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Legal market overview
Ukraine, ‘the breadbasket of Europe’, has economic bright spots in agriculture, pharmaceuticals and IT, as well as potential in renewable energy and retail, but all of this has been heavily impacted by fighting and political upheaval.
The economic, security and political situation has been unstable since the ‘Euromaidan’ revolution, which prompted Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014, and the emergence of self-proclaimed people’s republics in Donetsk and Lugansk in the eastern region of Donbass.
Petro Poroshenko won the presidential election in May 2014 and continued the EU association process, although implementation has been postponed.
The dispute with Russia has dampened the legal market and reduced transactional work. Few M&A and real estate deals have been completed and, needless to say, foreign investors are cautious. A number of leading lawyers have accepted government positions as the country moves forward.
Some international law firms remain prominent in the market, including Baker & McKenzie – CIS, Limited, Clifford Chance LLC, DLA Piper Ukraine LLC and Dentons, but Chadbourne & Parke and German firms Beiten Burkhardt and Noerr exited, the latter’s team forming Nobles. Conversely, Scandinavian firm Magnusson opened an office in Kiev.
Leading domestic firms such as Sayenko Kharenko, Arzinger, Asters, Avellum Partners, AstapovLawyers and Ilyashev & Partners remain resilient in a difficult market. Established market leader Vasil Kisil & Partners saw half of its partners leave to form Aequo.
Legal Business: country analysis
Breaking new ground – advisers hope shale revolution can restart CEE market
Weighed down by political unrest and slowing economies, energy and infra projects look like one area to be driving
the CEE economy. Can the shale revolution power up
Click here to read the feature.
The Legal 500 Europe - Events
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AstapovLawyers Partner Eugene Blinov & the firm's Associate Roman Protsyshyn share their recent arbitration practice regarding applicable law in contractual disputes.
The 2008 financial crisis peak had hardly faded away, when another breaking news was brought to the surface in CIS countries: a significant part of the funds advanced during the pre-crisis period by banks and other financial institutions to support various businesses and commercial initiatives, flew beyond national frontiers to be found in Panama, BVI, Seychelles, Jersey, Cyprus and other offshore and onshore jurisdictions in the pockets of numerous private persons, mostly CIS nationals. No surprise this fact led to a tsunami of disputes, one way or the other related to repayment of loans and funds advanced under other types of finance arrangements. Many of those disputes are still pending, thus, keeping finance arrangements among the top-litigated issues within CIS borders.
Article V1(b) of the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, better known as the New York Convention, provides that recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitral award may be refused, at the request of the party against which it is invoked, only if that party furnishes proof to the competent authority where the recognition and enforcement is sought that it was not given proper notice of the appointment of the arbitrator or of the arbitration proceedings. However simple at first glance, the question of what constitutes 'proper notice' turns out to be less than clear in practice.
6 February has marked lawyers’ calendars with an important message from the UK Supreme Court: English courts will not accept the jurisdiction over a dispute having the “centre of gravity” in another country. AstapovLawyers' Managing Partner Andrey Astapov and Associate Anna Kombikova comment on a recent CIS precedent.
The Presidium of the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UCCI) recently amended Article 52 of the Rules of the International Commercial Arbitration Court (ICAC) at the UCCI. This article governs the procedure for forwarding an arbitral award to the parties to arbitration proceedings.
Eugene Blinov and Anna Kombikova of AstapovLawyers ILG commented on peculiarities of enforcement of arbitral awards against Ukrainian bankrupt companies. The lawyers noted the risks connected with such cases and suggested possible solutions.
The mitigation of damages is a well-known principle in international legal practice. However, in Ukraine there is no widely applied court and arbitration practice on the issues relating to mitigation of damages, and aggrieved parties may be unclear as to what should and can be done.
The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine at its meeting on August 29 resolved  to amend its Resolution "On approval of the Order for the use of funds allocated in the state budget for payments related to implementation of judgments of foreign jurisdictional authorities rendered upon consideration of matters against Ukraine" (the "Government Resolution"). Appropriate amendments were prepared by the Ministry of Justice (responsible for protecting the state's interests in foreign courts and arbitral tribunals) in order to improve mechanisms to protect the rights and interests of Ukraine in foreign judicial and arbitral proceedings.
