A Research Guide to Ukrainian Law


By Alexander Biryukov & Myroslava Kryvonos


Alexander Biryukov is an Associate Professor of Law at the Institute of International Law of Kyiv Taras Shevchenko National University.  He holds a Master of Arts in Law (Patrice Lumumba Peoples’ Friendship University, 1984) and a PhD in Law / Candidate of Science (Kyiv Taras Shevchenko National University, 1999).   He co-authored a book called Law and Legal System of Ukraine , recently published at Juris Publishing Inc. [i]   He also wrote a number of books and more than 110 articles and notes on legal reform in Ukraine, including scholar articles for Ukrainian Law Encyclopedia and those published in American and European journals.  Alexander Biryukov spent the 2000/2001 academic year at the New York University School of Law on the Fulbright Program.  As a law professor he teaches civil and commercial law, including bankruptcy, investment law, securities and stock exchanges regulation, and private international law. 


Myroslava Kryvonos has been a librarian at the Legal Library of the Ukrainian Legal Foundation in Kyiv, Ukraine.  In 2002 she received a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), U.S. Department of State under the Freedom Support Act (FSA) and completed a four months fellowship at the New York University Law Library.   In 1971 she graduated from the Kyiv State University and holds the diploma of a specialist in the automatic processing of language information from this University.


Published March 2006



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

                        I.      Introduction

                       II.      The Political System

                     III.      The Autonomous Republic of Crimea

                     IV.      The Source of State Power

                      V.      The Foundation and Division of State Power

                     VI.      The Procuracy

                   VII.      The Lawmaking

                  VIII.      Ukrainian Legislation

                     IX.      The Sources of Ukrainian Law and the Hierarchy of Legal Acts

                      X.      The Main Areas of Ukrainian Legislation

                     XI.      Legal Profession

                   XII.      Legal Education and Science in Ukraine

                  XIII.      Access to Legal Materials

                 XIV.      Legal Citation

                   XV.      Legal Publishers

                 XVI.      Legal Services

                XVII.      Other Legal Related Sources


I.         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.


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


On its way to incorporate international legal standards in its domestic legislation and make it consistent with international norms Ukraine adopted in 1996 new Constitution and market-oriented laws.


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 reform.


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.


Nowadays, one the most important tasks are the country accession to the WTO and EU integration which requires the adoption of a number of appropriate laws. 


The Orange Revolution of 2004 gave a new impulse not only for internal developments, but also for the democratization of other countries of the Region.  The Year of 2005 was the first year of Mr Victor Yuschenko’s presidency and Orange Government, and the year of big social hopes which unfortunately brought disappointments.  That was also a year of losing possibilities.  The Year of 2006 is featured with coming into force the latest changes to the Constitution, the Parliament elections, the first big contradictions between the President and the Cabinet of Ministries, and a practical absence of acting Constitutional Court.  

II.       The Political System

Ukraine is a republic with a presidential form of government [ii] .  But the new constitutional reform, which came into force on January 1, 2006, introduces the changes to the governmental structure from mixed presidential-parliamentary into a parliamentary-presidential form of government [iii] .  The formation of the Verkhovna Rada was made on the basis of pure proportional system of national deputies election delegated by political parties with further existence of the President, the Verkhovna Rada, and the Cabinet of Ministries in a new legal environment. Observers say that those changes brought the dis-balance to the state power. Practically immediately the development of new changes to the Constitution was initiated that that made the existing Constitution a temporality document.  Since that time the new Constitutional reform is on agenda again.

III.      The Autonomous Republic of Crimea

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


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.


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

IV.      The Source of State Power

The people are the bearers of sovereignty and the only source of power in Ukraine.  The people exercise power directly and through bodies of state power and local self-government.  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 [vi] .


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 [vii] .

V.        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 [viii] .  This division, however, is still being developed.


Legislative Power

The sole body of legislative power in Ukraine is the Verkhovna Rada .  Its constitutional composition contains 450 National Deputies elected for a five-year term.


The Parliament has exclusive rights to:

  • introduce amendments to the Constitution ;
  • designate an All-Ukrainian referendum;
  • adopt laws;
  • approve the State Budget and control its implementation;
  • declare war and conclude peace;
  • grant consent to the binding character of international treaties and denouncing international treaties of Ukraine [ix] .


