Important court victory for passengers’ rights
On Sept. 17 the Kyiv Court of Appeal issued a ruling in favour of passengers inconvenienced over the breakdown of the much-vaunted Hyundai trains. According to Maxim Shcherbatyuk from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union the ruling creates an important precedent since up till now passengers were not even able to prove that they had been on a train which broke down.
Shcherbatyuk, a lawyer for UHHRU, was three hours later because the Hyundai train broke down. He demanded compensation from Ukrainian Railways [Ukrzaliznytsa] for the inconvenience, and also retraction of untruthful advertisements claiming that the trains were reliable.
Together with the law firm Pravochyn, he prepared a law suit against Ukrzaliznytsa over the Hyundai trains’ shoddy services.
In the first instance court, the respondent’s lawyers were able to convince the court that the train ticket was not proof that the person had been on the train. The court decided that any passenger wishing to prove that they had used the train services needed to get a notarized document from the head of the train.
The court of appeal did not agree, and noted that the lack of such a document could not be grounds for refusing compensation since it was not the passenger’s fault that he had not been given the said document.
The court did however reject the claim for moral damages. Shcherbatyuk is planning to appeal this with the High Specialized Court.