Results 2020: what was achieved by the Ministry of Justice during the year

While 2020 has been a tough year for the entire country, the Ministry of Justice has succeeded a lot within 12 months.

“In the midst of the coronavirus rapid spread throughout the world and in Ukraine as well, we managed to prevent the mass spreading of this disease in the pre-trial detention facilities and penitentiary institutions. If an inmate has symptoms of coronavirus, he/she is taken to a medical facility and undergoes PCR-based testing. If, as a result, COVID-19 is confirmed, the individuals who have contacted with the infected person also undergo such testing”, – stated the Minister of Justice Denys Maliuska.

Among other achievements in the penitentiary sphere over the year – is the establishment and filling up of the Unified Register of Convicts and Persons Taken into Custody. “Launching and ensuring functioning of this system promotes to establish a unified database of information about convicts and prisoners, to ensure operational communication between the bodies and institutions of the penitentiary system and probation, as well as to ensure interaction with other government agencies that work with the registers. Currently 92 institutions are connected to the Register, 551 employees have been trained and 53 584 registration cards have been entered”, – informed the Minister.

Furthermore, a Pilot Project for a Fee-Based Service was introduced to provide improved living conditions in the Pre-Trial Detention Facilities. For today 22 Pre-Trial Detention Facilities have already joined the Project, and over UAH 1,900,000 has already been paid for the use of paid cells. At the expense of these funds, 25 free of charge cells with 162 places were repaired. In addition, during 2020, a “big sale of prisons” was started, 12 penitentiary institutions were temporarily closed down.  It will give the possibility to optimize costs and mobilize them for the construction of new pre-trial detention facilities. Also a rating system (evaluation of efficiency) of prisons was introduced.

“The current approach to the management of penitentiary institutions is not system-related, but is mainly focused on responding when “something happens” in separate institutions. This leads to the adoption of "episodic" management decisions, instead of regular system-related decisions that are based on clear indicators. On the other hand, the new mechanism for the comprehensive assessment of the success of institutions consists of assessment tools and a digital analytical map of correctional facilities and pre-trial detention facilities. This toolkit will promote the Ministry of Justice to regularly monitor the progress of penitentiary institutions in such areas as finance, staffing, security/control, social and educational work, detention conditions, human rights, health care, as well as with respect to the activity of the state enterprise of the penitentiary institutions”, – informed the Deputy Minister of Justice Olena Vysotska.

During the year, much has been done in the area of judgments enforcement. In particular, "Enforcement Proceedings" service was introduced at the "DIIA" Portal.

“Such digitalization of enforcement proceedings and fines for traffic violations makes it possible for any individual to be convinced of the absence or presence of debts; obtain information about the enforcement proceedings to which he or she is a party, in particular regarding the nature of existing debts and regarding the main legal proceedings committed by the enforcement officer; pay the amount of the fine or debt within the framework of the relevant enforcement proceedings online in just a few clicks”, – explained the Deputy Minister of Justice for Enforcement Service Andrii Haichenko.

In the field of human rights protection, the draft Decree of the President of Ukraine was developed with proposal to reformulate the relevant National Strategy and improve the mechanism for evaluating its implementation. The Drafts Laws (№№ 3892, 3893, 3894) aimed at increasing the guarantees of the victim's rights from violent criminal offences were developed. Also relevant steps towards establishment of a mediation system and arbitration courts in Ukraine were taken.

“In 2020, the draft Law on Mediation (№ 3504) was adopted by the Ukrainian Parliament in the first reading and the Law on Introducing Amendments to the Law on Arbitration Courts was drafted and submitted to the Parliament of Ukraine (№ 3411). These draft Laws are aimed at implementation and improving alternative methods of dispute resolution, which will reduce the load of the state courts.” – specified the Deputy Minister of Justice Oleksandr Banchuk.

Another key achievement of the Ministry in 2020 was the development of the first stage of the Automated System “Bankruptcy and Insolvency” implementation - the subsystem "Insolvency Officer Electronic Office”.

The Deputy Minister of Justice for Digital Development, Digital Transformation and Digitization Serhii Orlov informed that it includes, in particular, the registration, authorization and authentication of the Insolvency Officer; obtaining the information in accordance with the Insolvency Code of Ukraine concerning the entities in respect of which insolvency proceedings have been opened.

At the same time, over the past year the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine set up a Commission for the Enforcement of Judgements of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), drafted Laws on the Implementation of European Court of Human Rights Decisions and due to the coordinated work of the Government, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe suspended the monitoring of 108 ECHR decisions against Ukraine. Another achievement in this sphere is the establishment and launch of the Ukrainian-language interface of the HUDOC database of the European Court of Human Rights.

“This database provides for access to the case law of the European Court of Justice, the European Commission of Human Rights (decisions and reports) and Resolutions of the Committee of Ministers. The Ukrainian-language HUDOC interface should deepen the understanding of the case law of the ECHR among lawyers and the general public. It is extremely important that European standards are more widely applied by national courts defending human rights” – stated the Deputy Minister of Justice of Ukraine –Government Agent before the European Court of Human Rights Ivan Lishchyna.

Strengthening the security of the State Register of Rights to Real Property and the United State Register of Legal Entities, Individual Entrepreneurs and Public Organizations (United State Register), in particular by implementing mandatory connection of the state registrars and notaries to the means of additional identification of the user when performing registration actions in these registers - are the main achievements in the system of state registration and notary in 2020.

“This step will prevent any unauthorized interference in the work of the United State Register and State Register of Rights to Real Property and minimize the risks of using electronic access keys of registrars for raider attacks on business and fraudulent actions with business corporate rights”, – said the First Deputy Minister of Justice Yevhen Horovets.

Apart from that an information exchange with the State Judicial Administration of Ukraine was implemented: state registrars and notaries were provided with an ability to obtain the full text of judgment when considering applications in the State Register of Rights.

“The staff of the High Qualification Commission of Notaries has been reformatted this year. Credentials regarding the control over the Commission decisions were in fact transferred to the notarial community of Ukraine, who received the vast majority in the composition of the High Qualification Commission of Notaries – 11 out of 14 people. A wide representation of the notarial community in the composition of the Commission is the next step on the way of Notaries reform which is made for the purpose of gradual transition to self-regulation of notarial activity”, – noted the Deputy Minister of Justice on State Registration Olha Onishchuk.

In the sphere of free legal aid the experts of the system provided 534.2 thousand of consultations, explanations and other types of primary free legal aid in 2020. Regarding the secondary free legal aid the 81.9 thousand of cases of protection and provision of secondary free legal aid in criminal proceedings and 54 thousand of cases in civil and administrative proceedings have been recorded this year.

“It is important that the possibilities in free legal aid remotely receiving were expanded due to the launch of "Free Legal Aid" mobile application. Today you can get consultation, legal advice and explanation of rights and responsibilities with one click on your smartphone. This simplifies an access to justice greatly: anyone in a difficult life situation using the cellphone can receive legal aid», – highlighted the Deputy Minister of Justice Valeriia Kolomiiets.