UPDATE: A Research Guide to Ukrainian Law


By Nazar Chernyavsky & Oleksandr Zelenyi


Nazar Chernyavsky, a partner at Sayenko Kharenko, specializes in banking, capital markets, secured and structured finance. Mr. Chernyavsky advises clients on a wide range of major private and public securities offerings, syndications and secured finance transactions. He has extensive experience of handling the most complex financing projects in the Ukrainian market, which include the first securitizations in Ukraine, Rule 144A share offerings, Tier II Eurobond offerings, UAH linked LPN issues, etc. Prior to joining Sayenko Kharenko, Mr. Chernyavsky worked for the leading Ukrainian law firms. Nazar has been recognized in banking and finance by Chambers Global, The Legal 500, IFLR 1000, PLC Which Lawyer, The Best Lawyers International and ranked among top two in Information Technologies & Communications and among notable practitioners in Banking & Finance, and Capital Markets by Ukrainian Law Firms 2013 compilation by Yuridicheskaya Practika, the leading legal publishing house in Ukraine. Nazar holds a Master of Laws degree from Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University School of International Law and Intercollegiate LL.M. from Queen Mary College of the University of London.


Oleksandr Zelenyi is an associate at Sayenko Kharenko. Oleksandr worked at the public prosecution of Ukraine for three years. He holds a Master degree in Corporate and Commercial Law from Queen Mary, University of London.


Published March 2014

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Note: In the system of state authority bodies the Parliament of Ukraine is named the Verkhovna Rada and the Government-the Cabinet of Ministers. 


Table of Contents


1.     Introduction

Ukraine is one of the largest countries in Europe - in sheer size, it is comparable to France. It is worth mentioning that the geographical center of Europe is situated in Ukraine. Its population is around 46 million people.


On 24 August 1991 the Ukrainian parliament adopted the Act of Independence in which the parliament declared Ukraine as an independent democratic state. The country experienced deeper economic slowdown, but situation stabilized by the end of the 1990s.


Currently Ukraine is in the process of transformation from a command to a free-market economy and implementation of democracy. The law and legal system is a subject to deep and complex changes as well. Since its independence, Ukraine has made substantial progress in the creation of new legislation, ensuring human rights and freedoms, and building new economic relations.


In 1996, on its way of incorporation of international legal standards in domestic legislation, Ukraine adopted new Constitution. Having become a member of the Council of Europe in 1995, Ukraine began to work toward improving its legislation in regards of human rights protection, and to implement legal and judicial reforms.


The development of Ukrainian legal system has been significantly influenced by the declared European integration of the country.  Ukraine is currently in the process of adapting its legislation to European norms and standards with a goal to acquire full membership to the European Union.


2.     The Political System

Ukraine is a republic[1]. In 2004, the Verkhovna Rada amended the Constitution and redistributed state power in its favour. However, in 2010 in the Constitutional Court of Ukraine declared abovementioned amendments unconstitutional and the initial edition of the Constitution was reinstated and Ukraine has become presidential-parliamentary republic again.


At the beginning of 2014, Ukraine experienced a severe political crisis, accompanied by violent clashes between protesters and police forces. As one of the discussed suggestions to resolve this crisis is either adoption of the new edition of the Constitution or re-enactment of 2004 edition of the Constitution.


Ukraine has multiparty political system and five political parties are currently represented in the Verkhovna Rada.


3.     The Autonomous Republic of Crimea

Ukraine is a unitary state[2] with the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in its administrative structure.  The Autonomous Republic of Crimea is an integral constituent part of Ukraine and decides on the issues ascribed to its competence within the limits of authority determined by the Constitution of Ukraine[3].


The Autonomous Republic of Crimea has its own Constitution that is adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic and approved by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.  Normative legal acts of the Verkhovna Rada and decisions of the Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea shall not contradict the Constitution and other laws of Ukraine.


In case of nonconformity of the normative legal acts of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea with the Constitution and other laws, the President may suspend such normative legal acts with a simultaneous appeal to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine in regard to their constitutionality.


4.     The Source of State Power

The people are the sole bearers of sovereignty and the sole source of power in Ukraine.  The people exercise power directly and through the state authorities and local self-government bodies.  The right to determine and change the constitutional order in Ukraine belongs exclusively to the people and shall not be usurped by the State, its bodies or officials[4].


The expression of the will of the people is exercised through elections, referendums and other political forms of democracy. Citizens of Ukraine, who have attained the age of eighteen on the day of the elections and referendums, have the right to vote at the elections and referendums[5].


5.     The Foundation and Division of State Power

The state power in Ukraine is exercised in accordance with the principles of its division into legislative, executive and judicial branches[6].


5.1.  Legislative Power

The sole body of legislative power in Ukraine is the Verkhovna Rada.  Its constitutional composition is 450 people’s deputies elected for a five-year term.


