The Law “On Administrative Procedure” provides for the necessary changesto the modern sphere of public administration in Ukraine and should be the beginning of reforms in this area. We analyzed the content of this law here. It has already been adopted by the Verkhovna Rada, but the President used his veto on it. Now, parliamentarians need to adopt it again, but with Zelenskyy’s proposals. What exactly did the President propose, and why should we consider his proposals? 

Imperfect legislative regulation of interaction between citizens and government and local self-government bodies does not allow effective review of administrative decisions, reduces the level of confidence in the administrative appeal mechanism, and is the reason for the lack of tools for enforcement of administrative decisions.

That is why there was a need for a law that would establish the fundamental legal basis for the exercise of public administration bodies’ powers, regulate the stages of administrative proceedings, and introduce simplified, clear, and unified rules for interaction between public administration bodies and citizens and businesses.

Such is the Law “On Administrative Procedure,” to which, however, the President had several remarks.

Among the reasons for the veto, the President indicated:

  1. The need to unify the procedures for considering and resolving administrative cases in the spirit of a democratic and legal state defined by the Constitution of Ukraine, ensuring proper protection of human and civil rights, freedoms, and legitimate interests. This is about the fact that compliance with the procedures defined by the Law may make it impossible or difficult to quickly make urgent decisions and realize national interests. Based on the above, the President proposed to remove from the scope of the Law relations arising in the application of legislation on national security and defense, citizenship, and asylum in Ukraine. 
  2. It is important to introduce the most balanced mechanism for the entry into force of the law, which will ensure an appropriate level of exercise by individuals of their rights in accordance with the principles of administrative procedure. The law comes into force 12 months after the date of its publication, except for clause 8 of this section, which comes into force on the day following the day of publication of this Law (clause 1 of section IX).

At the same time, the Cabinet of Ministers is instructed to submit proposals for bringing legislative acts of Ukraine into compliance with this law to the Verkhovna Rada within 12 months from the date of publication (section IX, clause 8, paragraphs one and five).

According to the President, the proposed approach will create competition for the provisions introduced by acts of the same level. At the same time, the Law stipulates that until legislative acts are brought into compliance with the Law of Ukraine “On Administrative Procedure,” they are applied in the part that does not contradict the principles of this Law (section IX, clause 3).

It is worth noting that from the President’s proposals, it is not clear which provisions of the Law will make it impossible or difficult to quickly make urgent decisions and realize national interests.

Article 13 of the law “On Administrative Procedure” provides for the timeliness and reasonable time frame for resolving administrative cases, namely:

“1. The administrative body shall consider and resolve the case, and shall perform a procedural action and/or make a procedural decision within a reasonable time frame (in the shortest time possible, sufficient for the implementation of administrative proceedings), but not later than the time frames determined by law.

  1. The administrative body resolves the case in a timely manner, namely before the occurrence of circumstances in which the adoption of an administrative act may lose its relevance.”

Thus, the Law contains certain safeguards for delaying urgent cases, the solution of which requires efficiency.

It can be assumed that the President’s proposals state that the Law establishes some rights for legal entities and individuals that will allow them to participate in the process of making certain decisions by the administration (for example, the right to be heard, get acquainted with the case materials, receive and provide documents, etc.). Of course, if the participants decide to exercise such rights, this will affect the timing of administrative proceedings.

However, it is worth noting that the resolution of cases on citizenship and asylum in Ukraine is the category of cases where the mentioned rights are rather necessary for individuals. In addition, it is possible to prevent delaying this category of cases by setting specific time frames in specialized laws and bylaws, considering the requirements of the Law “On Administrative Procedure.”

We at TI Ukraine fully support the Law “On Administrative Procedure” and believe that the President’s proposals are not critical for it. And, given the necessity and relevance of such a Law for Ukraine, we call on the Parliament to consider the comments of Volodymyr Zelenskyy as soon as possible.