Article title Uncertainty vs Certainty of Criminal Legislation of Ukraine

Doctor of Laws, Associate Professor, head, department improving the skills of prosecutors on the prevention of corruption, Institute of Continuing Training of Prosecutors National Prosecution Academy (Kyiv, Ukraine) ORCID ID: 


Name of magazine Legal journal «Law of Ukraine» (Ukrainian version)
Issue 2/2020
Сторінки [67-80]

Certainty vs uncertainty of criminal law is a topical issue of our time. One of the tasks targeted at updating criminal legislation of Ukraine is to ascertain the optimal level of certain and uncertain content in the text of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (CC of Ukraine).

This article aims at establishing the correlation of uncertain and certain formulations in the text of CC of Ukraine and at justifying which of them should be used in it. To achieve this goal, the following tasks are set: 1) to describe major difficulties of defining the correlation between the certain and the uncertain in the text of statutory acts in scientific approaches, including foreign legal doctrine, as well as in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR); 2) to single out objective and subjective reasons leading to uncertain wording which is present in the text of CC of Ukraine, and to give specific examples of uncertain content in the current CC of Ukraine; 3) to investigate possible presence of uncertain content in the text of CC of Ukraine.

The basic scientific results are as follows: current viewpoints in the foreign legal doctrine about the correlation of the certain and the uncertain in legislation are mostly focused on a reasonable balance between the above content; some ECtHR judgments contain a reference to the proportionality of the certain and the uncertain in any law; when defining the correlation of the uncertain and the certain in the text of CC of Ukraine, it would be advisable to concentrate on optimization of uncertainty rather than on eliminating it; legal uncertainty of criminal law provisions is underlain by objective as well as subjective reasons; the author has singled out the degree of certainty as a qualitative characteristic of criminal law provisions; evaluative concepts, open lists, discretionary powers of public authorities in criminal law relations, latency of the text of CC of Ukraine, legal fictions, and legal presumptions are regarded as uncertain content; the author also shows that even formalized provisions of CC of Ukraine may generate uncertainty, for example, casuistic lists.


Keywords uncertainty; uncertain content; certainty; the Criminal Code of Ukraine; interpretation; application of legal provisions


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8. David R i Zhoffre-Spinozi K, Osnovnye pravovye sistemy sovremennosti [Main Legal Systems of Our Time] (Tumanov V per s fr, Mezhdunarodnye otnoshenija 2009) (in Russian).


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