Even though Ukraine acceded to the UN Convention on Recognition and Enforcement Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “New York Convention”) as early as in 1961, Ukraine did not have its own arbitration institutions in the Soviet times. The monopoly of foreign trade enjoyed by the Soviet state had yielded the monopoly of resolving commercial disputes involving foreign parties to only two institutions based in Moscow, the capital of the Soviet Union—namely, the Arbitration Court at the All-Union Chamber of Commerce and Industry (known as Foreign Trade Arbitration Commission before 1987) and the Maritime Arbitration Commission.
Upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the newly independent Ukrainian state faced plenty of challenges including the proper administration of trade disputes with foreign parties. For several months no such institution that could have resolved these disputes was in place.
Conscious of this legal vacuum, the Parliament of Ukraine, when it established the legal framework for foreign trade for Ukrainian nationals by adopting the Law on Foreign Economic Activity, recommended that the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry establish a permanent arbitration body for prompt and efficient consideration of “foreign economic disputes.” Such institutions came into being on 11 August 1992, when the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce created the International Commercial Arbitration Court (ICACU) and the Maritime Arbitration Commission (MACU). However, from their very inception both institutions were daunted by lack of legal basis for their functioning. To cure this complicated situation, the Law on International Commercial Arbitration (the “International Arbitration Statute”) was passed on 24 February 1994 (effective 20 April 1994).
The International Arbitration Statute was based on the 1985 UNCITRAL Model Law On International Commercial Arbitration (the “Model Law”). Curiously enough, the International Arbitration Statute vested all supervisory powers in Ukrainian general courts which do not otherwise deal with commercial cases or business disputes.