Group manager

Obodovska Viktoria
Phone: 0979411109
vs.obodovska@gmail.com

Lead expert

Kuibida Roman
kuybida@gmail.com
Zhernakov Mykhailo
mykhailo.zhernakov@gmail.com
Мельничук Віталій
melnychuk9@gmail.com

Civil Society Organisations:

  • Centre of Policy and Legal Reform
  • DeJuRe Foundation
  • Center for Democracy and Rule of Law (CEDEM)
ISSUES TO BE RESOLVED BY THE REFORM
According to public opinion polls (GFK-Ukraine, Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation, Razumkov Centre), trust to judges reaches the critical 5–10%. It is lower than trust in the government, parliament, and any other public institution.
Such low level of trust is caused by several key problems.
Corruption that affected the judicial establishment and is convenient not only for judges but also for those whom this corruption allows to «solve» their problems in courts, especially the oligarchs. Unfortunately, covering each other’s backs in the system of justice prevents effective fight against this phenomenon.
Political dependence of judges grounded both in legislative mechanisms and in the system of informal practices. Judges are very sensitive to political components of cases. Many of them are used to this system and see their role as serving the interests of the political power and not protecting the human rights and reinforcing of the rule of law. The public does not have any effective leverages to influence the outcomes of work of qualification and disciplinary bodies. Public representatives are barely involved in the judicial proceedings as the jury, while the very institute of the jury is basically the same as the Soviet institute of people’s assessors which provided only for a token participation of the jury in the settlement of cases.
Inefficiency of work of the judges in terms of the correlation between human and financial resources and results of activity, which requires optimization of human and material resources, and simplification of the judicial system and procedures.Legal education is commercially oriented, still based on Soviet approaches to understanding the law, focused on learning the legislation and reproducing the knowledge of it, which is reflected in the court rulings.
Harmful informal influences in the system of justice are so widespread that it scares off the investors and thus impedes the economic development of Ukraine. The business environment in many cases does not believe that the passed judgments are fair. Commercial disputes are settled in Ukraine by professional judges, while in many European countries it is done by the authoritative experts trusted by the business. Any reforms will be fruitless if the society does not have justice system capable of enforcing law and order. The existence of a fair and effective system of justice is a necessary precondition to safety, protection and economic growth.
GOAL I. SUBSTANTIAL RENEWAL OF THE JUDICIAL CORPS AND IMPROVEMENT OF JUDGES’ ACCOUNTABILITY
  1. Strengthen demands to accountability of judges and responsibility for illicit enrichment; to ensure by a law a mechanism for involvement of the public into competitions to fill the vacancies to the positions of judges, and qualification assessment of judges.

Decision-making authority: Verkhovna Rada, High Qualifications Commission of Judges.

  1. Establish a Public Integrity Council and reinforce the society’s power to assess judges. Ensure inclusion of representatives of the public sector into the qualification and disciplinary judicial bodies. Establish public monitoring of the judges’ lifestyle.

Decision-making authority: Verkhovna Rada, High Qualifications Commission of Judges, Human Rights Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Head of the State Court Administration, civil society organizations.

  1. Under public supervision, establish the new Supreme Court instead of the four courts performing now the cassation function. Reorganize courts of appeal forming the new courts on a competitive basis.
    Ensure appointment of qualified and integral persons to the Supreme Court, including persons without prior judicial experience.

Decision-making authority: High Qualifications Commission of Judges, High Council of Justice, President, Public Integrity Council.

GOAL II. ACHIEVEMENT OF REAL INDEPENDENCE OF JUDGES
  1. Ensure inclusion into the High Council of Justice, High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine, bodies of judicial self-government who uncover the facts of interference into administration of justice. Monitor the activity of these bodies to prevent interference of political forces into a judge’s career.
  1. Prevent the decrease of financial support of newly-appointed judges or judges who have successfully passed qualifications assessment.
  1. React properly to the facts of violation of demands to integrity and independence while looking into the activity of the High Council of Justice and High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine.

Decision-making authority: Verkhovna Rada, the Congress of Judges, civil society organizations.

