Oleh Bielov vs. Constitutional Court of Ukraine

June 27, 2016

This case was initiated against the refusal of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine to provide the copies of the judges` declarations.

In June 2013, Oleg Bielov has sent a request to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (hereinafter – the CCU) asking for the certified copies of declarations of the former CCU head A. Holovin and his two deputies. The request was rejected due to the confidentiality of information. This refusal was appealed in the court with the legal support of the Fund of protection of the right to access to information.

However, Kyiv District Administrative Court, as well as the court of appeal, has found this refusal to be lawful, mentioning that the copies of the requested documents cannot be given due to confidentiality of the information while the notarial certification of the copies is impossible according to procedures of the notary law.

The claimant has stated those resolutions violated the law on access to information which established that if a part of the document contains confidential information than the other part which is not confidential must be provided on demand.

Since the Law on prevention of corruption restricts only access to registry number of the taxpayer card or series and number of passport as well as the place of residence or registration and location of declared objects all the other data must have been provided by the CCU.

Therefore, all the previous judgments were appealed in the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine but the court left them unchanged.

Justifying its ruling the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine mentioned that since the Law on prevention of corruption established the duty to annually publish the declared data on property, income, expenditures and financial obligations of the CCU head and judges, “the respondent has taken actions to provide transparency and openness of the court`s activities by publishing the existing data on the web-site, and the previous rulings were correct to find no ground to satisfy the requester`s claim”.

This decision directly violated several provisions of the Law on access to public information which provides for a possibility of choice to the person between sending a request and searching for the necessary information on the website. Additionally, there was no link to the corresponding publications attached to the refusal. Furthermore, article 22 of the Law states that the answer of an administrator that the requested information can be received from public sources constitutes an unlawful refusal to provide such an information. Therefore, claimant appealed to the Supreme Court asking it to review the judgement of Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine.  

Nevertheless, the Supreme Court after the revision of the judgments on the unlawful redirection of the claimant to public sources (including officials` declarations), concluded that all of them contained a different factual background and, therefore, there was not a different application of the law in similar cases.

First instance judgement: http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/34203042

Appeal judgement: http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/36926473

Cassation judgment: http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/53244179

Supreme Court judgement: http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/58928590