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GENERAL AND SPECIAL LEGAL PROVISIONS TO INVALIDATE A WILL AND THEIR APPLICATION IN COURT PRACTICE

Lyudmyla Kozlovska,

Scientific consultant of the

High Specialized Court of Ukraine for Civil and Criminal Cases,

Candidate of Law,

Associate professor

GENERAL AND SPECIAL LEGAL PROVISIONS TO INVALIDATE A WILL AND THEIR APPLICATION IN COURT PRACTICE

The article investigates the basic problems of judicial application of provisions of the Civil Code of Ukraine regulating the invalidation of a will. The author concludes it to be necessary that courts be consistent in priority of application of special provisions in consideration of cases concerning the invalidation of a will.

Key words: inheritance, will, transaction, invalidity of a transaction.

One area of legal research that requires more theoretical scrutiny is the particular procedure of applying general and special legal provisions in concrete cases. Differences in application of general and special legal provisions (Chapter 16 of the Civil Code of Ukraine and Article 1257 of the Civil Code of Ukraine, correspondingly) in cases on invalidation of a will can be regarded as an example.

Different scholars classify special legal provisions according to different criteria, including the subject of legal regulation. The subject of legal regulation of a special legal provision is always more narrow than that of a general legal provision and never goes beyond the subject of legal regulation of a general provision. The subject of legal regulation of a special legal provision can be determined according to: 1) the circle of participants; 2) the object of legal relations; 3) the purpose of legislator to create a special legal structure; 4) special temporal and spatial criteria; 5) the basis of legal relations [1, p. 204-206].

Inheritance by will is a type of inheritance regulated by Chapter 85 of the Civil Code of Ukraine (hereinafter CC of Ukraine). A will as a unilateral transaction is a personal arrangement that permits a person to make decisions on how their property will be distributed after their death.

As a personal transaction a will shall possess special characteristic features which distinguish it from other types of transactions. Definition of a will as a personal transaction and its legal prerequisites indicate that it is an expression of testator’s personal intentions. The last is even reflected in some types of definition of a will [2, p. 541].

Legal description of a will and specific features peculiar to this type of transaction resulted in securing of special provisions regulating the invalidation of a will in Chapter 86 of the CC of Ukraine in general, and in Article 1257 in particular. Its content has significantly shifted the accent in law enforcement practice of invalidation of a will in court if compared to the law enforcement practice of the CC of the USSR (1963),

First, the content of Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine reflects the classification of legal transactions as void and voidable according to Article 215 of the CC of Ukraine. Despite its problematic nature the significance of division of invalid wills into void and voidable is undoubted in notaries’ practice.

The right to inheritance shall be certified by a notary (Chapter 89 of the CC of Ukraine). The nature of notarial practice determines their duty to assert the grounds of invalidity of a will according to part 1 of Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine and refuse to certify the right of inheritance on the grounds of invalidity of a will. Such refusal may be appealed to the court in accordance with the claim procedure aimed at establishing of the status of the will which shall not entail its declaring null and void.

Invalidation of a will as a means to protect the individual’s right to succession is of special importance in the system of means of protection of inheritance rights characterized by combination of general ways to protect property inheritance rights and special ways to protect the individual’s right to succession. The content of general ways to protect property inheritance rights are made up of requirement that could have been introduced by the heir themselves (replevin, negatory claim, a claim for recognition of inheritance rights to real estate ownership, binding legal ways of right protection etc.)

A claim for invalidation of a will is one of the special ways to protect the individual’s right to succession, known as “legacy claims”. P. S. Nikityuk emphasized theoretical and practical importance of exact definition of “ltgacy claim” and drawing a boundary line between this and other types of claims, and proposed to regard as “legacy claim” claims that plaintiffs be recognized as heirs, claims that defendant(s) be exempted from among the heirs, claims for redetermination of the scope of plaintiff’s and/ or defendant’s inheritance rights. According to P. S. Nikityuk these are the claims related to determination of the order and shares of legal heirs in the inheritance [1, p. 214-215].

