The plaintiff – a territorial body of the State Tax Service of Ukraine – during the appellate review of the court case, filed a statement to withdraw from the lawsuit, with which he appealed to the court in 2015, regarding the demands for the recovery of the tax debt from the PJSC, since the disputed amount was included in the budget in 2020 . At the same time, the supervisory authority requested to satisfy his application for the award of the amount of the paid court fee at the defendant's expense.
The appellate court satisfied this application and, referring to the legal opinion of the Supreme Court in case No. 380/3138/20, clarified that in the case of the plaintiff's rejection of the claim due to its satisfaction by the defendant already after the filing of the statement of claim, it is fully justified to impose on the defendant the obligation to reimburse the costs incurred by the plaintiff as a measure of responsibility for the behavior that forced the plaintiff to resolve the dispute in court.
The United Chamber of the Administrative Court of Cassation as part of the Supreme Court, having considered the cassation appeal of the defendant against the decision of the Court of Appeal, decided to depart from the conclusion set forth, in particular, in case No. 380/3138/20 in view of the following.
Analysis of the content of parts 1–3 of Art. 139 of the Civil Code of Ukraine allows us to conclude that the costs of the subject of authority to pay the court fee for any results of the case (satisfaction or refusal to satisfy the claim both in full and in part) are not subject to distribution according to the result of the case.
The court believes that this approach of the legislator is inextricably linked to the task of administrative proceedings, which consists in the resolution by the court of disputes in the field of public-legal relations with the aim of effective protection of the rights, freedoms and interests of natural persons, the rights and interests of legal entities from violations by sub entities of power.
Therefore, if the plaintiff is a subject of power, then regardless of the outcome of the case, the court costs incurred by him, in addition to the court costs of the subject of power, related to the involvement of witnesses and conducting examinations (Part 2 of Article 139 of the Civil Procedure Code of Ukraine) , are not subject to distribution.
In the opinion of the Court of Appeals of the Supreme Court, the approach of apportioning court costs in the event of the refusal of the plaintiff – the subject of authority to file a claim will not contribute to the settlement of disputes by the defendants out of court, as it will be more profitable for them to "lose the case" and not be reimbursed for court costs for paying the court fee, rather than to voluntarily comply with the demands of the plaintiff – a subject of authority to resolve the dispute on the merits and to have the obligation to reimburse his expenses for the payment of the court fee.
Taking into account the above, the joint chamber of the Supreme Administrative Court concluded that the provisions of Art. 140 of the Civil Procedure Code of Ukraine, the rule regarding the award of costs is triggered if the plaintiff is a natural or legal person who is not a subject of authority. If the plaintiff is a subject of power, regardless of the outcome of the case, the court costs incurred by him are not subject to reimbursement, except for the legal costs of the subject of power, related to the involvement of witnesses and conducting examinations.
Resolution of the Supreme Court dated August 29, 2022 in case No. 826/16473/15 (administrative proceeding No. K/9901/47471/21) – https://reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/105973567 .