Потрібна юридична консультація? Наш юрист надасть її безкоштовно

A person died in the temporarily occupied territory: the death certificate was issued through the court

Publication date: June 8, 2023

A successful case from the practice of the NGO “Public Legal Aid Service” is at the same time a step-by-step algorithm for issuing a death certificate of a loved one who died in the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine.   

Oleksii Kormiletskyi — a lawyer of the NGO “Public Legal Aid Service”.
  • The issue of reissuing the death certificate of relatives who died in the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine has been facing the displaced since the time of the russian invasion in 2014. Today they are also relevant. It was with such a request that a resettled woman from the Luhansk oblast addressed the organization, notes the organization’s lawyer Oleksii Kormiletskyi.

Hanna said that her grandmother died in Khrustalnyi, Luhansk oblast. The granddaughter wants to get a Ukrainian death certificate, but she does not know how to do it.

Oleksii Kormiletskyi explained to the woman that obtaining a Ukrainian-style death certificate in the event that the death occurred on the territory temporarily occupied by the russian federation can be a difficult process due to the peculiarities of the legal status of such territories.

As a general rule, in Ukraine, the procedure for registering a death and obtaining a death certificate is regulated by the Law “On State Registration of Civil Status Acts”. According to it, an official death certificate can be issued by the state registration body of civil status acts based on the application of relatives or persons who have a direct interest in obtaining it.
However, due to the peculiarities of the political and legal situation in the occupied territories, the procedure for obtaining a death certificate of the Ukrainian model may be complicated. The russian occupation authorities may have their own civil registration system, and the usual procedure in force in Ukraine is not available in these territories.

A Ukrainian death certificate can be obtained through the court in certain cases. Usually, this procedure is used when it is impossible to obtain a death certificate by applying to the civil registry office.

Legal action may be necessary in the following situations:

– Absence or inability to obtain a death certificate due to lack of contact with the official authorities in the area where the death occurred.

– Inability to obtain a certificate due to loss of documents or other circumstances.

– Lack of cooperation or refusal to issue a certificate on the part of the russian occupation authorities in the occupied territory.

In such cases, a person can file a lawsuit in court and establish the fact of death through evidence and testimony.

The court can decide the issue of issuing a Ukrainian death certificate based on the evidence presented.

In the process of obtaining a Ukrainian death certificate through the court, it is important to follow the following steps:

Step 1: Appeal to the court. It is necessary to apply to the appropriate court with a claim to establish the fact of death and obtain a Ukrainian death certificate. It is recommended that you draft a statement of claim together with an attorney or legal advisor to ensure that the claims and evidence are properly worded.

Step 2: Presentation of evidence. During the trial, it is necessary to present all available evidence that confirms the fact of death. These can be medical documents, witness statements, photographs, correspondence with authorities, etc. It is important to collect all possible evidence that confirms the death in the territory occupied by the russian federation.

Step 3: Proof of the importance of obtaining a certificate. During the court process, the importance of obtaining a Ukrainian death certificate should be proven. This can be done, for example, by referring to the need for inheritance, pension issues, or other legal relationships where the death certificate is recognized as a document.

Step 4: Judicial proceeding. After the court considers the claim, a court decision will be made. If it is in favor of the person, the court can decide the issue of issuing a death certificate of the Ukrainian model.

It is important to note that the execution of the court decision may require further steps, for example, an application to the state registration authority.

Step 5: Execution of the court decision. After receiving a court decision in favor of the person who appealed to the court, it is necessary to complete the procedure of obtaining a Ukrainian death certificate. This may include submitting documents to the relevant registration authority, filling out an application and paying the prescribed fee.

Further actions. After obtaining a Ukrainian death certificate, it is possible to use this document for various legal purposes, such as registration of inheritance, pension issues, insurance payments, etc.

A lawyer accompanied Hanna’s case. He helped draw up a statement “On establishing the fact of a person’s death” and submit it to the court. The court, relying on the evidence, recognized the fact of the person’s death — the application was subject to approval and immediate execution. Later, with this decision, the woman turned to the State Department of Registration of Civil Status Acts, located in the territory controlled by Ukraine. Here, the fact of death was officially registered, and after some time Hanna already had a Ukrainian death certificate of her grandmother.

The material was created with the support of the international charity platform GlobalGiving and the Legal Empowerment Fund (Fund for Global Human Rights program) and the Legal Development Network. The content of the publication is solely the responsibility of the Legal Development Network and does not necessarily reflect the views of the previously mentioned organizations.

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