Changes in consideration of labour disputes and disputes with corporate officers
On 15 December 2017, landmark changes to Ukrainian procedural law entered into force, as introduced by Law of Ukraine of 3 October 2017 No. 2147-VIII "On Amendments to the Commercial Procedure Code of Ukraine, Civil Procedure Code of Ukraine, Code of Administrative Procedure of Ukraine, and other Legislative Acts."
The amendments enacted the restated versions of Ukraine's procedural codes, resulting in substantial changes in a number of procedural rules, both in general and in respect of consideration of specific categories of disputes. In particular, the amendments have introduced new rules relating to labour disputes, and have altered certain rules related to disputes with corporate officers.
The key changes relating to the consideration of labour disputes by general courts are as follows:
- A simplified court procedure now applies to all labour disputes in order to ensure their quick resolution. The simplified procedure stipulates shorter time limits for the consideration of cases (up to 60 days from the date of commencement of the court proceedings) and for the completion of separate procedural steps; removes certain stages of usual civil court procedures (preparatory court hearing, legal debates); and introduces the possibility of a written procedure without the presence of the parties. However, the court may, on its own initiative or if a party so requests, summon the parties to the labour dispute to appear for an oral hearing.
- Additional grounds to reject an appeal to the Supreme Court have been introduced, including if a labour dispute has a low claim value (particularly if a legal opinion of the Supreme Court is available in a similar case).
- Representation by licensed attorneys is no longer mandatory for labour disputes.
The amendments have also changed the procedure by which commercial damages courts consider claims involving corporate office holders (including former office holders).
- The commercial courts' jurisdiction now extends to disputes covering all legal entities (not only those established as a business entity) relating to recovery of damages from corporate office holders based on the claims of the owners (participants, shareholders) of such legal entities.
- Going forward, only the owner (participant or shareholder) of a legal entity holding at least 10% of its shares or authorised capital can act as a claimant in such disputes in the commercial courts. Previously, legal entities had a direct right to lodge damages claims before commercial courts where they had suffered damages due to the actions or inactivity of their office holders.