A Dangerous Precedent; the Media Outlet Winning the Case Will Pay for Legal Costs

On September 4, the Cassation Court of Armenia returned the appeal of Naira Khachikyan, the director of the “Ijevan Studia” Ltd and the “Ijevan” TV, concerning June 26 decision of the Civil Appeal Court related to the dispute with the “Ijevani CHSHSH” road-constructing CJSC. Thus, March 22 decision of the court of general jurisdiction of the Tavush marz, which was seriously controversial, got legal force.

We have already written about the controversial decisions of two court instances in our articles entitled “A Court Decision or a Puzzle?” and “The Appeal Court Released a Problematic Decision” (see the “Articles” section of the website www.khosq.am). In fact, the Cassation Court caused a bigger controversy with its approach. It turns out that it’s quite normal that the court makes a decision to reject the claim, but meanwhile it obligates the respondent to pay the legal costs made by the plaintiff. However, according to the legal provisions of Point 1 of Article 73 of the RA Civil Procedure Code, the legal costs are distributed amongst the parties participating in the case in proportion with the satisfied claims.

It’s worth mentioning that upon the request of Naira Khachikyan, the lawyer of the Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression (CPFE), Olga Safaryan was representing the interests of the respondents in the Appeal Court. The appeals introduced by the latter are based on the above mentioned legal provisions. However, the Cassation Court returned the appeal without paying attention to the mentioned legal norm, referring to other articles of the same law.

According to Olga Safaryan, it would be precedential, if the Cassation Court took into production the appeal, examined it and gave its comments for forming a similar approach for courts in such situations. The lawyer’s experience shows that this court instance has a standard approach and returns the appeals without examining them. As a result, court decisions with quite illogical reasoning get legal force.

Anna ALOYAN

CPFE expert

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