The Parliament has exclusive rights to:


5.2.  The Executive Power

According to the Constitution of Ukraine, the President of Ukraine is the head of the State and acts in on its behalf.


The President:


The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine is the highest body in the system of the executive branch of power and includes the Prime Minister, the First Vice Prime Minister, Vice Prime Ministers and Ministers.


The Cabinet of Ministers:


At the end of 2006 the Verkhovna Rada adopted the new Law of Ukraine “On the Cabinet of Ministries of Ukraine” that invoked critics as is not in line with the Constitution.


The main ministries are as follows:


The executive power in oblasts (24 administrative units), districts, and in the cities of Kyiv and Sevastopol is executed by local state administrations.  They ensure on their respective territory fulfillment of the laws and other normative acts, and legal order[9].


5.3.  The Judicial System

Justice in Ukraine is administered exclusively by courts.  According to the Constitution, courts constitute a self-sufficient authority functioning independently of other bodies or officials.  The jurisdiction of courts extends to all relations that arise in the State.  Judicial proceedings are performed by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine and courts of general jurisdiction[10].


The Constitutional Court of Ukraine is the sole body of constitutional jurisdiction.  It resolves the issues of conformity of laws and other legal acts of the Verkhovna Rada, acts of the President and the Cabinet of Ministers with the Constitution and provides the official interpretation of the Constitution and laws.


The Constitutional Court is comprised of eighteen judges.  The President of Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the Congress of Judges of Ukraine each appoint six judges to it.


The Constitutional Court adopts decisions that are mandatory for execution throughout the territory of the country, are final and cannot be appealed.  Laws and other legal acts that are deemed to be unconstitutional lose their legal force.


The system of courts of general jurisdiction is formed in accordance with the territorial principle and the principle of specialization.  In accordance with the Constitution and the Law of Ukraine “On the Judiciary System and Status of Judges” it consists of local courts, courts of appeal, the specialized courts with their highest judicial bodies, and the Supreme Court of Ukraine.  These courts administer civil, criminal, administrative and commercial matters.


The Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the system of courts of general jurisdiction.


The following types of courts belong to the courts of general jurisdiction:

·      local courts,

·      courts of appeal,

·      higher specialized courts, and

·      the Supreme Court of Ukraine.


Higher judicial bodies of specialized courts are the Higher Commercial Court of Ukraine, the Higher Administrative Court of Ukraine and the High Specialized Court of Ukraine in Civil and Criminal Cases. Currently there are about 770 courts with around 8,700 judges in Ukraine.


The court proceedings are administered in Ukraine according to the Civil Procedural Code of Ukraine, Commercial Procedural Code of Ukraine and the Code of Administrative Adjudication of Ukraine depending on jurisdiction.


The creation of extraordinary and special courts is not permitted.


The Law of Ukraine “On Access to Court Decisions”, adopted in 2005 has a special role in making judiciary more transparent.  According to this law, all court decisions are published on the Internet here. The State Judicial Administration of Ukraine is administrator of the state registry. Although Ukrainian legal system does not acknowledge case law as a source of legislation, in fact published decisions have significant influence on legal practice.


6.    The Public Prosecution

The Constitution envisages that the Public Prosecution of Ukraine constitutes a single system, the main objectives of which are: (i) prosecution in court on behalf of the State; (ii) representation of interests of individuals and the State in courts; and (iii) supervision over observance of laws other state authorities. In addition, the Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine conducts criminal investigation crimes committed by state officials[11].


The Public Prosecution is headed by the Prosecutor General, who is appointed to office with the consent of the Verkhovna Rada, and dismissed from office by the President of Ukraine.  The organization and operational procedure for the bodies of the Prosecutor’s Office are determined by the Law of Ukraine “On Public Prosecution” adopted in 1991.


The legal community in Ukraine quite actively discusses the place and the role of the Public Prosecution within the system of state bodies. Pretrial investigation and supervision over observance

 of law are criticized by legal society and European advisors as functions inherited from the Soviet Union and which violate the check-and-balances system in Ukraine. However, according to announced reform, the new law on public prosecution the public prosecutor will lose these powers.

7.     The Lawmaking

The right to adopt laws in Ukraine belongs to the Verkhovna Rada. The Laws have the highest legal force in the state.  The Article 92 of the Constitution points out the areas where the relations are governed exclusively by the laws of Ukraine.


According to the Constitution, the President, Members of Parliament, the Cabinet of Ministries and the National Bank of Ukraine have the right of the legislative initiative[12].


The law adopted by the Verkhovna Rada goes to the President for signing and further promulgation.  The President may either sign a new law, or veto and return it with propositions for additional consideration. The Verkhovna Rada may overrule the President’s veto by two-thirds of constitutional membership.


The law comes into force in ten days after the date of its official publication (unless otherwise stipulated by such law).


