Legal protection of foreigners and foreign companies in Belarus
Legal consolidation of the right of foreign citizens to judicial protection
The legal status of foreign citizens on the territory of Belarus is regulated by the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, the Civil Procedure and other codes, as well as the Law of the Republic of Belarus “On the legal status of foreign citizens and stateless persons in the Republic of Belarus”.
Article 541 of the Civil Procedure Code of the Republic of Belarus guarantees foreign citizens the right to unhindered recourse to a judicial court to protect their violated or disputed rights and legitimate interests on an equal basis with citizens of Belarus.
This means that the Belarusian legislation does not in any way infringe on the rights of foreigners to judicial protection. In some countries, foreign nationals are required to post a bond to secure legal costs before going to court. The legislation of Belarus does not provide for such an obligation, therefore, it is more flexible in relation to foreign citizens than the legal systems of some other states.
The rights of foreigners in litigation do not differ from the rights of Belarusian citizens. Citizens of foreign countries in the trials held in Belarus are endowed with full civil procedural legal capacity, as well as criminal and others.
Rights of foreigners in court in civil proceedings in Belarus
Rules on the jurisdiction of civil cases involving foreigners are regulated by Chapter 41 of the Civil Procedure Code of the Republic of Belarus.
Article 541 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Belarus provides that foreign citizens have the right to freely apply to the judicial authorities of Belarus and have civil procedural legal capacity on an equal basis with Belarusian citizens.
The concept of “civil legal standing” includes all the rights of participants in civil proceedings. A foreign citizen may be a plaintiff, defendant, witness and other person legally interested in the outcome of the case in civil proceedings. Foreigners can also act as legally disinterested persons in civil proceedings.
Citizens of foreign countries may be participants in the trial in person or through a representative (usually a lawyer). The consul of the country of which he is a citizen can also represent the interests of a foreigner in court (Article 552 of the Code of Civil Procedure).
Foreign citizens as participants in civil proceedings have the right to:
– submit motions and applications to the court;
– declare withdrawals;
– get acquainted with the materials of the case;
– participate in the examination of evidence;
– present evidence to the court;
– to speak in judicial debates;
– have other rights provided for by the Code of Civil Procedure.
At the same time, Article 541 of the Code of Civil Procedure contains a rule that the legal capacity of foreigners in Belarusian courts may be limited if the legislation of the states of which they are citizens contains special restrictions for citizens of Belarus. This is a response norm in the international civil process, containing restrictions for foreigners, if any, in relation to citizens of Belarus.
Violation of his rights as a consumer can serve as an example of a foreign citizen’s appeal to the court within the framework of civil proceedings. For example, a citizen of a foreign state purchased household appliances in a store in Minsk, which turned out to be of poor quality. The store refused to return the money to the foreigner and pick up the goods. In this case, the norms of the legislation on the protection of consumer rights come into force, and the foreigner has the right to file a claim with the court for the return of funds and the recovery of damages, if any.
Protection of the interests of foreign companies in the arbitration courts of Belarus
Foreign companies have the right to defend their interests in arbitration courts operating on the territory of Belarus:
– International Arbitration Court at the BelCCI;
– International Arbitration (Arbitration) Court “Chamber of Arbitrators under the Union of Lawyers”.
The arbitration courts of Belarus are guided by national and international legislation and are called upon to consider disputes involving foreign companies registered in the territory of the Republic of Belarus.
Representatives of foreign companies have the right to apply to arbitration courts with a claim for consideration of a civil legal dispute of an economic nature.
In the International Arbitration Court at the BelCCI, as a rule, one of the parties to the process is a Belarusian company.
The arbitration courts of Belarus consider economic disputes involving foreign legal entities, as well as Belarusian companies. In an agreement or contract, the two parties may provide that in the event of disputes, they will apply to an arbitration (arbitration) court.
Rights of foreigners in court in criminal proceedings
Foreign citizens may act as suspects, accused, victims or witnesses in criminal proceedings. If a criminal case is initiated against a foreign citizen, he has the right to use the services of a free translator.
A foreign citizen has the right to get acquainted with all the materials of the criminal case against him, and they must be clear to him if he does not speak Russian.