GOAL III. INTRODUCTION OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES FOR ORGANIZATION OF WORK OF JUDGES AND ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
  1. Develop and introduce a system of economic assessment of case hearing costs and court workload which should become the basis for determination of court network, number or judges and court staff, calculation of financing. Determine and introduce the standards of court work (human resources management, technological process management, etc.).

Decision-making authority: High Council of Justice, State Court Administration.

  1. Ensure procedurally and introduce technologies of e-justice, which will enable full communication of process participants with the court using electronic channels.

Decision-making authority: Verkhovna Rada, State Court Administration.

  1. Introduce simplified mechanisms of case hearing, particularly e-writ, automatized seizure of accounts to secure the claim or enforce court decisions.

Decision-making authority: Verkhovna Rada, State Court Administration.

GOAL IV. INTRODUCTION OF A FULL-FLEDGED JURY TRIAL
  1. Make actual public demand to introduce a different model of jury trial where jurors will render verdict concerning a person being (not) guilty, while the judge will award punishment on the basis of the verdict.
  1. Establish the procedure for hearing cases in a jury trial and extend the scope of its application.
  1. Develop and introduce programs for protection of jurors and witnesses in criminal proceedings.

Decision-making authority: Verkhovna Rada, Ministry of Justice.

GOAL V. INTRODUCTION OF THE WORLD STANDARDS INTO LEGAL EDUCATION AND REGULATION OF LEGAL PROFESSIONS
  1. Determine legislatively legal professions (attorney, judge, prosecutor, notary) and conditions of access to them, delimit them from other professions into which legal professionals may be involved.
  1. Introduce legislatively high standards of legal education that would ensure training of professional high-qualified lawyers. Introduce external independent testing as a mandatory condition of getting legal education and access to profession.
  1. Bring the legislation governing professional legal activity (judges, attorneys, prosecutors, notaries) into conformance with international standards, to facilitate improvement of efficiency of self-government among law professionals.
  1. Give attorneys a possibility to choose bar associations that would represent their interest thus overcoming the monopolization of bodies of attorneys’ self-government.

Decision-making authority: Verkhovna Rada.

GOAL VІ. ESTABLISHMENT OF AN ANTICORRUPTION COURT TO CONSIDER HIGH-PROFILE CORRUPTION CASES
  1. Reach a consensus in society, political authorities and international community concerning prompt establishment of the anticorruption court in Ukraine (or a criminal court with broader jurisdiction, which would also include crimes against humanity, war crimes, etc.).

Decision-making authority: Verkhovna Rada.

  1. Ensure legislatively the operation of the anticorruption court. Set: special rules of selection of judges where political forces and acting judges would not have decisive influence; reinforced guarantees of work of such judges and special mechanism for forming court staff and financing this court. To consider the possibility to involve temporarily foreign judges as lay judges into hearing cases so that they strengthen the capacity of Ukrainian judges to hear the respective categories of cases.

Decision-making authority: Verkhovna Rada.

  1. Ensure the quality of the composition of the Higher Anticorruption Court as a first instance court, as well as of the respective chamber of the new Supreme Court. The responsible judges of the Supreme Court should also enjoy additional guarantees provided to the judges of the anticorruption court.

Decision-making authority: Verkhovna Rada, High Council of Justice, President.

GOAL VІІ. DIVERSIFICATION OF THE MECHANISM TO SOLVE COMMERCIAL DISPUTES
  1. Reach consensus in the business environment and political authorities concerning the involvement of business representatives (arbitrators) in commercial disputes solution, as well as improving of arbitration courts operation.
  1. Ensure legislatively functioning of the arbitrator courts to solve commercial disputes.
  1. Form qualitative composition of the arbitrators and arbitration courts and launch their operation.

Decision-making authority: Verkhovna Rada.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Group experts

  • Banchuk Oleksandr
  • Halabala Markian
  • Kuibida Roman
  • Malyshev Borys
  • Maselko Roman
  • Obodovska Viktoria
  • Piasecka Agnieszka
  • Sereda Maksym
  • Shepel Taras
  • Shevchenko Taras
  • Shyshkina Elina
  • Vlasiuk Vladyslav
  • Zhernakov Mykhailo
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