8.    Ukrainian Legislation

Ukrainian legal system by its nature belongs to the Romano-Germanic legal family (the continental law system). It means that it is based on a pandect system, where the main legislation sources are codified laws. It also has a well structured hierarchy of normative acts.


Legal acts in Ukraine have different legal force depending on the law-making subject and the state body which issues it.


The year 2003 was marked by the completion of the civil legislation reform–the new Civil Code that is based on the market principles was adopted on January 16, 2003 and came into force from January 1, 2004. Furthermore, the Commercial Code was adopted along with the Civil Code, which also regulates private relations and defines the role of the State in the business.  It is worth mentioning that the Commercial Code reflects the Soviet-type rules and regulates the private relations in the other way than the Civil Code does and therefore contradicts with the provisions of the new Civil Code[13].


9.    The Sources of Ukrainian Law and Hierarchy of Legal Acts

The main source of Ukrainian law is the Constitution, having the highest legal force.  The rule of law is recognized by the Constitution. Recourse to the court for protection of the constitutional rights and freedoms of individuals are guaranteed directly by the Constitution.


The provisions of the Constitution of Ukraine are norms of a direct effect. Laws and other normative legal acts should be adopted on its basis and conform to it.


There are a number of codified laws in the main areas of national legislation, such as the Civil Code, the Commercial Code, the Criminal Code, the Land Code, the Family Code, the Customs Code, the Code of Civil Procedure, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Labor Code, the Air Code, etc.


Only the Verkhovna Rada is entitled to issue normative acts in the form of laws.  They are the highest normative acts in Ukraine.


The number of laws increases constantly, which creates the problem of contradictions between them.  The imperfectness of Ukrainian legislation lies in its instability, overregulation, complexity of norms etc.


The next level of Ukrainian legislation is secondary legislation.  Different normative acts in the form of decrees, resolutions, orders etc issued by the President, the Cabinet of Ministers, the National Bank, ministries and other state agencies are adopted on the basis and in realization of the general provisions of laws.


The President of Ukraine issues decrees (ukaz) and directives (rozporiadzhennya).


The Cabinet of Ministers, within the limits of its competence, issues resolutions (postanova) and directives (rozporiadzhennia).  All the documents produced by the highest state bodies are mandatory for execution by every person on the territory of Ukraine.


In pursuance of the laws of Ukraine, the ministries, state agencies and committees issue resolutions, directives, regulations, instructions and orders that concern their competence.


All these normative legal acts and international treaties of Ukraine shall be registered at the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine.


Local state administrations and local self-government bodies issue resolutions, orders, decisions etc to ensure the observance of laws and freedoms of citizens, and the implementation of development programs and regional budgets.


Ukraine carries out active foreign policy. Since obtaining independence in 1991, Ukraine is party to more than 400 multilateral treaties and over 2,000 bilateral agreements.  Ukraine is a constituent member of the United Nations (and one of the founding state) and various other multilateral organizations, including the IMF, IBRD, IFC, MIGA, EBRD, BSTDB, EIB, OSCE, and the Council of Europe.


At the end of 2013, Ukraine participated in Vilnius summit of the EU, where the Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Ukraine could be concluded.  This Agreement covers all trade-related areas was designed to deepen Ukraine's access to the European market and to encourage further European investment in Ukraine. However, for some political reasons, the agreement was not signed, mainly because of position of Ukraine. Failure to conclude this Agreement and further change of foreign policy orientation from pro-European on pro-Russian have caused severe political crisis.


International treaties come into force on the consent of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine to be binding.  Since that moment they become an important part of the national legislation.  The conclusion of international treaties that contravene the Constitution of Ukraine is possible only after introducing relevant amendments to the Constitution[14].


The acts of the official interpretation as well as court decisions are not formally the source of laws but they are taken into consideration when a certain case is considered in courts.


10. The Main Areas of Ukrainian Legislation

The Ukrainian legislative system is based on the systematically organized legal rules (norms) which are combined to constitute different legal areas.


In accordance with the system applied in Ukraine, large law areas are defined in the national legislation.


Constitutional law comprises the norms devoted to the political and state systems, human rights, freedoms and duties of citizens, legal status of the Verkhovna Rada, the President, the Cabinet of Ministers, other central state authorities and local self-government bodies, the Public Prosecution, the judiciary, territorial structure, state symbols etc.  The main source of constitutional law is the Constitution.


Administrative law combines the legal rules that govern activities of state authorities and it is consisted of a number of laws and secondary legislation. The Code of Administrative Adjudication of Ukraine set up procedures to resolve disputed between the state and a person.


Criminal law includes the legal rules defining crimes, forms of guilt, punishment, discharge or mitigation.  The Criminal Code of Ukraine came into force in 2001.


The main change in the new Criminal Code is the replacement of the death penalty by life sentence.  It also envisages such new types of punishment such as community service, arrest, imprisonment, and official restrictions for state official.


