The Ministry of Justice of Ukraine last week announced that 25 persons had successfully passed the qualification exam to gain a license as private enforcement officers. According to reports, 42 candidates took this qualification exam.
The successful examinees will become holders of the licenses to enforce court decisions within 10 days of taking the exam and will be allowed to commence their work: a) once they have obtained civil responsibility insurance contracts; and b) once their offices have been inspected and approved by the Ministry of Justice. This long-awaited development will enable litigants to hire private enforcement officers instead of the less effective state enforcement officers.
The instrument of private enforcement officers is expected to be of high value due to its many practical benefits and advantages. For more details on this instrument, please see our update of November 2016.
Still, when considering whether to hire a private enforcement officer, one has to be mindful of the fact that private enforcement officers have a narrower scope of functions and fewer competencies than state enforcement officers. In particular, private enforcement officers may not enforce:
- decisions against the state and the state authorities, municipal enterprises, state-owned companies and enterprises, the National Bank of Ukraine, public utility enterprises, state-owned companies and enterprises where the state has a more than 25% share in the charter capital and legal entities which receive financing from the state or local budget;
- decisions on taking away or transferring a child, on establishing meetings with the child or on eliminating obstacles to visiting the child;
- decisions where a debtor is a legal entity whose property may not be sold via compulsory sale;
- decisions where the state or a state body acts as a creditor;
- decisions by administrative courts and the European Court of Human Rights;
- decisions providing for any actions regarding state or municipal property;
- decisions on evicting individual persons, or on their right to continue to occupy a certain residence;
- decisions under which the debtors are children, individuals declared as legally incompetent or individuals whose legal capacity has been limited;
- decisions on the confiscation of property;
- decisions with an amount exceeding UAH 6 million (approx. EUR 200 thousand) – limitation valid up to the end of 2017; and
- decisions with an amount exceeding UAH 20 million (approx. EUR 680 thousand) – limitation valid during a private enforcement officer’s first year of work.
Keeping in mind the limitations cited above, we would advise companies who have pending enforcement proceedings in Ukraine to wait and see how private enforcement officers proceed in their first cases and then decide whether to transfer their cases to private enforcement officers.