L&M Finance Group

Lobbying law adopted

Today, on March 14, the text of the Law on Lobbying was published, thus entering into force as of today.

What does it mean?
Essentially, the law is aimed at legalizing lobbying in Ukraine. It allows any business or business association to enter into agreements with lobbyists to protect its interests.

Ukrainian lobbying is any attempt to influence a legal act or its draft in the commercial interests of a person or a third party.

Thus, the main goal of the law is to make the lobbying process more transparent and in line with international standards, so that everyone knows who influences the decision-making process and how.

The law provides for an updated definition of lobbying terminology, rights and obligations of lobbying participants, methods of influence and rules of ethical behavior of lobbying participants.

In general, a number of specific terms related to lobbying can be distinguished from the text of the law, in particular:

1) beneficiary - a foreign state, individual, legal entity or group of such persons in whose commercial interests lobbying is carried out;

2) lobbying services agreement (hereinafter referred to as the lobbying agreement) means a transaction made in writing, according to which the lobbying entity carries out lobbying at the request of the client in the commercial interests of the beneficiary;

3) client - a foreign state, individual, legal entity or group of such persons that has entered into a lobbying agreement with a lobbying entity in its commercial interests or in the commercial interests of another beneficiary;

4) commercial interest - money or other property, personal advantages, benefits, other benefits of a tangible or intangible nature that a person receives or may receive in the course of business activities after influencing (attempting to influence) the lobbying object as a result of adoption (publication) of a regulatory legal act, amendments thereto, invalidation (repeal) of a regulatory legal act that is the subject of lobbying, or as a result of refraining from such actions;

5) conflict of interest in lobbying is a contradiction between commercial interests of the beneficiaries of the lobbying entity, interests or rights of the lobbying entity and its obligations, which may affect the objectivity or impartiality of the lobbying entity in the course of lobbying;

6) lobbying - an activity carried out with the aim of influencing (attempting to influence) the object of lobbying in the commercial interests of the beneficiary (for remuneration received directly or indirectly and/or with payment of actual expenses necessary for its implementation) or in the person's own commercial interests and relating to the subject of lobbying;

7) object of lobbying - a subject of lawmaking activity (except for the Ukrainian people at an all-Ukrainian referendum, a territorial community at a local referendum) and/or a subject of lawmaking initiative;

8) subject of lobbying - a regulatory legal act, in relation to the planning of development, drafting and/or adoption (publication) of which, amendment of which, invalidation (repeal) of which (or refraining from such actions) the lobbying subject exercises influence (attempts to influence) on the object of lobbying;

9) lobbying entity - a natural or legal person who carries out lobbying on the grounds and in the manner prescribed by this Law;

10) lobbying sphere - a sphere of public relations in which the lobbying subject plans to conduct or conducts lobbying

Lobbying does not include the following activities that do not contain signs of lobbying:

1) representation of foreign policy interests by diplomatic service bodies;

2) people's initiative at an all-Ukrainian referendum and initiative at local referendums;

3) activities of entities in the field of media and electronic communications;

4) activities of political parties and organizations of political parties, activities of candidates for elected positions in the presidential elections, elections of people's deputies of Ukraine and local elections related to their participation in the electoral process of the respective elections;

5) activities of associations of local self-government bodies;

6) scientific and scientific and technical activities;

7) activities related to attraction, use, monitoring of provision and use of international technical assistance, implementation of projects and programs of international technical assistance;

8) activities of public associations, other non-profit enterprises, institutions and organizations aimed at influencing (attempting to influence) the subjects of power (public authorities, other state bodies, local self-government bodies, legal entities of public law vested with power, their officials) in order to make or refrain from making decisions within their powers, unless such activities relate to commercial interests

9) personal (on his or her own behalf) representation by an individual or legal entity of his or her interests in relations with state authorities, other state bodies, local self-government bodies, their officials, unless such representation is carried out by a lobbying entity and/or is carried out in the person's own commercial interests;

10) independent professional activity of advocates in the field of defense, representation and provision of other types of legal aid to the client;

11) influence (attempted influence) on the subjects of power (state authorities, other state bodies, local self-government bodies, legal entities under public law vested with power, their officials) with the aim of adoption or refraining from adoption by such subjects of legal acts that do not contain the norms of law.

