The following is a guest post by Svitlana Vodyanyk, a foreign law intern at the Law Library of Congress. It is part of our Global Legal Collection Highlights series, in which we publish posts every two weeks that provide information on the resources in the Law Library’s collection relating to different countries and topics.
The Law Library’s collection of Ukrainian legal materials is very good, consisting mainly of documents and books acquired from within Ukraine. Researchers from the U.S. and other countries, however, may find it difficult to locate information on Ukraine law in English. Books on foreign and comparative law might include no more than a chapter related to Ukrainian legal issues and a comparison of this country’s law to the laws of other former Soviet republics.
One reason for the difficulty in locating analyses of Ukrainian law or English translations of Ukrainian legal texts is that, even though Ukraine is the second-largest country in Europe with a population of 45 million and has been seeking to establish closer ties with the international community, it is often still associated with such Soviet “heritage” as “perestroika” or Chernobyl. We hope that this post helps readers to find more information on the laws of Ukraine, which was previously known as “Kyivan Rus” and developed as a major political and cultural center of Eastern Europe in the 9th to 13th centuries.
In 1991, Ukraine chose its own path, declaring independence from the Soviet Union. Five years later, on June 28, 1996, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted the current Constitution, which declares that “Ukraine is a sovereign and independent, democratic, social, law-based state.” Since its independence, Ukraine has made significant progress in building a new legal system that protects human rights and freedoms and promotes social development. In recent years, Ukraine’s government institutions – the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament), President, Cabinet of Ministers, and judicial system – have been working towards the country’s integration into the world community by implementing generally acknowledged norms and principles of international law and by incorporating international legal standards in domestic legislation. The country has recently been in the news due to ongoing protests against the government’s decision not to sign a partnership and trade agreement with the European Union at the end of November 2013 at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. This was expected to have been Ukraine’s first step toward EU membership.
The Law Library of Congress maintains a large and rich collection of materials that might be useful for researchers of the Ukrainian legal and political system. It includes official publications of legislation as well as major law journals. In addition, general information on the Ukrainian legal system can be found in the following books recently acquired by the Library:
- Legal Systems in Transition: A Comparison of Seven Post-Soviet Countries (Hans-Georg Heinrich & Ludmilla Lobova eds., 2012) (Chapter on Ukraine)
- Transitions to Democracy: a Comparative Perspective (Kathryn Stoner & Michael McFaul eds., 2013) (Chapter 5, Ukraine: External Actors and the Orange Revolution)
- Semi-Presidentialism and Democracy (Robert Elgie, Sophia Moestrup & Yu-Shan Wu eds.) (2011) (Chapter 11)
- Kivalov Sergey et al., Fundamentals of Ukrainian Law (2010)
- Private Law in Eastern Europe: Autonomous Developments or Legal Transplants? (Christa Jessel-Holst, Rainer Kulms & Alexander Trunk eds.) (2010) (Chapter B, Civil Law – General Aspects, General Principles of Private Law in Ukraine by Volodymyr Kossak)
- Rosa Balfour, Human Rights and Democracy in EU Foreign Policy: the Cases of Ukraine and Egypt (2012)
- Nikolai Kovalev, Criminal Justice Reform in Russia, Ukraine, and the Former Republics of the Soviet Union: Trial by Jury and Mixed Courts (2010)
- Viktoria Sergeyeva & Alla Pokras, The Abolition of the Death Penalty and its Alternative Sanction in Eastern Europe : Belarus, Russia and Ukraine (2012)
- The Law of Treaties in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States: Text and Commentary (2002) (Annex)
Ukraine is a civil law country where the main source of legal information is codified law. If you need to conduct research on Ukrainian law, you can always refer to the Law Library’s Guide to Law Online. Another way to learn more about regulations in specific fields is to study the following resources available for the Library’s patrons (all in English):
- Civil Code of Ukraine and Law of Ukraine on Private International Law (William E. Butler ed.) (2011)
- Olena Bokareva et al., Transport Law in Ukraine (2012)
- Anna Tsirat, Yuriy Kapitsa, Intellectual Property Law in Ukraine (2011)
- Enforcing Contracts in Transition Economies: Contractual Rights and Obligations in Central Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (Mads Andenas et al. eds.) (2005)
- Arbitration in CIS Countries: Current Issues (Association for International Arbitration ed.) (2012)
- Mergers and Acquisitions in Europe: Selected Issues and Jurisdictions (Dennis Campbell ed.) (2011) (Chapter on Ukraine)
I hope you find this information useful. Please remember that the Law Library staff can help you with your research related to Ukraine and other jurisdictions around the world. You can visit our Reading Room or submit your question through our Ask a Librarian service.