Ukraine Amends Civil, Commercial and Administrative Procedure Codes
Significant amendments to three Ukrainian codes governing judicial dispute resolution process — the Civil, the Commercial, and the Administrative Procedure Code, entered into force on December 15, 2017, the same day the reorganized Supreme Court started operating. In general, the amendments aim to modernise the Ukrainian judicial system and increase its efficiency. The amendments also introduce electronic submission of evidence and encourage electronic communication between the parties and courts. Some of the most important changes are described below.
Minor disputes, such as those in which the value of the dispute does not exceed EUR 5,310 (USD 6,525), can now be resolved in simplified proceedings, previously available for a limited number of very specific situations.
Right of audience
Both individuals and legal entities were previously able to appoint anyone as a representative before the court, as long as the representative had a proper authorization. Even a law degree was not required to represent in court. Now, individuals may either appear before a court themselves or be represented by an attorney at law. In minor disputes, they may still be represented simply by authorized representatives, regardless of their qualification. Legal entities may be represented by a member of the executive board or by an attorney at law, and in minor disputes, by their in-house lawyers, who need not be members of the local bar association.
IP-related disputes are not considered minor disputes, except for the ones involving recovery of damages, if the value of the dispute does not exceed EUR 5,310 (USD 6,525). Therefore, IP rights owners have to appear in court themselves or appoint an attorney at law to represent them, for instance in disputes related to the validity of IP rights.
Filing of proof
All available proof on which an action or a defensive plea is based should now be submitted together with the corresponding action or defensive plea. Before the changes took effect, parties were able to file proof subsequently, which is no longer the case.
Judge-facilitated dispute settlement
In an attempt to settle disputes amicably and avoid trials, a judge-facilitated settlement is now possible, with a judge and parties meeting either together or with a judge meeting each party separately. The information disclosed during the meetings will be confidential.
A court can now appoint an independent expert to assist the court in interpreting legal provisions if the law does not directly address the issue at hand and the court has to apply statutory or legal analogy. Independent experts can also help with interpreting foreign law, but the court can decide whether to accept the interpretation.
Injunctive relief and international arbitration
State courts are now able to grant an injunction in cases considered by an international arbitral tribunal.
The number of cases in which an appeal before the Ukrainian Supreme Court can be filed is now reduced. As a general rule, appeals will not be accepted by the Supreme Court in petty dispute proceedings unless, for example, the court of first instance erred in qualifying the dispute as petty or when the case is of fundamental importance for the establishment of uniform judicial practice.
Abuse of procedural rights
All three amended codes now specify which activities will be regarded as abuse of procedural rights. These activities include filing an obviously groundless action, filing several actions against the same defendant on the same grounds and with the same claims, and appealing judicial decisions that are not eligible for an appeal, to name only a few.
By: Yuriy Karlash
For more information, please contact Yuriy Karlash at our Ukraine office.
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