In these cases it would be more correct to speak about protection of the individual’s right to succession. The term “protection of the individual’s right to succession” shifts the focus from the category of objective, i.e. the inheritance, to the category of subjective, i.e. individual’s right to succession. Therefore, inheritance claims shall be regarded as claims for recognition of the individual’s rights to succession, i.e. recognizing them as a universal legal heir or denying it.

The claim for invalidation of a will is the claim for denial of an individual’s status as a heir by inheritance. If such status is not denied, but rather the disposition of part of property is required, it is not the case of declaring a will null and void and applying provisions regulating it.

Declaring a will null and void as a means of protection of the individual’s right to succession according to Article 16 of the CC of Ukraine belongs to such methods of protection of individual’s civil rights and interests as invalidity of a transaction, regulated by paragraph 2 of Chapter 16 of the CC of Ukraine “Legal Consequences of Non-Compliance by the Parties with Law Requirements at Conclusion of a Transaction”. Therefore, the provisions of paragraph 2 of Chapter 16 of the CC of Ukraine shall be regarded as general legal provisions in reference to special legal provisions, provided for by Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine. The provisions of Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine are regarded as special legal provisions on the basis of the special subject of legal regulation, i.e. relations of succession.

Existence of special provisions of Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine determines several ways of possible development of judicial practice in Ukraine, which are as follows: 1) provisions of Article 1257 are applied as special legal provisions. Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine “Invalidity of a Will” precludes application of provisions paragraph 2 of Chapter 16 of the CC of Ukraine that establish legal basis and consequences of invalidity of a transaction; 2) provisions of Article 1257 are applied along with the general provisions that establish legal basis and consequences of invalidity of a transaction; 3) provisions of Article 1257 are regarded as principles and specific content of invalidity of a transaction is established according to the provisions of paragraph 2 of Chapter 16 of the CC of Ukraine.

Obviously, all the mentioned approaches were applied in the judicial practice of Ukraine. In certain cases, the list of grounds for invalidation of a will provided by the Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine is considered to be exhaustive by courts. The general rule of judicial interpretation of application of the provisions of the CC of Ukraine regarding the wills is established in p. 16 of the Resolution of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Ukraine “On Judicial Practice in cases of inheritance” № 7 from May 30, 2008 [4], according to which a will as a transaction shall be subject to the general provisions on transactions, if there is no corresponding provision in the Book 6 of the CC of Ukraine. But in court practice there is no agreement in interpretation of content of p. 16 of the Resolution of the Plenum of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court of Ukraine (the SCU) on consideration of applications for the review of judicial decisions on grounds of unequal application by the court of cassation of the same provisions of substantive law in similar legal relations adopted a resolution that establishes the mandatory for all courts of Ukraine legal position regarding the application of Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine (Resolution of the SCU from December 26, 2011). Cancelling the decision of the High Specialized Court of Ukraine for Civil and Criminal Cases (HSCU) from April 27, 2001 on invalidation of the will, the SCU stated that according to Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine a will made by the person who did not have the right thereto, or a will made with violations as to its form or certification shall be void. Upon the claim presented by an interested party, the court shall declare a will null and void if it establishes that the testator's will was not free or did not conform to their desire. The court decision did not give the reasons to nullify or invalidate the will, provided for in Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine.

The legal position of the SCU in the case indicates that the basis for invalidation of the will shall be the provisions that are exhaustively covered by Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine. In our opinion, this position should be in the core of determination of legal relations arising in connection with invalidation of the will.

Taking into account the existence of other provisions, which violation may result in declaring the will null and void, the provisions of Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine should be recognized as the special provisions with respect to other provisions regulating invalidity of transactions. However, the analysis of judicial practice proves that in consideration of cases on wills as personal transactions the courts mostly apply general provisions on transactions, including the provisions on legal consequences on non-compliance by the parties with law requirements. Therefore, the courts assume that provisions of Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine “Declaring a Will Null and Void” establish the reasons to nullify or invalidate a will, which does not exclude application of provisions of paragraph 2 of Chapter 16 of the CC of Ukraine in accordance with the conditions established by the court.

