Article title Legal, Psychological and Socio-Economic Aspects of Moral Damages to Community
Name of magazine Legal journal «Law of Ukraine» (Ukrainian version)
Issue 4/2018
Сторінки [165-180]

The issue of moral damages caused to a community (in particular, in case of environmental offenses) and the establishment of the fact that such damages have been caused, their factors and the extent of such damages is extremely relevant today. At the same time, compensation for moral damages and the methods to calculate it are among the most difficult issues in legal practice. In different countries it is solved in a different manner; in Ukraine, after the methodology of O. Erdelevskyi has been suspended, the issue of compensation for moral damages is becoming increasingly important. Especially when it comes to class actions. In this regard, obvious is the need for theoretical and methodological developments in this area. The purpose of the article is to analyze the legal, psychological and socio-economic aspects of such an issue as moral damages to community, and also to develop (on a practical basis) an alternative method for calculating a respective compensation which may be further converted into a monetary equivalent. It is established that the procedural tools and legal uncertainty existing in the law of substance today are not conductive to the development of the institute of environmental class-action in Ukraine, although the right of environmental national public organizations to class-action is guaranteed by a special law (article 21 of the Law of Ukraine “On Environmental Protection” and the Law of Ukraine “On Non-Governmental Organizations”). Thus, if a community sustains damages, it may choose a class form to protect its rights, thus becoming the subject of compensation. The principle and mandatory aspect in such a case is only the indication of the boundaries of the class by space, time and other circumstances. Such a group (Non-Governmental Organization “Foundation for Overcoming the Consequences of the Vasilkiv Tragedy”) requested the Association of Psychologists of Ukraine (hereinafter – APU) to develop the methodological tools for determining the amount of moral damages caused to victims. Since only a court may establish the fact that moral damages are caused, our task was to determine the extent of moral suffering experienced by victims as a result of a man-made disaster and to identify the levels of severity of the post-traumatic stress disorder. The APU specialists carried out such a study for several months on the basis of theoretical analysis of the issue and methodological justification of the diagnosis of the severity and depth of moral suffering experienced by members of the community. The article presents in detail the algorithm of the study and its results. Based on the work performed, a formula for monetization of moral damages caused to the community was developed. Proceeding from the Civil Code of Ukraine and the general court practice in respect of determining moral damages, we used a number of psychological coefficients and for a monetary basis we took the arithmetic mean of the summed minimum wages for the time elapsed after the man-made disaster. The article substantiates the validity of the professional opinion based on the aggregate results of the psychodiagnostic procedures which were performed and provides the final formula for monetization of moral suffering. The author also gives reasons for the importance of sociopsychological and socio-economic aspects of the issue.

Keywords moral damages; moral suffering; environmental law; class action; psychodiagnostics; monetization

List of legal documents 

1. Konstytutsiia Ukrainy [Constitution of Ukraine]: Zakon Ukrainy [Law of Ukraine] vid 28 chervnia 1996 r. № 254k/96-VR. Vidomosti Verkhovnoi Rady Ukrainy. 1996. № 30. St. 141 (in Ukrainian). 

2. Pro gromadskі obiednannia [About Public Associations]: Zakon Ukrainy [Law of Ukraine] vіd 22 bereznia 2012 r. № 4572-VI. Vіdomostі Verhovnoi Rady Ukrainy. 2013. № 1. St. 1 (in Ukrainian).

3. Pro okhoronu navkolyshnoho pryrodnoho seredovyshcha [About The Protection Of The Environment]: Zakon Ukrainy [Law of Ukraine] vіd 25 chervnia 1991 r. № 1264-XII. Vіdomostі Verhovnoi Rady Ukrainy. 1991. № 41. St. 546 (in Ukrainian).

4. Tsyvilnyi kodeks Ukrainy[The Civil Code of Ukraine]: Zakon Ukrainy [Law of Ukraine] vіd 16 sіchnıa 2003 r. № 435-IV. Vіdomostі Verhovnoi Rady Ukrainy. 2003. № 40-44. St. 356 (in Ukrainian).

5. Tsyvilnyi protsesualnyi kodeks Ukrainy [The Code of Civil Procedure of Ukraine]: Zakon Ukrainy [Law of Ukraine] vіd 18 bereznıa 2004 r. № 1618-IV. Vіdomostі Verhovnoi Rady Ukrainy. 2004. № 40-41, 42. St. 492 (in Ukrainian).

6. Tsıvіlnıı kodeks Rossiyskoy Federatsii [The Civil Code of the Russian Federation] < fda6aace1b2cb86ac4/> accessed 20 March 2018 (in Russian).


Authored books


7. Osgood C and Suci G and P Tannenbaum, The Measurement of Meaning (University of Illinois Press 1957) (in English).

8. Seneca J and Taussig M, Environmental Economics. Englewood Cliffs (Prentice Hall 1973) (in English).

9. Donchenko O ta Romanenko Y, Arkhetypy sotsialnoho zhyttya i polityka (Hlybynni rehulyatyvy psykhopolitychnoho povsyakdennia): monohrafiia [Archetypes of Social Life and Politics (Deep Regulating the Psycho-political Everyday Life): Monograph] (Lybid 2001) (in Ukraine).

10. Nasledov A, Matematicheskiye metody psikhologicheskogo issledovaniya. Analiz i interpretatsiya dannykh: uchebnoe posobie [Mathematical Methods of Psychological Research. Analysis and Interpretation of Data: Training Manual] (Rech’ 2004) (in Russian).

11. Petrenko V, Vvedeniye v eksperimental’nuyu psikhosemantiku: issledovaniye form reprezentatsii v obydennom soznanii [Introduction to Experimental Psychosemantics: the Study of the Forms of Representation in Ordinary Consciousness] (Izdatelstvo MGU 1983) (in Russian).

12. Sidorenko Ye, Metody matematicheskoy obrabotki v psikhologii [Methods of Mathematical Processing in Psychology] (Rech’ 2003) (in Russian).

 13. Vasilyuk F, Psikhologiya perezhivaniya (analiz preodoleniya kriticheskikh situatsiy) [Psychology of experience (analysis of overcoming critical situations)] (Izdatel’stvo MGU 1984) (in Russian).


Journal articles

14. Samuelson P, ‘The Pure Theory of Public Expendure’ (1954) 36 Review of Economics and Statistics (in English).

15. Vakulenko O ta Frolov M, ‘The Notion of “Moral Harm” as an Interdisciplinary Category: the Ways of Solving the Problem of Reimbursement’ [2017) 12(18) Eurasian Academic Research Journal 1 (in English).

16. Sorokina S, ‘Stoimost’ zhizni cheloveka kak integral’nyy pokazatel’ otnosheniya gosudarstva k chelovecheskomu kapitalu’ [‘The Cost of Human Life as an Integral Indicator of the Relationship of the State to Human Capital’] (2012) 11 Meditsinskiye novosti (in Russian).