Онлайн консультации юриста Вадима Колосова

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Compensation for moral damages

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Quite frequently in our everyday life we hear such phrases as “I demand indemnification”, “I’ll sue you” (for example for insults) and the like. Often one, indeed, would like to start an action against his offender and, thus, get a compensation for material and moral damages suffered, but no one does that as they just don’t believe in the efficiency of our court and its justice (which can be confirmed by numerous sociological research works and interrogations, for example over 70% of the interrogated do not believe that court hold lawful and just decisions – see www.fom.ru for details). And indeed, the Russian institution of moral compensation, being rather well developed in theory (laws), is poorly, indifferently actualized in practice. Further in my report I’ll try to highlight the most important aspects of this institution followed by recent cases and comparisons with foreign experience in the field.

Civil legislation of pre-revolutionary, monarchal Russia didn’t contain any general rules providing compensation for moral damages as a safeguard for non-pecuniary rights. In those times the duel served such purposes. Moreover, refusal to answer the call, or equally failure to ‘throw down the glove’, were regarded as being disgraceful.

After the revolution in 1917 new order, its ideology were completely incompatible with moral compensation, which, as a result, wasn’t present in soviet legislation. There could be no non-satisfied or offended persons in soviet society which was seen as unified and peaceful.

The institution of moral compensation appears in legislation of Russia in the 1990s. First it was mentioned in the Act of USSR 12 June 1990 ‘About press and other mass media’. The present concept is seen more broadly in the Fundamentals of civil legislation 1991 – here moral harm is described as any wrongful action made by a guilty person (art. 131)...