HOW TO SERVE LEGAL PAPERS IN UKRAINE

This article will provide guidance on How To Serve legal papers in Ukraine.  The Soviet Union broke apart in 1991, which allowed Ukraine to reclaim its freedom. Since its independence, Ukraine has been governed as a semi-presidential unitary republic. Neutrality was declared, and in 1994, it formed a military collaboration with Russia and other CIS nations, as well as with NATO. 

It was during the Euromaidan uprising of 2013 that the Revolution of Dignity, which culminated in the installation of a new government, erupted. This culminated in a Russian invasion in February 2022, after which Russia annexed Crimea and fought a war in Donbas against Russian-backed rebels. The continuing conflict with Russia has not deterred the Ukrainian government from pursuing tighter economic, political, and military relations with the West.

BACKGROUND

Ukrainian politics are conducted under a semi-presidential democratic republic with a multiparty system. Executive authority is vested in a Cabinet of Ministers (jointly with the president until 1996). Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada (‘Supreme Council’), has legislative authority.

The Ukrainian SSR’s constitution authorized the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU) to be the only ruling party of the Ukrainian SSR, which was a single-party socialist-republic framework until the end of the Soviet Union. The old constitution, adopted in 1978, was replaced in 1996 with the present one. The de facto political situation in Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk has worsened since 2014 due to changes in on-the-ground governance.

UKRAINE’S JUDICIAL SYSTEM

Many disputes are handled by the High Court of Intellectual Property, which may be used as a trial court and an appeals court. As a result, the Business Court of Appeals is divided up into sections that deal with certain types of commercial issues alone (that is, disputes relating to bankruptcy, the protection of intellectual property rights, anti-monopoly and competition matters, corporate matters, and corporate rights and securities).

Local and appellate courts do not have any defined divisions. Before the local courts, matters are normally considered by a single judge. Complex cases can be allocated to a panel of three judges. The appellate and cassation courts consider cases in panels of at least three professional judges.

UKRAINE DOMESTIC PROCESS SERVICE

A pre-trial dispute resolution technique may be used by parties if they have agreed to or have a legal right to do so. Letters of claim may be sent to the defendant in order to begin the pre-action settlement process. If the parties are unable to resolve their differences via discussions, they will take their case to court.

Pre-trial conflict resolution methods cannot be made a condition of a person’s right to go to court, according to the Ukrainian Constitutional Court. According to the Ukrainian courts, pre-trial settlement processes (even if they are part of a contract) are a right, not a requirement. This implies that an individual may file a lawsuit without first engaging in pre-trial talks with their opponent, even if the parties have previously agreed to settle their differences in other ways.

A lawsuit begins with the submission of a claim statement to a court of the first instance. To decide how to continue with the claim, a single judge is selected. Within five days after receiving the statement of claim, the court must issue an order to begin the proceedings unless there are compelling Ukraine Process Service grounds not to do so.

If the statement of claim does not meet the statutory criteria for form and substance, the court might postpone acceptance of the claim for some time. There are ten days to correct any flaws, or the Ukraine Process Service claim will be returned to the complainant. If the errors are fixed, the complaint is deemed filed on the day Ukraine Process Service was first received by the court.

It is important to provide the claimant with a copy of the claim. The claim may be returned to the claimant if the signature does not have the proper authorization or if there is no proof of payment of court expenses. Claims for damages may be resubmitted if there are any errors in the paperwork.

First, the claimant must serve a copy of the statement of claim on the defendant. Confirmation of service is required by the claimant in order for the claim to be accepted; otherwise, Ukraine Process Service will be returned to them.

When a case goes to trial, the court will issue a court order advising all parties involved that they have a right to a defense and a deadline for providing Ukraine Process Service. Defendants must provide a copy of their defenses to the claimant if they submit one. After giving the defense, the defendant may file a counterclaim. The primary claim and any counterclaim are both adjudicated at the same time.

A preliminary hearing must be held sixty days after the beginning of the proceedings. 

CROSS-BORDER LITIGATION AND UKRAINE

The Private International Law Act (PILA) permits parties to a contract to specify the law to be applied to their agreement. A choice of law provision may be included in a contract only if it has a foreign element. 