After constitutional reform the Verkhovna Rada has broader powers, particularly in forming the Government.  A new player appeared in the course of latest Constitutional changes – Parliament fractions coalition.  There were two coalitions – Anti-crisis and Democratic ones, which were formed since the latest changes to Constitution came into force.


The violation of the provisions of the Constitution regarding formation of the coalition became the legal basis for issuing a decree by the President on Resignation of the Verkhovna Rada in April 2007 and appointment new parliamentary elections.  The Anti-crisis coalition recruited national deputies to join individually the coalition that was legally formed by three Parliament fractions in order to receive qualification majority in 300 votes.


The Executive Power

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


The President:

  • ensures state independence;
  • represents the state in international relations and concludes international treaties of Ukraine;
  • revokes acts of the Cabinet of Ministers and acts of the Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea;
  • forwards the submission to the Verkhovna Rada of the declaration on a state of war;
  • adopts a decision, in the event of necessity, on the introduction of a state of emergency;
  • signs laws adopted by the Verkhovna Rada and has the right to veto laws adopted by the Verkhovna Rada with their subsequent return for repeat consideration by the Parliament [x] .


After January 1, 2006 some powers of the President are transferred to the Verkhovna Rada and the Cabinet of Ministers.


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


According to the changes to the Constitution in forces the Prime Minister is appointed by the Parliament of Ukraine and is responsible for the formation of the Government.


The Cabinet of Ministers:

  • ensures the state sovereignty and economic independence of Ukraine, the implementation of domestic and foreign policy of the State, the execution of the legislation;
  • elaborates the draft law on the State Budget and ensures the implementation of the Budget adopted by the Verkhovna Rada, and
  • takes measures to ensure the defense, national security, and public order.


At the end of 2006 the Verkhovna Rada adopted the new Law on the Cabinet of Ministries of Ukraine that invoked critics as is not in line with the Constitution.  The President used his right to veto but the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine overruled it.


The main ministries are as follows:


Since 2005 there were four Cabinets of Ministries: the Cabinets of Ministries of Yulia Timoshenko, Yuriy Yekhanurov, Victor Yanukovich and again Yulia Timoshenko.


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 [xi] .


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 [xii] .


The Constitutional Court of Ukraine is the sole body of constitutional jurisdiction.  It decides on 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 composed 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 shall not be appealed.  Laws and other legal acts, or their separate provisions, that are deemed to be unconstitutional, lose 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 On the Judicial System of Ukraine as amended, it includes 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,

·       the Supreme Court of Ukraine as a cassation court (Court of Review), and

·       higher specialized courts.


Higher judicial bodies of specialized courts are the Higher Economic Court of Ukrai ne and Higher Administrative Court of Ukraine.  The system of administrative courts is still under creation.  It is going be 27 circuit courts and appellate courts with total number of 281 judges.  


Currently there are about 700 courts with around 6,000 judges in Ukraine.


The court proceedings are administered in Ukraine according to the Civil Procedural Code of Ukraine, Economic 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.


Currently the reform of judicial system is going on.  The National Commission for the Strengthening of Democracy and Rule of Law established according to the Presidential Decree dated 5 July 2005 plays the key role in it.  A new draft of the Law on Judiciary and Status of Judges developed by mentioned institution is under discussion.


In 2007 the Extraordinary VIII Congress of Judges was held resulted in a number of important decisions among which was a Petition addressed to all judges to pursue judicial reform and to be more active in these processes through increasing judicial self-governance.


The Law on Access to Court Decisions adopted on 22 December 2005 supposed to play a special role in making judiciary more open.  According to this law all court decisions are posted on the Internet at the address: www.reyestr.court.gov.ua .  The State Judicial Administration of Ukraine is an Administrator of the state registry.  Implementation of this law provisions is still under way – up to now not all local courts regularly post their decisions of the Internet.

VI.      The Procuracy

The Constitution envisages that the Procuracy of Ukraine constitutes a unified system, the main goals of which are the representation of interests of individuals and the State in courts and the supervision of laws implementation by state bodies.  In addition, the Procuracy has the power to conduct pre-trial investigation in a number of cases [xiii] .


The Procuracy of Ukraine is headed by the Procurator 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 Procuracy are determined by the law of Ukraine On Procuracy adopted on November 5, 1991.