Ukrainian district court allowed attachment of property located in Ukraine on the basis of UK procedOn 1 June 2012 Goloseevskiy district court of Kyiv city rendered a decision whereby it recognized and enforced the Order of the High Court of Justice Queen Bench Division Commercial Court (Order). As a result, Ukrainian court allowed attachment of Debtor’s assets located in Ukraine.
On 5 July 2012, the Parliament of Ukraine adopted the Law Of Ukraine “On Amending Section XX “Transitional Provisions” of the Tax Code of Ukraine on Peculiarities of Taxation of Software Companies” (the “Law”). The Law came into force on 3 August 2012. The tax incentives introduced by the Law provide for a very favourable tax regime for companies operating in the IT industry and are likely to be widely used by national and international businesses. Below we provide the brief description of the incentives introduced by the Law.
Kyiv, 12 June 2015 – Avellum Partners advised MHP S.A. in connection with the exchange of grain growing assets “Voronezh Agro” in Voronezh region of the Russian Federation for “Agrokultura” in Lviv, Ternopil and Ivano-Frankivsk regions, Ukraine.
Kyiv, Moscow, Almaty, 18 May 2015 - CLACIS , a competition law advisory which focuses on matters concerning competition law and compliance in Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan announces its opening.
Kyiv, 13 March 2015 – Avellum Partners acted as Ukrainian legal counsel to Ferrexpo in connection with the exchange offer in respect of outstanding USD500 million 7.875% guaranteed notes due 2016 issued by Ferrexpo Finance plc. This exchange offer was coupled with the new issue of USD160.7 million 10.375% guaranteed amortising notes due 2019 and a 25% cash consideration.
Kyiv, 3 April 2015 – Avellum Partners is proud to announce that our Tax Practice has been shortlisted for European Tax Awards by International Tax Review, a highly reputable international magazine for tax professionals published by Euromoney Plc. In particular, we were shortlisted for Ukraine Tax Firm of the Year , Ukraine Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year and Best Newcomer .
Kyiv, 27 January 2015 - Dealmakers Monthly Magazine, an established global deal reporting magazine, has highlighted exceptional rankings of AstapovLawyers and awarded the firm the following accolades:
Kyiv, 29 January 2015 – Avellum Partners is proud to announce that it has acted as the legal counsel to the world’s two biggest cement producers Lafarge and Holcim in connection with obtaining a merger control clearance from the Ukrainian competition authority of their EUR 40 billion planned merger of equals. The proposed transaction will create the largest cement producer in terms of sales and manufacturing capacity in the world.
Kyiv, 30 January 2015 – Avellum Partners acted as Ukrainian legal counsel to PJSC “First Ukrainian International Bank” (“FUIB”) in connection with solicitation of consents of holders of its outstanding USD252,488,000 11% Loan Participation Notes due 2014 (“Notes”) issued by, but without recourse to, Standard Bank Plc (“Issuer”) for the sole purpose of funding a loan to FUIB. FUIB solicited consents from noteholders to amend certain terms and conditions of the Notes, including in particular the substitution of the Issuer, the extension of the final maturity date of the Notes to 31 December 2018 and the addition of an amortised redemption provision under the Notes.
Kyiv, 29 December 2014 - Avellum Partners advised Nadezhda Group ("Group"), operating in the liquefied petroleum and gas industry, on tax planning for holding structure of the Group, all legal and tax aspects of corporate restructuring and acquisition finance issues, aimed at obtaining finance from international finance institutions ("IFIs").
Kyiv, 14 January 2015 - Avellum Partners acted as Ukrainian legal counsel to Deutsche Bank AG, London Branch and ING Bank N.V., London Branch, who acted as Dealer Managers, in connection with the exchange offer of Metinvest B.V., the parent company of a vertically integrated group of steel and mining companies ("Metinvest") for its USD500 million 10.25% guaranteed notes due 2015, coupled with the new issue of USD289.7 million 10.5% guaranteed notes due 2017 ("Notes") under its USD1,500,000,000 Guaranteed Medium Term Note Programme and a 25% cash consideration. The Bank of New York Mellon, London Branch acted as the Exchange Agent. The Notes are listed and admitted to trading on the Global Exchange Market of the Irish Stock Exchange.
Kyiv, 08 December 2014 - Avellum Partners advised Lafarge Group in connection with obtaining a merger control clearance from the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine for the sale of LLC "Lafarge UralCement", operating a 1.1 million tones per year cement plant in Korkino, Russia, to Dyckerhoff Gmbh. The plant was sold for a total enterprise value of EUR 104 million.