Reanimation package of reforms > Announcements > Judicial reform > Reforms breakfast “Hidden dangers of the last stage of the Supreme Court competition”

Reforms breakfast “Hidden dangers of the last stage of the Supreme Court competition”

We would like to cordially invite you to the reforms breakfast “Hidden dangers of the last stage of the Supreme Court competition” (for diplomats, representatives of international institutions and foreign correspondents). The event will take place on Thursday, May 11.

Candidates who are running for the Supreme Court have undergone a series of tests, but still must pass a final interview – the most important stage of selection when candidates have to answer all the questions concerning the origin of their property, their professional activity, etc. The first interviews started on April 21 and were broadcasted online. Moreover, for the first time in Ukraine’s history a civic body consisting of lawyers, scholars and journalists – the Public Integrity Council (PIC) – has a say in the candidates’ integrity assessment, which should be considered by the High Qualification Commission of Judges (HQCJ). Thus, at first glance the process is running quite smoothly.

However, in reality the situation is very different. Not only decent candidates are now taking part in this stage of the competition – there are also those whose professional integrity raises well-grounded doubts. If the PIC issues a negative opinion on any of them, the relevant panel of the HQCJ consisting of four members can agree with this opinion and recognize the candidate as incapable of administering justice due to their failure to meet the criteria of good practice and professional ethics. But if the panel believes that the candidate is scrupulous and should continue taking part in the competition, the PIC’s negative opinion can be overruled by 11 out of 15 votes at the special plenary meeting of the HQCJ. Unfortunately, as for now, only 12 out of 51 candidates (less than a quarter) that received a negative opinion of the PIC were dismissed by the HQCJ panels, meaning that the final decision on these and other candidates will be taken at the special plenary meeting of the HQCJ.

This vote, by the recent decision by the HQCJ, should take place in camera, so the public will not know who voted in favor or against the dismissal of such candidates, and neither it will know the scores each of HQCJ gave as a result of the interview. Considering that the interview accounts for 790/1000 of the points the candidates can get, such lack of transparency bears great risks. There is no limit to the arbitrariness of the decisions adopted in camera, and this will very probably lead to appointment of the candidates who obviously do not comply with the standards of integrity and professional ethics.

How to ensure transparency and impartiality of interviews? What should be done to prevent odious candidates from entering the highest positions within Ukraine’s judicial system? What role Ukraine’s civil society and the international community should play to save the competition to the Supreme Court on its final stage?

These and other questions will be discussed by the following experts:

Moderator: Taras Shevchenko, director of the Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law, co-chairman of the RPR Board;

Please kindly confirm your participation by filling the registration form.

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Christina Parandii at