Thus, the role of the translator in the criminal process is very significant. The interpreter must translate to a foreign citizen accused of committing a crime the decision to initiate a criminal case, to recognize him as a defendant, and other documents. A foreign citizen has the right to be properly informed about what he is accused of.
The Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Belarus guarantees a foreigner the right to a lawyer in criminal proceedings who will protect his interests and present evidence of his innocence to the court.
The right of foreigners to a free interpreter in court
Foreign citizens who do not speak the language of legal proceedings are entitled to use the services of an interpreter. At the same time, foreigners have the right to speak in the courts of Belarus in their native language, and the speech of a foreigner is translated into Russian, in which legal proceedings are usually conducted.
Personal and other documents of a foreigner, if they are drawn up in a foreign language, are subject to official translation into Russian or Belarusian. Translation bureaus, as well as translators who have a diploma with the obligatory indication of the specialty “translator” have the right to officially translate foreign documents.
The right of foreign companies to judicial protection in Belarus
Part 2 of Article 541 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Belarus contains a provision according to which foreign legal entities have the right to apply to the courts of the Republic of Belarus and enjoy civil procedural rights on an equal basis with legal entities of the Republic of Belarus. At the same time, the article contains a reservation that a different procedure may be provided for by legislative acts, international treaties of the Republic of Belarus and agreements of the parties.
Let us give an example when a foreign company enjoys full civil legal capacity on the territory of Belarus. Thus, a foreign LLC registered in Belarus entered into a contract for the supply of furniture with a Belarusian enterprise. The Belarusian enterprise accepted the goods, but did not pay its cost in full. In this case, a foreign LLC has the right to apply to the court with a claim for the recovery of the unpaid amount under the supply agreement and interest for the use of other people’s funds (Article 366 of the Civil Code of the Republic of Belarus).
Representing the interests of a foreign company in court by power of attorney in Belarus
In the courts of Belarus, foreign firms can be represented by a Belarusian citizen, including a lawyer or lawyer.
A power of attorney to represent interests in court must be certified by a notary. A representative of a foreign company must come to a notary’s office or a notary’s office of the Republic of Belarus.
The notary must provide the following documents:
– constituent documents of a foreign company and their translation into Russian/Belarusian, notarized;
– an order to appoint the applicant as a director and its translation into Russian/Belarusian;
– passport or other identity document;
– Full name and passport details of the representative;
– receipt of payment of the notary fee.
The power of attorney is drawn up in Russian in the presence of an interpreter, if the citizen does not speak the languages of notarial office work – Russian or Belarusian. A foreigner must read the power of attorney in the presence of a notary (if necessary – read by an interpreter in a language understandable to a foreigner). Further, the foreigner signs the power of attorney, it is sealed, it is affixed with an acknowledgment inscription and the signature of a notary.
The right of foreigners and foreign companies to apply to law enforcement agencies
Foreign citizens, as well as foreign companies in Belarus, have the right to protect their legitimate interests. The legitimate interests of foreigners and foreign companies can be protected by applying to the prosecutor’s office, internal affairs, the department for combating economic crimes, etc.
To apply to law enforcement agencies, you must write and send an application in Russian / Belarusian. If a foreigner does not speak Russian / Belarusian, then he can use the services of an interpreter.
All appeals received by law enforcement agencies are subject to mandatory consideration and response within 15 days. If the circumstances specified in the application to the prosecutor’s office indicate a violation of the law, the prosecutor issues a protest, an order to eliminate the violation of the law, or another act of the prosecutor’s response.
The right of foreigners to appeal court decisions
Foreign citizens, like citizens of Belarus, have the right to appeal court decisions to higher authorities.
Thus, foreigners have the right to file complaints against the decisions of the courts of first instance in case of disagreement with them.
A foreigner can appeal against a decision on deportation, on recognizing a marriage as invalid, on the recovery of alimony, etc. In this case, foreigners usually act through a lawyer who draws up an appeal and sends it to a higher authority.
Decisions of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus are not subject to appeal, they are final.
Based on the foregoing, foreigners in Belarus are provided with a national legal regime, i.e. the right to judicial protection of their rights and legitimate interests on an equal basis with Belarusian citizens. At the same time, in relation to the judicial protection of foreigners, there are features provided for by the legislation of Belarus.
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