We, representatives of NGOs of Ukraine, have signed this Memorandum with the aim of conducting a joint advocacy campaign for the reduction of court fees and the abolition of advance payment in the executive proceedings on access to public information.
Our goal is to make access to public information as an active tool in journalistic activity.
An obstacle to achieving this goal had become the amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On Court Fee”, adopted in September 2015, that effectively blocked the opportunity for many journalists and NGOs to challenge poor responses of public information owners in court. The situation gets even more complicated, because of the requirements of the Law of Ukraine “On Execution Procedure” (paragraph 1, part 2 of Article 26) concerning the payment of advance deposit for the beginning of the procedure of forced execution of court decision.
The increase in court fees for individuals (currently it is 640 UAH) and for legal entities (currently it is 1600 UAH), when filing an administrative claim, became a significant barrier to civil activists and journalists, who are trying to defend their right to public information in court. The high cost of compulsory enforcement proceedings in cases on access where the debtor is a legal entity (6400 UAH) complicates the problem even more.
The problem in small towns and cities, where the income is low, is particularly acute.
It is important also that civil activists and journalists, when filing claims of violation of the Law “On Access to Public Information”, protect not only their personal right but also provide the right to receive and transfer information without the interference of authorities freely. High court fee and advance deposit for access to public information impede the implementation of the following rights:
– the right of access to court (to challenge decisions, actions or omissions of public information owners in court);
– the right to freely collect, store, use and disseminate information;
– the right to participate in public affairs.
Under this Memorandum, we are committed to acting consistently and transparently to achieve a common goal – to reduce court fees in administrative courts and to abolish advance deposit in the executive proceedings on access to public information.
This Memorandum is open for signing by other NGOs.
The Institute of Mass Information
The Regional Press Development Institute
The Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law
Human Rights Platform
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Freedom House Ukraine