Ukraine’s necessary regulations cannot be circumscribed by the parties’ agreement on the applicable legislation. In other words, the parties to the contract are bound by Ukrainian law, which takes precedence over whatever norms of foreign law they may choose. Rules that have no legal basis or precedent are known as “implicit rules.” As a result, it is up to the individual courts to determine whether or not a Ukraine Process Service rule of Ukrainian law should take precedence in a particular instance.

The Ukrainian courts must identify the norms of foreign law applicable while evaluating a Ukraine Process Service topic controlled by foreign law. If the courts are unable to determine foreign law norms in a fair amount of time, they may decide the case under Ukrainian law. Expert testimony on the substance and interpretation of foreign law by foreign courts and doctrine may be submitted by either side of a dispute in court.

Suppose the parties fail to agree on the governing law of the contract. In that case, the court will look to the PILA, which establishes a set of conflict of laws provisions, to identify the appropriate Ukraine Process Service law, even if the choice of law is not explicitly stated. Legal obligations that arise out of conduct that does not fall within the purview of a contract are controlled by state law, according to the PILA. Non-contractual duties arising from delicts, on the other hand, are controlled by the law of the state in which the relevant conduct or other situation giving rise to the damages claim occurred.

Legal aid treaties (such as the 1993 Minsk Convention on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil, Family, and Criminal Matters) and rules of Ukrainian procedural law are consulted by Ukrainian courts when deciding jurisdictional concerns. In principle, parties to a contract might agree to refer a dispute within the jurisdiction of a Ukrainian commercial court to a foreign court of law or jurisdiction. There must be a clear and unequivocal provision regarding the choice of court.

As of 1 December 2001, Ukraine has signed and ratified the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters 1965 (Hague Convention). It is worth noting that Ukraine has also signed several bilateral agreements on civil law assistance, which control the serving of papers. The Hague Service Convention has a number of declarations and reservations from Ukraine. In particular, Ukraine does not adhere to Article 10 of the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (for example, service of judicial documents, by postal channels, directly to persons concerned). Only citizens of the country from where the papers originate may be served with legal documents in Ukraine by diplomatic or consular officials from other countries.

Ukrainian companies may have foreign judicial papers served on them through a request to the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, which will verify conformity with the Hague Service Convention or appropriate bilateral convention before delivering the documents to the firm. The request is subsequently sent to the Ministry of Justice’s territorial department, which forwards it to the court where the addressee lives. When a formal court hearing is planned, the receiver is summoned by the court to bring an authorized representative to receive the Ukraine Process Service papers. A migration service or other appropriate authority is used by the Ministry of Justice if it is necessary to get the recipient’s name, address, and location. If the Ministry of Justice is unable to locate the correct location, it will return the Ukraine Process Service request to the foreign court with a note explaining why it was not carried out.

An official protocol and proof of service are then prepared by the court’s territorial department and sent to the Ministry of Justice when service has been completed. Additional proof of service under the Hague Service Convention is provided by a Ministry of Justice certificate. A request to serve judicial papers is considered satisfied if the recipient refuses to accept the documents or fails to appear before the court at least twice.

A bilateral treaty may mandate that court records be translated into Ukrainian, although Ukrainian law does not.

Foreign judgments are recognized and enforced in Ukraine under international treaties to which Ukraine is a party or under the reciprocity principle. Ukraine signed the Hague Choice of Court Convention on 21 March 2016, but the Parliament of Ukraine has not yet ratified it.

Reciprocity is presumed to exist between Ukraine and the state where the judgment was rendered unless there is evidence to the contrary. Therefore, a Ukrainian court can deny the enforceability of a foreign court judgment if a party proves there is no reciprocity between Ukraine and the relevant jurisdiction.

A party seeking to enforce a foreign judgment must file a motion with the court of the debtor’s location. The motion must be filed within three years of the date the foreign judgment became effective. When considering a motion for enforcement of a foreign judgment, the court must not review the merits of the judgment. After considering a move, the court can either grant permission to enforce the judgment or refuse enforcement. These decisions can be appealed.

A foreign judgment cannot be enforced in cases envisaged by the international legal assistance treaties concluded between Ukraine and other countries. For example, the bilateral treaty on legal assistance between Ukraine and Poland provides that a foreign judgment cannot be enforced in the territory of the contracting party if it was rendered by an incompetent court. Accordingly, violation of the rules on jurisdiction could potentially preclude enforcement under specific provisions of various bilateral and multilateral treaties signed by Ukraine.