The legal community in Ukraine quite actively discusses the place and the role of Procuracy within the system of state bodies. 

VII.     The Lawmaking

The right to adopt laws in Ukraine belongs to the Verkhovna Rada.  They 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 of Ukraine as amended, the President of Ukraine, National Deputies of Ukraine and the Cabinet of Ministries of Ukraine have the rights of the legislative initiative [xiv] .


The law adopted by the Verkhovna Rada goes to the President for signing.  The President signs or returns it with his/her propositions for repeated consideration.  The Verkhovna Rada may overrule the President’s veto by ¾ voters of the National Deputies list.


The law comes into force ten days after its official publication, if not otherwise stipulated in the law itself.

VIII.   Ukrainian Legislation

Ukrainian legal system by its nature belongs to the Romano-Germanic legal family (the continental law system).  This 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.


Normative legal acts in Ukraine have different legal validity 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 Economic 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 Economic 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 [xv] .

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

The principal source of Ukrainian law is the Constitution , having the highest legal force.  The rule of law is recognized by the Constitution .  Appeals to the court in defense 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.


Codified Laws

As Ukrainian legal system is code-based there are a number of codified laws in the main spheres of national legislation.  Among such codes the main ones are the following: the Civil Code, the Economic 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.


Secondary Legislation

The next layer 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 ( ukazy ) and directives ( rozporiadzhennia ).


The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, within the limits of its competence, issues resolutions ( postanovy ) 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 specific sphere of competence.


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


Local state administrations and bodies of local self-government 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 foreign policy activity.  It is a member to different international organizations and agreements.  Ukraine was one of the founding members of the United Nations.  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 [xvi] .


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 administered in lower courts.

X.        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 – spheres of regulation.


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


Constitutional Law

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


Administrative Law

Administrative law combines the legal rules that deal with relations between the state bodies and persons.  It is quite a new area of legal regulation.


The newest invention is the system of the administrative courts, which are governed by rules set up in the Code of Administrative Adjudication of Ukraine.


Criminal Law

Criminal law includes the legal rules defining crimes, forms of guilt, punishment, discharge or mitigation.  The Criminal Code of Ukraine came into force from September 1, 2001.


The main change in the new Criminal Code is the replacement of the death penalty by perpetual imprisonment.  It also envisages such new types of punishment such as public work, arrest, deprivation of liberty, and official restrictions for persons on military service.


Economic crimes in Ukraine are defined in a separate chapter “ Crimes in Economic Sphere ” of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.


Procedural Criminal Law

Procedural criminal law relates to the commencement of criminal proceedings, investigation, and court examination in criminal cases.  The Criminal Procedural Code administers these procedures.  The draft of the new Criminal Procedural Code is waiting for its review and adoption at the Verkhovna Rada already for several years.


Civil Procedure

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 Regulation

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 for the restriction of monopolism in the field of business.


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

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 passed at 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 combines several laws.  The main normative act that covers almost every field of securities circulation in Ukraine is the Law of Ukraine On Securities and Stock Market of 2006.


T he 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 [xvii] .


Insurance services are regulated by the Law of Ukraine On Insurance of 1996 (the latest version of 2001).


Civil Law

Civil law comprises provisions governing the ownership and non-property, and intellectual property rights, contracts, torts, etc.


The main act in this field of legislation is the newly adopted Civil Code .  It contains six books and practically establishes a new for Ukraine system of norms to govern private relations.  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 which enforce these rights.


The other subjects of the new Civil Code are as follows: obligations, contract law, inheritance law, legal entities concept and other.  The Code introduces new types of business contracts into the legal practice: factoring, franchising, and rent service or inherited contracts etc.


Matrimonial Law

Matrimonial law relates to the grounds of 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.


Law of Property

In addition to the Constitution of Ukraine, the following laws regulate the matters of property and ownership in Ukraine: the Civil Code of Ukraine of 2003 and the Land Code of Ukraine of 2001.


The Economic Code of Ukraine mimics the old Soviet-based system of regulation for property rights.


The legislation of Ukraine recognizes the following kinds of property ownership: private, community and state property.  All these forms of ownership are of equal strength.


Land Property 

The use and protection of landowners’ rights are regulated by the Land Code of Ukraine of 2001.  It is based on the principles of private ownership of land.


