Com­pe­ti­tion for the Supreme Court of Ukraine – the Chance for Change.

Kyiv Post Legal Quarterly - - News -

The le­gal sys­tem of the coun­try has come to a halt in an­tic­i­pa­tion of a sig­nif­i­cant event. Within the next few days, the High Coun­cil of Jus­tice will an­nounce its con­clu­sions, and the Pres­i­dent will sign an or­der on nom­i­nat­ing new judges to the new Supreme Court. This large-scale com­pe­ti­tion has three key fea­tures. First - the un­prece­dented trans­parency of the se­lec­tion pro­ce­dures. Sec­ond - not only judges, but at­tor­neys-at-law and aca­demics were able to par­tic­i­pate in the com­pe­ti­tion. Thirdly, the pub­lic had a di­rect in­flu­ence on the se­lec­tion of the can­di­dates through the in­sti­tute of the Pub­lic In­tegrity Coun­cil (PIC), which is un­par­al­leled any­where in the world. 625 lawyers were ad­mit­ted to the ex­am­i­na­tions, while 320 of them reached the fi­nal. From them, the High Ju­di­cial Qual­i­fi­ca­tions Com­mis­sion (HJQC) chose 120 fi­nal­ists. Who are these 120 po­ten­tial judges? Most are pro­fes­sional judges (91 per­sons), nine at­tor­neys-at- law, 16 aca­demics. 34 can­di­dates have a PHD, and 12 of them an even higher de­gree. The gen­der bal­ance is good: 54 women, 66 men. The com­pe­ti­tion it­self took place over five stages: (1) Ad­mis­sion to the com­pe­ti­tion, (2) As­sess­ment of pro­fes­sional skills, (3) As­sess­ment of per­sonal moral and psy­cho­log­i­cal qual­i­ties and gen­eral abil­i­ties, (4) PIC ex­am­i­na­tion, (5) In­ter­view and for­ma­tion of the fi­nal can­di­dates rat­ing. The qual­i­fi­ca­tions of po­ten­tial judges were checked us­ing two meth­ods. The first was an anony­mous knowl­edge test. The sec­ond was a writ­ten as­sign­ment. All these stages were anony­mous, the test re­sults were checked by com­puter, and when as­sess­ing the writ­ten work, HJQC mem­bers did not know whose work was be­ing as­sessed. The as­sess­ment of moral and psy­cho­log­i­cal qual­i­ties was es­pe­cially in­ter­est­ing. This ex­am­i­na­tion as­sessed fu­ture judges ac­cord­ing to 31 fac­tors, and con­sisted of four tests and an in­ter­view with a psy­chol­o­gist. All this was checked us­ing four world-known meth­ods of psy­chodi­ag­nos­tics: Gen­eral Skills Test (log­i­cal, ab­stract and ver­bal think­ing), the HCS_ In­tegrity Check (in­tegrity, ten­dency to im­pro­pri­eties), BFQ-2 (emo­tional sta­bil­ity, dis­ci­pline, com­mu­nica­tive­ness), and ММРІ-2 (stress re­sis­tance, pathopsy­cho­log­i­cal risks). Us­ing these test re­sults, pro­fes­siograms were formed, in which a can­di­date were com­pared to a hy­po­thet­i­cal per­fect pro­file of a Supreme Court judge. Check­ing this enor­mous amount of in­for­ma­tion, the PIC drew the neg­a­tive con­clu­sions about 147 can­di­dates. Twelve of these con­clu­sions were re­voked by the PIC. One hun­dred and twenty-seven con­clu­sions were sub­mit­ted for con­sid­er­a­tion by the HJQC, 50 of which were ap­proved, and ac­cord­ingly these can­di­dates were with­drawn. Seven­ty­seven can­di­dates with a neg­a­tive con­clu­sion were al­lowed to con­tinue in the se­lec­tion process by the PIC, and 30 of them were in­cluded to the list of 120 “fi­nal­ists.” The in­ter­view and rat­ing for­ma­tion is the last stage. It was the only stage of the com­pe­ti­tion where a sub­jec­tive fac­tor - the opinion/ in­flu­ence of a par­tic­u­lar HJQC mem­ber - was in­cluded. Com­bin­ing the re­sults of all ex­am­i­na­tions, a can­di­date could get a max­i­mum of 1,000 points. The com­mis­sion as­signed a per­sonal rat­ing for each can­di­date, se­lect­ing 30 win­ners for each of four cas­sa­tion courts. It is these 120 can­di­dates who will be­come the Supreme Court judges.

What con­clu­sions can be drawn from the com­pe­ti­tion re­sults?

A small num­ber of can­di­dates from out­side the ju­di­cial sys­tem will be able to wear the robes of a judge of the high­est in­stance – the lawyers and le­gal aca­demics. What is the rea­son? First of all, it was mistrust at the stage when the com­pe­ti­tion was an­nounced. Some highly qual­i­fied and wor­thy le­gal pro­fes­sion­als just de­cided not to par­tic­i­pate in it. Se­condly, the com­plex­ity and the vol­ume of re­quired doc­u­ments re­duced the field of can­di­dates. The com­pe­ti­tion re­sults are widely trusted in the pro­fes­sional en­vi­ron­ment. This point is con­firmed by the fact that 5,335 can­di­dates ap­plied for an­other se­lec­tion com­pe­ti­tion - for 600 va­can­cies in the courts of first in­stance. For me per­son­ally, the best in­di­ca­tor of the com­pe­ti­tion’s suc­cess is that more than two dozen of my col­leagues, who have un­ques­tioned cred­i­bil­ity, have been in­cluded in the “List of 120.” They would have never have had a chance to be­come Supreme Court judges if there had not been a com­pe­ti­tion. I have been prac­tic­ing for more than two decades. I'm not in­clined to ide­al­ize ei­ther peo­ple or the sys­tem, but I am con­vinced that we now have a chance for change in the ju­di­cial sys­tem.

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