The law does not allow lobbying in cases where the subject of lobbying is:

- a court decision
- decision and opinion of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine;
- an act on the announcement of mobilization;
- an act on the introduction of martial law and a state of emergency;
- declaration of a state of war and conclusion of peace upon the President's proposal;
- use of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military formations;
- declaration of environmental emergency zones;
- an individual act.

The provisions of this Law do not apply to the people's initiative at the all-Ukrainian referendum and the initiative at local referendums.

Exceptions to lobbying

- Lobbying without registration in the NACP Transparency Register will be illegal.

- Political parties, media, religious organizations, and election candidates will not be able to be lobbyists or promote their interests through lobbyists.

- Officials, people with criminal records, citizens and companies from the aggressor state (Russia), and sanctioned persons will be prohibited from lobbying.

- Activities of public associations and non-profit organizations will not be considered lobbying if they do not pursue commercial interests.

- Lobbying is prohibited on the issues of mobilization, martial law, use of troops, declaration of war, peace and change of the territory of Ukraine.

- The law will also not apply to activities related to international technical assistance. It will not be possible to lobby administrative acts and acts of individual action.

Transparency register

Both individuals and companies, including foreign companies with representative offices in Ukraine, will be able to lobby. In order to obtain this status, the lobbyist's information must be entered into the Transparency Register maintained by the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption. The register will contain information about lobbyists and reports on their activities.

A similar register already exists in the EU starting in 2021 - the EU Transparency register. The EU Transparency register is a database of groups and organizations that influence the formation and implementation of EU policy and legislation. As of February 2024, almost 12,500 businesses, NGOs, law firms, lobbying companies, individuals, academic institutions, associations and consultants are registered here.

According to the NAPC, the data in the Ukrainian Transparency Register will be publicly available around the clock, free of charge and publicly accessible (except for personal data).

According to the law, it is established that:

- the day the Transparency Register starts functioning is the day the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine publishes a notice on the start of the Transparency Register in the Golos Ukrainy newspaper;

- after the enactment of this Law, the lobbying entity shall submit a lobbying report for the first time for the first half of 2025 by July 31 of the relevant reporting year.

In addition, the Cabinet of Ministers must approve the Rules of Ethical Conduct for Lobbying Entities within six months and ensure the establishment and operation of the Transparency Register.

Lobbying reporting.

Lobbying reports are submitted in electronic form for all areas of lobbying. The report must contain identifying data of the business entity, identifying data of the client or other beneficiary of lobbying, the subject and object of lobbying (by lobbying areas), the date of conclusion, validity period and price of each lobbying agreement (in the following ranges: up to UAH 100 thousand; from UAH 100 thousand to UAH 1 million; from UAH 1 million to UAH 10 million; over UAH 10 million). UAH 10 million; over UAH 10 million), the amount of funds received by the lobbying entity during the reporting period from the client under each lobbying agreement (in the above ranges), the amount of funds spent by the lobbying entity during the reporting period in each area of lobbying, with a list of lobbying subjects (if lobbying is carried out in the lobbying entity's own commercial interests or in the commercial interests of the beneficiary without concluding a lobbying agreement, within the above-mentioned ranges), meetings and communication with lobbying objects that hold responsible or especially responsible positions within the meaning of the Law of Ukraine "On Prevention of Corruption", during which lobbying was carried out, the amount of contributions made by the lobbying entity to support political parties, contributions to election funds (indicating the names of parties/their local organizations, the amount, type of each contribution and the date of its payment).

Reportedly, the law will be enacted no later than January 1, 2025, but two months after the date of the launch of the Transparency Register.