Intellectual Property

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 of 1993 sets forth the framework for the marks of goods and services protection.


The Criminal Code of Ukraine also provides for criminal liability for the violation of the copyright and related rights.


Commercial Law

Commercial law regulates contracts-based relations and deals with conflicts between legal entities, individuals and/or a state.  Economic Procedural Code envisages that commercial courts administer actions filed by the business participants regarding protection of their rights and interests.


Company Law

Several laws complementing the Civil Code and Economic 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.  They are joint-stock, limited liability, additional liability, full liability, and differentiated liability companies.


The Law of Ukraine On Cooperation of 2003 determines the peculiarities of such kind of business associations as cooperatives.


Bankruptcy Legislation

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 .  This new bankruptcy law is based on a new concept that is much more known in Western countries.  But the reform of this area of the legislation is still under way [xviii] .  The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted 27 laws amending this law.


Legislation on Pledge

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 pledgor’s ownership after a pledge agreement is concluded.


Investment Legislation

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 of 1996 provides with specifics of investing in Ukraine by foreign persons and international institutions.


Labor Law

Labor law includes the legal rules combined in the Labor Code of 2001 that governs the matters of the labor contracts, working hours, holidays and rest days, safety at the working place, wages, sick leave, social protection, the labor disputes resolution , as well as basics of trade union activity .


Taxation Legislation

Ukrainian system of taxation is governed by the Law of Ukraine On the Taxation System of 1991, as amended.  This Law defines the taxation principles applied in Ukraine and provides for a list of taxes and other compulsory payments to the state and local budgets.

XI.      Legal Profession

Legal profession combines legal practitioners and scholars, members of the judiciary, the bar and the procuracy officers, 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 with the aim of promoting the lawyers of Ukraine in their professional and social interests protection, their public activities and participation in the state policy development.


The Ukrainian Bar Association unites lawyers from all spheres of legal profession with the aim of protecting their professional and other common interests, developing the legal profession, and developing a rule-of-law state in Ukraine.


The Union of Advocates of Ukraine is an independent and self-governed civic all-Ukrainian organization of Ukrainian advocates.  It is aimed at promoting the role and authority of the Bar in this society and the state, the true independence and self-regulation of the Bar and promotion of the democratic state building in Ukraine.


The Ukrainian Association of Prosecutors has a purpose to protect legal rights and interests of its members who worked/work in the Procuracy and support of the Procuracy and prosecutors’ positive image in Ukraine and abroad, promotion of the implementation of the Procuracy’s tasks.


The Ukrainian Notarial Chamber is a civic 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 education establishments who are interested in law and have demonstrated commitment to international issues.

XII.     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 of 1991 .  The Law establishes a four level system of high education and defines qualification’s requirements for junior specialists and bachelor degree holders (basic higher education), specialists and master degree holders (complete higher education).  The educational system, its legislative base, educational establishments and issues on the education of foreigners in Ukraine are presented on this web site , created by t he Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine with the support of other institutions.


L egal education is built in accordance with these principles and is provided for by the state and private colleges and universities.  The system of legal education includes high legal education, postgraduate education, Candidate’s and Doctor’s Degree education.


As the legal professions becomes very prestigious and much in demand, a large network of specialized educational institutions and faculties was established in Ukraine during last years.  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 Faculty of Law ;

·        Lviv National University Law Faculty ;

·        Law Faculty of the University of Economics and Law “KRO K” ;

·        International Solomon University Faculty of Law ;

·        Kyiv International University Law Faculty ;

·        Vernadskiy Tavricheskiy National University Law Faculty ( Simferopol, Autonomous Republic of Crimea) ;

·        Donetsk National Universit y Faculty of Economics and Law ;

·        Kyiv National Economic University Law Faculty ;

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

·        Law Institute at t he Inter-regional Academy of Personnel Management


In Ukraine different academies and institutes are also established for training their students to work in particular legal areas or for raising the level of lawyers’ skills :

·       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 Natio nal State Tax Service Academy 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 Internal Affairs National University Odessa Juridical Institute trains the specialists for militia units, etc.


The article Background on Legal Education in Ukraine describes principles on which a system of higher legal education is based.


