Basics of trial in Ukraine

Ukrainian judicial procedures often allow attachment of appropriate preventive measures prior to filing the claim on the grounds of appropriate application. The claim may be secured by means of a court order preventing the defendant or other persons from taking certain actions (e.g., disposing of assets, etc.). Therefore it is reasonable to consider this possibility before filing the claim to the court and informing the defendant and other persons, otherwise the plaintiff risks to have the final judicial decision, which cannot be enforced due to absence of defendant's assets.

After having received the compliant the court examines whether the claim meets the legislative requirements of form, content, jurisdiction and competence. Depending on the result of such examination the court can reject the claim or accept it and commence the action.

Once commenced, the court informs the parties about place and time of the first court hearing in the form of written judicial order (and in civil and administrative proceedings, the court simultaneously sends the compliant to the defendant as well). Such order together with the above information usually includes requirement to the defendant to provide the court and the other parties with their statement of defence and to a separate participant or all of them to present some additional documents supporting their positions.

Subsequently, on receipt of the claim defendant can respond to the same with full or partial admission, statement of defence, counterclaim or keep silent.

Ukrainian civil and administrative procedures require so called "preliminary trial" (also called "preliminary court hearings"), whilst the other judicial procedures don't require such judicial stage and prescribe to start the trial (also known as "principal hearing") at once.

As it was mentioned above, the civil and administrative procedures in Ukraine require the preliminary trial in order to:

- specify the claim and defence;  
- specify the persons involved in the case;  
- specify the facts to be discovered during the proceeding, and whether the facts of the case are disputed or accepted by the parties;  
- specify the list of evidences that the parties intend to bring and terms of submission of the same;  
- secure evidence (if required);  
- secure the claim (if required);
- set the date and time of the principal court hearing.

However in the commercial proceedings, especially in complex cases, the first hearing is often used for the similar purposes as well regardless of the name of this judicial stage.

The principal court hearings (the trial itself) begin with the consideration of the technical issues, such as:

- announcement of membership of the court and rights of the parties;  
- identification of the individuals involved;  
- verification of powers of appropriate representatives or officials acting for and on behalf of the participants.

If either of the parties refused to attend the court hearing, the court generally suspends the hearing, unless such party has asked the court to hear the case in its absence. Further failure to appear before the court may lead to different outcomes, depending on the type of procedure and whether the plaintiff or defendant is absent. If the plaintiff consistently fails to attend, the court usually dismisses the case without further consideration and in such a case the plaintiff may file the same claim again whenever it deems appropriate within the terms of the claim limitation. If the defendant fails to attend, the case is usually heard and decided in its absence.

Once the court has dealt with the technical issues, it hears the parties' procedural applications and motions and issues a court order in answer to each of such issues.

Ukrainian judicial procedures and clause 129 of Constitution of Ukraine as well provide the full registration of the court proceedings using the technical means in order to protect material and procedural rights of the participants and to resist corruption among Ukrainian judges. This procedure can be skipped following mutual application of the participants; however we do not recommend doing this.

The trial begins with the presentation of the claim by the plaintiff or its representative; the other participants and the court may ask questions related to the presentation. The defendant then presents his statement of defence, which may be followed by further questions by the plaintiff, the court or other participants.

Witnesses and experts present their evidences in writing or orally. They are questioned by the court and cross-examined by the parties. Material evidence is examined by the court, the parties have the right to participate in such examination as well; the parties may object to the evidence or comment the same. Usually most of the evidences are comprised of written documents.

The parties may then make additional statements regarding the claim and the defence before they summarize their statements with reference to the evidences examined. After the court ends the debate, the court retires for deliberations and issues the judicial decision.

The above information is provided herein in educational and informative purposes only. It is provided that you have to get appropriate legal advice as regarding the legal and other issues of your interest in Ukraine in order to have the exact, extensive and up-to-date legal and other related information.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or issues of legal nature, our Law Firm is working for you and our experienced legal specialists are always ready to help providing the client with appropriate legal consultations, legal reports and summaries, reasonable legal advices and all the other required legal support, assistance, coverage and protection.

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