In September 2014, the law envisaged criminal liability of legal entities will come into force. Legal entities may be liable if their officials use them or act on their behalf when committing a crime. Involvement in criminal activities may be punished by fines, forfeiture and liquidation.


Procedural criminal law regulates criminal investigation and court examination.  The new Criminal Procedure Code entered into force in November 2012. The new Code introduced previously unknown in Ukrainian law procedures, such as a plea bargaining, a home arrest as the prevention measure for a suspect, undercover investigation to name a few.


Civil procedure includes the legal rules governing the procedure of the court consideration and solving the disputes and the enforcement of writs.  This legal field is governed by the Civil Procedural Code of Ukraine.


Competition legislation of Ukraine is based on two main laws.


The Law of Ukraine “On Protection of Economic Competition” of 2001 sets forth the unified rules of competition and defines the measures against monopolization.


The Law of Ukraine “On Protection from Unfair Competition” adopted in 1996 establishes the fundamentals for the protection of business participants and consumers against unfair competition.


Financial law regulates issues of the state budget, banking, tax system etc and its object of regulation includes money, securities and other financial instruments.


Formation of the financial system of Ukraine is in a permanent progress.  The Budget Code was enacted by the Verkhovna Rada in 2001.


The main laws in the sphere of banking regulation include the Laws of Ukraine “On National Bank of Ukraine” (1999) and “On Banks and Banking” (2000).


Securities legislation consists of several laws and a number of secondary legislation.  The main normative act is the Law of Ukraine “On Securities and Stock Market”.


The Law of Ukraine “On State Regulation of Securities Market in Ukraine” of 1996 determines the framework of state regulation and control over the securities trading.  The Law of Ukraine “On National Depositary System and Peculiarities of Electronic Securities Circulation in Ukraine” adopted 1997 sets forth the peculiarities of issuance and circulation of non-documentary securities and the infrastructure of its organization. However, the new law will come into force in April 2014.


Insurance services are regulated by the Law of Ukraine “On Insurance” of 1996.


Civil law comprises provisions governing the ownership, intellectual property, contracts, torts, succession etc. The main act in this field of legislation is the Civil Code which contains six books. Taking into account the constitutional approaches to the human being and its inalienable rights, it also fixes the individual non-property rights of a person and governs relations their enforce protection.


The Law of Ukraine “On International Private Law” regulates private relations if at least one element (a party, a subject or a fact) has substantial connection with jurisdictions other than Ukraine.


Family law regulates marriage, its solemnization and dissolution, personal ownership and non-property rights and duties of the spouses, relations between parents and children, adoption issues etc.  Such rules are incorporated into the new Family Code adopted in 2002.


The intellectual property rights’ protection is guaranteed by the Laws of Ukraine “On Copyright and Related Rights” (1993), “On Distribution of Copies of Audiovisual Products and Phonograms” (2000, as amended) and some others.


The Law of Ukraine “On Protection of Trademarks and Service Marks” (1993) sets forth the framework for the marks of goods and services protection.


Criminal liability for the violation of the copyright and related rights is envisaged in the Criminal Code of Ukraine.


Commercial law regulates commercial issues, such as commercial contracts, legal entities, agency relations and others. The Commercial Procedural Code envisages that commercial courts resolve disputes between legal entities or individual entrepreneurs.


The Civil Code and the Commercial Code regulate the different forms of business in Ukraine.  The Law of Ukraine “On Business Associations” of 1991, as amended, establishes the legal forms of business associations, such as general partnership, limited partnership, added liability, limited liability company, joint-stock company.


Law of Ukraine “On joint-stock companies” adopted in 2008 has become one of the most important act which regulates legal status of joint-stock ventures in Ukraine (both public and private). Allegedly, a new law on limited liability companies is about to be enacted.


The reform of bankruptcy legislation in Ukraine was finished by adoption in 1999 of the Law “On Restoration of Debtor’s Solvency or Declaring Debtor Bankrupt” with further profound revision in 2011.  This new bankruptcy law is based on a new concept that is much more known in Western countries.


Pledge relationships are governed by the Law of Ukraine “On Pledge” of 1992, as amended.  According to this law the subject matter of a pledge are property and property rights, which may become the pledger’s ownership after a pledge agreement is concluded.


Investment activity in Ukraine is governed by two basic laws that form this specific sphere of the legislation. The Law of Ukraine “On Investment Activity”, which was adopted in 1991, sets forth the general principles of investing in Ukraine including the forms of investments. The Law of Ukraine “On Regime of Foreign Investing” (1996) provides with specifics of investing in Ukraine by foreign persons and international institutions.


Labor law includes the legal rules combined in the Labor Code of 1971 that governs the matters of the labor contracts, working hours, vacations and rest days, safety at the working place, wages, sick leave and maternity leave, social protection, the labor disputes resolution, as well as basics of trade union activity.