Given the peculiarities of the reasons to nullify a will, regulated by the provisions of part 1 of Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine, the issue of judicial decision as a legal fact, which legal consequences lead to the nullification of a will, has no definite solution. Part 1 of Article 1257 establishes three reasons to nullify a will: a will made by the person who did not have the right thereto, or a will made with violations as to its form or certification shall be void.

Article 1234 of the CC of Ukraine establishes legal grounds to exercise one’s right to make a will, which violation entails nullification of a will. Thus, natural persons in full civil capacity shall have the right to make a will (Articles 34, 35 of the CC of Ukraine). The right to make a will shall be exercised personally. Making a will through a representative shall not be permitted (part 2 of Article 1234 of the CC of Ukraine). Achieving eighteen years of age, presence of other legally significant circumstances to which the law fully binds the onset of full legal capability and absence of a court decision on recognition of a natural person’s legal incapability (Article 39 of the CC of Ukraine) or restriction of a natural person’s legal capability (Article 37 of the CC of Ukraine) may result in appealing of a will under Part 2 of Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine.

A will is a strictly formal transaction. Increased requirements as to the form of the will are conditioned by its posthumous prescriptive nature and focus on establishing the universal succession to the testator’s rights and obligations. The complicated form of the will reasonably corresponds to its purpose and changes in the whole system of civil transactions of the deceased. Requirements as to the form and certification of the will are established by Article 1247 and Articles 1248, 1249, 1251-1253 of the CC of Ukraine, correspondingly. Their violation entails declaring the will null and void according to the law (part 1 of Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine).

Since the right to make a will shall have natural persons in full legal capacity (part 1 of Article 1234 of the CC of Ukraine), according to part 1 of Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine the reason to declaring it null and void is the will made by a person who did not have the right hereto, including legally incapable natural persons, minors (but for natural persons who were granted full legal capability according to the established procedure), natural persons with restricted legal capability and representatives on behalf of the testator.

Violation of requirements as to the form and certification of a will is also the reason to declaring it null and void. General requirements as to the form of a will are established by Article 1247 of the CC of Ukraine. They are as follows: 1) writing form; 2) certification by a notary or other officials specified in Articles 1251, 1252 of the CC of Ukraine; 3) indication of the place and time of its construction; 4) signing personally by the testator. According to general rule a will shall be personally signed by the testator. However, if a person cannot personally sign the will due to illness or physical disability, the text of the will shall be signed on their request and in their presence by another person. Signature of another person shall be certified by a notary or an official eligible to effect such notary action, indicating the reasons why the text of the will cannot by the person who makes it (part 1 of Article 207 of the CC of Ukraine).

Decision of the Berehiv district court of the Transcarpathian region from March 18, 2011 (case № 2-277/11) satisfied the claim of B. and declared a will of R. in favor of R. null and void. The reason to make such decision was the conclusion of expert handwriting analysis, according to which the “Signature” section on the front of the will did not contain the signature by R. Therefore, concluding that the will was not signed by the testator, the court of first instance declared the will null and void.

One of the requirements as to the form of a will is certification of a will by a notary or an official eligible to effect such notary action according to Articles 1251, 1252 of the CC of Ukraine. In particular, if there is no notary in a place, a will may be certified by an authorized official of the relevant local government.

General requirements as to the form of the will (Article 1247 of the CC of Ukraine) shall be applied to the wills certified by an authorized official of the relevant local government. These wills shall be equal to the wills certified by a notary and be certified according to the procedure established by the Order of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine № 419 from June 15, 1994.

There are cases in which the will is certified by an official of the local government who is not authorized to effect such notary action. In majority of cases a claim for invalidating such will is satisfied by court.

For example, the decision of the Vynohradiv district court of the Transcarpathian region from October 25, 2010 (case № 2-139/10) invalidated the will of R., composed by the secretary R., of the Velykokopansk village council. The reason for invalidating the will was the fact that at the time of certifying the will the secretary R. was not authorized to effect notary actions. The decision was affirmed by the decision of the Court of Appeal of the Transcarpathian region from January 11, 2011 and decision of the High Specialized Court of Ukraine for Civil and Criminal Cases from May 6, 2011.

