Stamen Filipov to the Constitutional Court

Download Judgment: English Macedonian
Country: Macedonia
Region: Europe
Year: 2003
Court: Constitutional Court
Health Topics: Health systems and financing, Public safety
Human Rights: Right to health, Right to social security
Tags: Health insurance, Health regulation, Safety regulation, Traffic safety

The Petitioner, Stamen Filipov, challenged several provisions of the Law on Insurance (the Law), which required owners and the users of motor vehicles, aircrafts, ships, motor powered boats and railway vehicles to conclude insurance contracts. Filipov challenged these compulsory insurance provisions on the basis that they forced parties to conclude contracts they did not agree with or were not interested in. Filipov also claimed that the law was unconstitutional because it had no penal provisions.

The challenged provisions required passengers on public transport to be insured from the consequences of accidents, and the owners and the users of motor vehicles, aircrafts, ships and motor powered boats to be ensured against third party liability. The Law also imposed fines for misdemeanor on legal and natural persons who failed to obtain the stipulated insurance.

The Court rejected Filipov’s claims. It considered the compulsory insurance obligation to have a foundational basis in the constitutional rights to social security and health, and with the constitutional principles of the rule of law, humanism, social justice and solidarity. Under the Constitution, every citizen had a right to social security and social insurance in accordance with law and collective agreement, as well as both a right and duty to protect and promote her/his health and the health of others. The State, on the other hand, had an obligation to provide social protection and social security for citizens in accordance with social justice. The legislator therefore was right to provide for a compulsory rather than voluntary insurance contract, in view of its own obligations to provide for social protection and security of the citizens. In the view of the Court, these provisions were a State expression of care and responsibility towards its obligations, and were therefore consistent with the Constitution.

The Court rejected the argument that the law did not contain penal provisions, pointing to the many instances in which the legislation imposed fines for non-compliance. It also declined to consider several provisions in the law that had been repealed before the judgment was decided.

“The legislative regulation of these matters, with an appropriate approach according to which these matters are given a degree of exceptional meaning and special compulsory treatment in the insurance sphere, is determined by the specific subject of public transport safety which creates special social problems. Considering this, and starting from the constitutional determination in Article 35 paragraph 1 of the Constitution, according to which the Republic provides social protection and social security for citizens in accordance with the principle of social justice, and according to Article 34 of the Constitution, stating that citizens have a right to social security and social insurance, determined by laws and by collective agreement, as well as on the basis of Article 39 paragraph 2 of the Constitution, which states that a citizen has the right and the duty to protect and promote his own health and the health of others, we can conclude that the contested provisions in Articles 54 to 79-a of the Law on Insurance do indeed possess a constitutional basis to regulate the rights and duties arising from compulsory insurance.” Section 5.

“Also in relation to the contested provisions of this part of the Law are the penal provisions in Article 122 paragraph 1 item 2 and paragraph 2 and Article 123 of the Law, with which the cases when the subjects of compulsory insurance will be penalized for a misdemeanour with a fine are stated, and because of this the claims in the initiative which state that the provisions in the Law regarding compulsory insurance were not regulated by penal provisions are unfounded.” Section 5.