Re­form progress in 2016

The Ukrainian Week - - POLITICS | JUDICIAL REFORM -

Changes to the Con­sti­tu­tion re­lat­ing to jus­tice

These changes con­cern all parts of the ju­di­cial sys­tem. The mech­a­nisms for their in­tro­duc­tion will be sub­se­quently spec­i­fied in sep­a­rate laws. Sim­ply put, the ju­di­ciary is be­com­ing a three-tier sys­tem – the high spe­cialised courts [cre­ated un­der Vik­tor Yanukovych and over­lap­ping in author­ity with the Supreme Court that was not en­tirely loyal to the Yanukovych ad­min­is­tra­tion] have been abol­ished. Judges will be elected not for five years, as pre­vi­ously, but for life. The elec­tion will be done by the Pres­i­dent based on the rec­om­men­da­tion of the Supreme Coun­cil of Jus­tice (SCJ), not by the Verkhovna Rada. The SCJ it­self was trans­formed into the High Coun­cil of Jus­tice, where a ma­jor­ity will be elected by the Congress of Judges, while rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the se­cu­rity forces lose their seats. At the same time, the im­mu­nity of judges is limited: spe­cial per­mis­sion is not re­quired to de­tain them at the scene of a crime.

Law on en­force­ment pro­ceed­ings

This law re­moves the state mo­nop­oly in en­forc­ing court de­ci­sions. Per­mis­sion is granted for the op­er­a­tion of pri­vate bailiffs. On the whole, the doc­u­ment aims to speed up the en­force­ment of court de­ci­sions, which is a sig­nif­i­cant prob­lem in Ukraine. Op­po­nents of the law be­lieve that it has not made sig­nif­i­cant changes to the in­dus­try and that the old prob­lems re­main un­re­solved.

Law on the ju­di­ciary and sta­tus of judges

The cre­ation of the Anti-Cor­rup­tion Court is en­vis­aged, but a pre­cise time­line is not spec­i­fied. The Pub­lic In­tegrity Coun­cil (PIC) was set up to ver­ify can­di­dates for judge po­si­tions. At the same time, a part of so­ci­ety was un­happy with the fact that the con­clu­sions of the PIC will not have a de­ci­sive in­flu­ence on the judge ap­pli­ca­tion process.

Ju­di­cial re­form comes into ef­fect

The amend­ments to the Con­sti­tu­tion and the new Law on the ju­di­ciary and sta­tus of judges come into ef­fect.

Law on the High Coun­cil of Jus­tice (HCJ)

The HCJ re­ceives new pow­ers, in par­tic­u­lar re­gard­ing the ap­point­ment and dis­missal of judges, as well as hear­ing dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings. Part of so­ci­ety is con­cerned that mem­bers of the for­mer Supreme Coun­cil of Jus­tice will re­tain their pow­ers in the new body un­til 2019.

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