Social & Economic rights

Friday, 22 May 2015

The Constitutional Court Found the Violation of the Right to Trial within a Reasonable Time

The Constitutional Court found that the right to the trial within a reasonable time, which is guaranteed by the Article 32, Paragraph 1 of the Constitution, was violated to R. J. who submitted the constitutional appeal in the administrative procedure for subsequent birth registration conducted before the Directorate for Civil Status and General Affairs of the City of Nis. At the same time, the Constitutional Court decided that the just satisfaction shall be achieved by granting the right to compensation for non-material damage to the applicant in the amount of 700 EUR from the budget of the Ministry of Justice.

Reviewing the acting of administrative bodies and the court in this case, the Constitutional Court assessed that their acting primarily led to the long duration of the disputed procedure. The Constitutional Court found that within seven years, five first-instance decisions and six second-instance decisions were reached in this procedure. Also, three administrative disputes were conducted, the last being initiated in 2013 and still pending. The Constitutional Court also found that the Ministry, being the second-instance body, returned the case four times to the first-instance body for reconsideration. According to the European Court of Human Rights referred to by the Constitutional Court in its decision, the fact that reconsideration of one case is ordered for several times before the lower instance body may, by itself, reveal a serious deficiency in the legal system of the country (see Pavlyulynets v. Ukraina and Cvetković v. Serbia).

The Constitutional Court particularly referred to the importance of the case for the applicant, stressing the indisputable interest of the applicant that a decision is reached within a reasonable time. The Court also reminded that procedures relating to status issues are urgent by nature.

Meanwhile, R. J. has been registered in the birth registry based on the decision reached in the non-contentious procedure determining the date and place of birth. This was made possible by the new legal solution provided by the Law on Amendments to the Law on Non-Contentious Procedure. R. J. obtained his first ID card in June 2014, when he was 43. Up to then, R. J. could not enjoy any right, such as the right to work and the right to social protection, or to conclude marriage and acknowledge paternity of his children.

Praxis has been providing free legal aid to R. J. since 2007, which he needed, as an uneducated beneficiary who lives in deep poverty, in order to to get out of the maze of procedures, which prevented him from exercising the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and international conventions.

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Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action