Asters' lawyers contributed to the second edition of the White paper on legal and governance reform in Ukraine: Strategic Priorities - Business and Economic Sector.
The second edition of the White paper analyses the achievements and failures of the new Verkhovna Rada and the new Government, and advises on the shape of reforms for 21 sectors of the legal and governance system. The White paper has been presented to the business, diplomatic and legal communities, the Government, the National Bank and the Presidential Administration of Ukraine, civic society, and academia.
The White paper was jointly developed on a pro-bono basis under the auspices of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC). The second edition has been released in Ukrainian and English versions and is available at the link.
Asters Law Firm acted as a pro bono advisor in connection with donation of the unique private collection of Igor Dychenko (famous Ukrainian art critic, artist and collector) to the state-owned Mystetskyi Arsenal ("Art Arsenal") museum complex. The donation ceremony with the participation of Valeria Virsca, Mr. Dychenko's widow and sole heiress, and Petro Poroshenko, the President of Ukraine, was held on October 12, 2015. Owning to the noble decision of Valeria Virsca, who had fulfilled the will of her husband, the priceless artistic heritage of the world class, consisting of 509 pieces of painting, graphic and applied arts, became a part of the Museum Fund of Ukraine.
Asters' lawyers advised on the preparation of all the necessary documents in order to ensure the integrity and inviolability of the collection in public ownership. In particular, according to the donation agreement the Ukrainian state guarantees the full preservation of the art collection, its entirety and prevention from pledge, denationalization or privatization. Asters' inheritance law team was represented by associate Olga Lepikhina under the lead of Asters Managing Partner Oleksiy Didkovskiy.
On 6 November 2013, at a seminar "Wind Farms Development", a joint initiative with the German Wind Energy Institute (DEWI GmbH), the Ukrainian Wind Energy Association (UWEA) presented a guide entitled "Implementation Phases of Projects for Construction of Wind Power Generating Facilities." This document is a result of many months of work of its authors including Yaroslav Petrov, expert for energy projects at Asters. Responsible for this project was Halina Shmidt, head of department of international relations of the UWEA. Renewable Energy Department of the Ukrainian State Agency for Energy Saving and Energy Efficiency provided its consultancy support in preparing the document.
The guide incorporates a phased process for implementing 16 phases of a wind energy project, in particular the phases of a wind power plant planning and construction, connecting to the electrical grid, and obtaining the feed-in ("green") tariff pursuant to the laws applicable in Ukraine. It is noteworthy that modern wind energy market requires strict compliance with project implementation rules, and without due regard to such rules a project may be delayed or discontinued. However, until now, Ukraine lacked a consolidated document containing uniform requirements in respect of this matter, which, in its turn, has been preventing foreign investors from actively entering the Ukrainian market. This work may be called a vade mecum for managers of wind power plants.
UWEA prepared the guide according to the legal framework regulating the Ukrainian wind power industry as of early September 2013. It will be further elaborated and updated subject to regulatory developments, if occurring after 1 September 2013.
On 24 October 2013, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted in the second reading Law of Ukraine No. 0916 "On Operating Principles of the Electricity Market of Ukraine" dated 12 December 2012 (the "Law"). It is an outcome of many years of preparation to Ukraine's electricity market transition to the common EU principles. The main purpose of adopting the Law was to liberalize the Ukrainian electricity market model and establish an effective competitive environment in the market in compliance with the core requirements of the EU laws.
The team of experts involved in the elaboration of proposals and comments from the Ukrainian Wind Energy Association (UWEA) regarding the Law included Yaroslav Petrov, attorney and expert for energy projects at Asters law firm. In particular, the UWEA team members expressed their opinions on the provisions of the draft Law related to pecuniary liability of entities producing electricity from alternative energy sources and introduction of additional approvals and permits for new power plants construction. Due to the team's efforts, many suggested proposals and comments were accepted by the lawmakers.
Summarizing the work results, Yaroslav Petrov mentioned: "It is truly important that thanks to our combined efforts with UWEA members we succeeded in defending the interests of investors who intend to implement wind energy projects. Removal of the provision imposing liability on wind and solar energy producers for imbalances is a very positive step."
Asters advised on a pro bono basis the State Aviation Administration of Ukraine on implementation of the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and the Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment on Matters Specific to Aircraft Equipment, both signed in Cape Town on 16 November 2001.
In particular, the firm's attorneys assisted in developing the formal procedure for obtainment of authorization codes and enforcement of creditors' rights to aircraft under the irrevocable de-registration and export request authorization (IDERA).
Asters' aviation team was represented by senior partner Armen Khachaturyan and associates Oleksiy Demyanenko and Yuriy Radko.
Asters joins Business Idea – the National Project of Entrepreneurship Development in Ukraine – as a partner. The firm contributes to the project its own initiative 'Lawyer's Advice' which includes pro bono legal advising for small and medium enterprises in all practice areas. Also, within the initiative, Asters' lawyers regularly update enterprises on the legislation changes that could directly and indirectly influence business activity in Ukraine.
Business Idea project aims to advance entrepreneurial culture among Ukrainian people, increase the level of professionalism and economic stability of small and medium businesses, regulate the system of communication and experience exchange among businessmen, adjust the mechanisms of cooperation between small and large businesses, and facilitate problem solving of depressive regions and monotowns through development of entrepreneurship.
Asters Managing Partner Oleksiy Didkovskiy pointed out: "The Future of Ukraine is in small and medium businesses. As one of the most successful law firms in Ukraine, we want and can help others to become successful. We are ready to contribute to the process of establishment of new and development of existing business initiatives, increase legal competence and awareness of entrepreneurs, and give them confidence in their undertakings."
The project's objective is to engage law firms and bar associations in establishing an effective system of free legal aid, in particular by supporting law clinics throughout Ukraine.
Asters is to commence cooperation with the law clinics at Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhia National Universities, where lawyers together with UBA Students' League have been providing free legal aid to those in need for several years now. Within the framework of this cooperation, the law clinics will receive much-needed equipment, and Asters lawyers will provide advice and support in processing requests of legal aid recipients. In addition, a series of educational events is to be held with the assistance of experienced lawyers to enhance the hands-on knowledge of students working at the law clinics.
Asters and Ukrainian Bar Association invite law firms and bar associations to join them in striving to create an effective system of free legal aid through law clinics at the national level.
Asters advised the ICC Commission on Banking Technique and Practice in its work on translation of the Uniform Rules on Demand Guarantees (URDG 758), one of the most important documents governing settlements in international trade. The Commission includes representatives of Alfa-Bank Ukraine, Credit Agricole, Deutsche Bank, Index Bank, OTP Bank, Raiffeisen Bank Aval, Swedbank Ukraine, UniCredit Bank, Prominvestbank, VAB Bank, VTB Bank, Ukreximbank, and others.