Judicial Authorities’ Days of Service or How to Avoid Mockery at Courts
This legal consultation is primary addressed to people, who scarcely consult lawyers or do not use legal services at all.
What is the present situation concerning questions of reception of citizens, their applications and claims or obtaining decisions?
In most cases judicial authorities’ days of service do not match the working hours of the courts and differ from court to court.
Moreover reception hours of each court registries may also differ.
The hours of service and reception days of the procedural documents copies issuance, documents acceptance and familiarization with materials of case are also diverse.
In connection with this, the following question arises: how may one identify a “non-servicing day” when it is nearly impossible to get on the phone with the court and when not every person has an access to the Internet and whether it makes sense?
The general order of the persons’ rights realization in the form of applying to court is provided by appropriate codified documents - Procedure Codes and the Law of Ukraine "On the Judicial System and Status of Judges".
Each of the codified documents guarantees the right to appeal to the courts by submitting applications, petitions, obtaining necessary information etc. without limitation of these rights by determination of certain working days and hours of courts.
Whereas in accordance with the provisions of the Article 19 of the Constitution of Ukraine judges and court personnel are obliged to act only on the basis, within the powers and in the manner, which are envisaged by the Constitution of Ukraine and laws of Ukraine.
Nevertheless none of the laws of Ukraine does not entitle court personnel to set personal schedule of the citizens’ reception and issuing of procedural documents.
Thereby, all courts of Ukraine are obliged to accept and issue procedural documents and provide an opportunity to review the case during all working hours on all working days.
Unfortunately, the rejection of court registry staff (or "citizens reception department," as sometimes court personnel call themselves) to take the document, provide information, etc. referring to the “non-servicing day” is a usual situation!!! The rejection is often accompanied by rudeness and humiliation!
The minority of people attempt to assert their rights and legal interests in the mentioned above situation due to their passivity and fear of the judicial structure.
What should ordinary and unprotected people do in this situation when facing the expiring procedural terms?
First of all you should realize that the employees of government agencies, including judicial, are not gods, they are only personnel that act under labor legislation.
It is a common situation, when court registry staff refuse to accept, issue the documents, etc., referring to "internal instructions" which they deem to be the documents that set the internal labor schedule and “non-servicing days”.
The internal instructions, regulations and other similar documents are made to organize the court staff work and may not limit rights of citizens, which are guaranteed by legislation, in particular the rights, which are envisaged by the codified acts.
The mentioned internal documents, which establish the internal labor schedule of the court, shall comply with law. In other words such documents may not violate the right to go to court.
The procedural codes of Ukraine provide the individuals’ rights to apply to court, file the petitions, etc. and obtain necessary information. The aforementioned codes do not set limits on the "servicing hours of the court". Due to the mentioned fact establishment of "servicing and non-servicing days of the court” under the internal labor schedule of the court reflects a serious violation of the rights and legal interests of citizens. The possibility to go to courts should be provided for each person during the whole working day of the court!
The “non-servicing days of the court” are typical for almost all courts within Ukraine and this may be considered as an evidence of the complete arbitrariness!!!
As for the court registry staff rudeness, which follows the explanation of the “legally established non-servicing days of the court”, it is also the violation of the law. In accordance with the provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On Public Service” and Order of the Ukrainian national state service agency “On Approval of the General Rules of ethical conduct of state employees and local officials” dated August 05, 2016 No 158, the court registry staff are the public officials and public sector workers so that they shall behave tolerantly, restrained, not shout at people, respect the rights and legal interests of individuals who turn to them, avoid conduct and expressions that discredit the structure in which they work.
The majority of court registry staff does not adhere to the requirements that apply to public servants.
In what way the abovementioned phenomena can be eliminated?!
First and foremost, you should not keep these violations in silence and be tolerant to it. This kind of violations is caused by your indifference. Maximum response to this situation at court is the outrage and complaints over the authorities.
You should act to overcome windy populism. To start with you should make complaints and claims against court registry staff in order to "stir up" an ossified system.
The rule that “public authorities should act only within the limits that are established by law” should be captured in memory. There is no law of Ukraine that provides, for example, that the individual may ask the court to issue the duly certified copy of the court decision only on Monday or Wednesday. In accordance with the provisions of the Article 21 of the Constitution of Ukraine the aforementioned individual right to implement the protection of legitimate interests by applying to court is immutable and may not be limited by any internal labor regulations.
Managing Partner of the Law Firm "FOX" Vladimir Marinich