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«Hostel» victory: people fought for their right for housing
  • Written by Olena Orlova, IRC “Legal Space”
  • Published in  News
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Lviv court of appeal ruled in favor of hostel’s residents Lviv court of appeal ruled in favor of hostel’s residents

Common efforts of “Legal Space” portal and its partners – lawyers, journalists, public activists – have finally shown results. Court hearings which lasted for years between hostel’s residents and private enterprise, resulted in ruling in favor of residents. More than 500 people fought for their rights in Lviv court of appeal via Pro Bono system.

Since December 2014, “Legal Space” supported the case, informed about court proceeding and asked partners to turn attention of professionals, media and community to it in order to ensure fair trial.

As a reminder, in 1990-s, “Patent” enterprise decided to privatize the house where more than 500 people lived. 9-storeyed building with 126 apartments, at 50, Dzhambul St. is one of the highest-density populated houses in Uzhgorod: more than 500 people of legal age live there, not including children. For more than 14 years, the hostel constructed by 4 local enterprises and the executive committee, was the subject of constant arguments between its inhabitants and private enterprise.

In January 2015, the court hearing ended up with victory of residents: court agreed that the house belongs to the state. However, “Patent” did not agree and filed an appeal to Lviv court of appeal – people risked losing their housing again.

Lviv people did not stay indifferent. Specialists from Lviv consulting company Advice group decided to help people. Legal services were provided Pro Bono, voluntarily and free of charge.

As a result, Lviv court of appeal ruled in favor of residents of the hostel. Sofiya Kovach, the lawyer of Advice Group defended residents’ rights that day. “Hostel” case has become the first Pro Bono case for her.

- It was important for me to support and help people. This is a big social responsibility, - Sofiya says. – Especially in this case, when the lawyers of private enterprise could extend the hearings. As a result, our arguments were stronger and more convincing – and we won.

Activist of housing committee of the hostel Olena Yuryshynets is very satisfied with the results, as well as her neighbors who have been fighting for their rights for years.

-We are grateful to everyone who helped to solve our problem, - Ms. Olena says. – All lawyers who helped us free of charge studied the case very attentively. Though these people didn’t know all the nuances of the case. We witnessed how these professionals wanted to help us. Judges took us very seriously due to the professionalism of our lawyers. We worried, but specialists gave us confidence.

People were tired of all courts but they understood that the result was well worth it. It was achieved due to common efforts of residents, “Right sector”, media and lawyers who provided Pro Bono legal aid, which is the successful example of social responsibility of business.

Reference
Pro Bono (from Latin pro bono publico – for common good) is free and voluntary provision of legal services, especially for those people who do not have money to pay for such services. Pro Bono board is a communication platform for cooperation of board’s partners and those citizens who are unable to pay for legal aid. In order to obtain legal aid, you should fill in the form on Pro Bono board website or get consultations via phone: +38 (044) 361 38 33.

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