Brief review of the revisions of legislation from january 15, 2019 to january 28, 2019

1 february 2019

Family Law

Marriage to Be Registered at MFCs 

On January 22, the order of the Ministry of Justice allowing Multifunctional Centers to maintain vital records took effect. Now marriage may be registered at any MFC. However, it will take some time to introduce innovations into the activities of MFCs.

An opportunity of filing applications for the state registration of vital records through regional portals of state and municipal services is introduced.

Moreover, the need for submitting documents proving the identity of intending spouses, certifying the termination of any earlier registered marriage, etc., through the uniform portal of state and municipal services together with an application for the conclusion of marriage is excluded.

Marriage and state registration of marriage will be effected one month after the submission of a joint application but no later than 12 months after such submission.

Disputable Issues of Protecting Rights of Babies Born by Surrogate Mothers are Discussed at the Codification Council under the President

As reported by pravo.ru, the Codification Council under the President discussed a draft law on the registration of the fact of birth of babies through reproductive technologies. The conclusion of the discussion is that the draft law does not allow registering a "test-tube baby" if it has a father only, and does not protect clients of a surrogate mother who decides to keep the baby.

Currently, there is a conflict between the provision of the Family Code of the Russian Federation stating that a married couple only may be recorded as parents of a baby born through assisted reproductive technologies and the provision of the Law "On the Fundamentals of Public Health Protection in the Russian Federation." It sets out that any man and any woman, either married or not, and any single woman shall be entitled to reproductive technologies. It turns out that the applicable laws restrict a single man's right to use a surrogate mother's services.

The draft law has no information on ways to register a birth record if a single man is a baby's parent.

The Council considers this to be contrary to the constitutional principle of gender equality. Therefore, when registering a birth record, it was proposed to specify a fictitious person as a mother. However, this may lead to problems when obtaining permission to take a child abroad. The Council recommends that this rule be further developed, possibly introducing a mechanism for issuing an extract from a register, stating that the child has no second legal representative, to a single parent.

One of the most difficult problems in this area is a possibility of revoking a surrogate mother's consent to the transfer of her baby to its parents under a surrogate agreement. The Council proposes to record such consent in the system of registry offices, notaries or any other similar system in order to protect the rights of persons using alternative reproductive technologies.

Proposal to Allow Individuals to Collect Information about Their Genealogical Tree through Notaries

The Uniform State Register of Vital Records has existed since 2018. It contains information, starting from the 20s of the last century. A member of the Chamber of Young Legislators, Anna Shevchenko, proposed to provide individuals with full access to this system to look for their distant relatives and study their genealogical tree.

To date, one may get information in the system through the state services portal about oneself and one's minor children only. All other information is hidden.

It is noted that this initiative requires careful study in order to protect personal data. Therefore, one will need a notary to get such information. According to the comments of the Federal Notarial Chamber, notaries are ready to take an active part in the discussion of this initiative.


Civil Law

Mother of a Disabled Child Recovers Compensation for Moral Damage due to Failure to Carry out Prenatal Screening

A woman has filed a claim to the court to recover compensation for moral damage due to the fact that the defendant's health care professionals did not discover any fetal pathology when carrying our ultrasonic scanning during her pregnancy. The doctors and professionals carrying out ultrasonic scanning for her were incompetent in fetal pathology issues. If these pathologies had been discovered during the woman's pregnancy and reported to her in the period before the 20th week of pregnancy, she could have been able to have an artificial abortion and not to give birth to a handicapped child, not causing severe suffering to her baby, herself and her family. The plaintiff notes that she bears large expenses for the transportation of her baby to hospital, purchase of medicines, and purchase of specialized footwear. Her family does not have enough money for the rehabilitation of her disabled child, which is why her husband is forced to take out loans. The fact that in the future the child will have a handicapped person's lifestyle brings its parents severe emotional distress assessed by the woman in the amount of RUB 2,000,000.00.

The court of first instance partially sustained the claim, having recovered compensation of RUB 200,000.00 from the hospital. The Stavropol territorial court amended the judgment and recovered RUB 300,000.00 from the defendant as compensation of moral damage.

