Ukraine: Members Of Parliament Traditionally Postponed Cancelation Moratorium, But The Supreme Court Has Not Stated Its Position Yet

Last Updated: 26 February 2019
Article by Yulya Stusova and Yulia Shyshka

On December 20, 2018 the Ukrainian Parliament repeatedly prolonged so-called land moratorium for the next year. At the same time, the Constitutional Court de facto abstracted from assessment thereof for compliance with the Constitution; in its turn, Strasbourg recognized such ambiguity as a violation of the right to property. However, the Supreme Court has not declared its position yet.

Formal postponement

By voting for draft law No. 9355-5, Members of Parliament (MPs) prolonged prohibition in respect of alienation of land plots and agricultural land plots (units) until 01/01/2020. Like before, it is only allowed to pass over the land as inheritance, seize it for public needs or in exchange for other land plots.

After the voting, some MPs requested to cancel respective decision, which suspended transfer of the document to the President for signing. However, the initiative was not supported and on 04/02/2019 the law was signed by the President, officially published and became effective as of 07/02/2019.

At the same time, it does not mean that the moratorium was not in effect in the period from 01/01/2019 till 07/02/2019 in Ukraine and during this period it was possible to alienate agricultural lands. Provisions of the Land Code (clauses 14 and 15, section X “Transitional Provisions”) stipulate that moratorium will cease to have effect once the law on agricultural land turnover becomes effective; the latter has not been thus far, although relevant draft laws have repeatedly been registered with the parliament. For example, two recent draft laws with respect to the foregoing issue were registered in 2016 and 2017, but did not pass even the first reading. Thus, in absence of the respective law, there are no grounds to discuss cancelation of the moratorium.

What is crucial for the land turnover?

Law No. 9355-5 provides that by 01/03/2019 the Cabinet of Ministers shall prepare a draft law on the turnover of agricultural lands and submit it to the Ukrainian Parliament for consideration. However, we consider it to be quite unrealistic that a proper document will be ready in 2 months. Until now, issues to be regulated by a special law are actively discussed.

Considering successful experience of other countries, domestic regulatory framework and national public demand, we may note that the national land market may be launched as soon as following issues are resolved by law:

  • stages of launching the agricultural land market;
  • preventive mechanisms, which would facilitate acquisition of a title to land by citizens of Ukraine in the first place, by territorial communities, state and Ukrainian enterprises;
  • procedure for calculation of fair price for land plots to be alienated, as well as for competitive terms of sale and purchase of land plots;
  • limited possibilities to change designated purpose of agricultural lands (at least for a certain period).

In addition, considering the public sentiment, the amount of agricultural lands (in hectares) to be owned by one person and minimum area of such a plot may be set. Relevant provisions of the draft law would serve as arguments against pessimistic expectations of opponents to cancelation of the moratorium. Since the latter expect that lands will be mostly owned by large oligarch landowners or foreigners and anticipate a drastic increase of number of hostile land takeover.

However, Ukraine has all the prerequisites for gradual opening of the land market given that the “campaign” for cancelation of the moratorium has been lasting for several years by now. A group of MPs has already twice initiated proceedings for recognizing Land Code provisions related to moratorium as incompliant with the Constitution. However, the Constitutional Court two times rejected commencement of proceedings under formal grounds, hence failed to resolve whether the moratorium was constitutional.

ECHR Guidelines

Last year the European Court of Human Rights expressed its opinion on whether the moratorium was lawful. On May 22, 2018 it delivered a judgment in the case of Zelenchuk and Tsytsyura v. Ukraine, where the European Court held that there had been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, namely of a right to peaceful enjoyment of one’s possessions.

On 22/08/2018 this judgment became final. In this judgment the ECHR obliged Ukraine to take necessary legislative or other measures to ensure a fair balance between the rights of agricultural land owners and public interests. Despite the fact that the ECHR did not set any particular deadlines for taking such measures, it was expected that a relevant judgment would enhance legislative changes.

Unfortunately, the ECHR judgment did not prevent prolongation of the moratorium until 01/01/2020 by MPs. However, it became an incentive for active actions of landowners who believed such a prohibition was illegal.

Property — through judicial procedure

Immediately after the ECHR judgment became final, a number of applications were lodged; thereby agricultural land owners defend their right to alienate the land with reference to the European Court’s conclusion on unlawfulness of the moratorium. Case-law of the European Court of Human Rights must be applied by national courts as a source of law. Judgments on some of such cases became effective, although the Supreme Court has not expressed its position thereon yet.

Thus, case No. 237/3292/18 is of particular interest; it this case Mariinskyi District Court of Donetsk Region considered claims for recognition of title to agricultural land plot under a debt obligation recovery. Given that the debtor in the case failed to return funds lent by the creditor within the agreed deadline, the latter filed a complaint to the court. In terms of case consideration, parties entered into a settlement agreement, under which the debtor transferred a land plot to the creditor instead of funds.

First-instance court in this case here referred to ECHR judgment in the case of Zelenchuk and Tsytsyura v. Ukraine and conclusions set forth therein on the unlawfulness of the moratorium as a source of law to support its decision whereby it approved the settlement agreement. Ruling to approve settlement agreement was not challenged in courts of other instances, therefore we are not aware of the Supreme Court’s opinion.

Case No. 442/6324/18 considered by Drohobychi City District Court of Lviv Oblast is to become a benchmark case in terms of applying ECHR judgment by courts. Notary’s refusal to certify agricultural land plot sale and purchase agreement was challenged in this case here.

By its decision dated 13/12/2018, first-instance court rejected the claim on based on the fact that the issue of moratorium lawfulness cannot be resolved in a particular civil case, and must be regulated by law. The decision is currently challenged in the court of appeals, but it is most likely that the final decision in this case will be made by the cassation court.

Moreover, by a ruling dated 23/01/2019, Cassation Civil Court of the Supreme Court referred case No. 227/1506/18, related to invalidation of an agreement of exchange in respect of agricultural land plot, to the Grand Chamber for consideration. In a respective ruling the court stated that “in order to ensure law development and building up a uniform approach, the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court could express its position, based on which persons interested in sale of their land were to prove that their case was similar to Zelenchuk and Tsytsyura case and could obtain a court approval to sell it.”

Thus, we hope that the supreme judicial authority will shortly express its position on the issue of applying ECHR judgment in the case of Zelenchuk and Tsytsyura v. Ukraine by Ukrainian courts, which will play a key role for agricultural land market in our country.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions