Courts in Ukraine can’t even afford envelopes


Ukraine’s courts are in a dangerous financial situation. Specialists believe that there are ways of resolving the problem, and warn that procrastination could have negative impact on Ukraine’s international image.

According to Andriy Bury, specialist on the justice system, people’s constitutional right to court defence is being violated because the State is failing in its duty to ensure this right. Virtually all courts find themselves in a critical situation where there isn’t enough money even to send basic notification about court hearings. “The biggest problem is correspondence and sending letters, stationery, renting premises. There are occasions where court personnel or the judges themselves use their own money for these needs, although by doing so they risk being accused of corruption”, Andriy Bury explains.

Only one fifth of the funding due is coming in

To carry out its work the Lviv Administrative Court of Appeal needs a million UAH, while in the first half of the year only a little over 200 thousand UAH was received, the court’s press secretary Olha Davyd said. She adds that just to send one letter you need more than eight UAH, yet for such postage costs the court is receiving half that amount. The court is more than 70 thousand UAH in debt and this could paralyze its work.

Virtually all courts in Ukraine are in debt. “Due to the lack of money to pay for postage”, - Mr Bury explains, “cases are put off, and the workload is so great that some courts have cases scheduled right up to the end of 2010”.  The paradox is that people pay for court services, including for information and technical provisions, but it is not know where this money goes, he says.

How to improve the situation

He believes that the situation would be considerably improved if these expenses were really directed towards the court’s needs, and if the possibility was also considered of concluding an agreement with the postal service on restructuring the debt or on concessions for letters. In any case the authorities must take measures soon to resolve the situation since procrastination could prompt more applications from disgruntled citizens to the European Court of Human Rights over unreasonable time frames for court examinations, with this harming the country’s reputation.

There have been calls to the Cabinet of Ministers from the Council of Judges and the President to resolve the issue of court funding.

Halyna Stadnyk 

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