Legal science is concentrated in the educational and research institutions as well as in specialized non-for-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 Ukrainian legislation, promote democratization processes and build the state, which will protect human rights in Ukraine.  Their activities embrace a wide range of problems: theoretical investigations in legal science and their practical applications, legislative drafting, professional communication of lawyers in Ukraine and with their foreign colleagues, spreading of legal information in the society, legal services, establishment of legal clinics, and development of manuals for schools.


International Foundation Centre for Judicial Studies is a charitable non-governmental organization founded by Ukrainian and Swiss judges.  Its purpose is the promotion of the judicial reform in Ukraine, holding of the judicial professional training, promotion of the dissemination of the legal knowledge among the population and organization of exchange programs between Ukrainian judges and judges from the countries of the highly developed democracy.


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 drafts, conducting independent legal examination of drafts, holding seminars and conferences and dissemination of legal information .


The civic organization Legislative In itiatives Laboratory was established under the assistance of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.  It is purposed for the development of the legal, political and economic grounds of the ruled by law state in Ukraine, investigation of the Ukrainian Parliament activities and promotion of the Ukraine’s integration to the world democratic community.


The Social and Legal Foundation Chynnist’ zakonu (Rule of Law) operates in different areas: development of legal culture and independent mass-media, protection of citizens’ interests in economic and cultural sphere, rendering assistance in the development of the constitutional and legal sphere of action in Ukraine, legal education and protection of the civil and human right .


The Commercial Law Center is dedicated to commercial law reform in Ukraine.  The Center closely cooperates with the University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, the National Yaroslav Mudriy Law Academy, and the Law Sciences Academy of Ukraine, as well as with research and educational 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.


The key objective of the new national social project for young people called the Forum of Young Ukrainian Leaders is to facilitate the process to make effective changes that would radically improve the life of every Ukrainian through uniting and coordination of the activity of everyone who cares about the future of the country.

XIII.   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 population, otherwise they are not in force [xix] .


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 to 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 ), and 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 .


Presidential and governmental acts are officially promulgated in the newspaper of the government executive authorities Uriadovyj Kurier ( The Governmental Courier ), and are collected in the edition Zibrannia Postanov Uriadu Ukrainy (The Compilation of the Resolutions of the Government of Ukraine ).


Normative acts of the Ukrainian higher authorities, acts of Constitutional Court and 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 (Ministry of Justice system) and its paper and electronic versions (in vernacular), as well as an electronic digest in Russian are disseminated by subscription, though electronic version of separate documents and their collections may be ordered too.


Normative legal 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 publication media.


The Constitutional Court of Ukraine has its edition 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 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 operation and other law related issues are covered;

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

·        the book series The Judge’s Library aimed at improving of the judges provision with legal information and methodological assistance, and increasing of their professional level, and

·        other electronic sources.


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


Some publishers prepare topical compilations (printed and electronic) of the Ukrainian normative acts ( in Ukrainian or Russian ) in order to satisfy the specific needs of their target auditorium in recent normative acts or in topical collections of documents, not taking care of the time consistency and comprehensiveness of coverage.


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


Due to the state policy in promoting transparency in activities of authorities and the programs of information technologies development, state power bodies, publishers, law firms, research and public organizations, educational establishments etc. become widely presented in the Ukrainian segment of the Internet.


The website of Executive Power of Ukraine ( in Ukrainian, Russian and English ) contains comprehensive information divided into 2 parts: activity of authorities and topical articles about Ukraine.  It contains powerful legislative data basis, as well as documents of the Cabinet of Ministers and draft bills, prepared by the Cabinet of Ministers.


The search server 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 database is designated for a wide circle of users and is not an official edition.  It is structured according to the issuer, document types, years, as well as countries and international organizations.  It also contains a set of about 1100 annotations of selected documents in English prepared by the Yaroslav the Wise I nstitute of Legal Information .  The search may be carried out by word, type of document, issuer, date of approval, number of the document or its registration number with the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine.


The database of draft laws represents the status of laws under consideration and history of their development.


The information server of the Verkhovna Rada highlights the operation of the Ukrainian Parliament and activities of Committees.


The Ukrainian Network of Business Information, LIGA BusinessInform, offers the newest methods for accessing the unified resources of legal and business information.  The Network fulfils the task to provide the businesses with information and modern technologies by means of the offline access systems LIGA-ZAKON , and the LIGA-Online portal for online access. 


