Execution (enforcement) of judicial awards in Ukraine


Judicial awards in Ukraine are binding for everyone and required to be performed. However, the losing party often refuses to comply with obligations imposed by the court of its free will. Therefore if the winning party still wants the losing party to comply with the judicial award it can use the procedures provided for the compulsory execution of such judicial award. Accordingly, the compulsory enforcement of court awards (decisions, orders, etc.) is to be considered as the separate and complex stage of litigation and arbitration in Ukraine. Hereunder such terms as judicial decision, judicial decree, authority, court holding, decree, holding, judgement, judicial award, legal authority, legal judgement, terminer, dijudication, decree of the court, opinion of the court, adjudicature, judicial opinion, legal judgment, court award are considered having the similar meaning.

Compulsory enforcement of judgments in Ukraine is performed by special state authority, which is independent of the courts, but subordinate to the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine. The name of this Ukrainian authority is the State Execution Service of Ukraine (in Ukrainian language it is spelled "Derzhavna Vykonavcha sluzhba" and also can be translated as the State Enforcement Service of Ukraine or the State Enforcement Office of Ukraine of the Marshal Service of Ukraine as well). The system still remains badly managed and underfinanced by the State.

The compulsory execution procedure is governed by the Law of Ukraine "On Execution Procedure" and by appropriate Instruction of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine "On procedure of the execution activities" and carried out by the State Execution Service of Ukraine (i.e. appropriate regional or district departments of the same).

A party willing to enforce a judgment has to file appropriate judicial award (or judicial writ of execution) together with application to enforce the same using the compulsory execution procedure to the appropriate department of the State Execution Service of Ukraine. The appropriate department generally means the department of the Service, which is the closest to the defendant or other person bound by the court decision, i.e. usually this is department of the Service at the place of residence of the defendant or another party bound by the judicial decision.

Appropriate department of the Execution Service of Ukraine formally starts the execution procedure by asking the debtor in question to comply with the decision voluntarily, usually within seven days. If such party fails to do so, officer of the State Execution service of Ukraine is entitled to execute the decision (e.g. by taking property from the debtor and selling the same or transferring it to the collector). However, the slow reaction of the Service and further development of the case in general may give the debtor some time to hide property or hamper its seizure in some other way. Owing to badly drafted legislation, a party which hampers the enforcement of a court decision or simply fails to abide it is very unlikely to face a penalty, except for a relatively small fine. Therefore, the execution procedure generally requires day-to-day supervision and control on the part of the collector or its representative.

The execution procedure for a winning party requires almost as much effort and close attention as the court procedure itself. Therefore in order to execute a judicial decision in Ukraine it is always better to have an experienced local lawyer or even a law firm, which will initiate the execution procedure and will supervise day-by-day the entire execution procedure up till the moment of actual execution of such court award, including enforcing officials of the Service to discharge their obligations in full and timely as far as there is rather developed subordination system in the Execution Service of Ukraine allowing to make its officials liable (or even criminally liable) for non-fulfillment, delayed fulfillment or poor fulfillment of their responsibilities.

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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