Excessive collection barely deprived a pensioner of the money, but this is not the fault of a lawyer
If a person has a place to live and he/she does not starve, then, apparently, the court fee may be paid. And if the person does not pay, then the case is either not so important, or the person simply does not want to invest money in justice.
A year ago, a pensioner appealed against the management of the Pension Fund to the Severodonetsk City Court of the Luhansk region. The case was registered, and it went to Igor Yuzefovich.
The case is that a woman had not received a pension for more than a year. She lived in Luhansk, but because of the war she was forced to leave her home and move to relatives in Severodonetsk. There she was registered as an internally displaced person and applied to the local branch of the PFU for transferring funds to the card account. At a new place of life, relatives provided the citizen with everything needed, and she planned to use the card account as a savings one.
In June 2017, the pensioner was on the breadline and called the bank to find out how much money is in the account. What was the disappointment of the woman when she discovered that the card was empty. She received her last pension payment in March 2016.
When the citizen claimed to the management of PFU, it revealed that the fund was not able to confirm the place of her actual residence, therefore no money was received. She had to go to the court. Since the woman did not receive the pension, she applied for exemption from payment of a court fee due to the difficult material circumstances.
However, I. Yuzefovich did not show sympathy for the refugee and refused the appeal. The claim was left without motion, setting a 5-day deadline for payment of the fee. The decree states that the court does not believe in the plaintiff’s difficult material situation.
The pensioner decided to appeal the decision, but she did not receive an access to the appellate instance too. The ground for this again was the lack of funds to pay the court fee. The courts (firstly, the Donetsk Administrative Appeal, then the Supreme Administrative Court) did not satisfy the petition for exemption from payment of the fee of 640 UAH.
After that, I. Yuzefovich returned the claim, so he did not consider it.
The woman complained to the High Council of Justice. The third disciplinary chamber supported the plaintiff and revealed in the actions of a judge who rejected the citizen in justice, signs of a disciplinary offense. After all, a woman was deprived of a single income – a pension, which is why she called upon the Themis.
The European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly emphasized that the requirement to pay a court fee should not restrict the applicants’ right to access to justice. The amount of money must be reasonable, that is, take into account the applicant’s financial situation. An unjustifiably large amount of tax, calculated on the basis of a certain percentage of the amount under consideration, can be regarded as disproportionately restricting the right to access to justice.
- Yuzefovich received a warning for such actions. However, he challenged such a decision.
The complainant did not appear at the meeting of the HCJ. However, Anatoliy Miroshnychenko, who was the speaker at the disciplinary chamber session, made a speech in defense of the penalty. “There are very few cases in which I am not only confident in the legitimacy of the decision, but also in obvious justice,” he persuaded colleagues. – This decision is correct, and it has affected the negative practice that has begun to emerge in the courts as regards non-admission to justice in “pension” cases”.
There were no documents attached to the court decree that would allow to consider that the pension was paid. The judge substantiated his refusal to satisfy the petition with the argument that the woman did not bring the certificate on the composition of the family and statements from the account.
“The very fact that the court said “there is no document testifying to the state of affairs of the woman” indicates the unfairness of the judge. At the same time, there were given no assessment of the information in the decision, – A. Miroshnichenko convinced. – What did the plaintiff have to do to access the justice? It is very difficult to prove the absence of something “.
According to the member of the Council it is a dangerous practice to demand new references every time. After all, if a pensioner provided a certificate of family composition, the judge could, for example, demand evidence that she had no savings hidden under the mattress. And how to prove it, who should give such a document? This is the way to nowhere, the representative of the HCJ is sure.
In his opinion, the injustice of Y. Yuzefovich is obvious. Of course, a pensioner may apply for a retrial, which she did, and defend her right to a pension. “It is very unfortunate that in this situation, unfortunately, the state has done a bit uneasy – both on the part of the PFU and on the part of the court. A person has earned a pension, and for his own retirement must sue, compelled to pay a substantial court fee. Incidentally, from the materials of the case you can find out that the pension is very small and 640 UAH. – this is a significant amount for this woman “, – summed up A. Myroshnichenko his thoughts.
However, his words did not convince his colleagues. Why did the sum of the pensioner was so large, the lawyers did not understand? After a long meeting, they decided to close the proceedings concerning I. Yuzefovich.
It remains to be hoped that the very fact of the possibility of punishment for denial of access to justice will force other ministers of Themis with a greater understanding of the situation in which Ukrainians appeared. After all, it is not only that the state authorities are trying to save on the most vulnerable groups of the population, but also courts shut the door before them. And when, if not in such situations, the rulers of the mantle should confirm their authority as branches of power, protecting every citizen?