UKRAINE AND THE HAGUE SERVICE CONVENTION

As part of the Hague Service Convention on the Civil and Commercial Processes Served Abroad, Ukraine has ratified the convention. Requests for Ukraine Process Service should be made in triplicate and submitted to Ukraine’s Central Authority for the Hague Service Convention with two sets of the papers to be served and translations. An attorney or clerk of the court in the United States should sign the form. An attorney or a court clerk’s title should be included in the areas for the applicant’s name, address, and signature/stamp. Under Article 10, Ukraine has officially opposed and does not allow postal service.

According to the Hague Convention, evidence taken in civil and commercial cases may be used in Ukraine. For the Hague Evidence Convention, Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice serves as the country’s central authority. The Ukraine Central Authority receives requests for compulsion of evidence under the Hague Evidence Convention directly from the seeking court or individual in the United States; therefore, diplomatic procedures are not necessary. Submitted requests containing Ukrainian translations should be in two separate files.

In Ukraine, a court that considers the case is competent to forward requests for service to the Central Authorities of foreign States. The procedure of execution of the requests for service of the documents is prescribed by the Civil Procedural Code of Ukraine.

The Central Authority sends the request for Ukraine Process Service of the documents to the local Department of Justice for further transmission to the court at the place of residence of a person or the location of the legal entity and sets the term of its fulfillment. If necessary, the measures to establish the person’s residence or legal entity location are taken.

The court summons the person in order to deliver the Ukraine Process Service documents, and such Ukraine Process Service documents are received by the person during the court hearing. The recipient of the Ukraine Process Service documents puts their signature on the certificate, the signature is certified by the signature of the judge, and then the court record is composed. The court forwards the comments to the local Department of Justice. Based on the information obtained from the court, the local Department of Justice draws up the certificate about delivery of the Hague form.

In case the Ukraine Process Service of the documents was not performed, the court states its reasons in the court record, then it is mentioned in the certificate, and the documents are returned to the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry of Justice of Ukraine sends the second package of documents and the certificate about delivery to the requesting authority. It is necessary to note that all the documents, which are to be served, should be translated into Ukrainian.

If the addressee is fluent in the language in which the documents to be served are written, the translation of the documents to be served is not necessary. The requests for Ukraine Process Service comply free of charge. Suppose the fulfillment of the request requires costs. In that case, the Ukrainian court informs the requesting authority directly or through the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine and its local Departments of Justice about the number of expenses. It informs of the bank accounts for money transfers. The further fulfillment of the request for service may be accomplished after payment of the costs.

All civil, criminal, commercial, and administrative proceedings and administrative offenses are dealt with by separate courts. Administrative, commercial, and general jurisdiction courts are part of a judicial system that governs the administration of justice in the United States. To judge whether or not legislation is constitutional, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine has exclusive authority to do so. It is worth noting that the Constitutional Court does not fall within the jurisdiction of the national court system.

OUR PROCESS

Documents can be faxed at (800) 296-0115, emailed ps@undisputedlegal.com, or uploaded to our website. We do require prepayment and accept all major credit and debit cards. Once payment is processed, your sales receipt is immediately emailed for your records.

Drop-offs must call and make an appointment first to be added to building security to permit access to our office. Documents for service must be in a sealed envelope with payment in the form of a money order or attorney check (WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH) payable to UNDISPUTED LEGAL INC.; All documents will be received by our receptionist.

DOMESTIC COVERAGE AREAS:

Alaska | Alabama | Arkansas | Arizona | California | Colorado | Connecticut | District of Columbia | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Iowa | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maryland | Massachusetts | Maine | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | North Carolina | North Dakota | Nebraska | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | Nevada | New York | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Virginia | Vermont | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming

INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE AREAS:

