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New amounts of court costs in Ukraine since the 1st of October 2011

If you can file your lawsuit until the end of October you will save significant amount of court costs. In the nearest future persons who want to or must protect their violated rights in court will be able to save money if they manage to file their claims until the 1st of November. This is due to the fact that on this day the Law of Ukraine “On court fee” enters into force and significantly increases amounts of court costs. We prepared a legal advice on this isssue.

Without any doubt adoption of the law has positive aspects. They include long awaited regulation of the issue by the law (this was awaited for several years) and cancelation of payment for informational and technical support of court procedure. But mostly such payment was included in the amount of court fee.

What should we expect? First of calculation of court fee from now on depends on the minimum wage (as of the 1st of January of the year when fee is to be paid). It ceased to “exploit” good old untaxed minimum of citizens’ income, it has not been changed since the September of 1996 (!). Thus, limits of court fee amount will be changed yearly along with change of minimum wage so from now on not everybody will be happy when the value of this economical index increases.

The fee regarding property lawsuits in civil proceedings will remain in the amount of 1 percent of the recovery amount. However while previously amounts of fee could not exceed limits from 51 UAH to 1700 UAH from now on the minimum rose more than three times and equals 188,2 UAH and maximum – 2823 UAH. Same 1 percent of property related claims remains in administrative proceedings and maximal limit rose from 1700 UAH to two minimal wages that as of today equal to 1882 UAH.

At the same time the business was not so lucky. From now on rate of fee will be 2 percent instead of 1 and minimal fee for a commercial lawsuit with property related claims cannot be lower than 1411,5 UAH instead of previous minimum of 102 UAH. The maximal amount was raised 56460 UAH but its payment is provided only regarding disputes the amount of which equals to 2,8 million UAH. There will be filed less “fake” lawsuits with claims of such amount because as one can see the risk is significant now. So these particular amendments un-directly protect large business.

Non property related claims will result in increase if court fee by 10 times for all types of proceedings. For example civil proceedings – from 8,5 UAH to 94,1 UAH, commercial proceedings – from 85 to 941 UAH, administrative proceedings – from 3,4 UAH to 28,23 UAH. It seems that the legislator could make such changes even earlier, especially regarding administrative proceedings, but couldn’t make it on time. Endless number of lawsuits to local courts in cases related to Chernobyl and other social issues is long gone. If one counts that during that year each local court, of Kiev region for example, was processing at least 10000 administrative lawsuits of representatives of different vulnerable groups of citizens then this would bring about 280000 UAH to the state budget. And this amount does not include such socially vulnerable groups like Chernobyl retirees of 3rd and 4th categories. General list of socially vulnerable groups was also shortened a bit.

Some more interesting facts. It should be mentioned that from now on a request about application of securement measures in commercial proceeding will cost money – currently it is 1411,5 UAH. Appeals and cassations against decisions of commercial courts will also require payments even though previously lawyers could prove that such payments are not obligatory due to unambiguous wording of the provision. But the legislator made such avoidance impossible: wording “decisions of courts” which despite common mistakes does not include definitions was changed to “court decisions” which includes such. Very slight difference, but it is still not the same thing.

And it should be mentioned about payment of court fee for lawsuits with claims in foreign currency. The law allows to pay the fee only in national currency based on the exchange rate as of the day of payment. So claimants that are non-residents and want to pay (transfer from account) fee in country of their origin will have to find gryvnyas, find out about currency exchange rate in Ukraine and only then pay. It is inconvenient but convenience was not supposed to be taken into consideration.

The conclusion is unambiguous. The legislator is trying to deal with pressure that is put on the judicial branch of government which is independent from it but drowns in cases by means of making services of Themis’ servants more expensive. Probably such understanding of judicial reform deserves to exist. At the same time the goal will be achieved: obviously it will be of no benefit to file endless amount of lawsuits and delays of court proceedings by means of appeals/cassations will also cost a lot.

This material was written by law firm “Pravova Dopomoga”. It is related to service of Legal representation

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