Being launched in June 2016, judicial reform aims to liquidate corruption, to hold re-certification of judges, to abolish a number of courts (economic, administrative, civil and of criminal cases) and to introduce the Supreme Court instead. It is also planned to change the system of justice: after the reform there will remain local courts, appeal courts and the Supreme Court as the highest judicial body. The new Supreme Court will consist of not more than 200 judges, who will immediately receive perpetual attestation, like all other judges.
The formation of the High Council of Justice with 100% new composition is considered to be a significant step towards the implementation of the judicial reform. To liquidate corruption, it is planned to increase salaries of judges, to implement a mechanism of monitoring their life and expenditures, to introduce a new ground for dismissal of a judge, namely his/her refusal to confirm the legality of sources of income. Moreover, derogation of judges’ immunity will be carried out in several stages. Appropriate amendments to the Constitution has already abolished restrictions on the detention of judges charged with a crime.
Government bodies responsible for the reform: the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, the General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. To monitor the reform, a Council on Judicial Reform has been established.
Reform expert – Roman Kuybida, Deputy Chairman of the NGO “Center for Political and Legal Reforms”.
➤ Start of the procedure for qualification evaluation of judges, used by the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine during re-certification of all judiciary sector.
➤ Setting up the Public Council of Integrity and a contest for a new Supreme Court.
➤ Termination of powers of the President and the Parliament to dismiss judges, as well as the Parliament – to elect them for an unlimited term.
Measures to be taken:
➤ Creation of the Supreme Court.
➤ Reorganization and/or association of appeal and district courts that falls within the President’s powers until the end of 2017.
➤ Qualification evaluation of judges (approximately three to four years).
➤ Formation of the High Council of Justice by 2019 with the majority of judges in its composition.
Key laws adopted under the reform:
➤ The Amendments to the Constitution “On justice” (valid from Sept. 30, 2016).
➤ The Law “On Judicial System and Status of Judges” (valid from Sept. 30, 2016).
➤ The Law “On bodies and persons engaged in the enforcement of judgments and other bodies decisions’ execution” (valid from Oct. 05, 2016).
➤ The Law “On Enforcement Proceedings” (valid from Oct. 5, 2016).
Laws to be adopted:
➤ The Law “On the High Council of Justice” (drafted and registered).
➤ The Law “On the Constitutional Court” (drafted, but not submitted).
➤ The Amendments to the Procedure Code (under development).
➤ The new Law “On Advocacy and Advocacy Activity” (under development).
➤ The Amendments to the Law “On the General Prosecutor’s Office” (registered).
➤ The Law “On Higher Legal Education” or the Law “On access to the legal profession” (under development).