Roman Kuybida, Deputy Head of the Centre for Political and Legal Reform, believes that Law No. 9635, just adopted, on Procedure for Court Proceedings makes it possible to ensure possession of property received through dubious court rulings or decisions from administrative bodies, or by criminal means.
He explains that the law makes changes to the Civil Code and procedural laws which significantly reduce the period during which law suits can be appealed, as well as the time limits for reviewing court rulings without the right to have these reinstated by the court.
For example, an agreement aimed at unlawful seizure of State property may now only be challenged within the space of three years, and not 10 as before. The same time limit applies for demanding that the court declare void an agreement reached through the use of violence or deception (against the previous five years).
Previously there was no time limit for demanding the quashing of a legal act issued by a State body or body of local self-government which infringed a person’s property or other material rights. Now there is a time bar of three years.
As far as appealing against court rulings, the authorities and Prosecutor have a year following announcement of the ruling.
The law also prohibits review of court rulings owing to circumstances which have become known if the ruling has been in force more than three years.
“After this every owner will understand that it’s impossible to take it away from him”, the deputy head f the President’s Administration, Andriy Portnov said on 18 November. The law was submitted to parliament on 6 December and although the relevant parliamentary committee only recommended that it be passed in its first reading, it was fully adopted on 20 December
Roman Kuybida is convinced that in fact the law will give a free hand to those involved in illegal seizures and those who use their official position or links with those in power through dubious or criminal deals to obtain property rights to land plots, enterprises’ properties, flats etc.
“There can be no doubt that the President also has an interest in signing this law since then nobody will be able to demand Mezhyhirya [the President’s reported sumptuous residence, occupied by him under at very least unclear circumstances – translator). It is precisely in three years that Yanukovych’s term as President ends”, Mr Kuybida explains.
“At the same time the law creates problems, for examples, for Ukrainian nationals who have worked abroad for years and who, having returned home, discover that all their property has long not belonged to them. The law does not give them a chance to defend their right to the property”.