Invalidation of the will due to being certified by an official not authorized to effect such actions received the opposite legal assessment in another decision of the Court of Appeal of the Transcarpathian region and decision of the SCU.

The decision of the Vynohradiv district court of the Transcarpathian region from July 8, 2010 (case № 2-12/10) satisfied the claim of M. and invalidated the will, certified by the secretary of the Velykokopansk village council. The reason for invalidating the will was the fact that at the time of certifying the will the secretary R. was not authorized to effect notary actions. The decision of the Court of Appeal of the Transcarpathian region from September 24, 2010 cancelled the stated decision of the court of first instance and decided to reject the claim on the grounds that the court exceeded the limit of the plaintiff’s claim. The decision of the Court of Appeal was substantiated by the excerpt from the order of the Head of Velykokopansk Village Council on authorizing the secretary R. of the Executive Committee of the Village Council to effect notary actions. The decision of the SCU from February 25, 2011 left unchanged the decision of the Court of Appeal. It was stated in the decision of the Court of Appeal from September 24, 2010 that according to the excerpt from the order of the Head of Velykokopansk Village Council (not the decision of the Executive Committee of the Village Council) R. M. S. was authorized to effect notary actions. The decision of the SCU from February 25, 2011 stated that there had been no fallacy in the decision of the Court of Appeal.

If the will, made with violations as to its certification, is to be void in any case (part 1 of Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine), the SCU should not have left the decision of the Court of Appeal unchanged. It is obvious that the SCU did not invalidate the will, certified by the person not authorized to effect such actions, in violation of the provisions of Article 215 and part 1 of Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine exactly in view of the fact that the will corresponded to the personal arrangement of the testator.

Before making the decision on legitimacy of certifying of the will by the secretary of the Village Council the court should have obtained and examined the order of the Executive Committee of the Village Council authorizing the secretary to effect notary actions, as according to Article 37 of the Law of Ukraine “on Notary”, Articles 38, 42, 59 of the Law of Ukraine “On Local Self-Government in Ukraine” and p. 2 of the Instruction on Procedure of Performance of Notary Actions by the officials of the local government in villages and towns where there is no public notaries, the notary actions shall be effected by the relevant official of the executive committee of the village, town or city council (Instruction lost its force pursuant to the Order of the ministry of Justice of Ukraine № 3306/5 (z1298-11) from November 11, 2011).

As to the order of certification of a will, the common ground for a claim to invalidate a will is the absence in the text of the will of indication that it was composed and certified outside the notary’s office (Executive Committee). In such case if it is established that the will was made under testator’s volition and the form of the will conforms to the requirements of Article 1247 of the CC of Ukraine, this can not be the ground to invalidate a will. The fact that in the text of the will there is no indication that it was composed and certified outside the notary’s office (Executive Committee) is not significant to the extent that it entails invalidation of the will as a whole.

The decision of the Rakhiv district court of the Transcarpathian region from November 19, 2010 (case № 2-147/10) satisfied the claim of G. D. D. and invalidated the will of K. D, A. on the grounds that in the text of the will there was no indication that it was composed at home. The decision of the Court of Appeal of the Transcarpathian region from January 5, 2011 cancelled this decision of the court of first instance and adopted the new decision on refusal to satisfy the claim on the grounds that the will met all the requirements of Article 1247 of the CC of Ukraine and the absence of indication that the will was composed at home had not distorted the last will of the testator.

These differences in legal practice indicate that application of general and special legal norms should be systemic and legally-grounded. Recently, the issue of recognizing wills upon the claims of interested persons has become extremely acute in the judicial practice.

Despite the rules, provided by the Resolution of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Ukraine “On judicial practice of considering civil cases on invalidating a transaction” № 9 from November 6, 2009 [5], the procedure of recognizing wills declared null and void due to violations as to their form and certification, established by the provisions of the CC of Ukraine, was introduced as a means to protect the individual’s right to succession.

Courts must take into account that according to p. 14 of the Resolution of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Ukraine “On judicial practice of considering civil cases on invalidating a transaction” № 9 from November 6, 2009 and Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine, a will made with violations as to its form or certification shall be void. Application of limitation on recognizing a will upon part 2 of Article 219 of the CC of Ukraine, contained in p. 14 of the Resolution of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Ukraine “On judicial practice of considering civil cases on invalidating a transaction” № 9 from November 6, 2009 is not unambiguous in legal practice.

