Law of Ukraine
"On Civil Associations"
Date of entry into force:
April 19, 2012
The Law determines the legal and organizational principles of exercising the right to freedom of association, as guaranteed by the Constitution of Ukraine and the international agreements of Ukraine ratified by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, and the procedure of creation, registration, work and termination of civil associations.
According to Article 1 of the Law, a civil association is a voluntary association of natural persons and/or privately owned legal entities to exercise and protect the rights and freedoms, and satisfy community interests, particularly economic, social, cultural, environmental and other ones. By its organizational and legal form, a civil association is created as a civil organization or a civil union. A civil organization is a civil association whose founders and members (participants) are natural persons. A civil union is a civil association whose founders are privately owned legal entities, while its members can be privately owned legal entities as well as natural persons. A civil association can function with or without a legal entity status. A civil association with a legal entity status is non-business entity, whose main objective is not generation of profit.
Article 2 of the Law envisages that the Law does not apply to social relations in the sphere of creation, registration, operation and termination of:
- political parties;
- religious organizations;
- non-business entities created according to acts of the bodies of state power, other state bodies, bodies of power of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, and bodies of local self-government;
- associations of bodies of local self-government and their voluntary unions;
- self-governing organizations and organizations carrying out professional self-government;
- non-business entities (that are not civil associations) created on the basis of other laws.
Limitations on creation and work of civil associations are provided for by Article 3 of the Law.
No one may be coerced to join any civil association. Membership or non-membership in any civil association cannot constitute grounds to limit the rights and freedom of the person, or to receive any privileges or advantages from the bodies of state power, other state bodies, bodies of power of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, or bodies of local self-government. Any person has the right to stop being a member (participant) of a civil association, voluntarily, at any time, and according to the procedure established by its charter. Except in cases determined by law, it is forbidden to require information about a person's membership (participation) in a civil association, unless such requirement is related to the person's exercising their rights as a person entitled to represent the civil association, or as a member (participant) of the civil association (Article 5 of the Law).
Article 7 of the Law envisages that founders of a civil organization can be citizens of Ukraine, foreigners and stateless persons that are present in Ukraine on legitimate grounds, are aged 18 or over, or 14 or over for youth and children's civil associations. Founders of a civil union can be privately owned legal entities, including civil associations with a legal entity status. Civil unions cannot be founded by political parties, or legal entities that are in the process of termination or in whose respect the decision to terminate has been made. The minimum number of founders of a civil association is two persons. Civil unions cannot be founded by several privately owned legal entities where the sole founder is the same person. A privately owned legal entity cannot be the founder of a civil union if its founder (owner of a material share) is included in the list of persons related to terrorist activity or in whose respect international sanctions have been applied. A civil organization cannot be founded by a person declared legally incapable by court.
The procedure for creating a civil association is established by Article 9 of the Law.
The name of a civil association is determined by decision of the founding meeting, during its creation. The name of a civil association consists of two parts – the general and the personal name. The general name designates the organizational and legal form of the civil association ("civil organization", "civil union"). The name of a civil association is stated in the official language. A civil association can also state its personal name in a foreign language or a national minority language, in addition to the official language (Article 10 of the Law).
According to Article 11 of the Law, the charter of a civil association must contain the following information:
- name of the civil association, and its short name, if available;
- its purpose (goal) and directions of work;
- procedure for becoming a member (participant) of the civil association, and the rights and obligations of its members (participants);
- authority of the head, the supreme managing body and other managing bodies (hereinafter referred to as "managing bodies") of the civil association, the procedure for their creation, change of their member composition, and the term of authority, as well as the procedure for determining the person authorized to represent the civil association, and for their replacement (for civil associations without a legal entity status);
- frequency of sessions and the decision-making procedure for the managing bodies of the civil associations, including by means of remote communication;
- procedure for reporting of the managing bodies of the civil association before its members (participants);
- procedure for contesting the decisions, acts or inaction of the managing bodies of the civil association, and the complaint processing procedure;
- sources of, and the procedure for using the funds and other property of the civil association;
- procedure for creation, operation and termination of remote divisions of the civil association (in case of their being created by a civil association intending to work with a legal entity status);
- procedure for amending the charter;
- procedure for making the decision to voluntarily dissolve or reorganize the civil association, as well as decision on the use of its funds and other property remaining after voluntary dissolution - for civil associations intending to work with a legal entity status).
A civil association intending to work with a legal entity status is subject to registration according to the procedure determined by the Law of Ukraine "On State Registration of Legal Entities and Natural Persons - Entrepreneurs", with regard to specifics established by the law (Article 12 of the Law).
According to article 13 of the Law, a civil association with a legal entity status may have remote divisions created by decision of an appropriate managing body of the civil association, according to the charter. Remote divisions of a civil association are not legal entities. Information on the remote divisions of a civil association is submitted to the authorized body in the issues of registration at the location of the civil association.