The fee based computer legal systems LIGA-ZAKON constitute a reliable source of normative, legal and business information and a leading engine of legal searching in Ukraine.  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 translators of text into Russian and English work in the background mode. 


The site Legal Acts of Ukraine (NAU) is created by the closed joint-stock company Informtechnologia and provides information services in the sphere of Ukrainian legislation in the on-line regime in Ukrainian, Russian and English.  The NAU computer legal systems Legal acts of Ukraine include complete legal information.  It’s main components are: a computer legal database (installed data bases, DVD and compact discs, server solutions) with the NAU-Expert search system, materials of general and economic courts, a reference and analytical information including consultations, comments and exclusive analytical articles on the law application, glossary of terms and directory of government bodies, and the only base in Ukraine of translations in English (charged).  The information is daily updated and easy in searching.  The Internet-shop allows on-line ordering of products. 


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

·        Unified register of notarially certified powers of attorney;

·        Unified register of prohibitions for real estate alienation;

·        Unified register of the notaries of Ukraine;

·        Unified register of special forms of notary documents;

·        Unified register of testaments and hereditary cases;

·        State register of chattel mortgage, and

·        Unified state register of associations of the citizens and charitable organizations.


From this site free, access to the Unified register of notaries and to the test base of the State register of chattel mortgage can be found.


The Yarosl av the Wise Institute of Legal I nformation , a non-governmental organization, has developed an English-language database of texts of laws of Ukraine, draft laws and summaries.  All the documents are regularly updated to keep current with amendments and alterations of the Ukrainian legislation.  The Institute also developed a Ukrainian database that contains texts of over 3200 draft laws, summaries, agendas of plenary sessions of the Ukrainian parliament and other information about Ukrainian parliament.  The Institute performs an economic and legal analysis of practically all draft laws, considered by the Parliament of Ukraine and monitoring of Ukrainian legislation and analysis of Ukrainian legislation correspondence to the WTO standards and requirements.


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

XIV.    Legal Citation

Legal citation is aimed at identifying the source/document, which the author refers to, in order to allow the reader locate it.  The primary legal material is cited by the indication of its 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 needed.  These data may used in different combinations depending on the searching tools of the database.

XV.     Legal Publishers

After Ukraine regained its independence and started the development of its national legislation and legal science, new specialized publishing houses were established.  The larger among them are:

·        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, topical collections of documents on CD, treatises, manuals and dictionaries. 

XVI.    Legal Services

·        The legal firm Ageyev, Berezhny and P artners , residing in Odessa and having its representative in Kiev.  Their site contains the most comprehensive catalogue of Ukrainian legal resources on the Internet.

·        International Law Offices is an association of lawyers and attorneys at law rendering legal services in the field of shipping, contractual, taxation, currency and customs regulation law to the enterprises of shipping and transport business.

·        The full-service law firm Konnov & Sozanovsky is able to meet client needs, both domestic and foreign, in every area of business law.

·        International law firm Logush, Borsuk, Bronfman & Kalyshevych render services in all legal spheres for its foreign and domestic clients.

·        The law firm Shevchenko Didkovskiy & Partners focuses on assisting foreign clients doing business in Ukraine.

·        A specialized bar association Ukrainian Law Associates has the purpose to provide legal protection of proprietary and non-proprietary rights for Ukrainian natural and legal entities outside the Ukrainian jurisdiction, as well as rendering legal assistance to foreign natural and legal entities.

·        The Ukrainian Legal Group is a full-service law firm providing legal support to large- and medium-sized international corporate clients from Ukraine and other CIS countries.

·        The law firm YURIS serves domestic and international banking and financial institutions, state-owned and private companies, business partnerships, joint ventures and representative offices, NGOs and public institutions.

·        Baker & McKenzie is the world's leading global law firm 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.

·        Magister & Partners, Attorneys-at-Law , was established in 1997 and initially specialized in trade law. Ten years later it is a full-service, international law firm, advising leading global and domestic organizations throughout the CIS.

·        Founded in December 1987, Jurvneshservice Law Firm is one of the oldest private law firms in Ukraine and is now one of the leading law firms in Ukraine assisting both Ukrainian and foreign companies.

