Article title Cross-Cutting and Self-Standing Concepts of Criminal Law of Ukraine

Doctor of Law, Professor, Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine, Professor Lviv State University of Internal Affairs, Ukrainian Catholic University (Lviv, Ukraine) ORCID ID: Researcher ID:


Name of magazine Legal journal «Law of Ukraine» (Ukrainian version)
Issue 2/2020
Сторінки [81-96]

Consistency of terms is one of the essential quality criteria of law and the pillar of appropriate law application practice, a prerequisite for the rule of law and the supremacy of legal order. From this perspective, the current Criminal Code of Ukraine, on the one part, has many efficient solutions ensuring observance of the rule according to which one term denotes the same concepts (and it is proposed to refer to such concepts and terms as cross-cutting), and on the other part, it contains numerous inconsistencies when this rule is disregarded and the same terms denote the concepts of different meaning and scope (it is proposed to refer to them as self-standing).

The purpose of the article is to analyze why Ukrainian criminal law has encountered the situation when the requirement for consistency of terminology is not complied with, and to find out what its reason is, and also to show real examples of how legislation, law application practice and criminal law theory of Ukraine are related to the existence thereof. The study of this problem should encourage specific proposals for ensuring terminological consistency in criminal law. The author notes the positive role of cross-cutting criminal law concepts and mentions their functions in criminal law. Such concepts, in particular, confirm the continuity (succession, consistency, coherence) of legislation, law application practice, and the theory of criminal law; furthermore, they are indicative of the stability of a legal system; they are an indicator of the quality of legislation; demonstrate the systematicity of criminal law, are a prerequisite for systematic interpretation of criminal law; ensure legal certainty in law application; and besides, they simplify the study of criminal law.

The author highlights the inappropriateness of the situation when the rule under which the same concepts are designated by the same terms is disregarded and this gives rise to self-standing criminal law concepts. The author notes that this situation differs from the one emerging when the so-called autonomous concepts are formed in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

The author emphasizes that it is possible to speak about existence of self-standing concepts only in the context of their comparison with the crosscutting ones. The author concludes that concepts can become self-standing at least for the following three reasons: 1) due to actions of the legislator; 2) due to the position of practice; 3) as a result of theoretical research. Anyway, this is the consequence of voluntarism and improper attention to the meaning of relevant cross-cutting concepts and this is confirmed by the analysis of specific examples. The article formulates proposals intended to prevent the emergence of self-standing concepts in criminal law of Ukraine, in particular, by creating a glossary which should be exclusively used to form articles of criminal law.


Keywords criminal law; terminology; array of concepts; cross-cutting; self-standing


Authored books

1. Panov M, Poniatiinyi aparat kryminalnoho prava ta yoho naukove i praktychne znachennia [Array of Criminal Law Concepts and Its Scientific and Practical Significance] (Natsionalnyi yurydychnyi universytet imeni Ya Mudroho 2018) (in Ukrainian).

2. Trostiuk Z, Poniatiinyi aparat Osoblyvoi chastyny Kryminalnoho kodeksu Ukrainy [Array of Concepts of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, Special Part] (Atika 2003) (in Ukrainian).

3. Zahynei Z, Kryminalno-pravova hermenevtyka [Criminal Law Hermeneutics] (ArtEk 2015) (in Ukrainian).


Edited books

4. Panov M, Problemy metodolohii nauky kryminalnoho prava: vybrani naukovi pratsi [Methodology Issues of Criminal Law Science: Selected Scientific Papers] (Anisimov H ta Haltsova V ukladachi, Pravo 2018) (in Ukrainian).

5. Velyka ukrainska yurydychna entsyklopediia [Great Ukrainian Encyclopedia of Law], t 17: Kryminalne pravo [Criminal Law] (Tatsii V hol redkol, Pravo 2017) (in Ukrainian).

6. Velykyi tlumachnyi slovnyk ukrainskoi movy [Great Explanatory Dictionary of the Ukrainian Language] (Busel V uklad i holov red, Perun 2004) (in Ukrainian).


Journal articles

7. Kretova I, ‘Kontseptsiia avtonomnoho tlumachennia u praktytsi Yevropeiskoho sudu z prav liudyny’ [‘The Concept of Autonomous Interpretation in the Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights’] [2015] 4(3) Pravo i suspilstvo 26 (in Ukrainian).

8. Khyliuk S, ‘“Zlochyn i kara” u Konventsii pro zakhyst prav liudyny i osnovopolozhnykh svobod’ [‘Crime and Punishment’ in the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms’] [2015] 4(29) Chasopys Akademii advokatury Ukrainy 114–5 (in Ukrainian).


Conference paper

9. Navrotskyi V, ‘Naskrizni kryminalno-pravovi poniattia’ [‘Cross-Cutting Criminal Law Concepts’] v 10 rokiv chynnosti Kryminalnoho kodeksu Ukrainy: Problemy zastosuvannia, udoskonalennia ta podalshoi harmonizatsii iz zakonodavstvom yevropeiskykh krain. Materialy mizhnarodnoi naukovo-praktychnoi konferentsii (m. Kharkiv, 13–14 zhovtnia 2011 r.) [10-Year Currency of the Criminal Code of Ukraine: Issues of Application, Improvement and Further Harmonization with Legislation of European Countries. Materials of International Scientific and Practical Conference (Kharkiv, October 13–14, 2011] (Pravo 2011) 73–7 (in Ukrainian).

10. Khrystova H, ‘Problemy vzaiemodii doktryny pozytyvnykh zobov’iazan derzhavy z inshymy kontseptsiiamy, vyroblenymy YeSPL, ta yii zastosuvannia na natsionalnomu rivni’ [‘Issues Relating to Interaction of the Doctrine of the State’s Positive Obligations with Other Concepts Developed by the ECHR, and Its Application at the National Level’] v Pravove zabezpechennia efektyvnoho vykonannia rishen i zastosuvannia praktyky Yevropeiskoho sudu z prav liudyny: Materialy 3-i Mizhnarodnoi naukovopraktychnoi konferentsii (m. Odesa, 19–20 veresnia 2014) [Legal Framework for Efficient Implementation of Judgments and Application of the Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights: Materials of the 3rd International Scientific and Practical Conference (Odessa, September 19–20, 2014)] (Feniks 2014) 1 (in Ukrainian).