China Elevator Stories

The Most Expensive Letter I Have Ever Sent

Sending a letter to the Austrian Constitutional Court costs 240 euros.


Ruth Silbermayr
Ruth Silbermayr


I have discovered a very expensive pastime, and that is sending a letter to the Austrian Constitutional Court.

They have one particular paragraph that states that by merely sending a letter to the court, you will be charged 240 euros. I sent a single letter asking the court if they could check my proceedings for conformity with the Austrian constitution and had to pay 720 euros, even though all the court did was decline my request.

Never mind that my children’s life is at risk and that I have had to watch my constitutional rights be treated with disdain by a female judge.

One of the things the (now former) female jugde in charge told me during the proceedings was: “You have no right to receive sole custody of your children because they now live with their Chinese grandmother and she has taken care of them these last few years”.

Another statement was: “I can understand him separating your children from you if I look at the whole situation from his point of view, which is that he would have had to leave the children with you after 5 years if his residence permit ran out”.

Legally speaking, this assumption is not correct because residence permits can be renewed. Moreover, 5 years is already very long compared to the 6-10 month long residence permits I received in his hometown, Siping.

It is a well known fact that women are being treated unequally at Austrian courts, and my experience is not an exception.

The treatment I have received is in accordance with what the Austrian organisation FEMA reports about the treatment of women at Austrian courts. I have experienced a wide range of institutional violence, simply because I am female.

Other courts I have turned to would either decline my requests free of charge or process them free of charge, depending on the situation.

Have you ever had to deal with institutional violence?

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