·        Today, Grischenko & Partners is home to a number of highly qualified lawyers, patent attorneys and specialists, offering a diverse range of legal services to clients, who strive to promote their businesses in Ukraine – both Ukrainian clients and international clients alike. The offices are located in Kyiv (the capital of Ukraine) and Odessa (Ukraine’s major seaport).

·        ANK Law Firm is recognized as one of the leading Ukrainian commercial law firms and is the largest law firm in Southern Ukraine. In 2006 it was ranked 14-th in the national survey of the law firms published by the professional legal weekly Yuridicheskaya Praktika .

·        Victory is the point of honour! That's the slogan of Moor & Krosondovich Law Firm with which it works and wins protecting the Law, helping its clients to defend their rights and interests.


XVII. 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 i ssues ( 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 i s 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.

·        Eastla w Information Services offer extensive information on Ukrainian business legislation with translations into English (fee-based).

·        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.

·        O fficial information server of the State Property Fund of Ukraine .

·        The State Department of Intellectual Property of the Ministry of Education and Science .

·        D atabases of 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.

·        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 page of the State Customs Service on the government portal.

·        The High Economic Court of Ukraine site containing data base “Bankruptcy”.

·        The High Council of Justice operating under the Constitution and having competencies to forward submissions on the appointment/dismissal of judges, adopt decisions in regard of violations by judges and procurators and exercising disciplinary procedures to them.

·        Centre for legal reform and legislative drafting of the Ministry of Justice .

·        T he 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 , its legislative background and document examples.  The project is made possible 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 .


Business Information Resources On-line:

·        The Business Directory of Ukraine .

·        The Agency for the Development of Enterprise .

·        Data base about enterprises under bankruptcy procedure.

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

·        The official web-site of the Ukrainian Stock Exchange .

·        The Bulletin of Economic Judiciary published by the High Economic Court of Ukraine.

·        The site of Arbitration Managers Agency informs about bankruptcy judicial procedures. 


Law Clinics in Ukraine:

·        Information about 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 .

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

·        Ukraine Development Gateway - portal created on the World Bank initiative and presenting all aspects of life in nowadays Ukraine. 

·        The National News Agency of Ukraine UKRINFORM .

·        P olitic and literary magazine about Ukraine.

·        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).

·        Ukraine: Rul e of Law is a joint project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). The goal of the Project is to strengthen the rule of law in Ukraine through supporting the judicial reform process; increasing the transparency and accountability of the judiciary; promoting public awareness of the judicial system; and increasing the public trust in the judiciary.

·        The server IT Law offers legal support of the Ukrainian producer of software.  Intellectual property issues are highlighted ( in Russian ).


[i]   Alexander Biryukov & Inna Shyrokova. Law and Legal System of Ukraine , New York: Juris Publishing Inc. (2005) – 255 Pp. [ISBN 1-57823-174-4] ( see at : < http://www.jurispub.com/books.asp?id=220 > ).

[ii] The Constitution of Ukraine, Article 3.

[iii] The Law of Ukraine On the Political Reform of 2004, December 08, No 2222-IV.

[iv] The Constitution of Ukraine, Article 2.

[v] The Constitution of Ukraine, Article 134.

[vi] The Constitution of Ukraine, Article 5.

[vii] The Constitution of Ukraine, Chapter III.

[viii] The Constitution of Ukraine, Article 6.

[ix] The Constitution of Ukraine, Chapter IV as amended.

[x] The Constitution of Ukraine, Chapter V as amended.

[xi] The Constitution of Ukraine, Chapter VI as amended.

[xii] The Constitution of Ukraine, Chapter VIII.

[xiii] The Constitution of Ukraine, Chapter VII as amended.

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

[xv] 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).

[xvi] The Constitution of Ukraine, Article 9.

[xvii] More about the securities market structure See . Alexander Biryukov.  Securities Market in Ukraine, The World Jurist Association (Washington), 1998, Vol. 35, No 5. (6-7).

[xviii] More about reform of bankruptcy legislation of Ukraine See .: Alexander Biryukov. Ukraine’s Recent Bankruptcy Reform Analyzed, 2001 Global Insolvency and Restructuring Review 26-28 (March/April); Alexander Biryukov. The Barriers to Implementing Ukrainian’s New Bankruptcy Law, 37 Bankruptcy Court Decisions 5-7 (2001).

[xix] The Constitution of Ukraine, Article 57.