A Roadmap for Effective Prevention of Agricultural Land Registration Raiding presented by BRDO

11-11-2021

Registration raiding has not yet been not prevented effectively in Ukraine. Raiding is a capturing of business and assets. Registration raiding of agricultural land is caused by illegal interference in the work of state registries and data manipulation as a result of which farmers lose their harvest and sometimes even their land rights. Particularly medium and small agricultural farms suffer from raider attacks, due to factors such as their remoteness, lack of resources to seek recourse and lack of political influence.

On November 10, 2021, BRDO experts presented a Roadmap for preventing registration raiding of agricultural land, which was developed with support from the EU funded and the World Bank implemented “Supporting Transparent Land Governance in Ukraine” Project. The Roadmap covers 2 years and prioritizes the eliminating of key risk factors, while creating instruments sustainable blocking of raider attacks.

Land reform has opened huge opportunities for transactions both in terms of actual land, but also in terms of financial market. But raiding is a considerable issue that affects security of property rights and the rule of law. And that’s why we are happy that Ministry of Justice together with BRDO and “Pravo-Justice” project already established collaboration in the analysis and discussion that we are having today,” said Klaus Deininger, Lead economist, World Bank, Team leader of the Project “Supporting Transparent Land Governance in Ukraine”.

Raider attacks are mainly caused by loopholes due to legislation gaps, loopholes in the registration workflow and the ineffectiveness of state institutions which should be combating raiding. For example, Police investigators do not use registries, and the Board of the Ministry of Justice lacks an effective recourse mechanism for the chains of re-registrations, while raider related court cases take an unreasonably long time to be completed, in particular due to changes in the legal positions of the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court.

“Combatting raiding is a long-term reform. Ministry of Justice has implemented the Presidential Decree #542 and the Law of Ukraine On amendments to certain laws of Ukraine on property rights’ protection, developed jointly with BRDO and adopted in 2019, making raiding attacks more complicated to perform. However, the progress of today needs to become sustainable. The problem of raiding is immense for property rights’ protection and business climate in Ukraine. That is why in our Roadmap we suggest a set of priority initiatives which will help in decreasing the risks of raiding”, commented Oleksii Dorogan, CEO of the Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO).

How to prevent raiding of agricultural land and protect owners’ rights?

In comparison with 2019, in 2020-2021 raiding incidents reduced due to the elimination of accredited entities and introduction of two-factor authorization. According to Tymur Mykhailov, BRDO’s lawyer, priorities towards elimination of raiding are the modernization of the real estate register and business-register and introducing risk management subsystems. To successfully withstand raiding attacks, risk management should focus on the following functions:

  • Automatic monitoring of risky transactions by MoJ;
  • Mandatory “step-by-step workflow” for registration of transactions, while specifying the list of documents to be uploaded, without which it will be impossible to complete the registration of the transaction. This also requires agreement and approval of a standardized lists of documents for all business processes of real estate register and business-register.
  • Establish a land owner’s electronic cabinet, i.e., a web page which allows each land owner to receive information on request for changes in the registration, access administrative services, as well as – the option to block or confirm registration changes actions (this function requires additional expert discussion).

“The concept of step-by-step workflow needs to be detailed based on business analysis. We have already planned integration with registries, as well as have ongoing data exchange with the State Taz Service and data verification with State Migration Service of Ukraine. Apart from that, data exchange with the Single State System in Construction is already established, and after directories of real estate objects are updated, we will have two basic types of a land plot and a real estate object. In fact, we are already implementing first approach to step-by-step workflow, when during selection one of the types the mandatory inquiry to state registries is programmed. We are hoping for further support of our international partners in our work of implementing step-by-step workflow,” stated Sergiy Orlov, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Justice (CDTO).

These three initiatives together with other planned work, such as introduction of Electronic Notary System, integration of registries, and improvement of the legislation will help combatting raiding in Ukraine.

In the presentations and discussions also participated: Dmytro Lutsenko, lawyer and legal expert of the Verkhovna Rada Temporary commission of inquiry on Investor Rights Protection, Markus Klingler, Team Leader for Agriculture and SPS, European Commission, SGUA – Support Group for Ukraine, Christian Ben Hell, Sector Manager for Land, Agriculture, Forestry, and Food Safety, EU Delegation, Klaus Deininger, Lead economist, World Bank; Team leader of the Project “Supporting Transparent Land Governance in Ukraine”, Dovydas Vitkauskas, the European Union project “Pravo-Justice”, Viktor Dubovik, Head of the Anti-Raid Office, Yaroslav Gregirchak, Deputy Business Ombudsman, Inna Bernadska, Vice President of the Notary Chamber of Ukraine, Ivan Slobodyanyk, Executive Director of the All-Ukrainian Association of Communities. “Agro-Food Council”, Olga Matviyiva, Director of NGO” Business Varta”.

BRDO presentation is available here.

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