On non-enforcement of court rulings

In our “law-based country” a person can quietly and with total impunity ignore the rulings of two courts. And he doesn’t have to be a deputy or oligarch. The judicial-legal system in our country is so “flexible” that it can bend under the wish of any, to put it mildly, swindler.

There are cases in judicial practice which are privately called “trivial”. These include various suits asking for faulty products to be replaced by those of proper quality. You would think this was a basic and simple procedure: the court issues the appropriate ruling and the bailiff service checks that the situation is resolve.

However if the bailiff is slack in carrying out his duties, then the party which lost the court case has nothing to fear. This can be demonstrated with the example of a “simple mortal” who tried to get a faulty balcony door changed.

In the State Bailiffs’ Service of the Shevchenkivsky District in Kyiv the writ was registered in June 2008. Since that time the aggrieved party has been regularly going there to see the specific bailiff, Serhiy Yurpolsky, responsible for the matter. The latter has all the details about the businessman who has been ordered by the court to change the faulty door. At first Mr Yurpolsky promised to deal with it within a month, but pretty soon he stopped doing anything at all. Each visit turned into meaningless talk.

On 4 November 2008, after almost five months, Mr Yurpolsky issued a resolution to return the writ claiming that the respondent was not at the address indicated. No other measures to find the person responsible for changing the door were taken. The claimant had to turn to the court again, and a second court ruling ordered that he receive moral compensation from the person who provided the faulty door. During those court proceedings, information was sought from the Tax Inspectorate which immediately provided all information about the businessman, and mainly the firm’s bank account.
With all these documents a writ from the second court was registered in the same Bailiff Service Office on 7 October 2009. During a meeting with the same bailiff, the claimant demanded that the businessman’s bank account be frozen. However the matter was again dragged out with Bailiff Yurpolsky in no way wanting to freeze the account. He procrastinated quite openly, as if enjoying the situation. Was he playing for time so that the account could be emptied? Who knows, but it is looking as though the second court order will also not be enforced.

The situation is particularly depressing given that the Bailiff Service has received new rights. Significant amendments were made to the Law “On bailiff proceedings” which if properly used, could seriously curb swindlers.

A bailiff has the right, for example, to impose a fine of up to 30 times the minimum wage before tax. If the claimant does not respond to the bailiff’s summons, the police can be called in. Furthermore the bailiff can submit an application to have criminal charges brought. Yet with Ukraine’s State employees, it all remains on paper.

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