Albania | Andorra | Anguilla | Antigua | Argentina | Armenia | Australia | Austria | Azerbaijan | Bahamas | Barbados | Belarus | Belgium | Belize | Bermuda | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Botswana | Brazil | British Honduras | British Virgin Islands | Bulgaria | Canada | Cayman Islands | Central and Southern Line Islands | Chile|China (Macao) | China People’s Republic | Colombia | Costa Rica | Country of Georgia | Croatia | Cyprus | Czech Republic | Denmark | Dominican Republic | Ecuador | Egypt | Estonia | Falkland Islands and Dependences | Fiji | Finland | France | Germany | Gibraltar | Gilbert and Ellice Islands | Greece | Guernsey | Hong Kong | Hungary | Iceland | India | Ireland | Isle of Man | Israel | Italy | Jamaica | Japan | Jersey Channel Islands | Jordan | Kazakhstan | Korea | Kuwait | Latvia | Lithuania | Luxembourg| Malawi | Malaysia | Malta | Mauritius | Mexico| MonacoMontenegro | Montserrat | Morocco | Namibia | Netherlands | New Zealand |Nicaragua | Norway | Pakistan | Panama | Paraguay | Peru | Philippines | Pitcairn |Poland| Portugal | Republic of Moldova | Republic of North Macedonia | Romania |Russian Federation | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | San Marino | Saudi Arabia | Serbia | Seychelles | Singapore| Slovakia | Slovenia | South Africa | Spain | Sri Lanka | St. Helena and Dependencies | St. Lucia | Sweden | Switzerland | Taiwan | Thailand | Tunisia | Turkey | Turks and Caicos Islands| UkraineUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland | Uruguay | US Virgin Islands | Uzbekistan | Venezuela | Vietnam

OFFICE LOCATIONS

New York: (212) 203-8001 – 590 Madison Avenue, 21st Floor, New York, New York 10022
Brooklyn: (347) 983-5436 – 300 Cadman Plaza West, 12th Floor, Brooklyn, New York 11201
Queens: (646) 357-3005 – 118-35 Queens Blvd, Suite 400, Forest Hills, New York 11375
Long Island: (516) 208-4577 – 626 RXR Plaza, 6th Floor, Uniondale, New York 11556
Westchester: (914) 414-0877 – 50 Main Street, 10th Floor, White Plains, New York 10606
Connecticut: (203) 489-2940 – 500 West Putnam Avenue, Suite 400, Greenwich, Connecticut 06830
New Jersey: (201) 630-0114 – 101 Hudson Street, 21 Floor, Jersey City, New Jersey 07302
Washington DC: (202) 655-4450 – 2200 Pennsylvania Avenue, 4 Fl East, Washington DC 20037

for assistance serving legal papers in Ukraine

Simply pick up the phone and call Toll-Free (800) 774-6922 or click the service you want to purchase. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to assist you. We can handle all your process service needs; no job is too small or too large!

Contact us for more information about our process serving agency. We are ready to provide service of process to all our clients globally from our offices in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington D.C.

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives”– Foster, William A

Sources

1. Grand Chamber, Administrative Court Cassation, Commercial & Criminal Appeals Court, Criminal & Civil Appeals, and Civil Appeals are all part of the Supreme Court

2. If any of the following requirements are satisfied, a foreign element is present:

One or more parties are non-Ukrainian citizens, non-citizens of the country, non-citizens of another state, or non-citizens of another legal entity, and the subject of the contract is situated in a foreign state.

3. Ministry of Justice of Ukraine

Directorate on International Law and Co-operation

Department of International Law   

13, Horodetskogo St.

KYIV 01001

Ukraine

Telephone:

+380 44 279 6977

+380 44 278 1176

+380 44 279 7256

Fax: +380 44 278 1176

E-mail: ilad@minjust.gov.ua or mdcivil@minjust.gov.ua 

General website: http://www.minjust.gov.ua/

Contact person:

Mrs. Kateryna Shevchenko, Deputy Head of the Directorate – Head of the Department on International Law (Russian, English, French)

Mrs. Ryabets Tetyana, Deputy Head of the Division on Private International Law (the language of communication: Russian)

Mrs. Victoria Bilokon, Chief specialist of the Division on Private International Law (languages of communication: Russian, English)

4. Requests from Ukraine to Obtain Evidence in the United States: The U.S. Central Authority for the Hague Evidence Convention is the Office of International Judicial Assistance, Civil Division, Department of Justice, 1100 L Street N.W., Room 8102, Washington, D.C. 20530.

5. Disputations between businesses, as well as those involving anti-monopoly laws, corporate law, and securities law are dealt with by specialized commercial courts. Disputes over sales, loans, property, bankruptcies and insurance policies are the most common cases in commercial courts. The Commercial Procedure Code of Ukraine is followed by Ukraine’s commercial courts.

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