The court proceedings examination of the law suit brought by Anatoly Makarovych Bily and Lidia Ivanivna Bila against the Kryvy Rih Housing Enterprise No. 35 [KHE No. 35] lasted over 6 years.
It all began in October 2003 when KHE No. 35 took the Bily family to court demanding money owned for rent and communal services.
The local communal administration took this step, ignoring all complaints from the residents and not taking into account the fact that in the flat of the Bilys who have 2nd group disability status, for more than 10 years during the winter months the temperature was lower than sanitary norms.
This forced the respondents to lodge a counter claim demanding that KHE provide for normal use of a home.
Just in the first instance court 22 hearings were scheduled, with 10 of these not happening due to the non-appearance of the respondent, KHE No. 35. Then there was the court of appeal, then again the local court, and again the court of appeal.
The only hope remaining was the European Court of Human Rights with the application to this body being drawn up by the Kryvy Rih local branch of the Taras Shevchenko National Prosvita Society which is a member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union.
The applicants complained of the excessive amount of time which the court proceedings took and the lack of an effective national means of legal defence.
Ukraine’s Government acknowledged the facts set out in the application and informed the Court of its intention to pay the Bily family one thousand EUR.
The European Court of Human Rights found the amount of compensation to be fair and warned that if the Government did not hold to the conditions of its unilateral declaration, the application would be reinstated.
The author of this report, the head of the local human rights organization, represented the applicants in their application to the European Court.