In its ruling on the appeal, the court proceeded from the following: violation of the procedure for and standard of provision of medical aid, diagnostics, treatment, performance of post-surgical procedures established in accordance with the law is violation of the requirements to the quality of a medical service, violation of rights to health care which may be considered to be the ground for compensation for moral damage and payment of losses to a consumer.

When she was providing medical aid at early pregnancy stages, the woman was not sent by the defendant's employees to a medical institution carrying our expert-level prenatal diagnostics for comprehensive prenatal diagnostics of the fetal maldevelopment, namely ultrasonic scanning by trained professionals.

The court proceeded from the fact that no fetal abnormality of the pregnant plaintiff had been identified as a result of a diagnostics error, since the doctor at the defendant hospital where the woman had ultrasonic scanning had no relevant qualifications as of the date of provision of medical care to her which testified to poor-quality health services.

Moreover, the court believes that the amount of compensation for moral damage in the amount of RUB 200,000.00 recovered by the court of first instance is understated and does not meet the principles of reasonableness and justice, so the court decision in this part is subject to amendment.

The arguments of the defendant's representative that no direct cause-and-effect relation has been established between the baby's pathologies identified at birth and the medical service rendered to the plaintiff in an improper manner may not be considered valid since in this case this is not about liability in tort for bodily injury but about the quality of the rendered medical services, including under the Law of the Russian Federation "On Protection of Consumers' Rights."

Central Bank Strengthens Control over Money Transfers Abroad by Individuals

The Bank of Russia has encouraged banks to pay attention to regular money transfers without opening an account. According to the Central Bank, these transactions may indicate illegal business activities of individuals. Such dubious transactions are usually carried out at bank branches near large retail outlets where cash register equipment is not used.

Special attention will be paid to individuals who repeatedly make transfers within one day with a small interval between transactions, i.e. so-called "regular senders." And to individuals making money transfers to multiple recipients to the same locations and those who make money transfers usually exceeding the ones made by individuals, such as material aid or payment of salary.

The Bank of Russia believes that the purpose of suspicious money transfers may be payment under the contract providing for the supply of goods to the Russian Federation. Such scheme may be used not only to conceal business activities but also to evade accounting of foreign trade contracts in order to avoid foreign exchange control.

Mastercard Imposes Restrictions for Automated Withdrawal of Cash under Paid Subscriptions

Restrictions will affect delivery services related to the following goods only: cosmetics, medicines, etc. The innovations will not affect subscriptions to paid digital services.

Now, as soon as free subscription to the goods delivery service is over sellers will be required to obtain a cardholder's approval via e-mail or text messages. Moreover, they will be required to inform a cardholder of the transaction amount, date of payment and will be obliged to send instructions on how to cancel trial subscription.

Car Owners to Receive License Plates at the Place of Registration

Drivers will be required to register their cars in the region where they are registered. These changes are conditioned by the need to predict the development of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation and the state of the road transport discipline and the rule of law.

Moreover, now individuals have to take printing of license plates upon themselves. From now on, units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation will just issue documents containing a combination of numbers and letters of car license plates. Individuals will have to order printing of license plates on their own in special accredited private companies.

The innovations will take effect in August 2019.

Aeroflot Takes Away Client's Bonuses for Publications in Social Networks Again

Aeroflot has taken away a platinum card of its regular customer because of his criticism of the carrier in social networks again. All miles and privileges in Aeroflot's bonus program have been cancelled for a businessman Alexander Sokolovsky because of his publications about the company in Instagram.

According to Sokolovsky, in December 2018, he was a passenger on the Moscow – Nice flight operated by Aeroflot. Smoke appeared on board due to which the plane had to make an emergency landing at the airport in Vienna. Passengers were asked to return back to Sheremetyevo and fly from there to Nice, losing one day. Alexander Sokolovsky was dissatisfied with the proposed option and, while at the airport in Vienna, commented on what was happening in the Stories in Instagram using foul language.

In January, the entrepreneur tried to use his accruals in the Aeroflot's bonus program but it turned out that his account was cancelled. The airline explained that Sokolovsky was deprived of miles "for the use of swear words and insulting remarks about employees and the company," i.e. he violated rule 7.5. of Aeroflot's bonus program.

