What changes are expecting the judicial reform, how do they plan to renew trust in the judicial system and ensure taking a fair decisions by an independent court you can read in article of ESQUIRES managing partner Alexander Skelebey for Mind.ua.
The preliminary results of judicial reform.
The strategy of reforming the judiciary, and related legal institutions was approved by the previous President of Ukraine for five years (2015-2020). However, in the middle of this year, even the President of the Economic Court of Cassation being a part of the Supreme Court expressed the opinion that it is incorrect to evaluate the judicial reform as something completed, because it is still ongoing.
Even the implemented part of the judicial reform has raised many questions:
Has the functioning of the updated High Judicial Council and High Judicial Qualifications Commission, as the bodies of judicial regulation, ensured the independence of judges?
Did they stick to the axiom during the reform: independent court can be formed only independent bodies of judicial administrations?
How could an outside observer make an impression that taking a quick qualification assessment of judges within the time frames established by the Law of Ukraine “On ensuring the Right to a Fair Trial” was not a priority, and the qualification assessment procedure itself did not actually provide the clear deadlines, which produced legal uncertainty?
Is the government interested in an independent court and may the judicial system be completely independent from the government that formed it?
In its turn, the appointment of the new members of the High Judicial Council by the previous president of Ukraine in a week before the transfer of power hardly supported the intention to build an independent judiciary.
Issues to be solved.
Earlier, the team of the current president, Vladimir Zelensky, also paid attention on the negative consequences of judicial reform, and after the formation of the Supreme Council of the new convocation, it presented a map of changes to satisfy the public’s request to the judicial branch
in the draft law No. 1008 from 29/08/2019.
So, the Deputy Head of the President’s office, Ruslan Ryaboshapka, who is currently appointed as the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, confidently claim, that there are obvious problems with the judicial reform consequences, starting with the first line of the Explanatory Statement before the draft law “On Amending Certain Laws of Ukraine Regarding the Activities of Judicial Administration”:
the judicial reform has been proclaimed and has been ongoing over the past years has left many unresolved issues, in particular, on ensuring citizens’ access to justice, their right to a fair court decision, and the real independence of judges.This is evidenced by an unsatisfactory level of trust in the judicial system in Ukraine, unlawful decisions of courts of all instances, the absence of judges in courts in some regions of Ukraine,that deprives citizens from their constitutional right for defense in court;
Practically unlimited discretion of members of the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine while conducting competitive procedures for the selection of judges and their qualification assessment or for delaying the consideration by members of the High Council of Justice of disciplinary complaints about the actions of judges;
the qualification assessment procedure, which was initiated by the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine in 2016, has not been completed yet and only half of the judges from the entire Judiciary are considered to have passed the qualification assessment.
The procedure of the selection of judges for vacant positions has began in 2017 and still continues to be. Neither the judges, nor the expert community, nor the public understand why these processes are slowed down, and citizens still cannot get a fair court decision timely.
How Zelensky plans to upgrade judicial reform.
At the same time, in the case of the adoption of law draft No. 1008, the updated judicial reform will primarily affect the new Supreme Court and judicial authorities.