RJRCs took part in the discussion of the draft law on administrative procedure
On April 8, 2021, the expert discussion was held on the draft Law ‘On Administrative Procedure’, which is awaiting the second reading and is expected to become a new chapter in the relations between public administration and individuals/businesses. International and Ukrainian experts, including representatives of the Regional Justice Reform Councils (RJRCs), discussed the benefits of a single administrative procedure, as well as the experience of its application in EU countries. The event was initiated by the EU Project Pravo-Justice together with the EU4PAR Project.
The adoption of the law on administrative procedure is part of public administration reform, which is crucial for the implementation of the EU – Ukraine Association Agreement. It will also promote greater quality of administrative jurisdiction in general.
‘One of the key advantages of this law is that it standardizes the approach to hundreds of public services, which will further allow their digitization. User-friendliness is its another strength. We want Ukrainian authorities really feel as servants of the people,’ said Dovydas Vitkauskas, Team Leader of the EU Project Pravo-Justice.
Another ground breaking novelty of the law consists in the establishment of favorable conditions for the reconciliation of an administrative authority with an individual in cases which have arisen following the submission of complaints.
‘The authority which is dealing with a complaint will be obliged to inform the participants in the proceedings about the possibilities of resolving the dispute through reconciliation. This, in turn, will contribute to a more effective, more efficient, and cheaper dispute resolution,’ added Dovydas Vitkauskas.
According to Ugis Sics, Team Leader of the EU Project EU4PAR, a single administrative procedure is typical for public services across the EU member states.
‘The law grants greater rights to individuals and businesses who interact with the public administration and helps reducing bureaucracy and corruption risks. A single administrative procedure, unlike hundreds of different procedures and rules, is much cheaper for the state and taxpayers. The adoption of the law No.3475 will be a confident step towards a service- and citizen-oriented state, as well as a confirmation of Ukraine’s European integration aspirations,’ he said.
In the meantime, Oleksandr Banchuk, Deputy Minister of Justice of Ukraine, stressed the importance of this law for the courts.
‘We expect this law, once put in force, serve as a toolkit for administrative courts and help reducing the workload of the courts, while the remaining cases will be considered faster and end in high-quality decisions that comply with the rule of law principle’ he said.
The draft law on administrative procedure lays down new principles for consideration of cases related to actions and decisions of administrative authority.
‘The law will finally determine what the discretionary powers of administrative authorities are. And second, the legislators will define the limits of application of such discretionary powers, which will serve as benchmarks when we decide on whether the application of discretion has been lawful in each particular case,’ said Andrii Ryshchenko, coordinator of Dnipro RJRC, judge of the Dnipro District Administrative Court.
Every day, Ukrainians apply for public services to receive some documents, register a car, land, etc. These hundreds of different procedures are regulated by separate acts which makes it complicated for individuals and businesses. A single law on administrative procedure will streamline the activities of administrative bodies in Ukraine and will establish uniform procedures. This, in turn, will make public services more understandable and convenient for millions of people across Ukraine.
The new law covers many areas of public administration: personal documents and registration of citizens, taxes and customs duties, licensing, land use, construction permits, social benefits, pensions and more. It will make the activities of administrative bodies transparent and convenient. If necessary, the administrative body will independently apply for documents and information held by other government agencies. Before making a decision that affects the interests of others, the administrative body will have to hold a hearing. And in case of refusal, for example, in the issuance of a permit or license, it will have to justify their decision so that the person concerned could appeal.
Regional Justice Reform Councils (RJRCs) have been created with support of the EU Project Pravo-Justice and function in Chernivtsi, Dnipro, Kharkiv, Lviv, Odesa regions, and Donbas. To date, Councils members have been actively contributing to drafting a bill on mediation, amendments to the Bankruptcy Code, proposals to improve legislation on enforcement proceedings, introducing e-court, and discussing the concept of transitional justice.
RJRCs act as permanent working groups to promote bottom-up reforms: bringing region-specific challenges and potential solutions thereof to the level of central government.