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15 February 2002

Supreme Court rules to uphold legal certainty in administrative matters. Where an agency fails to act in a timely manner, it violates the constitutional principle of legal certainty. 

In this case the claimant sought an advertising permit from a local authority. The agency neither issued one nor formally refused to do so, thus missing a statutory deadline for its action. The claimant sued.

As the matter wound up before the Supreme Court in cassation, the judges decided for the claimant. They invoked, among other things, the rule of law and its derivation, the principle of legal certainty, which holds that a person at any given time has a right to know his legal position. An agency’s failure to grant or deny a permit in a timely manner, the Court found, breaches this principle. 

Under Ukrainian law, Supreme Court decisions enjoy precedential value in matters of statutory interpretation. The principle of legal certainty, not expressly defined in legislation, was originally developed by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.


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