A civil association intending to work without a legal entity status informs the authorized body in the issues of registration about its creation within 60 days of such creation (Article 16 of the Law).
Article 18 of the Law is dedicated to insignia of civil associations.
A civil association registered according to the procedure established by law can have the status of a national association, if it has remote divisions in the majority of administrative territorial units, and if it confirms such status according to the procedure established by the Law. Specialized laws may determine other requirements for confirming the national status of some types of civil associations. Confirming the national status of a civil association and renouncing such status is voluntary. To confirm its national status, a civil association submits an application according to the form established by the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine to the authorized body in the issues of registration (Article 19 of the Law).
The procedure for accreditation of a remote division of a foreign non-governmental organization is established by Article 20 of the Law.
According to Article 21 of the Law, in order to achieve its purpose (goals), a civil association has the right to:
- freely circulate information about its work and promote its purpose (goals);
- according to the procedure established by law, address bodies of state power, bodies of power of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, bodies of local self-government, and their civil servants and officials with suggestions (comments), applications (petitions) or complaints;
- according to the procedure established by law, receive public information held by power entities and other administrators of public information;
- according to the procedure established by law, take part in drafting of normative legal acts issued by bodies of state power, bodies of power of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, bodies of local self-government that concern the sphere of work of the civil association and other important issues of the state and social life;
- hold peaceful meetings;
- exercise other rights not forbidden by law.
A civil association with a legal entity status has the right to:
- participate in civil law relations, acquire property and non-property rights according to the legislation;
- according to law, carry out business activity, either directly, if it is provided for by the charter of the civil association, or through legal entities (companies, enterprises) created according to the procedure established by law, if such activity corresponds to the purpose (goals) of the civil association and contributes to its fulfilment. Information about the business activity carried out by a civil association is entered into the Register of Civil Associations;
- found mass media organizations in order to achieve its declared purpose (goals);
- take part in implementing the state regulatory policy according to the Law of Ukraine "On the Principles of State Regulatory Policy in the Sphere of Economic Activity";
- according to the procedure established by the legislation, take part in the work of consultative, advisory and other auxiliary bodies created by bodies of state power, bodies of power of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or bodies of local self-government to hold consultations with civil associations, and prepare recommendations on issues related to the sphere of their work.
The principles of cooperation between civil associations and the bodies of power, bodies of power of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, or bodies of local self-government are established by Article 22 of the Law.
Civil associations with a legal entity status are entitled to financial support paid out from the State Budget of Ukraine and local budgets, according to law. Civil associations receiving financial support from the State Budget of Ukraine or local budgets must submit and make public reports on the appropriate use of these funds, according to law. Civil associations with a legal entity status and legal entities (companies, enterprises) created by them must maintain accounting records, financial and statistic reporting, be registered with the state tax service bodies, and make mandatory payments to the budget according to the law. Any incentives, including tax exemptions, are provided to civil associations and legal entities (companies, enterprises) created by them on the basis of and according to the procedure established by law (Article 23 of the Law).
According to Article 24 of the Law, in order to fulfil its declared purpose (goals), a civil association with a legal entity status has the right to own, use and administer funds and other property that was, according to law, transferred to the civil association by its members (participants) or by the state, acquired in membership fees, donated by citizens, enterprises, institutions or organizations, or acquired in the course of the association's business activity or the business activity of legal entities (companies, enterprises) created by it; as well as the property purchased at its own expense, granted temporary use of (except for disposal), or gained by other means not prohibited by law. The property right of a civil association with a legal entity status is exercised by its supreme managing body according to the procedure established by law and the charter of the civil association. By decision of the supreme managing body of the civil association, some functions related to property management may be delegated to managing bodies created according to the charter, legal entities (companies, enterprises) and their remote divisions, or handed over to civil unions created by such civil associations. In case of voluntary dissolution of a civil association and after satisfaction of creditor claims, its property and funds are transferred to another (several other) civil association(s) to be used for their declared or charitable purpose, if decided so by the dissolved association; if no such decision was made, such property and funds are transferred to the state or local budget according to law. In case a civil association is reorganized, its property, assets and liabilities are transferred to its successor.
The specifics of termination of civil associations are envisaged by Chapter IV of the Law.
Article 25 of the Law establishes that a civil association is terminated:
- by decision of the civil association made by the supreme managing body of the civil association, by means of voluntary dissolution or reorganization by joining another civil association with the same status;
- by court order forbidding the civil association (or ordering its compulsory dissolution).
The final and transitional provisions of the Law provide for declaring ineffective the Law of Ukraine "On Associations of Citizens".
The Law becomes effective on January 1, 2013.