Litigation during quarantine: key changes
To ensure access to justice during the quarantine, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted amendments to all the procedural codes. At the same time, the courts have independently started to practice specific litigation procedures.

Key changes are related to:

Extension of the procedural terms

Participation in court hearings

Communication with the court and submission of documents
I. Extension of the procedural terms

The Law No. 540 provides for a number of procedural actions with updated terms for their performance.
Procedural actions
Commercial
process

Civil
process
Administrative
process
Statute of limitations
on actions
Change of the subject
or ground of the claim,
submission of the
counterclaim
Presentation of evidence
Securing (requesting)
of evidence
Court order cancellation
Statement of defense
Response to the statement of defense
Objection to the response
Third party explanation
Leaving the claim without
movement, returning
of the claim

Duration of the hearing
on the merits / term of
administrative case
consideration
Consideration of
applications and
motions not filed in
preparatory proceedings
Term of the suspension
of proceedings
Summary proceedings /
submission of the
documents during
the summary proceedings
Application for review
of the judgment in default
Appeal
Leaving the appeal
without movement,
returning of the appeal

Statement of defense
to appeal
Term of appeal hearing
Term for cassation appeal
Leaving the cassation
appeal without movement
Statement of defense
to cassation appeal
Amendment, modification
or withdrawal of the
cassation appeal
Term of cassation appeal
hearing
Submission of
applications for review
of court decisions on
newly discovered or
exceptional circumstances
Term of filing complaint
in the enforcement
proceedings
Term of appeal against
the decision of the
arbitral tribunal
Consideration of the
appeal against the
decision of the arbitral
tribunal
Term of filing a claim
by the applicant against
the holder of the lost
bearer security or bill
of exchange
! The parliament has also introduced to all the procedural codes the same provision, according to which the terms specified in the court decisions may not be shorter than the quarantine period*.
* In this case, there is a question: does such edition of the article consider rulings as the court decisions? According to the general rule, established in each code, a ruling is a type of court decision. However, it is likely that the legislator was referring to the decision on the merits and not the procedural rulings.

Otherwise, any actions, for which the court sets a term for implementation (and in the case of extended interpretation it may be the appointment of court hearings) cannot be taken before the quarantine is over.

At the same time, in this case, all other changes to the procedural codes have no sense. Similar situation is with certain Supreme Court rulings dated April 3, 2020, which rather indicate this interpretation of the law.

It is necessary to keep track of the court proceeding in order, on one hand, not to miss the fulfillment of the procedural requirement, and on the other hand, to prevent procedural violations.
II. Participation in court hearings

The new law stipulates that the court may decide to restrict access of individuals, who are not parties participating in the trial, to the court hearing during the quarantine, if their participation could threaten an individual's life or health. However, the criteria according to which the court will determine the level of threat have not been determined.

In addition, during the quarantine, the participants of the case will be able to participate in the court hearing in the videoconference mode outside the court premises using their own technology devices.

As of April 10, 2020, some judges have already conducted several court hearings via Zoom and Skype. At the same time, on April 8, the State Judicial Administration approved the order of videoconference set up through the EasyCon System, which requires registration on the web portal. The registration is possible with an electronic signature. To set up a videoconference in a particular case, it's also necessary to submit a motion and send it to other parties of the hearing.
ІІІ. Submission of documents to the court

During the quarantine courts started to use electronic documents ad hoc and suggest the parties to submit documents:

1) by sending them to the courts' email address;

2) with the help of the Electronic court system;

3) by leaving them in the special box in the court;

4) by sending them via the post office.

Sending documents via email is the most convenient option. However, there are some nuances:

The final and transitional provisions of the Commercial, Civil and Administrative Judicial Procedural Codes stipulate that before the Unified Judicial Information and Telecommunication System (UJITS) is launched, the submission, registration and filing of documents, evidence and case materials has to be conducted in paper form. The abovementioned rule has not yet been cancelled, and there are no temporary quarantine provisions for this reason, as there is no UJITS.

Even if the provisions of the codes are not taken into account, documents sent to the court have to be signed with the electronic digital signature. However, if the attorney submits the document, it is recommended that such a signature is qualified, issued specially for the attorney, and presented on a secure device.
Domestic Litigation team at INTEGRITES is ready to provide clients with full legal support on the newly introduced quarantine-related changes.
Contacts:
Anton Kaganets,
Senior Associate
+38 096 232 54 57, Anton.Kaganets@integrites.com
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