Judicial reform in action: new procedural codes have come into force

On December 15, this year, the Law of Ukraine "On Amendments to the Commercial Procedural Code of Ukraine, the Civil Procedural Code of Ukraine, the Code of Administrative Legal Proceedings of Ukraine and other legislative acts" came into force on October 3, 2017, No. 2147-VIII. In essence, each of the above codes is set forth in new editions, which differ significantly from the existing procedural rules. Today we will talk about some important changes that are contained in the new Civil Procedure Code.

The task of the civil process

The new Civil Procedure Code (hereinafter - the CPC) defines the tasks of civil justice with fair, impartial and timely consideration and resolution of civil cases in order to effectively protect the violated, unrecognized or challenged rights, freedoms or interests of individuals, the rights and interests of legal entities, and the interests of the state.

And among the basic principles of civil proceedings, the principle of the rule of law is called. For the first time, the CPC has introduced a rule that the court applies to the 1950 Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its protocols, as well as the practice of the European Court of Human Rights as a source of law.

The only judicial information and telecommunication system

 The courts have a single judicial information and telecommunication system. Appeal and other statements, complaints and other statutory procedural documents submitted to the court and may be subject to judicial review, in the order of their receipt, are subject to mandatory registration in the Single Judicial Information and Telecommunication System on the day of receipt of documents.

Attorneys, notaries, private executives, arbitrators, court experts, state bodies, local governments and economic entities of the state and municipal sectors of the economy register official electronic addresses in the Unified Judicial Information and Telecommunication System in a mandatory manner; for other people this is not required.

Significantly expanded opportunities for the use of video conferencing in court as a modern means of communicating process participants.

Electronic court

Significant possibilities for the implementation of legal proceedings with the use of modern information technologies ("electronic court") are envisaged, in particular, the commission of all procedural actions through the means of electronic communication with the corresponding mechanisms of identification and security.

Electronic evidence

The notion of "electronic evidence" in the old CCP did not exist at all. Electronic evidence is information in an electronic (digital) form that contains the circumstances relevant to the case, in particular electronic documents (including text documents, graphic images, plans, photographs, video and sound recordings, etc.) , websites (pages), text, image, voice messages, metadata, databases and other data in electronic form.

Such data may be stored, for example, on portable devices (memory cards, mobile phones, etc.), Servers, backup systems, and other places of electronic data storage (including the Internet). Electronic evidence is filed in the original or electronic copy, certified by an electronic digital signature, equivalent to a personal signature in accordance with the Law of Ukraine "On Electronic Digital Signature". Participants in the case have the right to file electronic evidence in paper copies, certified in accordance with the procedure provided for by law. A paper copy of electronic evidence is not considered to be a written proof.

Simplified proceedings

For less complex cases, which can not be considered in the procedure of ordering proceedings, it is provided for consideration in the order of simplified proceedings.

Statements in fact

In case of hearing a case by a court in the procedure of proceeding, the participants of the process shall in writing lay down their claims, objections, arguments, explanations and arguments regarding the subject of the dispute exclusively in statements on the merits of the case, determined by this Code. Statements on the merits: statement of claim; response to a statement of claim (review); response to the review; denial; explanation of a third party regarding a claim or recall.

 Judge as conciliator of the parties

The new PPC introduces a completely new type of interaction between the parties and the judge. If before the judge did not have the right to communicate with the plaintiff or defendant outside the courtroom, now such communication is expressly provided for by the procedural law. Settlement of a dispute with the participation of a judge is carried out with the consent of the parties before the beginning of the consideration of the case on the merits. The settlement of a dispute with the participation of a judge is carried out in the form of joint and (or) closed meetings. Joint meetings are held with the participation of all parties, their representatives and the judge. Closed meetings are held at the initiative of a judge from each side separately.

Lawyer's monopoly

Representation in court as a form of legal assistance is provided by a lawyer (professional legal aid), except in cases established by law.

Free legal aid is provided in accordance with the procedure established by the law regulating the provision of free legal aid.

An exception to this rule is made for representation in minor controversies, as well as provisions on the representation of minors or minors and persons recognized as incapacitated by the court or whose capacity is limited.

"Minor cases"

The concept of "minor cases" is introduced in the civil process, namely:

- cases in which the value of a claim does not exceed 100 living wages for able-bodied persons (from January 1 it will be UAH 176 200);

- cases of insignificance, which are recognized as insignificant by the court, except cases which are subject to consideration only in accordance with the rules of general proceedings, and cases where the value of a claim exceeds 500 living wage for able-bodied persons (881 000 UAH).

 Procedural time limits for appeals

Substantially increased deadlines for appeals against decisions of first instance courts. If earlier the appeal was filed only 10 days from the date of the decision of the court (5 days - to appeal the ruling), now this term is increased to 30 days (15 days - to appeal court rulings).

A cassation appeal may also be filed within 30 days from the date of the pronouncement of the contested decision. Recall that earlier this term was limited to 20 days for cassation.

Procedural coercion

The possibility of court application of measures of procedural coercion, namely, such as: warning; removal from the courtroom; Temporary removal of evidence for trial by the court; occasion; fine.

The court may decide on the collection of a fine in the amount of 0.3 to 3 times the subsistence minimum for able-bodied persons from the state budget from the person concerned (from January 1, from UAH 528.60 to UAH 5,286). in cases:

1) non-compliance with procedural obligations, in particular, evasion from the commission of actions imposed by the court on the participant of the process;

2) abuse of procedural rights, actions or inactivity with the aim of impeding justice;

3) failure to inform the court of the impossibility of submitting evidence demanded by the court or failure to submit such evidence without compelling reasons, and so on.

Exceptions to cassation

There are exceptions for the categories of cases, decisions on which are not subject to appeal. Yes, they are not subject to appeal:

1) decisions, decisions of the court of first instance and decisions, rulings of the court of appellate instance in cases, decisions of which are subject to review by the Supreme Court of appeals;

2) judgments in minor cases, except in cases where:

a) the cassation complaint concerns a right which is of fundamental importance for the formation of a single law-enforcement practice;

b) the person submitting the cassation appeal is deprived of the opportunity to refute the circumstances established by the contested court decision in the course of consideration of another case;

c) the case represents a significant public interest or is of exceptional importance to the party who filed the appeal;

d) the court of first instance has classified the case as minor in error.

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