Ukrainian Laws and Legal Matters
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In order to understand the legislative process in Ukraine, one must take certain factors into consideration. 

Firstly, there are basically three branches of government -- the Parliament, the Presidential Administration, and the Counsel of Ministers. Each one of these branches has the authority to adopt "legislative acts" which have the force of law The Verchovna Rada (Parliament) enacts laws and adopts resolutions; the President has the authority to issue decrees, edicts and orders, which have the force of law; and the Counsel of Ministers has the power to adopt resolutions and issue instructions on implementing the legislative acts of the Counsel of Ministers and of the other branches of government. Quite often, one branch of government will contradict the acts of another. One might think, at first blush, that this is somewhat of a chaotic system. However, one must remember that Ukraine is a newly independent state and is in the midst of developing a society based upon the Rule of Law. The United States has had 200 years of experience in this area. In addition, try explaining to a Ukrainian, or even to a European, the federal/state system that we have in the United States and various conflict of laws issues that may arise. They probably will have more difficulty understanding us them we understanding them. 

Secondly, one should bear in mind that the most glaring shortcoming is the lack of a codification system for the Laws and Legislative Acts of Ukraine. During the Soviet Era, the only place where legislative acts were published was in the official press of the government. There were no law libraries or other repositories or statute books where a Ukrainian lawyer could find access to this legislation. Many judges, including the Supreme Court Justices and preeminent lawyers in Ukraine, have told me in my personal interviews with them that even these pre-eminent jurists had difficulty in accessing the text of the law that they had to interpret and enforce. Presently, with western aid, a strong effort is being made to establish a codification system. However, it is not anticipated that this codification system will be established for a few years. 

The third element which causes difficulty in understanding Ukrainian legislation is the problem of translation. Western and Ukrainian translators often take the same legislative document and translate it differently albeit correctly. For example, one of the most important pieces of Ukrainian legislation is the "Law on Business Associations" adopted by the Verchovna Rada (Parliament) on September 19, 1991. The title to this piece of legislation has been translated as the "Law on Economic Associations", the "Law on Business Partnerships', and "The Corporation Law of Ukraine". Technically speaking, each one of these translations is probably linguistically correct. However, to a legal practitioner these differences in title translation erroneously mislead the observer and give the impression that a series of laws exist where, in fact, only one statute is in issue. The lack of a codification system also complicates the process of identifying which legislative acts supersede, modify, amend, or supplement the prior legislation. Quite often there is a lack of cross-referencing to other legislative acts in the original Ukrainian text. 

For the purposes of these Web pages, the titles to all legislative acts will be followed by the date of enactment. All legislative acts, other than "Laws," will also have the name of the branch of government which adopted same. Laws are adopted by Verchovna Rada (Parliament) do not require further identification. 

. The text and the summaries of legislation that appear in these Web pages are not in any way represented to be current or without subsequent supplement or modification It is strongly recommended that if the most current legislative pronouncement are at issue, then competent legal advice be obtained on the subject. These Web page are not intended to be a substitute for same nor are they intended to render such legal advice.


Many of theLegal Web pages contain information in the Ukrainian script. Unfortunately, there is no one single standard for transmitting the Ukrainian alphabet (nor the Russian, for that matter) throughout the Internet. The majority of documents in the Ukrainian script are in KOI8 compatible fonts. Others are in the CP 1251 format. Each Ukrainian Text Web page and link contain information as to which font is being used. Many WEB pages are being reproduced in both fonts so that readers that have one or the other format can easily read them. Your Web Browser must have one or the other of these fonts loaded in order to successfully view that page. If you do not have the appropriate fonts and you need instructions on how to obtain them, I would recommend that you visit the BRAMA Computers Web Pages to download them and to obtain further instructions on their use. 
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