Ukraine - annual report 2016

Working visit led by Mykola Onishchuk (front centre), Director of the Ukraine National School of Judges, on the topic of lawyers’ training in Germany, here at the Cologne Higher Regional Court

Working visit led by Mykola Onishchuk (front centre), Director of the Ukraine National School of Judges, on the topic of lawyers’ training in Germany, here at the Cologne Higher Regional Court

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

The Ukrainian State President established a Constitutional Commission in March 2015. Following the commencement of its work on human rights, decentralisation and justice, an IRZ expert supported the content of its work. No majority has yet been achieved in Parliament for the proposed amendments to the Constitution with regard to decentralisation due to contentious regulations for the areas Donezk and Luhansk, although amendments to the Constitution to reform the judicial system were passed at the start of June 2016 and entered into force on 30 September 2016. This took place at the same time as the new Act “On the Courts System and the Status of Judges”. In accordance with this, citizens can, after recourse to the courts has been exhausted, have the constitutionality of a statute which has been applied in particular proceedings reviewed by the Constitutional Court.

The courts system will be reformed by the end of March 2017, in particular through the new introduction of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Economic Court, the Supreme Administrative Court and the Supreme Specialist Court for civil and criminal matters will be integrated into the new Supreme Court as courts of appeal. The former Supreme Court of Ukraine will be abolished. The new Supreme Court will be equipped with up to 200 judges, whereas candidates for these positions are now amongst other things required to disclose their financial situation in the course of an examination of their qualifications. In the reporting year, the IRZ was awarded the Twinning Project “Strengthening the Institutional Capacity of the Supreme Court of Ukraine in Human Rights Protection at the National Level”, which supports the Supreme Court of Ukraine and is set to commence in 2017.

In addition, the intention is to create two Supreme Courts for Intellectual Property and Anti-Corruption cases by the end of 2017. From the start of 2017 onwards, the necessity of representation by a lawyer in court will also be introduced step by step. The independent administrative court system in Ukraine, which has existed since 2005, is now also anchored in the Ukrainian Constitution. At the start of October 2016, significant alterations to the enforcement law entered into force after preliminary work which in some cases lasted for years. In accordance with these, the institution of the private bailiff was introduced for at least some of the claims to be enforced, together with a register of debtors. Provision is also made for the possibility of accession to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court within three years.

Overall Concept

The IRZ has already advised Ukraine on the subjects specified above over a long period, and numerous consultations in the reporting year 2016 were also devoted to these focal issues of constitutional and judicial reform. As changes already for the most part exist at the level of ordinary statutes, the decisive element will now be the drafting of subordinate legislative norms and their implementation in practice. The IRZ will therefore also continue its close support for Ukraine precisely in these areas in future.

Alongside this, cooperation with the Ukrainian administrative court system formed part of the agenda for 2016, as well as consultation on fighting corruption and practice-oriented further training for judges. Main cooperation partners were the Parliament, the Ministry of Justice, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Ukraine and the courts at different instances in the regions of Ukraine, the Supreme Administrative Court, the General Prosecutor’s Office and the National School of Judges, as well as the newly established National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.

The IRZ likewise continued its successful cooperation with the National Ivan Franko University in Lviv for the promotion of young lawyers. The seventh annual course of the German-language supplementary introductory studies in German law has in the meantime begun.

As in previous years, the IRZ was supported by grants from the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and project funding from the German Federal Foreign Office.

