How to obtain an expert opinion on the destruction/damage of property during wartime

According to the procedural laws of Ukraine, an expert opinion is one of the sources of evidence in:

– criminal proceedings;
– civil proceedings;
– commercial proceedings.

In the presence of objective grounds stipulated by the respective procedural codes, an authorized person (investigator, judge, investigative judge), either independently or at the initiative of the party to the proceedings, to address issues requiring specialized knowledge, may appoint a judicial examination. The conduct of this examination may be entrusted to court experts from state specialized forensic institutions or non-governmental forensic institutions.

Moreover, the possibility of appointing a judicial examination directly by the participant in the case (proceedings) without involving an authorized person is also provided.

The procedure for appointing a judicial examination is clearly defined by the procedural codes of Ukraine. Therefore, in the event of the destruction or damage of property, it is necessary to contact the National Police to document the circumstances of destruction or damage and collect materials necessary for the appointment of a judicial examination. After proper documentation, a decision on appointing a judicial examination will be issued by the investigator, and its conduct will be entrusted to court experts from the aforementioned institutions.

If the defense of violated rights is carried out through judicial procedures within civil or commercial proceedings, a judge may independently or at the request of a participant in the case decide to appoint a judicial examination, entrusting its conduct to court experts from the aforementioned institutions.

Additionally, in case of necessity or the occurrence of other circumstances, a participant in the case (proceedings) may independently, without referring to an investigator or the court, initiate a judicial examination. In such a case, compliance with procedural legislation requires the drafting of a motion for the appointment of a judicial examination, which should be submitted for execution to one of the specified court forensic institutions.

The results of the judicial examination will lead to an objective and substantiated expert opinion with comprehensive and clear answers to all questions posed to the expert.

The publication was prepared within the framework of the Project “Increasing awareness among self-governing municipalities and citizens on recording the destruction caused by war”, which is implemented by the Ukrainian Association of District and Regional Councils with the support of the “Phoenix” Project, which is implemented by the Eastern Europe Fund at the expense of the European Union.