Sometimes, it is considered that if there is no expressly articulated prohibition a court may recognize a will valid upon provisions of part 2 of Article 219 of the CC of Ukraine as the Resolution of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Ukraine is a regulatory act and not a normative act.

The decision of the Burinskiy district court of Sumy region from December 12, 2010 satisfied the claim of R. O. I to the Sukhoverkhivsk Village Council on recognition of the will of R. Ie. F, on the grounds that at the time of certification of the will at the Sukhoverkhivsk Village Council it was by mistake that the sign of the testator was certified by the seal and not by the notary inscription. Given that the will was made under testator’s volition, the court validated it according to part 2 of Article 219 of the CC of Ukraine.

If an official overestimated their powers, a testator was not aware thereof and expression of their will was free, undistorted and pursuant to the testator’s volition, validation of the will in court shall be considered an appropriate means to protect the individual’s right to succession. In case if such will is not validated in court it shall be considered void.

The decision of the Kirovskiy district court (case № 2-728/10) satisfied the claim for validation of the will, certified by the manger of the village council N. on November 7, 2008. A notary refused to issue the certificate of the right to inheritance on the grounds that according to Article 1251 of the CC of Ukraine and Article 37 of the Law of Ukraine “On Notary” a will may be certified by an authorized official of the relevant local government if there is no notary in the populated place. As the Village Council N. is a part of Kirovskiy district of Kirovograd, where there are notaries, the requirements as to the certification of the will are violated. The will is registered in the Register of Inheritance. Upon the motion of the prosecutor officials of the Village Council can not effect notary actions starting from September 30, 2009. The court’s decision to satisfy the claim was based on the fact that the will was made pursuant to the testator’s volition, and it entered into legal force.

P. S. Nikituk noted that if there are no other grounds to invalidate a will except for certifying the will by a notary or an official of the Village council with exceeding of their authority, the court might recognize the will’s validity. In this case, invalidation of the will would be the same as charging the heirs for the errors of public officials [6, p. 123]. The author did not explain the meaning of the term “validity”, but we may assume that it refers to the dismissal of the claim to invalidate a will, as P. S. Nikituk similarly to other legal scholars of the Soviet period categorically objected to recognizing as valid a will made with violations as to its form. Although the similar position is reflected in the Resolution of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Ukraine “On judicial practice of considering civil cases on invalidating a transaction” № 9 from November 6, 2009, it has not become standard legal practice.

If following the view that a void transaction is “a legal-like action that contradicts legal provisions (unacceptable action)” [7, p. 22], the question arises as to the legal nature of requirements to establish the validity of a void transaction. It is obvious that a claim for establishing the validity of a void claim has a law-transformative nature, but the very possibility that a void transaction may be found valid by court raises doubts concerning the acceptability of the concepts, according to which a void transaction shall be regarded as a type of offence, notwithstanding a caution that such cases are provided for as exceptions [8, p. 99-101].

Therefore, when it is established that the will was composed under free volition of the testator, then even if it was made with violations as to its certification due to the condition that did not depend on the testator, such will may be found void upon the motion of the interested person.

If certification of a will was made with violations of the requirements other than provided for in Articles 1247-1253 of the CC of Ukraine, which regulate certification form and procedure, when it is established that the will was made under testator’s volition, the will shall not be declared void according to part 1 of Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine.

Analysis of the legal practice of the SCU also proves that there are no reasons to attribute requirements other than that established by Article 86 of the CC of Ukraine to the grounds of invalidating a transaction. This proves that the SCU is quite consistent in the application of the provisions of Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine exactly as special provisions.

The decision of the plenum of judges of the HSCU from April 27 cancelled the decision of the Pechersk District Court of Kyiv from September 9, 2010 and decision of the Kiev Court of Appeal from January 27, 2011 in part of refusal to satisfy the claim of O. A. S. for invalidating the will. The court adopted a new decision, in support of which it was stated that identification of the testator based on an invalid passport contradicted the requirements of Article 43 of the Law of Ukraine “On Notary” and point 13 of the “Instruction on Procedure of Performance of Notary Actions by notaries of Ukraine” and shall be recognized the grounds for declaring the will void.

