At the end of 2022, Ukraine adopted a law on withdrawal from the Convention on Legal Aid and Legal Relations, but then the Cabinet of Ministers decided that documents certified on the territory of foreign states would be accepted on the territory of Ukraine without a special certificate, if such a practice existed before February 24, 2022.
On February 4, 2023 the Cabinet of Ministers decided that during the martial law and for six months after its ending, documents from Russia and Belarus will be accepted on the territory of Ukraine without an apostille in case if these documents had been accepted without an apostille on and up to the date of February 24, 2022.
In other words, this means that documents issued on the territory of Russia and Belarus before February 24, 2022 can be used on the territory of Ukraine without an apostille. However, documents issued after this date must have an apostille.
Recall also that on December 1, 2022 the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a draft law No. 0163, prepared by the President, "On Suspension and Withdrawal from the Convention on Legal Aid and Legal Relations in Civil, Family and Criminal Matters and its Protocol of January 22, 1993 on Legal Aid and Legal Relations in Civil, Family and Criminal Matters".
The 1993 Convention establishes that documents issued or certified in the territory of one of the signatory countries by a competent authority or a person who is authorized to do so and bearing an official seal must be accepted in the territory of the other signatory countries without further authentication. In total 11 countries are parties to the 1993 Convention: the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Moldova, the Republic of Armenia, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Tajikistan, Georgia, Turkmenistan, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Kyrgyz Republic.
The Notary Chamber of Ukraine draws attention to the fact that the suspension of the 1993 Convention and the 1997 Protocol is envisaged only in relations with the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus.
From May 19, 2024, the Convention will be considered terminated for Ukraine in relations with all other parties; to use documents issued in these countries, it will also be necessary to obtain an apostille. However, this will not affect documents from those countries with which Ukraine has an international agreement. At the moment, the following agreements are in force for Ukraine at the bilateral level:
- Agreement between Ukraine and the Republic of Georgia on legal assistance and legal relations in civil and criminal matters;
- Agreement between Ukraine and Uzbekistan on legal assistance and legal relations in civil and family matters;
- Agreement between Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova on legal assistance and legal relations in civil and criminal matters.
Also, The Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters, 1965 (between Ukraine and Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Kazakhstan) and the Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters, 1970 (between Ukraine and Armenia, Georgia and Kazakhstan) will also apply to Ukraine at the multilateral level within the Hague Conference on Private International Law. These conventions are the basis for the provision of legal assistance in civil cases with respect to the service of documents and the taking of evidence.
Nowadays in Ukraine it is still possible to use official documents, issued in Russia and Belarus without any special certification (consular legalization, apostille etc.), if such practice existed on February 24, 2022, in accordance with international agreements. That is, if a document issued or certified in Russia or Belarus as of February 24, 2022, was accepted in Ukraine without an apostille, it should also be accepted without an apostille during the martial law. To use documents issued in Russia and Belarus in Ukraine it is necessary to have their translation notarized.