Concern over tighter law on enforcing court rulings
From 8 March radical changes have been made to the role of the debtor in court order enforcement. At the end of last year the Verkhovna Rada passed a Law on Amendments to the Law on Court Enforcement Action and some other legislative acts on improving the procedure for mandatory enforcement of court rulings and decisions of other bodies (public officials)”. While human rights activists do not dispute the failings of the previous version, they are concerned by the unwarranted restrictions now introduced to debtors’ constitutional rights.
According to the Minister of Justice, O. Lavrynovych, the previous version made it very easy to avoid paying back the debt since effectively all procedural actions by the bailiffs needed to be agreed with the debtor. Now it is only the court passing the ruing which may decide whether it is possible or not to enforce it.
Well-known lawyer Tetyana Yablonska believes that the measures imposed for influencing a debtor are an infringement of human rights, including as they do a ban on leaving the country on the basis of a court ruling. “That is what happened in Soviet times. In order to hold people liable there are extradition agreements – it’s not so simple to ban a person from moving about”.
She is concerned by the fact that under the new law real estate owned by the debtor can be auctioned off. This could result in people having coveted pieces of land taken from them. The same applies to deferments on putting property up for auction which can be given only by the court. This is, she says, yet another opportunity for court corruption.
She says however that one can only guess for now about the likely consequences of the new law, with much depending on the subordinate acts which will implement the new law. An important question is who will hold the property auctions, and according to what rules and scheme.