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30.06.2017 The webinar entitled The Judgement of the Constitutional Court in the Case of Alexander Dubovets: Standards of Defense for the Rights of Good-Faith Purchasers of Real Estate was held on June 29, 2017

On June 29, 2017, a webinar entitled The Judgement of the Constitutional Court in the Case of Alexander Dubovets:  Standards of Defense for the Rights of Good-Faith Purchasers of Real Estate was held. The event took place as part of a series of webinars on Modern Constitutional and International Justice and will be organized as part of the project on Enhancing Civic Engagement in Strategic Constitutional Litigation in Russia.

The webinar was attended by 38 people from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Vladimir, Kaluga, Simferopol, Krasnoyarsk, Velikiy Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Ekaterinburg, Voronezh, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Armavir. Among them were attorneys (15), NGOs lawyers and employees (5), corporate lawyers (12)? representatives of the academic community (12) and others.

The webinar was hosted by Olga Podoplelova, a senior lawyer at the Institute for Law and Public Policy, and Ilias Vakhitov, director of the Inter-Regional Center of Legal Help, and Svetlana Gladysheva, an expert analyst at the Center of Housing and Housing Rights Protection.

The hosts of the webinar analyzed the Constitutional Court’s Judgement No. 16-P from June 22, 2017, regarding the constitutionality of Article 302.1 of the Russian Civil Code.

About Dubovets’ case:

Dubovets’ complaint concerned Article 302.1 of Russia’s Civil Code.  According to this statute, the owner of property has the right to require the property from a good-faith purchaser if (a) the property was lost by the owner or by an individual to whom the owner transferred possession, or (b) the property was stolen from either of these individuals, or (c) the property was otherwise removed from their possession against their will.  On the basis of this statute, an apartment that Dubovets purchased in good faith back in 2008 was seized by the City of Moscow in 2015.  This apartment previously belonged to a resident of Moscow who died intestate in 1994.  The government organ that was supposed to assume ownership of the apartment as escheated property did not take any action either to identify the apartment or to register the apartment as its property for an extended period of time.  As a result of the inaction of the government organ, the apartment was fraudulently acquired by a third party.  Dubovets became the final purchaser after a series of transactions including the apartment.

The Constitutional Court held that Article 302.1 of Russia’s Civil Code is inconsistent with the Russian Constitution in as much as the statute allows government organizations that have failed to take action in identifying residential property and obtaining the rights thereto to seize the residential property from a good-faith purchaser who relied on the Unified State Register of Real Estate and registered the property rights for the acquired real estate.

As a result, Dubovets’ case was remanded for retrial.

The participants of the webinar learnt:

- how did the case of Dubovets develop, and how widespread is the problem of government organs requesting the seizure of apartments from good-faith purchasers?

- how did lawyers develop the arguments for the constitutional complaint, and what risks did they run into?

- what is the relationship between the approaches of the European Court of Human Rights and the Russian Constitutional Court to deciding the problem of seizing apartments from good-faith purchasers?

- what meaning does the Judgement of the Constitutional Court have for the applicant’s case, and what are the possible consequences for legal practice in similar cases?

Materials on this topic:

Full text of Dubovets’ complaint. (in Russian)

A video recording of the Constitutional Court from June 2, 2017, is available on ILPP’s YouTube channel.

See the full list of webinars hosted by ILPP

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The webinar is conducted with support from the European Union

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