- November 11, 2011
To whom is the decision on dual street names addressed?
On the 8th of July 2011, the Supreme Administrative Court on behalf of the Republic of Lithuania ruled on signposts and plates with names of streets that do not meet the requirements of the Law on State Language. Recently, the question of the entity liable for the execution of the judgment raises a lot of controversy.
The representative of government in Vilnius district requested changing signposts with street names that do not meet the requirements of the Law on State Language. The court of first instance ordered the local administration to implementation of the request of the applicant, and the appellate court found it reasonable and enforceable. The decision came into force and should be implemented.
In accordance with the 642nd Article of the Code of Civil Procedure, the court’s decision should be enforced by those who are indicated in the enforcement order – by people covered by the decision. In this case, according to the Foundation, the local administration of the Vilnius region is the only addressee of the Supreme Administrative court’s judgment of the 8th of July 2011 about the unlawfully placed bilingual topographical names in Vilnius district.
According to the Foundation, the administrative decision, which was considered by the Supreme Administrative Court, applies only to properties (houses, buildings etc.) that are subordinate to local government, not including the private ones. Both the administrative decision and the judgment of the court (the 8th Article of the Public Management Act) should apply to each owner individually and relate specifically to designated buildings, and include an indication that the law has been violated (it should have concrete and individual character).
In view of the emerging media reports about bailiffs coming to the inhabitants of the Vilnius region and about threats of criminal sanctions towards them, the European Foundation for Human Rights believes that the judgment of the Supreme Administrative court interpreted in such a way affects individual owners of private properties, which means that the decision of the 8th of July 2011 covers all similar situation and is directed to an unlimited group of people (so it’s abstract and universal). Such an interpretation would mean undermining the legal rules and it would be contrary to the 6th article of the Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which is applicable in Lithuania and guarantees the right to a fair trial. Such an interpretation would also be inconsistent with the 97th article of the Code of Administrative Procedure, proclaiming that the ruling that came into force is to be performed by an entity whose actions or failures are challenged.
In accordance with the 586th article of the Code of Civil Procedure, the basis of enforcement actions is enforcement order (vykdomasis raštas) held by the biliff (antstolis). Without such an enforcement order, issued only by judicial decision, the bailiff or the other officer has no right to undertake any enforcement action.
According to the 648th article of the Code of Civil Procedure, the enforcement order shall contain:
a) the name of the court and the name of the judge who issued the decision and the date of its adoption;
b) the case in which decision has been made, to what is it related and to whom is it addressed;
c) the name of the court, the name of the judge who issued the enforcement order, and the date of its adoption;
d) the period within which a decision has come into force;
e) the exact name of the debtor and debt collector, their address, the PESEL numbers (asmens kodas) or REGON numbers (įmonės kodas), and other identification data.
The bailiff has the right to enter the debtor’s property without his permission only if provided for under the enforcement order. Please note that the 592nd article of the Code of Civil Procedures provides the time frame within which the enforcement can take place – not earlier than 6:00 am and not later than 10:00 pm (on weekdays). The exception is an urgent matter of execution. The legitimacy of the bailiff’s actions is overseen by the district court judge in whose territory the bailiff acts. The same provision provides for the right to an interpreter (in the case of the lack of knowledge of the state language) – then one should request in writing to the bailiff.
It should be emphatically stressed that the court may impose obligations in its judgment only on those, who were party to the proceedings. Only such a person must enforce the judgment and be subject to the court bailiff. Therefore, the court’s decision does not apply to those, who were not parties to the dispute and, therefore, they have no legal obligation to implement such a decision.
It is worth mentioning that an alternative way of marking streets in the Polish language is to create the name by painting the wall facing the street. It means that the street name is painted in large letters on the wall of the house, which brings an informational message and makes a certain way of home decoration.
The European Foundation for Human Rights
www.efhr.eu, e-mail: email@example.com
Tłumaczenie Ewelina Zarembska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Ewelina Zarembska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.