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Condemned in absentia without notifying

Chuhuiv human rights defenders achieved cancellation of a default judgment in relation to the citizen, who was reported on the hearing at the address where he... did not live.

On 15 February 2016 Chuhuiv city court of the Kharkiv region adopted a default judgment in a civil case on the suit of JSC "Kharkovoblenergo" against Myron S.* about collecting the cost of the electric energy that was not taken into account due to the alleged breach of the "Rules of use of electricity for the population." According to the decision, the plaintiff's claims were satisfied in full.

Everything would be ok, if not one detail: the matter is that the action against the defendant, according to article 109 of the CPC, had to be sent to his place of residence (in Lviv region), about what he submitted the corresponding petition to court.

Myron’s parents' home is located in Chuhuiv, but nobody lives there. He visited it for several times a year and during one of these visits he found the notice about the power outages and calls in the court. Therefore, the defendant received the default judgment only on 13.09.2016 by contacting the office of the court, and then had the opportunity to read it. He was not informed of the hearing of the case properly, so his rights were violated.

Faced with this legal problem, Myron S. turned to the Center for the Integration of primary and secondary free legal aid at the level of territorial communities and Pecheneg and Chuhuiv districts of the Kharkiv region, which works on the basis of the Chuhuiv human rights group. Human rights activists found out that the improper notice to the defendant of the time and place of the hearing had led to the violation of his right to awareness about the circumstances of the proceedings, he was deprived of the opportunity to provide the court with his explanation, to request to call witnesses, etc. In addition, the plaintiff had, according to the "Rules of use of electricity for the population," to notify the defendant of the time and date of the next meeting of the relevant Committee for the review of the act of the identified violation, but this was not done.

Lawyers of Chuhuiv local centers of free secondary legal aid represented interests of the defendant in court. At the hearing it appeared that the judge K., opening the proceedings, in violation of article 122 of CPC of Ukraine, had not appealed to the relevant authorities concerning the provision of information on the registered place of residence (stay) of the defendant.

Given that according to the article 232 of CPC of Ukraine, the default judgment is subject to cancellation, if it is determined that the defendant failed to appear at the hearing and was not informed about the reasons for non-attendance for valid reasons and proof to which it refers, are essential to the proper resolution of the case, the court decided to cancel the default judgment of Chuhuiv city court of Kharkiv region dated 15.02.2016 and transfer the civil matter to the appropriate district court of the Lviv region.

*Name is changed for ethical reasons.

Reference
The Center for the integration of primary and secondary free legal aid works on the basis of the Chuhuiv human rights group with the support of International Renaissance Foundation in the framework of the project "Quality and Accessible Legal Aid in Ukraine" implemented by the Canadian Bureau of International Education with the support from the Government of Canada.

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