Born on January 13, 1940 in Poltava. Started his career in 1957 as a machinist of the Poltava locomotive round house. After graduating from the Kharkiv Law Institute (currently known as Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University) in 1963, held the position of Assistant District Attorney and Prosecutor of the Criminal Cases Oversight Unit at the Poltava Regional Prosecutor's Office. Since 1966, his life and work have been associated with the Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University: graduate student, senior lecturer, associate professor, deputy dean of the Faculty of Science, Vice Rector for Research, since July 1987 and up to now – Rector of the university. In 1993, by decree of the President of Ukraine of July 23, 1993, No. 275/93, he was appointed President-organizer of the Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine, and in December 1993 he was elected President of the Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine (currently – National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine). Since March 3, 2016 – Honorary President of the National Academy of Law of Ukraine and Advisor to the Panel of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.
In 1970 he defended his dissertation on the topic: "Criminal liability for commercial mediation" (specialty 12.00.08). In 1973 he was awarded the rank of associate professor. In 1984 he defended his doctoral dissertation on the topic: Problems of responsibility for economic crimes: object and system (specialty 12.00.08). In 1985 he was awarded the academic title of professor. In 1997 he was elected a full member (academician) of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and is a member of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (since 1998).
Areas of scientific activity – criminal law (in particular, issues of object, subject and target of crime, criminal liability for crimes against a person, the state, the environment, crimes in the sphere of economic activity), problems of state theory and law (questions of methodology of legal science, comparative law research and enforcement), constitutional law (principles of lawmaking, legal nature and hierarchy of legal acts, etc.).
Author of over 500 scientific works, including over 50 monographs, a number of guidebooks and textbooks, including: "The concept, system and general types of economic crimes" (1974); "Responsibility for Economic Crimes" (1979); "Responsibility for economic crimes: object and system" (1984), "Criminal Code of the Ukrainian SSR: Scientific and Practical Commentary" (et al., 1987); "Criminal Law of Ukraine: General Part" and "Criminal Law of Ukraine: Special Part" (in co., 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2015); "Constitutional Law of Ukraine" (in co., 1999), "Constitution of Ukraine: Scientific and Practical Commentary" (in co., 2003, 2011); "Criminal Code of Ukraine: Scientific and Practical Commentary" (in co., 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2013); "The Legal System of Ukraine: History, Status and Prospects: in 5 volumes Vol. 1: Methodological and historical and theoretical problems of formation and development of the legal system of Ukraine; Volume 5: Criminal Law Sciences. Topical Issues of Combating Crime in Ukraine" (in co-authors, 2008 (in Ukrainian), 2011 (in Russian), 2013 (in Ukrainian), "Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine: Scientific and Practical Commentary: in 2 volumes" (in co., 2012), "The Legal Doctrine of Ukraine: in Volume 5, Volume 1: General Theoretical and Historical Jurisprudence; Volume 5: Criminal Law in Ukraine: State, Problems, and Development Paths" (in co-ed., 2013 (in Ukrainian), 2018 (in English), 2015 (in English), "The Object and Target of Crime in Criminal Law" (2016), "Topical Issues of the Criminal Legislation of Ukraine and Practice of Its Application" (in co., 2017), "Legal Encyclopedia" (1998-2004), "The Great Ukrainian Legal Encyclopedia: in Vol. 20 Vol. 3: General Theory of Law; Vol. 17: Criminal Law" (in co., 2017).
He is a member of a number of presidential and governmental commissions, non-governmental organizations, including the Committee on State Prizes of Ukraine in Science and Technology, the Scientific and Expert Council of the Security Service of Ukraine, the Board of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the Bureau of the Council of the Northeastern Scientific Center of the National Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Education and Sciences of Ukraine, the Council of the Union of Lawyers of Ukraine, the Coordinating Council of the International Union of Lawyers, the International Law Association, the International Association of Legal Methodology, the Board of Directors of the European Public Law Organization, the International Criminal Law Association, Chairman of the NGO "All-Ukrainian Criminal Law Association", Vice-President of the Union of Rectors of Higher Educational Institutions of Ukraine, etc. Head of Specialized Academic Council D. 64.086.01 at Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University.
As a member of the Constitutional Commission he took part in the drafting of the Constitution of Ukraine in 1996, was chairman of the working group of the Cabinet of Ministers on the drafting of the Criminal Code of 2001, a member of the Supreme Council of Justice of Ukraine, the Constitutional Assembly, the Scientific Advisory Council of the High Specialized Court of Ukraine for consideration of civil and criminal cases, participated in the drafting of the Statute of the International Criminal Court and many other draft laws and draft regulations.
Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Collection of Scientific Articles "Bulletin of the National Academy of Law Sciences of Ukraine", Editor-in-Chief of the collection of scientific works "Problems of Legality", Co-Chairman of the Scientific Council of the journal "Law of Ukraine", Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Collection of Scientific Papers "Yearbook of Ukrainian Law" "Bulletin of the Prosecutor's Office", "High School", "Bulletin of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine", editor-in-chief of the electronic edition of "Bulletin of the Association of Criminal Law of Ukraine", etc.
Hero of Ukraine (2004). Honored Academic and Technics Figure of Ukraine (1989). He was awarded the orders of Knyaz Yaroslav Mudryi of V, IV, III, II and I degrees (1995, 1998, 2009, 2015, 2018), the Order of Merit of II and I degrees (2000, 2012), the Order of Honor (1981), Honorary Diplomas of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (2001), Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (2002), Acknowledgment of the Security Service of Ukraine with the award of a badge (2018), Gold medal of the National Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine (2013). Winner of the State Prize of Ukraine in the field of architecture (2001), State Prize of Ukraine in the field of science and technology (2004), V. Vernadsky Prize (2001), Yaroslav Mudryi Award (2001, 2002), Femida-99 Prize. He has a number of departmental, community, church, and government awards from other states. 1st Class State Advisor of Justice (2010).
Honorary Doctor of Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University (2000), Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs (2002), I.I. Mechnikov Odesa National University (2004), Professor Emeritus of Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University (2005), Honorary Academician of the Ostroh Academic Brotherhood (2005), Honorary Academician of the Petro Vasylenko Kharkiv National Technical University of Agriculture (2005), Honorary Professor of the Alfred Nobel Dnipropetrovsk University (2012), etc.
Honorary citizen of the cities of Poltava (2001), Kharkiv (2004) and Kharkiv Region (2014).