Foci of Activity 2016

Constitutional Law / Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Specialist discussions in Berlin with judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine on issues concerning the relationship between the Constitutional Court and the executive as well as the supranational courts, and on the introduction of the instrument of the constitutional complaint
  • Specialist discussions in Bonn with judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine on issues concerning the fundamental democratic constitutional order, the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and the organisation of the courts
  • Working visit to Heidelberg and Strasbourg by representatives of the Ukrainian Association of Judges on the topic “The European Convention on Human Rights”
  • Specialist conference in Kiev on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine
  • Participation by a Ukrainian constitutional judge on the IRZ panel during an OSCE conference in Warsaw

Administration of Justice

  • Working visit to Trier, Düsseldorf and Cologne by a delegation from the National School of Judges of Ukraine on the topics “Legal examinations and the selection, assessment and further training of judges”
  • Study trip to Bonn, Düsseldorf and Cologne by a Ukrainian delegation on the topic of “Legal training in Germany”
  • Multilateral conference at the Lviv Appeal Court on the topic of press work, collisions of interest and court management (with the Cologne Higher Regional Court, the Cracow Appeal Court and Arnhem-Leeuwar-den Appeal Court)
  • Working visit by representatives of the Kiev Appeal Court to the Oldenburg Higher Regional Court and the Aurich Regional Court
  • Conference in Kiev on the topic “Developing the law” at the Supreme Court of Ukraine
  • Participation by Ukrainian judges at the multilateral conference of the Memorandum Group of the Association of Judges in Chişinău on the topic “Safeguarding the uniformity of case-law as a task for the supreme courts”
  • Working meeting at the IRZ in Bonn on the wording of the implementation ordinances for the new Ukrainian enforcement law
  • Specialist discussions for lawyers in Kiev on the regulation of the legal advice market, the monopoly of lawyers and professional liability
  • Specialist discussions for lawyers in Odessa on the topics “Free legal aid, the independence of judges and access to justice”
  • Second South Ukrainian Forum “Mediation and the Law” in Odessa
  • Further training seminar for judges in Dnipro on arbitration with the Ukrainian Association of Judges
  • Internship on the bailiffs’ system in Germany

Public Law

  • Twelfth German-Ukrainian colloquium on administrative procedure at the Rhineland-Palatinate Higher Administrative Court and the Koblenz Administrative Court
  • Seminar on administrative court procedure law and administrative procedure law at the Zaporishya Administrative Court
  • Participation by an Ukrainian IRZ expert at the GIZ Forum on administrative law in Leipzig
  • Repeated participation at internal consultations in Kiev by the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice on the draft Administrative Procedure Act

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Further training and further specialist discussions in Kiev for investigators of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU)
  • Further training seminar in Kiev for judges on fighting corruption together with the Ukrainian Association of Judge
  • Specialist discussions in Kiev with the Department for Asset Recovery of the Ukrainian National Police
  • Participation by an IRZ expert at the international conference in Kiev of the Ukrainian General Prosecutor’s Office on the role and reform of the Public Prosecutor’s Office
  • Further training seminar for judges in Chernivtsi on criminal procedure law with the Ukrainian association of Judges
  • Working visit in Wustrau and Berlin by representatives of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine

Basic and Further Training

  • Supplementary introductory studies in German law with European reference at the National Ivan Franko University in Lviv
  • Research stay in Germany by the best graduate of the IRZ supplementary studies in German law at the University of Lviv
  • Working visit to Germany, Passau and Munich by representatives of the University of Lviv on the topic of basic training for lawyers

EU Project


The implementation of the constitutional amendments specified above in practice, not only in the field of the constitutional courts, but also in the entire judicial system, will certainly remain a major topic in the near future. In this context, the main issues will be the constitutional complaint, the new role of the Supreme Court, safeguarding the uniformity of case-law whilst maintaining the independence of the judiciary and issues of the disciplinary law of judges, the judgment system, the jurisdiction of the administrative courts, administrative procedure law, execution enforcement law and fighting corruption.

The IRZ will attempt not only to cooperate with judges, but also with the Supreme Council of Justice and academic staff. The IRZ’s work will continue to extend to the regions of Ukraine. The cooperation with the Ministry of Justice will receive particular attention. Cooperation with the Bar is also set to continue. If there is a need for consultation in the field of the preventative administration of justice by notaries, this can also be taken up following on from the work to date. Finally, the positive promotion of young lawyers with the study course at the University of Lviv will be continued.

Download the entire IRZ annual report in PDF format here: annual report 2016.