Adopted in 2011, the Tax Code codified and updated a number of laws of Ukraine.  It set up the general principles of the Ukrainian tax system, as well as the taxes and duties (mandatory payments) which may be levied in Ukraine.


11.  Legal Profession

Legal profession combines legal practitioners and scholars, members of the judiciary, the bar and the prosecutors, criminal trial lawyers, notaries, jurists and counsels (legal advisors of private, public, state and municipal enterprises, establishments and organizations) etc.


The Academy of Legal Sciences was established in 1993.  It is a national scientific organization, which carries out the fundamental investigations, and coordinates, organizes and fulfils applied works in the field of state and law.  The academicians and known scientists are the members of the Academy.


The Union of Lawyers of Ukraine carries out lawmaking, scientific, methodological, educational and informative activities in Ukraine, protects professional and social interests of its participants, participate in the state policy development.


The Ukrainian Bar Association unites lawyers from all spheres of legal profession in order to protect their professional and other interests, developing the legal profession and Ukraine as a rule-of-law state.


The National Association of Advocates of Ukraine is an independent and self-governed all-Ukrainian public organization of Ukrainian advocates. Its aim is to promote authority of the Bar in society, true independence and self-regulation of the Bar and promotion of democratic values in Ukraine.


The Ukrainian Association of Prosecutors has a purpose to protect legal rights and interests of its members, having worked or working in the Prosecution Service of Ukraine and to maintain the prestige and positive image of the Public Prosecution in Ukraine and abroad.


The Ukrainian Notarial Chamber is a public organization which supports its members in their professional activities, makes efforts to improve notary system and participates in the law-making processes.


The Ukrainian branch of the European Law Students' Association – ELSA Ukraine is comprised of students and recent graduates of the Ukrainian law schools who are interested in law and have demonstrated commitments to international issues.


12.  Legal Education and Science in Ukraine

Requirements to the contents, scope and level of the educational and professional training in Ukraine are determined by the Law of Ukraine “On Education” (1991).  The Law establishes a four level system of higher education and defines qualification’s requirements for junior specialist and bachelor degree holders (basic higher education), specialist and master degree holders (complete higher education).


Legal education is organized in accordance with these principles and provided by the state and private colleges and universities. The common degrees awarded in Ukraine are bachelor’s, master’s, Candidate’s and Doctor’s Degrees.


As the legal professions have become very prestigious, a large network of specialized educational institutions and faculties was established in Ukraine. Traditionally, universities include law faculties or affiliated specialized institutes/colleges, for example:


·       Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko National University Law Faculty;

·       National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy;

·       Yaroslav the Wise National Law University;

·       Lviv National University Law Faculty;

·       International Solomon University Faculty of Law;

·       Kyiv International University Law Faculty; (Simferopol, Autonomous Republic of Crimea);

·       Donetsk National University Faculty of Economics and Law;

·       Kyiv National Economic University, Faculty of Law Sciences;

·       Faculty of Economics, Management and Law of the Kyiv National University of Trade and Economics;

·       Law Institute at the Inter-regional Academy of Personnel Management


In Ukraine different academies and institutes are established for training professionals for particular legal areas or professional advancement of practicing lawyers:


·       The Kyiv Law University of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine trains specialists for state and law-enforcement agencies, and for scientific and market economy spheres;

·       The Bar Academy of Ukraine trains barristers and improves their qualifications, and does researches in the sphere of bar activities;

·       The National State Tax Service University of Ukraine is a base educational institution of the State tax service of Ukraine;

·       The Institute of International Relations of Kyiv Taras Shevchenko University is the leading centre of training specialists in the field of international law;

·       The National Academy of Internal Affairs trains the specialists for police service.

·       National Academy of Prosecutors of Ukraine trains the specialists for the prosecutor’s office.


Legal science is concentrated in the educational and research institutions as well as in specialized non-profit organizations and think-tanks.  As a rule, they are created with the assistance of different international organizations or governmental agencies of other states in order to assist in developing legislation, promote democracy and build the state, which will protect human rights in Ukraine.  Their activities embrace a wide range of problems such as theoretical legal research and further implementation of results, preparing of bills, networking for lawyers both in Ukraine and with their foreign colleagues, public legal education for enhancing legal awareness of society, establishment of legal clinics, and development of manuals for schools.


The International Foundation the Centre for Judicial Studies is a charitable non-governmental organization founded by Ukrainian and Swiss judges.  Its purposes are implementation of the judicial reform in Ukraine, training of judicial professionals, promotion of legal awareness of society and organization of exchange programs for Ukrainian judges and judges from the developed democratic countries.


The Centre for Political and Legal Reforms is an analytical centre and non-governmental organization founded to facilitate the reforms in political and legal spheres in Ukraine through performing analytical research, preparation of bills, conducting independent legal examination of bills, holding seminars and conferences.


