The Civil Code of Ukraine

Date of Entry into Force:
January 1, 2004

Pursuant to Article 1 of the Code, civil legislation regulates personal non-property and property relations (civil relations) based on judicial equality, free will expression, and property independence of their participants. Participants of legal relations are:
  • natural persons;
  • legal entities;
  • the state Ukraine;
  • the Autonomous Republic of Crimea;
  • territorial communities;
  • foreign states;
  • other subjects of public law.

According to Article 11 of the Code, the grounds for arising civil rights and duties, in particular, shall be:
  • agreements and other legal proceedings;
  • creation of literary, art works, inventions and other results of intellectual, creative activity;
  • inflicting property (material) and moral damage to the other person;
  • other legal facts.

Each person shall have the right to protection of his/her civil right in case of its violation, disclaiming or contesting. Each person has the right to protection of his/her interest, which does not contradict to general principles of civil legislation. Each person shall be entitled to apply to court for protection of his/her personal non-property or property right and interest. Civil rights and interests may be protected by:
  • recognition of right;
  • recognition of legal proceedings as invalid;
  • termination of the action violating the right;
  • renewal of pre-violation state;
  • forced execution of duty in kind;
  • change of legal relations;
  • termination of legal relations;
  • compensation of losses and other ways of compensation of property damage;
  • compensation of moral (non-property) damage;
  • recognition as illegal of decision, actions or inactivity of body of state power, body of power of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or body of local self-government, their officials and employees.

Legal status of natural person is defined by sub-chapter 1 of Chapter II of the Code. All natural persons shall be able to have civil rights and duties (legal capacity). Legal capacity of natural person arises when s/he is born. Legal capacity of natural person shall stop in the moment of his/her death. A natural person who is able to perceive and control his/her actions shall have a legal capability. Legal capability of a natural person is his/her capability to obtain civil rights and independently exercise them by own actions, as well as capability to create by own actions civil duties, perform them independently and bear responsibility in case of their non-fulfillment. The Law envisages:
  • partial legal capability of a natural person who is under fourteen years old;
  • incomplete legal capability of a natural person of age from fourteen to eighteen years;
  • full civil capability.

The right to carry out entrepreneurial activity shall have a natural person with full legal capability. A natural person who is unable to meet creditors' demands which are connected with his/her entrepreneurial activity may be recognized bankrupt.

The Code envisages that guardianship is set over the minors who are deprived of parents' care and over the natural persons who are recognized as incapable. Trusteeship is set over the minors who are deprived of parents' care and over the natural persons whose legal capability is limited.

According to the Code, legal entity is an organization established and registered according to the set procedure. Legal entity is vested with legal capacity and capability, may be plaintiff and defendant in court. Legal entity may be created by uniting persons and/or property. Legal entities, depending on the procedure of their establishment, are divided into legal entities of the private law and those of the public law. Legal entity of the private law is established on the basis of constituent document. Legal entity of the public law is established by the regulatory act of the President of Ukraine, body of state power, body of power of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or body of local self-government. The Code sets the procedure for establishment, organizational legal form and legal status of legal entities of the private law. The procedure for establishment and legal status of legal entities of the public law is set by the Constitution of Ukraine and law. Legal entity may be established by forced division (spin off). Legal entities may be established in the form of partnerships, institutions and other forms. Partnerships are divided into entrepreneurial and non-entrepreneurial. The partnerships that conduct entrepreneurial activity for obtaining profit and its further distribution between the participants (entrepreneurial partnerships) may be established only as business associations (full liability company, differentiated liability company, additional liability company, limited liability company, joint-stock company) or production cooperatives.

The objects of civil rights are things, including money and securities, other property, property rights, results of works, services, results of intellectual, creative activity, information, as well as other tangible and intangible welfare.

According to Article 202 of the Code, legal proceeding is a person's action aimed at obtaining, change or termination of civil rights and duties.

Section 18 of Book One of the Code regulates the procedure for definition and setting of periods.

Pursuant to Article 256 of the Code, limitation of action is the period within which the person may apply to court with demand for protection of his/her civil right or interest. A general limitation of action is three years. For some types of demands a special limitation of action may be set: reduced or prolonged in comparison with a general limitation of action.

Book Two of the Code is devoted to personal non-property rights of a natural person. Each natural person has personal non-property rights from birth or by the law. Personal non-property rights of a natural person do not have economic nature. Personal non-property rights are tightly connected with a natural person. A natural person cannot refuse his/her personal non-property rights and cannot be deprived of these rights. The person has personal non-property rights for life.

Ownership right is the person's right to thing (property) which s/he exercises according to the law and his/he will regardless of other persons' will. A special type of ownership right is the trustee ownership right, which arises under the law or property management agreement. The owner has the right to own, use and dispose of his/her property. The essence of the ownership right is not influenced by the owner's place of residence or location. The subjects of ownership right are the Ukrainian people and other participants of legal relations. All subjects of ownership right are equal before the law. The owner owns, uses, disposes of the property to own discretion. The owner is entitled to commit as regards to his/her property any actions that do not contradict the law. All owners shall enjoy equal conditions for exercising their rights. The ownership right is obtained on the grounds that are not prohibited by law.

Property owned by two or more persons belongs to them by the right of joint ownership (joint property). Property may belong to persons by the right of joint share or joint common ownership.

The Code regulates relations in the sphere of exercise of ownership right to land, accommodation. It also regulates the issues related to protection of ownership right.

Book Four of the Code covers the issues related to intellectual property right. Intellectual property right is the right of the person to the result of intellectual, creative activity or other object of intellectual property right. Intellectual property right consists of personal non- proprietary intellectual property rights and/or proprietary intellectual property rights. To objects of intellectual property right, in particular, refer: works of literature and art, computer programs, data compilations (databases), performances, phonograms, videograms, media broadcasts (programs), scientific discoveries, inventions, utility models, industrial designs, integrated circuit designs, innovations, plant varieties, animal varieties, commercial (brand) names, trademarks for goods and services, geographical designations and commercial secrets.

Book Five of the Code is devoted to the right of obligations. Obligation is a legal relation in which one party (debtor) is obliged to commit in favor of the other party (creditor) some action (transfer property, perform work, render service, pay money, etc.) or refrain from some action, and a creditor is entitled to demand from a debtor fulfillment of the liability.

Section 48 of the Code sets the procedure for fulfillment of obligations.

According to Article 546 of the Code, fulfillment of obligations may be ensured by forfeit, bailment, guarantee, pledge, retention and deposit.

Violation of the obligation is its non-fulfillment or fulfillment with violation of conditions defined in the essence of obligation (improper fulfillment). The Code envisages the following legal consequences in case of violation of the obligation:
  • termination of obligation due to unilateral refusal from obligation, if it is set by agreement or law, or cancellation of agreement;
  • change of provisions of obligation;
  • payment of forfeit;
  • compensation of losses and moral damage.

According to Article 626 of the Code, agreement is an arrangement between two or more parties aimed at setting, change or termination of legal rights and duties. An agreement may be unilateral, bilateral and multilateral.

The procedure for concluding, amendment and cancellation of agreement is defined in Section 53 of the Code.

Chapter III of Book Five of the Code defines the peculiarities of some types of obligations.

Book Six of the Code regulates legal relations in the sphere of inheritance. Inheritance is a transfer of rights and duties (legacy) from a natural person who died (testator) to the other persons (heirs). Inheritance is performed according to will or law. Inheritance includes all rights and duties that belonged to the testator at the moment of inheritance opening and did not stop due to his/her death.
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