Ukrainian Court Digitalization: Failed or Temporarily Delayed Introduction?

Ukrainian Court Digitalization: Failed or Temporarily Delayed Introduction?

On 1 March 2019, the newspaper Holos Ukrayiny (The Voice of Ukraine) (No. 42 (7048) dated 1 March 2019) announced that the State Judicial Administration of Ukraine withdraws the announcement published in Holos Ukrayiny (No. 229 (6984) dated 1 December 2018) regarding the establishment and administration of the Unified Judicial Information and Telecommunication System (UJITS). According to the State Judicial Administration, this was necessary in order to increase the time for preparing the courts to work with the system and amending the UJITS Regulation.

Unfortunately, the withdrawal of the announcement means that the introduction of UJITS in accordance with the Law of Ukraine No. 2147-VIII dated 10 March 2017 “On Amendments to the Economic Procedural Code of Ukraine, the Civil Procedure Code of Ukraine, the Administrative Court Procedure Code of Ukraine and Other Legislative Acts”, is postponed for an indefinite period.

Electronic court “testers”, however, bring hope. According to the statistics reported on 19 March 2019 on the official Facebook page of the Electronic Court, all local and appeal courts are connected to the subsystem, 16,844 users are registered and 4,587 documents are submitted, including 3,254 documents registered by the court.

There are a significant number of bugs in the system, however, this problem should be resolved in the course of test operation. The fact that documentation already available in the courts is yet to be digitalized may impede introduction of UJITS, but extensive measures in this regard have also been taken lately.

The UJITS Regulation is currently being finalized before adoption, and the political will of the State Judicial Administration should force the judicial institutions to make all the necessary efforts for the final preparation for the introduction of UJITS.

Ihor Shevchenko, counsel of IT/IP practice, notes that such system as UJITS has been a long time coming, as online submission of documents to the court in electronic form, ability to follow the progress of the procedure on your mobile device are standard requirements of modern life. However, the complexity of such systems causes problems with their introduction. At the initial stages, there are complaints about insufficient technical supportability, poor computer skills, lack of understanding of the basics of confirming the authenticity, inconvenience of perceiving electronic documents, etc. However, Ihor Shevchenko is positive that in a few years, most people will be surprised at how they could ever work differently.