Starting on 5 January 2017, the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine began with the roll out of two new public registers:
- The Automated System of Enforcement Proceedings (ASEP) and
- The Unified Register of Debtors (URD).
The Automated System of Enforcement Proceedings (ASEP) will be used by the enforcement officers to keep records of enforcement proceedings and will contain all relevant case material, including acts of the enforcement officer and correspondence with the parties to the proceedings, i.e. the debtor and the creditor.
Parties to the proceedings will be provided with a password to access ASEP. The new system will allow the creditor to monitor the enforcement officer’s actions in almost real time mode. This is a particularly significant improvement as, in the past, creditors often had to pay personal visits to the enforcement officer in order to obtain information on the status of the proceedings, or engage in a slow and inefficient exchange of letters by mail.
Limited information from ASEP is publicly available online at http://asvpweb.nais.gov.ua. In order to search for information on specific enforcement proceedings, the interested party should know the full name of at least one party to the proceedings (creditor or debtor) or the unique identification number of the proceedings. Said search can only provide the following information: the other party's full name, the identification number of the proceedings and the full name of the local enforcement service or private enforcement officer conducting the proceedings.
The Unified Register of Debtors (URD) contains similar information on the public section of the ASEP and can be accessed by third parties based on the same search criteria, with a few exceptions. The register is available online at http://erb.nais.gov.ua.
An important difference between the two systems is that, as of now, all pending enforcement proceedings will be recorded in the ASEP, while the URD will contain information from enforcement proceedings commenced after January 2017. Another difference is that ASEP will contain information on finished (closed) proceedings, while the URD will only provide information on debtors under pending enforcement proceedings.
The new public registries will benefit both Ukrainian and international businesses in a number of ways:
- creditors, especially those with multiple debtors spread across the country, will be able to obtain information on enforcement proceedings at significantly lower costs;
- every interested person will be able to verify the good standing of his/her Ukrainian counterparty;
- the registries will also be useful in the course of legal due diligence or other background checks of Ukrainian companies and will supplement other government-run databases that increasingly become available online; and
- the public nature of the registries is believed to impose moral pressure upon debtors, making them more willing to perform the court’s decision.
There is, however, a downside to these positive developments, as the enforcement proceedings are still managed by the same underfunded and largely inefficient State Enforcement Service as before. For that reason, the government will move forward with other changes that are expected to improve the system. In particular, it is anticipated that the introduction of private enforcement officers later this year will increase the speed and efficiency of the enforcement proceedings.