The Slavic Centre for Law and Justice (SCLJ) – the Russian affiliate of the ACLJ – has won a major victory for churches and the rule of law in an area of the world where churches still face heavy regulation from the state.
The SCLJ won a case before the Constitutional Court of Russia that will help prevent prosecutors from filing frivolous lawsuits against churches and other citizens.
As the SCLJ noted, in Russia, it is critical that “[e]ach action brought against the Church . . . be taken seriously because the law on religious organizations specifies that a religious organization may be dissolved if it ‘repeatedly or grossly’ violated the law.”
Prior to the SCLJ’s victory, prosecutors were allowed to file frivolous lawsuits, force the responding party to proceed through numerous hearings racking up large legal bills, and then voluntarily dismiss the claims while remaining exempt from having to reimburse the responding party for its legal costs. Russian prosecutors frequently took aim at small religious organizations that lacked the ability to financially defend against the charges without the help of pro bono services offered by SCLJ lawyers.
The SCLJ appealed this law on behalf of the Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith in Blagoveschensk, Russia, after a Russian prosecutor, who was trying to make a name for himself, brought five frivolous lawsuits against it.
The Constitutional Court agreed with the SCLJ and held that when a prosecutor voluntarily waives a claim, the responding party, in this case the church, should be reimbursed its legal fees by the State.
This victory is important not only for religious organizations, but for all individuals who fall subject to frivolous or harassing lawsuits. Hopefully, this ruling will deter prosecutors from bringing unsubstantiated lawsuits against religious organizations.
You can read more about this important victory here.
Zimbabwe’s capital city Harare hosts the African Centre for Law & Justice, the ACLJ’s international affiliate in Zimbabwe. To understand the work we have been engaged in throughout 2014, defending Law, Justice, and God-given liberties secured by the constitution, it is important to understand the...
2014 has been a very active, intense, and fruitful year for the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), the ACLJ’s international affiliate in Europe. Based in Strasbourg, France near the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, ECLJ continued advocating for the protection of Human Rights,
The Arab League, through Jordan, is submitting a proposed resolution to the UN Security Council which would, if adopted, call on Israel to withdraw from “all occupied Palestinian territory” by 2017. There are a number of significant problems with such a resolution. First , the resolution would...
From Fox News: The Palestinians are pushing a United Nations resolution that makes stiff demands against Israel and could put the Obama administration in a difficult position should it come to a vote. The draft resolution, which was given to Fox News on Wednesday by a diplomat who wished to remain...