Work on reforms to the Civil Code of Ukraine continues


Despite the war Russia is currently waging against Ukraine, the ZGB-AG, based at the Ukrainian parliament, is pressing ahead with work on reforming the Civil Code. The IRZ will provide further consultation on this project. Director of the Kyiv regional centre of the National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine, Professor Oleksiy Kot, who is also the Deputy Chair of ZGB-AG, and former Deputy Minister of Justice Efimenko had approached the IRZ with an initial request for an online discussion on how to continue the previous cooperation on reform of the Civil Code. Professor Natalia Kuznetsova, member of the ZGB-AG and the Academy of Legal Sciences, also took part in this discussion. It was agreed to hold an initial online expert talk on the existing Civil Code reform concept at the end of June 2022; further follow-up meetings are planned. The IRZ had already advised on the drafting of the current Ukrainian Civil Code, which dates back to 2003. Two experts from the IRZ already prepared initial expert opinions on the overall concept of the First Book of the draft reform of the Civil Code in early 2022; and the experts are ready to continue the consultations. Despite the current exceptional situation, the IRZ and the Ukrainian partners will attempt to advance the efforts to reform civil law in Ukraine oriented towards European standards.

IRZ participation in training for the High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine

Grafik: IRZ
Grafik: IRZ

On 23 February, 2022, just a day before the start of the unilateral military aggression by Russian armed forces against Ukraine, the IRZ took part in a training course for judges of the High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine.

The event was scheduled to last for a full week, conducted by the National School of Judges of Ukraine, an institution the IRZ has been working with for many years This event was an advanced training course for judges, required by law, and it enabled the IRZ to work with the High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine, which was founded in 2019, for the first time.

The IRZ was able to engage former Attorney General, Walter Selter, as an expert speaker, who gave a presentation on “Whistleblowers. Importance and protection” in the afternoon of 23 February, 2022. In addition to the procedures to protect whistleblowers, Mr. Selter discussed the gathering and evaluation of evidence with respect to information received from whistleblowers in investigations and criminal procedures. He also presented the leniency program.

Germany has no separate law regarding whistleblowers at present. The EU Whistleblower Directive, which should have been adopted into national law by December 2021, has not yet been adopted in Germany. However, a corresponding law is now being drafted. The notion of the whistleblower or “discloser” was introduced into legislation in Ukraine: “On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine ‘On Prevention of Corruption’”. Ukrainian law also stipulates a financial reward for whistleblowers, which may be problematic in terms of the objectivity of the information, whereas no such financial incentive exists under German law. The leniency program was of particular interest in the Q&A session which followed the presentation.

Exchange of experiences on the development of e-Justice in Germany and Ukraine

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

In partnership with the Ukrainian State Judicial Administration and the Ministry of Justice for North Rhine-Westphalia, on 15 October 2020 IRZ organised an online discussion on “The development of e-Justice in Germany and Ukraine”.

The Ukrainian State Judicial Administration is responsible for introducing the Unified Judicial Information and Telecommunication System (UJITS), which allows the digitalisation of data traffic between courts and parties involved in a case. The objective of the exchange of experiences was to inform participants about the current status of the introduction of e-Justice in Ukraine and Germany, specifically in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The Ukrainian participants in the online discussions were:

  • Liudmyla Hazatulina, President of the Ukrainian State Judicial Administration, with her advisory staff,
  • Serhii Tschornutskyi, representative of Liudmyla Hazatulina,
  • Oleksandr Slonitskyi, Head of Department at the State Judicial Administration, and
  • other staff members of the State Judicial Administration.

From the Ministry of Justice for the North Rhine-Westphalia region, IRZ was able to recruit Isabelle Biallaß, a judge at the Local Court, and Dr. Daniel Lübcke, a judge at the Regional Court, to take part in the online discussions as experts.

Oleksandr Slonitskyi informed the participants about the current situation concerning the introduction of e-Justice in Ukraine. Isabelle Biallaß and Daniel Lübcke were impressed by the ambitious plans in the field of e-Justice, which are set to be introduced shortly in Ukraine. At the same time, they were also able to provide some suggestions with regards to its efficient implementation in terms of security, as well as technical and organisational issues. The Ukrainian State Judicial Administration is extremely interested in continuing this cooperation on e-Justice. Further expert talks are therefore planned.