On Wednesday November 22, President Petro Poroshenko signed a law introducing amendments to the Economic Procedure Code, Civil Procedure Code and Administrative Court Procedure Code, the president’s press service announced.
This is the largest reform of procedural legislation since Ukraine’s independence, and the largest bill in the history of the Verkhovna Rada.
The President’s administration points out that the bill was drafted by the Council on Matters of Court Reform, taking into account the suggestions of Ukrainian and international experts, and is intended to bring the Ukrainian judicial procedure laws in line with the best of European and international practice. However, individual rules caused an ambiguous reaction.
For example, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine is concerned by article 219 of the Criminal Procedure Code, according to which the pretrial investigative period will be calculated from the moment a statement is filed in the Unified Register, and the investigator will be obligated to close the case if the determined period ends, even if no crime has been uncovered. After the end of the pretrial investigation period, it will no longer be possible to prosecute the criminal.
The bill regulates the activity of the new Supreme Court as both the court of cassation in Ukraine and the superior court on intellectual property.
In addition, with this law the MPs have envisaged the creation of a unified judicial information and telecommunications system (electronic court procedure). The “Electronic Court” will oversee the exchange of documents (sending and receiving documents) in an electronic form between the courts, between the court and other participants in the judicial process, between participants in the judicial process, as well as participants in the judicial process in a court session by means of videoconferencing.
The court can send court rulings, summons, and other procedural documents to participants in the court process directly to their official email address.
The unified information and telecommunications system will begin to function within 90 days of the State Judicial Administration’s publication in the Voice of Ukraine newspaper, and the announcement on the judicial authorities’ web portal that it has been created and is functional.
Another new feature of the bill is a mandatory proceedings institution to collect debt from citizens in economic and civil proceedings. Upon application by a person with the right to demand the collection of uncontested monetary debt by written agreement, not exceeding 100 times the subsistence minimum for able-bodied persons (160 000 hryvnia), the court will issue a court order to collect the debt from the debtor.
Mandatory proceedings in civil court procedure could be used to consider demands to collect child support payments, debts for municipal services, to return the cost of goods of improper quality, or to collect uncontested debt from a legal or business-owning physical entity.