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From Ario with Love: 30 Cases for Independent Ukraine

News, Projects, Analytics

23 August 2021

On the eve of Ukraine's grand anniversary, social media feeds, news pages, and TV broadcasts should already be brimming with reflections and memories echoing from every corner. However, the media landscape demonstrates remarkable "flexibility," accommodating more and more summaries of the first thirty years. And although at Ario Law Firm we don't subscribe to "pop culture" adjustments, as we peruse the news and review special projects dedicated to the three decades of Independence, we couldn't help but ask ourselves: "What legacy will we leave to future generations?" "What have we done to avoid lamenting and not blaming that much-suffered government?" Answers were found... 30 of them (and no, it's not about how cool our lawyers defend clients' interests). Thus, we joined this "thirty to thirty" trend.

So, let's dive in (the numbering below doesn't imply significance or ranking):

Court Decision Enforcement Sphere: Progressing Gradually, Yet on the Right Track

1.Reforming court decision enforcement is, without hesitation, the brainchild of Ario Law Firm partner Ruslan Sidorovych. Beyond his involvement in drafting the Laws of Ukraine "On Enforcement Proceedings" and "On Bodies and Persons that Execute Court Decisions and Decisions of Other Authorities," he:

2. Pioneered the Subcommittee on Executing Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, a First in the History of the Ukrainian Parliament during his tenure in the Verkhovna Rada of the VIII Convocation.

3.Today, Ruslan Sydorovych serves as a national expert of the Council of Europe, where he analyzes the National Strategy for Executing Decisions of National Courts. At times, it seems to us that resolving the issue of non-enforcement of court decisions and rebuilding Ukrainians' trust in the judicial system is his unique calling, one with which he embarked on his legal career.

4. Simultaneously, the introduction of the institution of private bailiffs in Ukraine is the achievement of the entire Ario Law Firm team. Specifically, senior partner Julian Khorunzhiy, as one of the developers of the relevant Law, alongside managing partner Oleksiy Voronko and partner Irina Serbyn, who are constant members of working groups and discussions.

5.The platform that served as a catalyst for the reform of court decision enforcement over several years was spearheaded by Ario Law Firm partner Irina Serbin. We're referring to the Committee of the Insolvency Law of Ukrainian Bar Association.

6.Leveraging this platform, in collaboration with the Council of Europe Project "Supporting Ukraine in Executing European Court of Human Rights Judgments," we initiated the annual nationwide forum "Enforcement of Decisions by National Courts."

Redesigning the Bankruptcy Landscape

7.Partners at Ario Law Firm, Julian Khorunzhiy and Ruslan Sydorovych, have played pivotal roles in reshaping the bankruptcy domain. As key architects of The Code of Ukraine on Bankruptcy Procedures, they've introduced legislation that not only asserts but actively safeguards creditors' rights.

Similarly, managing partner Oleksiy Voronko, partner Irina Serbin, and the Committee on Insolvency Law of the Ukrainian Bar Association, led by Serbin, have been instrumental in crafting and implementing this "new bankruptcy." The committee served as a primary platform for expert discussions on the Bankruptcy Code's procedures and offered public clarification on the updated legislation.

  1. Empowering Individuals: For the first time in Ukraine's history, the new Bankruptcy Code has introduced mechanisms for the financial rehabilitation of individuals. This groundbreaking provision grants Ukrainian citizens the opportunity to address their debts in a more manageable manner.

9.Pro Bono Initiative: Under the leadership of senior partner Julian Khorunzhiy, Ario Law Firm spearheaded the "Provision of Free Consultations on Debt Rehabilitation for Individuals" project, supported by USAID and the Association of Lawyers of Ukraine. This initiative provided hundreds of Ukrainian mortgage borrowers, victims of the 2008-2014 financial crises, with free legal advice on debt restructuring. Consequently, both borrowers and creditor banks found resolutions to longstanding issues.

  1. Elevating Professional Standards: The Bankruptcy Code revolution extended to the realm of arbitration trustees' self-regulation. The establishment of the National Association of Arbitration Trustees, which includes Ario Law Firm partner Irina Serbin on its council, signifies a significant milestone in Ukraine's legal landscape.