The Resolution of the SCU from December 26, 2011 upon the application to review the decision of the panel of judges of the HSCU, the stated decision was cancelled and the case was forwarded to the court of cassation for review. The SCU indicated that the decision of the court to invalidate the will did not mention any of the provisions of Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine.

The fact that testator did not have the passport of Ukraine shall not be the reason for declaring a will void, as in the stated case according to Article 43 of the Law of Ukraine “On Notary” and point 10 of the “Instruction on Procedure of Performance of Notary Actions by notaries of Ukraine” the notary action was obliged to identify the person who applied for a notary action.

It is possible to declare a will null and void not only upon the claim of the interested party, but also when the heir is divested of the right to succession or upon the initiative of the court. If there is no requirement for declaring a will void, but there is a requirement for invalidating the certificate of the right to succession or reclamation of property from the possession of a person who is considered to be the legal heir, the question arises as to in which part of the court decision the invalidity of a will shall be stated. The resolutive part of the court decision shall be formulated according to the content of the claim. If there is no claim for invalidating a will, a court can not declare a will void in the resolutive part of the decision, therefore an indication of invalidity of a transaction will be contained in the reasoning part of the decision, which has no binding value.

The will declared null and void according to part 1 of Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine can also entail legal consequences, including the issuance of the certificate of the right to succession. Contrary to the provision of part 2 of Article 215 of the CC of Ukraine, according to which a transaction shall be invalid if its invalidity is established by the law (void transaction), invalidation of such transaction by court is not required. The stated provision does not prohibit that a void transaction may be found invalid by court. Theoretical question as to the appropriateness of such means of protection as invalidation of a transaction by court had no fundamental influence on the legal practice. In many cases it is possible to solve the complicated legal relations only by stating the invalidity of the transaction in the resolutive part of the court decision. If such dispute arises the demand for invalidating the will shall be considered by court, which is consistent with the clarification provided in paragraph 2 of point 5 of the Resolution of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Ukraine “On judicial practice of considering civil cases on invalidating a transaction” № 9 from November 6, 2009.

Invalidity of a will, established by court, shall divest of the right to succession of persons, instituted by the testator as their heir(s), regardless of the fact whether there were any claims for application of consequences of invalidating a will.

The special legal nature of a will as a unilateral transaction determines the settlement of the issue of its challenging. Pursuant to paragraph 2 of point 18 of the Resolution of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Ukraine № 7 from May 30, 2008, a will shall be invalidated by a court if it was made by a person at the moment when they did not comprehend the meaning of their actions and/ or could not control them (Article 225 of the CC of Ukraine) or it it was made by a person against their true will due to application of physical or psychological pressure to them by the other party or by another person (Article 231 0f the CC of Ukraine).

Analysis of the provisions of the CC of Ukraine indicates that according to part 2 of Article 1257 of the CC of Ukraine establishing that the testator's will was not free or did not conform to his/her desire shall be determined exclusively on the basis of the stated reasons. Summary of judicial practice of the Supreme Court of Ukraine in civil cases on invalidation of transactions indicates that the content of Article 230 of the CC of Ukraine shall not apply to unilateral transactions including a will and a warrant, which was approved by the decision of the Supreme Court of Ukraine from July 19, 2006 in case № 6-7182св06.

The grounds for invalidity of a transaction according to § 2 of Chapter 16 of the CC of Ukraine, in case of application of the stated requirements to the voidable transaction, shall be adjusted depending on whether the expression of the will of the testator was free and whether it corresponded to their inner volition, which is consistent with the principle of priority of a person’s internal will and respect to the last will of the deceased that shall be protected by all legal means. In broad sense, they are constituents of one of the three general principles of the civil law, i.e. principle of the free will [9, p. 300].

Therefore, giving preference to the special legal provisions that regulate the issues of invalidity of a will is consistent with the rules of application of general and special legal provisions and principles of civil law, regulating private relations.

References:

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