Maxim Ali has commented on the adjournment of to identify the defendant in disputes in the housing and utilities sector

Maksim Ali Senior Associate

On September 24, the State Duma of the Russian Federation passed a law until April 2019 delayed the entry into force of provision that allow for the identifying of debtors of overdue payments for utility bills. In accordance with the new rules, when filing statements of claim and applications for court orders, the managers of apartment buildings and utility suppliers are required to indicate the defendant’s identifiers and other personal details. The additional six-month period, according to the lawmakers, will give the government more time to create a mechanism for collecting personal data from individuals.

Head of IP/IT Practice at Maxima Legal, Maxim Ali, noted that the idea of identifying debtors when going to court is controversial, although the goal of the legislator is clear. “There are many cases where the claimant’s inability to identify the defendant has been an artificial restriction on access to justice,” explained Maxim. “For example, one citizen caused damage to the property of another, but the wrongdoer did not have a passport or other documents, and the victim knows only his name and address. How will the claimant be able to find out the rest of the information? Access to tax information online is not possible and find other details requires passport details and a date of birth.”

According to Maxim Ali, in the six-month the problem of collecting data will likely not be solved entirely. “The government, most likely, will be aiming at introducing a mechanism for obtaining citizens’ data as part of dealings to pay for housing services. Therefore, the new mechanism may not affect other consumer relations”, he underlined. Maxim suggested that parties might resort to using various procedural “tricks”, for example, indicate fictitious data and then, using the court, find out the authentic ones.

To read the article in full (in Russian) please see the Advokatskaya Gazeta website >>>