11.Advancing Self-Regulation in Bankruptcy: A significant milestone in the bankruptcy arena was achieved through the formation of the Coordinating Council of Self-Regulatory Organizations of Arbitration Managers, with the participation of the Ario Law Firm team. This council initiated pivotal changes to the notorious letter (at that time) of the Higher Economic Court of Ukraine regarding the application of bankruptcy legislation in its 2013 version. Led by Ario Law Firm, this was a major victory for the market. It's worth noting that a representative of Ario Law Firm headed the Coordinating Council.

  1. Modernizing Asset Liquidation: The new Bankruptcy Code fundamentally transformed the process of asset realization for bankruptcies. Now, asset sales occur transparently on electronic platforms accredited within the ProZorro.Sale system.

13.Pioneering Public Bankruptcy Proceedings: The first public bankruptcy case, spearheaded by the Ario Law Firm team, served as a compelling argument for legislative change in resolving insolvencies. Known as the "apartments for 1 hryvnia" case within the arbitration trustees' and bankers' community, it exposed a fraudulent scheme and restored justice by reclaiming the property. This landmark case brought the once highly confidential bankruptcy sector into the public eye, making transparency and publicity in bankruptcy proceedings the norm in Ukraine.

  1. Educating Future Specialists: At the initiative of Ario Law Firm partner Irina Serbin, the Committee on Insolvency Law of the Ukrainian Bar Association launched the country's first All-Ukrainian Legal School on Bankruptcy for young professionals in this field. Annually, industry experts gather in Khmelnytskyi to impart invaluable knowledge to students and young lawyers.

15.Pioneering Electronic Auctions for Troubled Assets: Did you know that the market for electronic auctions of troubled assets originated from the Ario Law Firm team? In 2013, the Electronic Trading Exchange of Ukraine, initiated by us, implemented the first electronic auctions for the sale of assets from bankrupt enterprises. Our team developed the procedure for selling assets at electronic auctions. This marked the beginning of electronic trading for troubled assets in Ukraine. In 2014, Irina Serbin, representing the Electronic Trading Exchange of Ukraine, presented the first electronic auctions for the Deposit Guarantee Fund for Individuals, which were successfully conducted. In the summer of 2017, following the launch of ProZorro.Sale, the Deposit Guarantee Fund transitioned to this platform.

16. Facilitating Transparent Auctions for Seized Assets: Ario Law Firm was instrumental in the establishment of the electronic platform for the sale of seized property, known as SETAM, which later transformed into a state enterprise. Our legal team played a pivotal role in averting the opaque auction process proposed by the Ministry of Justice over 7 years ago. This, in fact, became one of the driving factors behind the formation of the State Enterprise SETAM. Subsequently, SETAM was integrated into the ProZorro.Sale system.

Contributing to Law Enforcement Oversight

  1. Yevhen Hrushevets, a Partner at Ario Law Firm, has previously served as a member of the Public Control Council at the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) and as a member of the selection commission for detectives at the agency.

    18. Legal Authority in Law Enforcement: Yevhen Grushevets' expertise holds considerable sway in the Ukrainian legal landscape. He has been consistently sought after to participate as a member of selection and certification commissions tasked with recruiting prosecutors for the Office of the Prosecutor General, as well as for regional and local prosecutor's offices.

Sensible Approach in the Criminal Procedure Code

19.Yevhene Hrushevets is the driving force behind proposed amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code concerning the representation of victims, presently under consideration by the relevant Committee of the Verkhovna Rada.

Contribution to Ukrainian Shipbuilding

20.The Revival of the Mykolaiv Shipbuilding Plant "Ocean". In our humble opinion, this is a story that could easily be adapted for the big screen.
About six years ago, our partner at Ario Law Firm, Irina Serbin, was appointed as the liquidator of PJSC "MSZ Okean," and thus began... Persecution, raids, black PR campaigns against the liquidator, the "Russian trace," intrigues, high politics. With the assistance of Vladyslav Gryshchenko, Ario Law Firm's criminal practice advisor, and communications expert Volodymyr Boyko, Irina Serbin managed to assist Mykolaiv in reclaiming this strategically vital functioning enterprise – the beacon of hope for domestic shipbuilding – and settling the debts owed by the previous owners to the plant's workforce.

