The case in the Russian Constitutional Court on the retroactivity of the new limitation period
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On February 2016 the Russian Constitutional Court (RCC) has officially published the Judgment of 15th February, 2016 No. 3-П on the case concerning the review of constitutionality of the provisions of Section 9 of Article 3 of the Federal Law “On Making Amendments to Subdivisions 4 and 5 of Division I of Section 1 and Article 1153 of Section 3 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation” in connection with the complaint of Ye.V.Pototsky.

The applicant contested constitutionality of Paragraph 2 of Item 2 of Article 200 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation and Section 9 of Article 3 of the Federal Law “On Making Amendments to Subdivisions 4 and 5 of Division I of Section 1 and Article 1153 of Section 3 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation”. The first provision, having been amended in 2013, stipulated that the term of limitation shall not exceed 10 years from the day of emergence of obligations, the term of which fulfilment was not determined by the parties or was determined by the moment of demand. The second norm approved application of this regulation to claims, the terms of laying of which were envisaged by the legislation operating earlier and did not expire prior to 1st September, 2013 (the date when this new law entered into force).

The Institute for Law and Public Policy has prepared a constitutional complaint for the applicant and consulted him after the application was taken by the RCC for substantial review. In the complaint, it was stated that the contested provisions have to be proclaimed not conforming to the Constitution of the Russian Federation since they allow excessive state interference with the freedom of contract and bar creditors from effective remedy.

The subject-matter of consideration. The RCC reviewed only Section 9 of Article 3 of the Federal Law “On Making Amendments to Subdivisions 4 and 5 of Division I of Section 1 and Article 1153 of Section 3 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation” to the extent to which on its ground the question is solved of application to claims, the terms of laying of which were envisaged by the legislation operating earlier and did not expire prior to 1st September, 2013, of the 10-year limitation period.

The RCC stated that the norm of Paragraph 2 of Item 2 of Article 200 of the Civil Code itself did not affected the rights of the applicant, as the courts had dismissed the suit of the applicant due to the transitional provisions. The norm on the preclusive term an obligation’s existence in case if it had not been applied retroactively, would have not infringed the applicant’s rights.

Decision. The Constitutional Court has recognized the provisions contested in this respect as not conforming to the Constitution of the Russian Federation. The said legislative provisions may not be regarded as a ground for application of the norm of Paragraph 2 of Item 2 of Article 200 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation to the claims, the time which fulfilment was not determined or was determined by the moment of demand.

Impact for the applicant. The applicant’s case is to be reviewed in the Court of Tulskaya oblast.


By: Institute for Law and Public Policy

Photo credit: RCC website (http://www.ksrf.ru)