The Court Examined the Constitutionality of Legal Provisions Barring Rulings on Rejecting Debtors’ Claims Against Payment-Order Proceedings From Being Appealed

On 19 March 2019, the Constitutional Court of Moldova delivered a judgment on the plea of unconstitutionality of the text “or orders by a ruling which cannot be appealed for the claims to be rejected” of Article 353 para. (1) of the Civil Procedure Code.

The applicant alleged that the legislative solution whereby judicial rulings on rejecting debtors’ claims against payment-order proceedings cannot be appealed is in breach of the right to a fair trial, it being detrimental to debtor’s rights.

The Court’s assessment

The Court considered the case in light of Articles 20 [free access to justice] and 46 [the right to private property and its protection] of the Constitution and, correspondingly, Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights and Article 1 of Protocol no. 1 to the Convention.

The Court found that the challenged legal provisions aimed at addressing the courts’ workload and resource savings. The means chosen to achieve this aim is  to bar the judicial ruling on rejecting debtors’ claims against payment-order proceedings from being appealed. The Court balanced the importance of challenging such rulings by the debtor and the social importance of the public interest pursued in ruling out such appeals.

Assessing the state of things prior to adopting the challenged provisions, the Court found that appeals against rulings that rejected debtor’s claims were an effective remedy in defending his right to property. Furthermore, the Court indicated cases from the judicial practice where the courts declared admissible such appeals, accepted debtor’s claims and have struck off judicial orders.

Where doubts are cast as to the existence of a dispute, the case cannot be settled in payment-order proceedings, a procedure which could be examined by administrative courts, a procedure providing all the safeguards inherent to the right to a fair trial. The Court considered it reasonable and justified for an effective remedy being put in place, that allowed challenges against judicial rulings rejecting debtor’s claims. Thereby it provided for a review procedure on omissions of the judge who issued the order to find the existence of a dispute between the creditor and debtor.

Accordingly, the Court noted that the renunciation of appeals against rulings rejecting claims in payment-order proceedings is disproportionate against the background of the goals pursued and therefore violates Articles 20 and 46 of the Constitution.

The Court’s conclusions

Stemming from the foregoing, the Court declared admissible the plea of unconstitutionality referred upon the request of “Impernial-Com” LTD as party to the case no. 2r-1876/18 pending before the Court of Law of Appeal of Chișinău.

It declared unconstitutional the text “or orders by a ruling which cannot be appealed for the claims to be rejected” of Article 353 para. (1) of the Civil Procedure Code.

This judgment is final, it cannot be appealed, shall enter into force upon the date of adoption and shall be published in the Official Journal of Moldova.

This a courtesy translation of the original text available in Romanian language.

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