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RESOLUTION OF THE PLENUM OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION

of February 24, 2005 No. 3

About court practice on cases on honor and dignity protection of citizens, and also goodwill of citizens and legal entities

According to article 23 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation everyone has right of defense of the honor and reputation. Article 29 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation to everyone guarantees freedom of thought and words, and also freedom of mass information.

According to part 4 of article 15 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation the conventional principles and rules of international law and the international agreements of the Russian Federation are component of its system of law. In relation to freedom of mass information article 10 of the Convention on human rights protection and fundamental freedoms according to which part 1 each person has the right freely to express the opinion in the territory of the Russian Federation is effective. This right includes freedom to hold the opinion, to receive and distribute information and the ideas without any intervention from the public authorities and irrespective of frontiers.

At the same time regarding the 2nd article 10 of the called Convention it is specified that the implementation of these freedoms imposing obligations and responsibility can be integrated to certain formalities, conditions, restrictions or sanctions which are provided by the law and are necessary in democratic society for the benefit of homeland security, territorial integrity or public order, for the purpose of prevention of conflicts or crimes, for health protection and morality, protection of reputation or the rights of other persons, prevention of disclosure of information obtained confidentially or ensuring authority and impartiality of justice. At the same time provisions of this regulation shall be interpreted according to the legal line item of the European Court of Human Rights expressed in its resolutions.

The right of everyone to protection of the honor and reputation provided by articles 23 and 46 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, and also stipulated in Clause 152 Civil codes of the Russian Federation the right of everyone to judicial protection of honor, advantage and goodwill from the spread untrue damaging evidence is necessary restriction of freedom of expression and mass information for cases of abuse of these rights.

Having discussed materials of the carried-out studying of court practice on cases on protection of honor, advantage and goodwill, the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation notes that courts of Russia it is generally correct, with observance of requirements, stipulated in Article 152 Civil codes of the Russian Federation, consider cases of this category. At the same time in connection with ratification by the Russian Federation of the Convention on human rights protection and fundamental freedoms and Protocols to it in court practice there were not clear questions requiring permission.

Considering it, the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation for the purpose of ensuring the correct and uniform application of the legislation regulating the specified legal relationship decides to make to courts the following explanations:

1. Draw the attention of courts that the right of citizens to protection of honor, advantage and goodwill is their constitutional right, and goodwill of legal entities - one of conditions of their successful performance.

Owing to article 17 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation in the Russian Federation rights and freedoms of man and citizen according to the conventional principles and rules of international law and according to the Constitution of the Russian Federation are recognized and guaranteed. At the same time implementation of rights and freedoms of man and citizen shall not violate the rights and freedoms of other persons.

In view of these constitutional provisions, courts in case of the dispute resolution about protection of honor, advantage and goodwill shall provide balance between the right of citizens to protection of honor, advantage, and also goodwill, on the one hand, and other rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of the Russian Federation - freedom of thought, words, mass information, the right to freely look for, receive, transfer, to make and distribute information by any legal method, the right to personal privacy, personal and family secret, the right to the appeal to state bodies and local government bodies (Articles 23, of 29, 33 Constitutions of the Russian Federation), with another.

For this category it is necessary to consider the explanations made by the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation in resolutions of October 31, 1995 to N8 "About Some Questions of Application by Courts of the Constitution of the Russian Federation when Implementing Justice" and of October 10, 2003 N5 "About Use by Courts of Law of the Conventional Principles and Rules of International Law and International Treaties of the Russian Federation".

In case of the dispute resolution about protection of honor, advantage and goodwill courts should be guided not only regulations of the Russian legislation (Article 152 of the Civil code of the Russian Federation), but also owing to article 1 of the Federal Law of March 30, 1998 of N54-FZ "About Ratification of the Convention on Human Rights Protection and Fundamental Freedoms and Protocols to It" to consider the legal line item of the European Court of Human Rights expressed in its resolutions and concerning questions of interpretation and application of this Convention (first of all Articles 10), having at the same time in type that the concept of defamation used by the European Court of Human Rights in its resolutions is identical to the concept of distribution of the untrue damaging evidence containing in Article 152 of the Civil code of the Russian Federation.

2. Citizens and legal entities who consider that the untrue damaging evidence is spread on them have the right to make claims for cases of this category.

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