The public organization the Legislative Initiatives Laboratory was established under the assistance of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.  It is engaged in the development of Ukraine as a law-ruled state and promotion of its integration to the world democratic community.


The Social-Legal Foundation Chynnist’ zakonu (Rule of Law) main objectives are: contributing to the development of legal culture and independent mass-media, protecting citizens’ economic and cultural interests, assisting in the development of the constitutional and legal spheres of Ukraine, legal education and protection of the civil and human rights.


The Commercial Law Center is dedicated to commercial law reform in Ukraine.  The Center closely cooperates with the University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, the Yaroslav the Wise Law University of Ukraine and the National Academy of Law Sciences of Ukraine, as well as with other institutions in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Lviv, and Odesa.


The Fulbright Program was opened in Ukraine at the beginning of 1992. Its goal is to increase the mutual understanding between people of the United States and other countries through scholarly and research exchanges.  Originally, the Program was managed by the United States Information Agency (USIA) through the United States Embassy. A separate Fulbright office was established in Kyiv in 1998.  More than 200 Ukrainians have completed a year of academic research in the United States and approximately 119 Americans were involved in scholarly work and teaching in Ukraine. Fulbright alumni in the United States are active citizens and make up a significant lobby which doesn't let the U.S. Congress forget about supporting educational programs.


13.  Access to Legal Materials

According to the Constitution, laws and other normative legal acts that determine the rights and duties of citizens shall be brought to the notice of the people, otherwise they are not in force[15].


The laws of Ukraine and acts of the President enter into force in ten days after their official promulgation, unless otherwise was envisaged by the documents themselves or the special resolution about the order of their implementation was adopted, but not prior the day of the publication in an official printed edition.  The acts of the Cabinet of Ministers enter into force from the date of their adoption.  All acts determining the rights and duties of citizens enter into force only after their official publication.


Laws and other acts of the Verkhovna Rada are officially promulgated in the weekly Vidomosti Verkhovnoi Rady Ukrainy (the Official Bulletin of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine), its supplement Biblioteka Ofitsijnykh Vydan’ (the Library of Official Editions), or in the Verkhovna Rada’s newspaper Golos Ukrainy (the Voice of Ukraine) published in Ukrainian and Russian.  The annotation of the newspaper can be found at this site.


Acts of the President and the Cabinet of Minister are officially promulgated in the newspaper of the government executive authorities Uriadovyj Kurier (The Government Courier), and are collected in Zibrannia Postanov Uriadu Ukrainy (the Compilation of the Resolutions of the Government of Ukraine).


Normative acts of the Ukrainian higher authorities, acts of the Constitutional Court and the National Bank, international treaties of Ukraine and normative acts of ministries and other state agencies, registered in the Uniform State Register, are officially promulgated in the weekly Ofitsijnyi Visnyk Ukrainy (the Official Gazette of Ukraine).  This edition is published by the Legal Information Leading State Association and its paper-based and electronic versions, as well as an electronic digest in Russian are distributed by subscription, though electronic version of separate documents and their collections may be ordered too.


Normative acts of the Verkhovna Rada and decisions of the Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the executive orders of the local representatives of the President of Ukraine and local state administrations, decisions of local self-government bodies are promulgated in the local media.


The Constitutional Court of Ukraine publishes its decisions and other information in Visnyk Konstytutsijnoho Sudu Ukrainy (the Bulletin of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine).


Decisions and decrees of courts, their interpretations, and court reports are presented in paper-based or electronic versions of the special editions of the Supreme Court of Ukraine (in Ukrainian):


·       monthly journal Visnyk Verkhovnoho Sudu Ukrainy (the Bulletin of the Supreme Court of Ukraine), where the practice of the Supreme Court and other courts of general jurisdiction, issues of the organization of courts of general jurisdiction and other law related issues are covered;

·       Rishennia Verkhovnoho Sudu Ukrainy (the Resolutions of the Supreme Court of Ukraine) which is published twice a year;

·       The Judge’s Library provides judges with legal information and methodological guidance.


The international treaties of Ukraine are collected in Zibrannia chynnykh mizhnarodnyhk dogovoriv Ukrainy (the Collection of Current International Treaties of Ukraine) and the Official Gazette of Ukraine. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs administers the system of registration of the texts of the international agreements.


The only English language specialized printed edition containing Ukrainian laws and materials on business is the monthly magazine The Ukrainian Journal of Business Law (UJBL).


The website of Executive Power of Ukraine (in Ukrainian, Russian and English) contains comprehensive information divided into two parts: activities of authorities and articles about Ukraine.  It contains legislative database, as well as documents of the Cabinet of Ministers and proposed bills prepared by the Cabinet of Ministers.