Aeroflot's press service says that they never exclude from the bonus program for criticizing the airline but will continue consistently excluding customers for insulting statements about the airline and its employees. 

Partial Fulfillment of Requirements of Housing Equity Holders Doesn't Relieve of Consumer Fine

Housing equity holders have claimed for payment of penalty by the developer. The company offered to pay part of the amount but the individuals were not satisfied, and they ignored the offer. When the housing equity holders filed their claim to the court, no consumer fine was recovered from the developer as the developer offered to partially meet their requirements. The appellate court upheld the decision of the court of first instance.

The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation did not agree with such position of the courts. The intention to partially satisfy the consumers' claim without any actual money transfer is not performance of the obligation; therefore, it may not be the ground for relief from a fine.

Tax Law

Ministry of Finance Proposes Tax Deductions for Fitness Expenses

The Ministry proposes to amend the Tax Code in order to increase physical activity of the population and striving for a healthy lifestyle.

It is proposed to amend Article 219 of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation in order to provide individuals with a new social tax deduction for sports and recreation services. Given that the maximum taxable amount subject to tax deduction will not exceed RUB 120,000.00. Therefore, individuals will be able to get no more than 13%, i.e. RUB 15.6 thousand.

If adopted, the amendment will take effect in 2020.

Ministry of Finance Explains How to Confirm the Right to Standard Deduction for Personal Income Tax When Parents are Divorced

In accordance with the Tax Code, a standard tax deduction for a child for each month of the tax period may be obtained in the following amounts: RUB 1,400.00 for the first child and the second child, RUB 3,000.00 for the third and each subsequent child.

The right to get a standard tax deduction arises for a taxpayer given that the taxpayer is a parent and provides maintenance for the child.

If there is no court decision on the recovery of alimony from the parent, expenses may be certified by the alimony agreement. It is notarized and is effective as an enforcement document.

Therefore, after the dissolution of marriage, the taxpayer who provides maintenance for children has the right to use a standard tax deduction by presenting the following documents: written application, divorce certificate, copy of the taxpayer's passport, copy of a child's birth certificate, notarized alimony agreement, copies of documents certifying expenses for the maintenance of children.

Enforcement Proceedings

Bailiffs Not to Be Able to Foreclose Welfare Payments to Debtors 

In the second reading, deputies of the State Duma supported a draft law according to which all welfare payments to debtors shall be marked so that bailiffs might not arrest or collect these payments.

In this case, it means material aid to persons affected by emergencies, maternity capital and benefits. To date, when a bailiff get a response to a request related to a debtor's accounts from credit institutions, the bailiff recovers all money, having no information about the source of its origin. Now, according to the draft law, funds of social nature will be marked as funds prohibited for recovery.

"The prohibition on enforced recovery of welfare payments has earlier existed in the law. But the mechanism was imperfect: bailiffs and banks saw a debtor's account but did not see what kind of funds were credited to it," said Vyacheslav Volodin, Chairman of the State Duma.

The procedure for the transfer of welfare payments will be established by the Central Bank.

Social Security Law

Central Bank Speaks about the Pension Savings Reform

The individual pension capital (IPC) system must be clear and understandable for ordinary citizens, considers Elvira Nabiullina, Head of the Bank of Russia.

The IPC formation concept assumes that working citizens will voluntarily deduct contributions for their future pension from their salaries to non-state pension funds. The deducted amount will gradually increase from 0% in the first year of connection to the system and up to 6% in five years, that is by 1 percentage point per year.

Transferred funds will be protected by the pension savings guarantee system, and they will be managed remotely through online services.

The IPC system will replace and improve the accumulated pension frozen until 2021. The Ministry of Finance expects to launch the system in 2020.

Housing Law

Getting Compensation of Contributions for Major Repairs Made Easier

Now residents are released from the obligation to prove the fact of absence of debt related to contributions for major repairs. In the previous version of the Housing Code, pensioners were forced to present evidence of payment of contributions to the relevant authorities. In the new version of the law, an executive authority has no right to demand from individuals any document or information confirming payment of contributions for major repairs to provide them with compensation for the costs of payment of contributions. Nowadays such information is to be obtained from a regional operator of major repairs or from a special account holder. Such data will be provided within five days after the request of competent authorities of the region.

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