On 30 October 2017, the President of Ukraine signed the law On Ratification of the Protocols No. 15 and 16 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, No. 2156-VIII (the “Law”). Ukraine has now officially ratified the Protocols No. 15 and No. 16 to the European Convention on Human Rights (the “Convention”).

The Protocol No. 15 will decrease the period for lodging applications with the European Court of Human Rights (the “ECHR”) to 4 months, starting from the date of the final decision of the domestic court that ruled the applicant’s case. The Protocol No. 15 will also adjust the “significant disadvantage” admissibility criterion for the applications filed with the ECHR.

The Protocol No. 16 will confer on the highest judicial authority of the signatory states the right to seek non-binding advisory opinions from the ECHR on the interpretation or application of the rights and freedoms defined in the Convention or the protocols thereto. As to Ukraine, the Law vests the right to request advisory opinions from the ECHR with the Supreme Court of Ukraine.

As of today, however, neither of the Protocols has entered into force. The entry into force of the Protocols is subject to their ratification by a fixed number of signatory states of the Convention.

Although the ratification of the Protocols by Ukraine will have practical effect after the Protocols enter into force, we consider such ratification as a positive step towards the alignment of jurisprudence between the Ukrainian courts and the ECHR.