Despite all the trials and tribulations surrounding the plant, our partner has garnered the support of hundreds of like-minded allies over the years. Primarily, she refers to the dedicated workforce of the Ocean. "After everything we've been through together, we probably share the same DNA by now," she often jests. Irina Serbin also extends her gratitude to the journalists of Mykolaiv, who consistently kept their finger on the pulse. According to her, their contribution to Ocean's triumph is undeniable, much like the members of the Temporary Special Commission on Investor Rights Protection, led by Halyna Yanchenko, who meticulously reviewed the case of the Mykolaiv Shipbuilding Plant.

Fighting the Main Scam in Ukraine – B2B Jewelry Financial Pyramid

  1. Meet the Fighter – Yevhen Hrushevets 😉. The adventures and confrontations of our partner with the "golden" scammers from the well-known B2B Jewelry project have been ongoing for a year and a half now.

    During this time, the fraudsters managed to launch several smear campaigns against him and filed a fake crime report against him. And all because he provides pro bono assistance to defrauded investors in the gold project and highlights his "adventures" in the media. His mission is to halt the development of such fraudulent schemes in our country.

"Stir" at the Customs Office

  1. It's the Ario Law Firm team, led by Senior Partner Julian Khorunzhiy, Partner Andriy Fylyk, and Counsels Nataliia Shvets and Serhii Derkach, who are the masterminds behind the customs reform in terms of the department's corporate structure.

    Following their recommendations, the agency's structure was streamlined from 29 legal entities to 19 during the initial phase.

    In the second phase, a draft law has been crafted, aiming to transform the customs service into a single legal entity. This project is being carried out in collaboration with the IMF, with our lawyers serving as consultants.

Corporate Legislation Update

23.Our team, under the leadership of Senior Partner Julian Khorunzhiy, actively contributed to the development of the new corporate legislation, particularly the Law of Ukraine "On Limited and Additional Liability Companies."

24. Ario Law Firm played a pivotal role in the drafting of Bill No. 1210. This legislation incorporates BEPS rules and addresses pertinent issues regarding the corporate structures of large companies.

Restoring Mayors to Their Positions

Mayors are chosen by the people, yet the central government, for various reasons, seeks to displace them from their roles. With the aid of Ario Law Firm, today, these elected officials can uphold their promises to the citizens:

25. Andriy Sadovyi, Mayor of Lviv;
26.Oleksandr Senkevych, Mayor of Mykolaiv.

At the Forefront of the COVID-19 Battle

  1. Our legal team facilitated agreements for a charitable foundation involved in the anti-crisis headquarters of the Office of the President. Specifically, legal transactions pertained to the procurement, importation, and delivery of personal protective equipment and medical supplies to healthcare facilities in 2020, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Revolutionizing Small and Medium Business

  1. We won't unveil the state's "pleasant surprises" in advance, but we can't overlook the fact that an impressive initiative to support SMEs in Ukraine is currently underway. Can you guess who's spearheading the legal counsel for this project? Yes, it's none other than Ario Law Firm, under the leadership of partners Julian Khorunzhyi and Ruslan Sydorovych.

Influence on International Relations

  1. When the need arises, our legal team is not averse to delving into geopolitics to safeguard Ukraine's reputation 😉. Such was the case with a client of Ario Law Firm, a Polish national unlawfully detained in Ukraine for five years. Our partners, Julian Khorunzhiy and Yevhen Hrushovets, engaged Polish Sejm deputies in the process. Negotiations concerning our client unfolded within the inner sanctums of top officials in both the Ukrainian and Polish governments. Can you guess the outcome of this tale? The gentleman has been reunited with his family, enjoying freedom for over 5 years now.

Upgrade of the Ukrainian Legal Sector

  1. Back in 2016, Ario Law Firm made waves by becoming one of the first in the Ukrainian legal landscape to debut its official website on the LAW domain – Fast forward to today, it's a common sight to see the word "law" at the end of the web addresses of many renowned legal entities.