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27.09.2017 Institute for Law and Public Policy files an amicus curiae brief in the RCC case on re-examination of final judicial decisions based on rulings of the Supreme Court

On 26 September 2017 the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation (hereinafter – RCC) reviewed the grounds for re-examination of a final judgment, determined in §5(4) of Article 392 the Code of Civil Procedure of the Russian Federation. This provision stipulates that such grounds include changing the practice of applying law in a judgment of the Presidium of the Supreme Court or by a judgment of the Plenary Session of the Supreme Court. The article therefore introduces a closed list of grounds for re-examination of final judgments.

However, the applicants’ cases were reviewed upon several rulings by the Judicial Chamber on Civil Cases of the Supreme Court at the request of the Federal Social Security Service. This led to a significant reduction of social security benefits and services they received from the state.

According to the applicants’ legal position, this provision allows a final and binding judicial decision to be quashed due to the rulings of the Judicial Chamber on Civil Cases of the Supreme Court on similar cases changing the interpretation of legal norms and thus contradicts the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

In the brief submitted to the Court, the Institute focused on analysis of social and historical context of the Russian courts’ case law on re-examination of final judicial decisions based on the ruling of the Judicial Chamber on Civil Cases of the Supreme Court recognized as a new circumstance.

Analysis conducted by the Institute leads to the following conclusions:

Firstly, the final judicial decisions made in disputes to which the State is a party are re-examined almost exclusively in favor of state bodies and state-owned legal entities. As a consequence of such review, citizens lose entitlement for social benefits granted for them previously, and face with the risk of retrospective recalculation of the judicial award already made.

Secondly, the emerging practice of considering the rulings of the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court as a ground for re-examination of the final judicial decision is not compatible with the Constitution of the Russian Federation. Such practice is a new extraordinary judicial procedure used by state organs and institutions in order to avoid the fulfillment of social obligations imposed on them. The quashing of the binding and enforceable decisions does not pursue any legitimate aim. Public interest in the fair distribution of budgetary funds cannot justify retrospective recalculation of social benefits, which were determined in accordance with final judicial decision.

Text of the amicus curiae brief (in Russian).

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