justiceQC 发表于 2016-6-13 22:57

Régie du logement, 公平正义水中望(中英,转载)

Régie du logement, 又名Rental Board of Quebec,即魁北克租房委员会,是仲裁民用房房东与租客之间纠纷的行政仲裁庭,虽然它声称仲裁独立、不偏不倚,但教授行政法administrative laws的老师毫不讳言它偏向房东的立场,虽然这种说法也得到各租户协会的普遍认同,但Régie du logement一口咬定这是一面之词。在没有见到铁的事实之前,姑且当它是”道听途说”(hearsay)。
案例分析显示,Régie du logement 对于租金涨幅的仲裁几乎就是一个纯会计审核过程,鲜有涉及材料和证词真实性的议题。而租金涨幅的原告一般都是房东,也就是一般意义上财大气粗的一方,所以,只要房东聘请律师把数据文件做得看似专业漂亮,就能满足走流程的法官(commissioner,不是真正意义上的judge),胜券在握。 那么租客呢?
相对于完全独立的司法审判庭绝对不允许“突然袭击式出示证据”(unfair surprise),Régie du logement 从程序上就默许了房东可以临时提交最关键的争议文件,甚至可以是当庭出示。因此,处于社会弱势群体的租客就可以被堂而皇之地突袭:对争议文件内容从了解吸收到提出有效质疑,只有庭上的时间,而在Régie du logement 的庭审安排时间表里,这样一场庭讯通常只有30分钟。
最近的一个案例显示,房东在2015年初在Régie du logement提交了租金涨幅仲裁请求。按照规定,房东要提交一个涨幅计算表格,内容包括有关公寓建筑物的收入和2014年内的支出,所有数字参照官方公布的2015年涨幅指标计算,从而得出一个相对合理的租金涨幅。可是这个房东直到2016年春才提交这个表格,而且是在Régie du logement已经发送了上庭通知之后。诡谲的是,此时,2016年的官方涨幅指标已经公布了。根据官方的涨幅指标,其中一种供暖能源的涨幅指标2015年是12%, 而2016年是-3%(注意是负数!)。也就是说,一个合理怀疑(reasonable doubt, 民事诉讼的举证责任)是:房东拖到2016指标公布后发现涨幅指标对自己不利,然后把2015年的施工支出也划到2014年。支持合理怀疑的还有:历年房东与房客的涨幅协商都显示房东有狮子大张口的嫌疑(bad faith):开口$16,降到$2;开口$13,降到$4等等,不一而足。倒不是租客有多高的谈判技巧,而是他严格遵循Régie du logement的涨幅推荐标准议价,这也是众多租客协会都建议的方法。荒唐的是,Régie du logement审判庭法官不仅把这样证据确凿的不诚信行为合理化成“出价随他要”,还把合理怀疑(reasonable doubt)说成是“假设”(presumption),这样的“法官”还真是让人无语,更别指望她能理解多次不诚信的行为就上升为行为模式(pattern),将大大降低这一方证词可信度的法庭辩论基本原理。
本案中,法官对房东在律师策划下“精心”准备的证据一一买单,全然不顾租客“不可能的任务”挑战:当庭质疑众多第一次见到的文件。法官最后只给租客5分钟时间质疑,并声称她已被证据说服。
本案不是一审,之前的庭讯就是一个乌龙,不过也为租客赢得了仔细研究房东提供的涨幅表格的时间。不过,二审时房东再次用大量维修证明材料突然袭击,仍然是严重违背庭审抗辩的公平原则。更可笑的是,二审过程中,原告律师从头至尾只说过一句话,其他的辩护义务,都由“法官”代劳了,荒唐之至!
本案还有许多偏袒细节,不便在此透露,或者说时机不成熟,但作为佐证法学界以及租户协会的公认看法,维护法律尊严以及宣导社会公平正义,笔者认为有必要呈此拙笔。
Régie du logement, rental board of Quebec, an administrative tribunal who is supposed to settle disputes between landlords and tenants independently and impartially, is for a fact pro-landlord. Even the law professor who teaches the administrative laws, as well as many tenant associations in Quebec will tell you that the tribunal and their members are self-evidently not independent”, but pro-landlords. The Régie du logement says it’s a one-sided view. It’s a hearsay until you got the ironclad facts.
Case law study shows that the Régie du logement deals rent increase dispute matters as a pure accounting review process without questioning the legitimacy or truthfulness of the evidences and the statements of the landlords. The accounting review by judge is perfectly co-operated by the landlords, the rich guys. With attorney’s help, they can always come up with some “professional look” evidences to support their greedy allegation, which will for sure satisfy the routine-work-competent judge. What about the tenants?The Régie du logement procedurally allows the landlord to file the documents that is subject to contest few days before the hearing, or even during the hearing; as such, poor tenants are technically being unfairly surprised and have merely the hearing time to contest the documents, which is usually scheduled for 30 minutes!A recent case shows that a landlord opened a file at the beginning of 2015 for a rent increase dispute.According to the law, he is supposed to file then a calculation form based on the revenue and expense incurred in 2014 with the rate determined by the government for 2015, but he did not file the form until one year after, few days before the hearing in 2016 when the rate for 2016 was announced.The tricky thing is that the rate for 2015 is very high (12%) whereas the rate for 2016 is lower than 0, -3%! Clearly, it is not in the landlord’s best interest to declare the major work in 2015 honestly, but put it into 2014 will be a smart move!On top of that, the rent increase negotiations in the past between the landlord and the tenant show that the landlord always try to take advantage of the tenant: asked for $16 and agreed to $2; asked for $13 and agreed to $4, so on so for. What the tenant used to negotiate is the rate recommended by the Régie du logement, which is also an appropriate way confirmed by many tenant associations. The trial judge legalized the landlord’s not-in-good-faith conduct by saying “he can ask whatever he wants”. Moreover, when the tenant raised a reasonable doubt about the many major work dumped in 2014 with the landlord’s bad-faith pattern proved in the past, as well as the unusual delay of the filing, the trial judge trivialized the reasonable doubt to “a presumption” and asked the tenant, the defendant, to question the deliberately made evidences presented by the landlord for the first time during the trial, which is impossible for anybody to contest.Besides, although the tenant has no parking space shared in the garage, the judge ruled that the repairing work in the garage which is mostly on the remote controlling garage door applies to the tenant because the garage is a fundamental part of the building!During the ceremony-like hearing, the plaintiff presented one by one his evidences and the judge was glancing admiringly, trivialized again the defendant’s question about the discrepancy to “an error any one will make”. At the end, the judge left 5 minutes to the defendant to contest the evidences presented in surprise and said “the evidences convinced me, you will receive a decision within two weeks.” What you won’t believe is: during the whole hearing, the plaintiff’s attorney said no more than one sentence because the judge was defending for them throughout the hearing!This was the second hearing, the first one for the same case ended up something like a mistrial, full of partial, incompetent behaviors.On the Régie du logement’s website, you will find the DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLE ON PARTICIPATORY JUSTICE, saying “it is important to establish a climate of mutual respect cooperation and balance in citizens relations” and this is how the Régie du logement balances the social vulnerable versus the deep pocket. As for “promote access to justice and establish a sense of justice for all citizens”, please allow me to say: IT IS A JOKE!http://blog.sina.com.cn/u/5280604986
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