Partial payment of court fees should not interfere with judicial review of a complaint

The Supreme Court, as the panel of judges of the First Judicial Chamber of the Court of Cassation, explained that the court has no right to refuse to accept the application for a reduction in the amount of the court fee, at the same time returning the appeal and declaring it inapplicable.

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Turning the case back to the court of appeal, the Supreme Court said that the provisions of the Articles of the CPC of Ukraine and the Law of Ukraine "On Court Fee" do not contain an exhaustive and well-defined list of documents that can be considered as confirming the property status of a person. Therefore, according to the position of the Armed Forces, the court should, in each case, establish the possibility for an individual to pay a court fee on the basis of evidence provided by her regarding her property status and in her internal conviction. By refusing such petitions, the court must have a clear argument.

Note, in accordance with clause 8 part 3 of Art. 129 of the Constitution, provision of an appeal to a court decision is one of the basic principles of legal proceedings.

In addition, in accordance with the practice of the ECtHR, as well as in accordance with paragraph 1 of Art. 6 of the Convention, States are not obliged to establish appellate or cassation courts. However, if such courts function, access to them should be ensured. In this case, the participants will be able to obtain a decision concerning their "civil rights and obligations" (paragraph 65 of the ECtHR judgment of 10.10.2001 in Hoffman v. Germany, ECtHR judgment of 26.10.2000 in Kudla v. Poland »)

In assessing the financial situation of a person who appeals to a court requesting to be exempted from payment of a court fee, reducing its amount, granting a deferral or installment payment, the national courts must establish the presence of such person real income (wages, scholarships, pensions, profits, etc), movable or immovable property, securities, the possibility of disposing of them without significant deterioration of the financial situation (§44 of the ECtHR judgment of 26.07.2005 in the case of Kniat v. Poland, §§63-64 of the ECtHR judgment of 26.07.2005 in the case of Jedamski an d Jedamska v. Poland).

It should be noted that in the case under consideration, the appellant applied for a reduction of the court fee, to which he added a receipt for payment of the requested amount (referring to the practice of the ECtHR that the payment of a court fee should not impede access to the court).

The Court of Appeal, considering the issue of the possibility of reducing the amount of the fee and considering the evidence provided (wage certificate) insufficient, did not submit the reasons for such a refusal in the application, given that the court fee was partially paid.

The full text of the ruling of the Supreme Court of July 4, 2018 in the civil case No. 686/114/16-ts can be found at the link.