The search engine of the Verkhovna Rada provides free access to the electronic database Laws of Ukraine, which includes current documents of:


·       the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine;

·       the President of Ukraine;

·       the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine;

·       the Constitutional Court of Ukraine;

·       the Supreme Court of Ukraine;

·       the Highest Economic Court of Ukraine;

·       ministries and other state agencies, and

·       international documents.


The fee-based computer legal systems LIGA-ZAKON is a reliable source of legal and business information.  The information and analytical center LIGA, which is a technical administrator of the Uniform State Register of the Normative and Legal Acts of Ukraine, maintain these systems.  Due to this fact the users of LIGA-ZAKON systems read the standard copies of information collections of the Register.  In addition to the texts of normative acts, the systems contain legislation of Kyiv as a capital of Ukraine and regions, draft laws with commentaries, materials on court practice, standard business forms, legislation monitoring, glossary, reference materials etc.  The built-in automatic translator in Russian and English works in the background mode. 


The site Legal Acts of Ukraine (NAU) provides online information services in the area of Ukrainian legislation in Ukrainian, Russian and English.  It consist of a computer legal database (installed data bases, DVD and compact discs, server solutions) with the NAU-Expert search system, materials of general and commercial courts, reference and analytical information including consultations, comments and exclusive analytical articles on law practice, glossary of terms, and the only base of Ukrainian legislation in English.  The information is daily updated. 


The state enterprise Information Centre of the Ministry of Justice (Informyust) is the manager of the following registers:


·       the Unified register of notarial certified powers of attorney;

·       the Unified register of  proprietary rights over real estate on;

·       the Unified register of the public notaries of Ukraine;

·       the Unified register of special forms of notary documents;

·       the Hereditary register;

·       the State register of proprietary rights over chattel, and

·       the Unified state register of public associations.


Current Sources of Codes and Basic Legislation in Jurisdictions of the World by Thomas H. Reynolds and Arturo A. Flores is a research guide also available online by subscription.


14.  Legal Citation

Purpose of legal citation is identifying the source/document which the author refers to in order to allow the reader to locate it.  The primary legal materials are cited by the indication of their type and title, issuer, the date of adoption or issuance and number. The bibliography of the secondary legal material must contain the name of its author, title, place of publication, publisher’s name, year of publication and some additional information, if any. These data may used in different combinations depending on the searching tools of the database.


15.  Legal Publishers

After Ukraine regained its independence and started the development of its national legislation and legal science, new specialized publishing houses were established:


·       Naukova Dumka scientific and educational editions,

·       Justinian legal periodicals, commented codes, legal acts, monographs and treatises by Ukrainian and foreign scholars, and

·       Yurincom Inter printed periodicals and books with their electronic versions in pdf format, collections of documents on CD, treatises, manuals and dictionaries.


16. Legal Services

The legal market in Ukraine is represented by both international and local law firm. Specified below are some of the major law firms according to the Legal 500 Ukraine.


·       Sayenko Kharenko enjoys global reputation as a leading Ukrainian transactional and dispute resolution law firm. We specialize in complex cross-border and local matters and regularly handle the largest and most challenging transactions involving Ukraine. Tier 1 in Corporate and M&A, Bank and Finance and Dispute Resolution;


·       Asters is a full-service independent national law firm. With over 16 years of experience we have one of the longest track records on the country's young legal market. Ten partners lead a 120-strong staff with 70 lawyers making us one of the largest firms in Ukraine. Tier 1 in Corporate and M&A and Dispute Resolution;


·       Baker & McKenzie, CIS, Limited is the world's leading global law firm that represented in Ukraine that provides sophisticated legal advice and services to many of the world's most dynamic and global organizations for more than 50 years;


·       The majority of the Vasil Kisil & Partners firm's partners commenced to practice law in 1987 at the very beginning of democratic changes in the former U.S.S.R. In 1992 they combined their professional experience and efforts to create a Ukrainian law firm, which meets commonly accepted professional and ethic standards and principles of legal practice. Tier 1 in Bank and Finance, Real Estate and Construction and Dispute Resolution;


·       Avellum Partners is one of the leading full-service law firms in Ukraine with key strength in corporate finance and disputes;


·       Ilyashev & Partners provides services in almost every practice area to well-known European and American companies, leading Ukrainian companies and financial institutions, government agencies, law offices and consulting companies in Ukraine and abroad. Tier 1 in Dispute Resolution.


17.  Other Law Related Sources


Foreign Internet Resources:


·       NATLEX, the database of national labour, social security and related human rights legislations maintained by the ILO's International Labour Standards Department and containing records in the form of abstracts of legislation and relevant citation information.  Search by country or subject;

·       Ukrainian law and legal issues (in English & Ukrainian);

·       Page with information on Ukrainian legal resources at the New York University School of Law Library’s electronic portal;

·       Ukrainian page at the Legal Reference Libraries LawMoose published by Pritchard Law Webs;

·       The Internet Legal Research Group site is a good resource of the information available on the Internet and concerning law and the legal profession in Ukraine;

·       The Ukrainian page at the World Legal Information Institute databases;

·       Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute page with the Ukrainian legal materials.


