"Elections will definitely effect society," says Avellum Co-Managing Partner Aminat Suleymanova, referring to the upcoming Ukraine Presidential elections scheduled for March 31, 2019, and Parliamentary elections scheduled for October 27, 2019.
However, she insists, "the direction of the country will remain the same — I don't think the direction would shift to the Russian side. The European choice made by the nation will be upheld, not be changed.”
Suleymanova believes the "negative spirit" that she describes as settling upon her country for many years leading up to its two recent revolutions — the 2004 Orange Revolution and 2014 Ukrainian Revolution — is a thing of the past, and that a stable optimism has replaced it. Such stability, she says, pervades the business and legal markets as well. "There might be some conflict around and during the elections,” she concedes, "and our clients are waiting for the outcome of the elections, but I do not see how it might influence our business right now."
In the meantime, Ukraine’s judicial system continues to undergo what Suleymanova describes as "historical changes.” According to her, “earlier this year the new Supreme Court of Ukraine started its operations, and the new Economic Procedural Code, the Civil Procedure Code, and the Code of Administrative Proceedings were introduced and implemented step by step throughout 2018.” The new rules set out in the Procedural Codes, she reports, mean "much fewer possibilities to mislead the court or prolong the trial just as a main strategy."
According to Suleymanova, the new codes represent an attempt to implement the procedural rules used in the common law jurisdictions. "From now on only those who are certified as advocates are allowed to represent clients in court," she says, describing this as "a proper development,” because "a lawyer has to be more responsible and not everybody should be allowed to represent individuals and legal entities in the court. It is justice and it is serious."
With this new development, Aminat Suleymanova expects further improvements to the fair trial system in Ukraine that will reflect the steady legal systems of longer-established democracies. "Previously, the idea of a fair trial in Ukraine was declared but never fully implemented," she says. "Some of the courts were lacking clarity and transparency, and there was a clear scarcity of professional judges. Thus, my major expectation is that the introduction of the new Procedural Codes would demonstrate that we are capable of developing a system of truly fair and professional trials in Ukraine."