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25 July 2019

New Ukrainian language law is already in effect. New language regulations for labelling of foreign products, foreign software with user interfaces, websites, and advertising

The new Law of Ukraine “On Ensuring the Functioning of Ukrainian as State Language” No. 2704-VIII (“New Language Law”) entered into force on 16 July 2019 in spite of all pressure, claims, and objections. As expected, opponents lodged a petition with the Ukrainian Constitutional Court calling the New Language Law unconstitutional, but this does not prevent it from entering into effect.

In our previous legal alert dedicated to the issue and based on the bill ensuring the functioning of Ukrainian as state language No. 5670-д (“Bill”), we discussed what business could expect if the Bill was signed into law. But no official text of the New Language Law was available at that time. Below we provide an updated brief overview of the requirements for the use of Ukrainian in relation to software with user interfaces, websites, servicing consumers, labelling, packaging, and advertising based on the provisions of the now effective New Language Law.

As expected, the official text of the effective New Language Law differs from the text of the Bill in some areas, including regulation of transitional periods. Compared to the Bill, the New Language Law provides for a smoother and more balanced transition to new language regulations.

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