Ukrainian State Agencies and Public Organizations on the Internet:


·       The Central Election Commission is a permanently operating state body, which ensures the preparation and conduct of elections of the Ukrainian President, People's Deputies as well as countrywide referendums.  The CEC also provides counselling and methodological support for the elections to local councils of villages, settlements and cities and for local referendums;


·       The Council of National Security and Defence of Ukraine is an advisory deliberative body in the body system of state executive power under the President.  It co-ordinates and controls the activity of bodies of executive power in the sphere of national security and defence;


·       The Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has the main objective in creating favourable conditions for the national business environment, representing concerns and protecting interests of the country business community at all levels including highest government bodies, supporting direct relations with foreign business partners in economy, science and trade, attracting investors and preparing investment projects or business plans.


·       Official information server of the State Property Fund of Ukraine the main state authority which engaged in governing of state property and its privatization;


·       The State Intellectual Property Service of Ukraine;


·       The Databases of the industrial property objects (IPOs - inventions, utility models, industrial designs, etc.); information on activities of State Enterprise “Ukrainian Institute of Industrial Property” (Ukrpatent); explanations concerning filing of applications for documents of title for IPOs, etc;


·       The Ukrainian Center of Innovations and Patent Information Services;


·       Ukrainian Agency of Copyright and Related Rights (UACRR) is a state legal authors' enterprise that is established with the aim of collective administration of economic rights of authors and subjects of related rights or their successors;


·       The site of the High Commercial Court of Ukraine contains the database “Bankruptcy” which has information about all bankruptcy proceedings in Ukraine;


·       The High Council of Justice has authority to forward submissions on the appointment/dismissal of judges,  adopt decisions on the violation by judges and prosecutors of the incompatibility requirements and execute disciplinary proceedings regarding judges of the Supreme Court of Ukraine and judges of high specialised courts, and the consideration of complaints regarding decisions on bringing judges of courts of appeal and local courts, and prosecutors to disciplinary liability;


·      The Coordinating Centre for Legal Aid Providing the Ministry of Justice;


·      The site of the judiciary branch of state power covers the judicial system, central and regional courts, judicial proceedings, legal practice, operation of the Qualification Commission of Judges and the Council of Judges of Ukraine;


·      This site contains information on judicial system of Ukraine, legislative background and document examples.  The project is supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, and administered by the International Research & Exchanges.


·      The Committee of Voters of Ukraine is engaged in observance of state authorities during law during elections.


Business Information Resources Online:


·       The Business Directory of Ukraine.

·       The State Agency on Regulation and Development of Entrepreneurship.

·       Database about enterprises under bankruptcy procedure.

·       Comprehensive information about the stock market of Ukraine and its participants from the National Commission on Securities and Stock Market. 

·       The official web-site of the Ukrainian Stock Exchange and PFTS Stock Exchange Trading System.

·       SMIDA database on Ukrainian eminent of securities which provides information on joint-stock companies and professional participants on stock market.


Law Clinics in Ukraine:


·       The site of the Ukrainian Law Clinics Association.


Other Internet Resources:


·       UN in Ukraine.

·       The US Department of State on the human rights protection in Ukraine.

·       The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America.

·       The Ukrainian Weekly newspaper publishes news about Ukraine and Ukrainians around the world.

·       The National News Agency of Ukraine UKRINFORM.

·       International political and social weekly newspaper Dzerkalo Tyzhnia (Mirror Weekly).

·       English-language printed and on-line newspaper Kyiv Post offers news and reports from Kyiv in areas of politics, business, and culture (updated daily).


[1] The Constitution of Ukraine, Article 3.

[2] The Constitution of Ukraine, Article 2.

[3] The Constitution of Ukraine, Article 134.

[4] The Constitution of Ukraine, Article 5.

[5] The Constitution of Ukraine, Chapter III.

[6] The Constitution of Ukraine, Article 6.

[7] The Constitution of Ukraine, Chapter IV.

[8] The Constitution of Ukraine, Chapter V.

[9] The Constitution of Ukraine, Chapter VI.

[10] The Constitution of Ukraine, Chapter VIII.

[11] The Constitution of Ukraine, Chapter VII.

[12] The Law of Ukraine On Constitution Amendments, Article 93.

[13] More about the civil legislation reform in Ukraine See. Alexander Biryukov. The Doctrine of Dualism of Private Law in the Context of Recent Codifications of the Civil Law: Ukrainian Perspectives, 8 Annual Survey of International and Comparative Law, 53–79 (2002).

[14] The Constitution of Ukraine, Article 9.

[15] The Constitution of Ukraine, Article 57.