On 3 October 2017, the Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada), has adopted the Law No. 6232 On Amendment of the Commercial Procedure Code of Ukraine, Civil Procedure Code of Ukraine, Code of Administrative Procedure of Ukraine and Other Legislative Acts (the “Law”). The 800-page Law, lengthiest in history, was brought about by President Poroshenko as a part of the much-awaited judicial reform*.
The adoption of the Law No. 6232 is an important milestone in the restructuration of the Ukrainian judicial system. Namely, the Law gives path to the new Supreme Court, which is to replace and assume the judicial functions of the existing Supreme Court of Ukraine, the High Commercial Court of Ukraine, the High Administrative Court of Ukraine and the High Specialised Court of Ukraine for Civil and Criminal Cases**.
The Law also restates in full three procedural codes (i.e., the Commercial Procedure Code of Ukraine, the Civil Procedure Code of Ukraine, and the Code of Administrative Procedure of Ukraine), as well as introducing amendments to more than 20 other legislative acts.
Among others, the key changes in the legislative landscape that regulates the Ukrainian judicial system include:
- implementation of the procedural rules before the new Supreme Court;
- unification of the rules of all three types of proceedings;
- implementation of mechanisms aimed to prevent abuse of procedural rights by parties;
- introduction of the attorney’s legal monopoly for the representation of the parties in courts;
- introduction of amicable settlement procedures with judicial involvement;
- improved procedures for injunctive measures;
- improved procedures for determination and allocation of litigation costs;
- adoption of the legislative framework for the functioning of ‘e-court’, i.e. the system providing for the possibility of case management with the use of modern IT technologies;
- new rules of evidence, in particular regarding the possibility of providing e-evidence to the court, and, when it comes to commercial cases, with witness testimonies;
- introduction of expedited proceedings in straightforward civil and commercial cases, including the option for the parties to choose summary proceedings for the resolution of the case;
- introduction of the principle of adversary proceedings in civil and commercial cases;
- incorporation of provisions vesting a civil court with a right to issue interim measures in support of arbitration.
Surely, the adoption of the Law is a tipping point in reforming of Ukraine’s stifled judiciary system. We hope that its foremost objective - ensuring the effective protection of legitimate rights of every individual and/or legal entity as well as interests of the Ukrainian society as a whole - will be effectively enforced in practice.
The draft Law is yet to be signed by the President of Ukraine, who may use his right of veto. It remains unlikely that the President would actually veto the proposed Bill, as he had earlier set it as a priority legislative act to be passed by the Parliament.
If signed by the President, the Law will enter into force on the same day as the new Supreme Court starts operating. This date is yet to be determined, but it is expected before the end of this year.