Reform progress in 2016
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.