The ILF law firm has represented Pavlo Schwartz – a candidate for the position of the Bishop of the German Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ukraine – in a dispute over being registered as head of the church.
According to ILF, Schwartz was almost denied his position, despite having the support of the Lutheran community in Germany, the German embassy, and the majority of church communities in Ukraine. His opponent has, in an attempt to seize control of the church “resorted to openly illegal methods: he created grounds for being registered as [the] head of the church by falsifying the minutes of the Synod and managing to get the registration service to go through with it. Thus, in violation of the church’s charter, a parallel structure of communities was created which started making its own decisions and managing property: pastors’ apartments, cars, as well as church buildings themselves.” According to the firm, “the self-proclaimed Bishop tried to completely overhaul the organization of the church, aiming to get rid of opposing communities and pastors. With that in mind, using two fabricated lawsuits that allegedly challenged the synod’s decision, he convinced an administrative court to grant an injunction against making any changes to the information about the organization, including changes regarding its head.”
ILF has, firstly, filed and won an appeal against the administrative court’s injunction. According to the firm, when Schwartz’s opponent appealed the decision before a district court, the firm filed an appeal as well. The matter was brought before a Commercial Court, which found that it had no jurisdiction over the matter. ILF resolved the matter by contacting the registrar’s office directly and helping “the communities to prepare a new founding document. Then, on the basis of the synod’s decisions and with the required quorum present, [the firm] finally had Pavlo Schwartz registered as the legitimate Bishop.”
Finally, according to ILF, the opposing side has appealed to the Ministry of Justice, which denied the appeal thus confirming the legitimacy of the new charter as well as Schwartz’s registration as the Bishop.