The setting of higher court taxes and costs will directly affect the financial situation of litigants and can represent an illegal limitation of the right to justice or will significantly diminish the justice seekers’ possibility of paying court taxes. If the limitation of right to justice for the reason that the court taxes are excessive is ascertained, the Republic of Moldova risks being convicted by the European Court of Human Rights, which will undoubtedly affect the Republic of Moldova’s image at foreign level and will diminish the state budget, said experts of the Center for the Analysis and Prevention of Corruption (CAPC), who analyzed a bill to amend the state tax law, which was proposed by a group of MPs, IPN reports.
According to the informative note to the bill, the goal of the legislative initiative is to carry out the strategy for ensuring the independence and integrity of the justice system for 2022-2025 and the action plan for implementing this and for updating the state taxes and covering the minimum services provided by public institutions. Moreover, to achieve this goal, the authors suggest introducing the stamp tax of 200 lei, which is an additional source of income for the courts’ budget. It is also proposed increasing the state tax rate and eliminating the capping of this.
The sponsors suggest particular exemptions from the state tax. For example, the state tax on the issuing of passports or documents replacing lost papers to Moldovans is excluded. Also, additional taxes are introduced for procedural actions. The legal regime of exemptions from the state tax and of payment delays is to be reviewed.
The CAPC noted the real reasons for drafting a new state tax law are not clear, at least from the informative note. The experts ascertained that the bill wasn’t proposed for public debates in accordance with the law on decision making transparency. This was registered in Parliament on December 27, 2022 and was given a first reading on December 29, in the absence of appraisals, consultations, etc.
There is no analysis of the ECHR practice as regards the guaranteeing of access to justice. The court taxes can help to efficiently administer justice, but can also restrict access to justice.
“The adoption of this bill in the current version cannot be accepted and this draft law should be edited so that it is adjusted to the existing legal framework, the socioeconomic situation in the Republic of Moldova and proposed for public consultations and appropriate assessment,” concluded the experts.