Article title The Individual Constitutional Complaint as a Tool to Ensure Constitutional Democracy


Name of magazine Legal journal «Law of Ukraine» (Ukrainian version)
Issue 12/2018
Сторінки [77-91]
DOI 10.33498/louu-2018-12-077

For each structure of public authority, the rule of the people is essential (Part 2, Article 5 of the Constitution of Ukraine). With a view to implementing this provision in order to ensure the right to a fair trial, the constitutional and legal reform of justice dated June 2, 2016 has introduced the institute of constitutional complaint. Particularly, according to art. 1511 of the Constitution of Ukraine, citizens and legal entities may appeal to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (CCU) by filing constitutional complaints regarding constitutionality of the laws of Ukraine, provided that the author of the appeal believes the law applied in a final court decision to be inconsistent with the Constitution of Ukraine. The constitutional complaint may be filed if all of the national remedies have been exhausted. In the context of the judiciary and justice, the changes to Art. 55 of the Constitution of Ukraine have opened the way to form a new constitutional and legal outlook regarding the relations which arise when judges solve fundamentally new tasks embracing the application of the extent of the rule of law in conflicts between an individual and laws. In the situations when laws infringe upon human rights and freedoms, the constitutional complaint is the criterion of the common good. At the same time, in its search for law the court should take as the basis the following two principles – the rule of law and justice. Under such circumstances, of the essence will be a subjective opinion of a judge preconditioned by different approaches to the comprehension of the principles of law and the constitutional values which influence the judge’s views in a particular case. Therefore, justice and social benefits should be the conceptual limitations of judges in the search for the properties of law when making a decision regarding a constitutional complaint.

The relevance of this article and the prospects for a further research into the topic ensue from its timeliness, because it is the constitutional complaint that determines a fair trial and the respect for the right of access to justice under Article 6 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

The purpose of this article is to analyze the approaches formed in the current constitutional law doctrine (with due regard for the theoretical and practical aspects) to the understanding of the essence of the constitutional complaint, and to make an analysis of the European experience regarding the functioning of the constitutional complaint with the aim of developing an integral view on the institute of individual constitutional complaint in the system of guarantees of human rights and freedoms, and also to present the author’s own vision regarding the improvement of this institute.

It is established that the constitutional court practice relating to constitutional complaints should become a powerful tool of forming of law and its development based on the principles of justice and the common good for citizens and public authorities. This is a manifestation of a new phenomenon of “living law”. The author determines that the functioning of the theory of the living Constitution requires a number of prerequisites, in particular: availability of the court which exercises constitutional control; availability of a complicated procedure for amendments to the Constitution which makes any changes and additions to it a rather difficult process thus raising the question of the need to revive such a Constitution; public confidence in the judiciary; judicial posts are held by strong, independent, active judges who are ready to develop constitutional law in a creative manner through a broad interpretation of the Constitution.

The author comes to the conclusion that owing to the judiciary reform of 2016, the constitutional complaint of citizens has become a basic element of the life of law, confirms the priority of human rights and freedoms over any law which restricts them, and should force the government to self-restraint and due regard for constitutional values.


Keywords judicial reform; constitutional complaint; right to constitutional complaint; Constitutional Court of Ukraine; rule of law

List of legal documents

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