Novelty No 2 - Focus on Pretrial Proceeding ~ U-Tax Blog

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Novelty No 2 - Focus on Pretrial Proceeding

Co-authored by Anton Havryk
This article continues a series of publications on the most striking changes in the new version of the Code of Administrative Procedure of Ukraine for the purposes of tax litigation.
What follows is the overview of the second most significant (of course, in our opinion) change attributable to shifting emphasis on pretrial proceeding.
The overview of the first most significant change is available here.

It is not a secret that as of today a pretrial proceeding is something along the line of "profanation". During the pretrial proceeding the judges do not bother themselves to  conduct any serious preparatory measures to streamline the further trial. Pretrial hearings are rarely appointed. Consequently, the real work on the case begins at trial. The whole procedure is  thus much delayed and not effective.

The Bill proposes changing the situation radically by adhering to the principle that sounds like common sense: “thorough preparation is key to success”.

All the main procedural actions  are to be conducted before trial. In particular, it is envisaged that the following must be done at the stage of pretrial proceeding:  

  • A pretrial hearing is to be mandatory held (unless the case is subject to a  simplified procedure).

  • Motions and petitions of the litigants are to be resolved, including those related to appointing expert examinations, calling witnesses or collecting evidence. The court will not examine the motions and petitions of litigants at trial.

  • A plaintiff is to modify or adjust the statement of the complaint.  Changing subject or bases of the complaint, and even  increasing or  decreasing the size of the claims will not be allowed at trial.

  • Motions for the judge's recusal are to be resolved.  

  • The exchange of pleadings between litigants is to be carried out.

Hence, the overwhelming majority of procedural actions will be performed at the pretrial stage. What is left to the court at trial is to hear brief oral statements of the parties, examine evidence, conduct court debates, and render a judgement.

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