before the District Court.



11. The applicant complained that the length of the civil proceedings in question had been incompatible with the “reasonable time” requirement. It relied on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.

12. The Government submitted that the period when the proceedings before the District Court had been stayed should be subtracted from the total length of the impugned proceedings. They further asserted that, given the express acknowledgement of the violation of the applicant’s right to a hearing within a reasonable time, the order to act without delays and the amount of just satisfaction awarded by the Constitutional Court (see paragraph 9 above), the applicant had lost its victim status.

13. The Court observes that the applicant was awarded EUR 500 in respect of just satisfaction. Having considered the length of the proceedings examined by the Constitutional Court, the periods when they had been stayed (see paragraph 8 above), the identified delays (see paragraph 9 above), the fact that they were not particularly complex and that the applicant did not contribute to the overall length, the Court finds that the above amount cannot be considered as sufficient according to the Court’s case-law (see Scordino v. Italy (no. 1) [GC], no. 36813/97, §§ 205-06 and 214-15, ECHR 2006‑V). The applicant can accordingly still claim to be a victim of a breach of the “reasonable time” requirement, which is why the Court is called to examine the entire length of the impugned proceedings, including the period following the Constitutional Court’s judgment of 26 August 2021.

14. 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 Frydlender v. France [GC], no. 30979/96, § 43, ECHR 2000-VII).

15. In the leading case of Obluk v. Slovakia (no. 69484/01, 20 September 2006), the Court has already found a violation of Article 6 of the Convention given the excessive length of the proceedings.

16. Having examined all the material submitted to it, the Court has not found any fact or argument capable of justifying the overall length of the proceedings at the national level. Having regard to its case-law on the subject, the Court considers that in the instant case the length of the proceedings was excessive and failed to meet the “reasonable time” requirement.

17. These complaints are therefore admissible and disclose a breach of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.


18. Article 41 of the Convention provides:

“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”

19. Regard being had to the documents in its possession and to its case‑law (see, in particular, Obluk, cited above), the Court considers it reasonable to award the sums indicated in the appended table.


1. Declares the application admissible;

2. Holds that this application discloses a breach of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention concerning the excessive length of civil proceedings;

3. Holds

(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months, the amounts indicated in the appended table;

(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amounts at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points.

Done in English, and notified in writing on 21 September 2023, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

Viktoriya Maradudina                   Krzysztof Wojtyczek
Acting Deputy Registrar                     President


Application raising complaints under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention
(excessive length of civil proceedings)

Application no.

Date of introduction

Applicant’s name

Year of registration

Start of proceedings End of proceedings Total length

Levels of jurisdiction

Domestic court

File number

Domestic award

(in euros)

Amount awarded for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage per applicant

(in euros)[1]

Amount awarded for costs and expenses per application

(in euros)[2]













More than 6 years, 5 months and 20 days

2 levels of jurisdiction

Constitutional Court

III. US 225/2021


1,800 250

[1] Plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicant.

[2] Plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicant.

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