On 2 June 2016, Verkhovna Rada adopted a package of laws (Bills 2056a and 2057a) whereby Ukraine is gradually privatising the enforcement service. The European Union and the EU Project “Support to Justice Sector Reforms in Ukraine” have been actively involved as key partners in supporting the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine in this reform.

As attested by a huge number of judgments delivered against Ukraine by the European Court of Human Rights, excessive length of enforcement or complete non-enforcement of final court decisions remains arguably the single biggest problem in the Ukrainian justice sector. The aforementioned legislative initiative will create a new ‘mixed’ system, setting a roadmap towards gradual full privatisation of enforcement services, in line with the current trends and best practices in many EU Member States. As the matters stand, private enforcement officers will have equal powers to carry out enforcement procedures in relation to any type of cases, except for socially-sensitive (child return, dwelling eviction) cases and actions against State debtors or property.

The reform has been called for as part of conditionalities fixed by the IMF for the country’s bailout package. A successful reform with contract and court decision enforcement should also have a direct impact on Ukraine’s standing in the World Bank Doing Business Index and other reputed international rankings, thereby contributing to investor confidence in the country. This welcome step should reduce the burden on the State budget in the provision of justice services, provide better and more accessible enforcement services to individuals and businesses.

The EU Project “Support to Justice Sector Reforms in Ukraine” has been involved for more than a year in preparing grounds for the setting up of the new private corporation in the Ukrainian justice sector – National Association of Private Enforcement Officers. The Project is now working on preparing the testing outline and designing tests for future private enforcement officers (PEOs), among other matters.

 The Laws shall become operational in 3 months upon their signature by the President and official publication, while the provisions and norms on the future private enforcement institution will become effective in 6 months.