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02.05.2023

The CCS of the Supreme Court explained the legal norms regarding the extension of the land lease agreement in the conditions of martial law

The court of first instance, with whose decision the appellate court agreed, claimed a plot of land from someone else’s illegal possession of an agricultural enterprise based on a claim by an individual. Court decisions are motivated by the fact that the term of the lease agreement for the disputed plot expired on June 13, 2022, no additional agreement to the agreement on the extension of this term was concluded, the plaintiff did not give consent and authority to conclude and sign such an agreement to another person.

Also, the appellate court did not agree with the arguments of the appeal that the court of first instance ignored the provisions of the Law of Ukraine dated March 24, 2022 No. 2145-IX “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Regarding the Creation of Conditions for Ensuring Food Security in Martial Law” , as the legislator allowed land lease contracts to be considered renewed for one year during martial law without the will of the parties precisely to simplify the registration of relevant changes for those parties who wish to continue this legal relationship.

The Supreme Court, as part of the panel of judges of the Cassation Civil Court, annulled the previous court decisions and refused to satisfy the claim, making the following legal conclusions.

In the event that the party did not express his will to commit the deed before acquiring the civil rights and obligations stipulated by it, the deed is such that it has not been committed, the rights and obligations under such deed have not been acquired by the person, and legal relations have not arisen under it.

An act that has not been committed (a contract that has not been concluded) cannot be declared invalid. The consequences of the invalidity of the deed also do not apply to the deed that has not been committed.

Such a method of protection, as recognition of the deed as unconcluded, is not a method of protecting rights and interests established by law. Regarding this conclusion, there is an established practice of the Supreme Court.

In such a case, the owner of the plot of land has the right to defend his violated right to use the plot of land, denying the fact that he entered into a contract of lease of the plot of land on the grounds of a negative claim and based on the actual content of the legal relationship that arose in connection with the actual use of the plot of land.

An effective way to protect the right, which the plaintiff considers to be violated, is to remove obstacles to the use of the property belonging to him, in particular by presenting a demand for the return of such land plots. In addition, a negative claim can be filed throughout the duration of the violation of the rights of the legal owner of the relevant land plots.

Law No. 2145-IX, which entered into force on April 7, 2022, added items 27 and 28 of the Civil Code of Ukraine. X “Transitional Provisions”, which provide that during the martial law, land lease contracts that expired after the introduction of martial law are considered to be renewed for one year without the will of the parties. These provisions of the Law became invalid on November 19, 2022, when the Law of Ukraine dated October 9, 2022 No. 2698-IX “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Regarding the Restoration of the System of Registration of Agricultural Land Lease Rights and Improvement of Land Protection Legislation” entered into force. .

The analysis of the above provisions of the Civil Code of Ukraine gives grounds for the conclusion that between April 7, 2022 and November 19, 2022, land lease contracts were renewed for one year without the will of the parties to the contract, the term of which expired during this period of time.

Since the lease agreement in question expired on June 13, 2022, then, in accordance with clause Chapter 27 X “Transitional Provisions” of the Civil Code of Ukraine, it is considered renewed for one year without the will of the parties, i.e. until June 13, 2023.

The law clearly defines a legal fact, with which the law connects the renewal of lease agreements precisely without the will of the parties, and therefore the conclusions of the appeals court that such an automatic extension was introduced by the legislator to simplify the drawing up of contracts for parties who wish to extend these legal relationships do not correspond content of the above provisions of the law.

Resolution of the Supreme Court dated March 29, 2023 in case No. 563/376/22-ts (proceedings No. 61-47св23) – https://reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/110083750 .

This and other legal positions of the Supreme Court can be found in the Database of legal positions of the Supreme Court – lpd.court.gov.ua/login .

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