Strasbourg, 20 November 2001
CCJE (2001) 36
Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)
Questionnaire on the independence of judges, their appointment and careers, and funding of the courts: reply submitted by the delegation of Ukraine
Answers to the questionnaire on the independence of judges, their appointment and careers and the funding of the courts:
I. THE INDEPENDENCE OD JUDGES
1. The independence of judges is guaranteed by the Constitution of Ukraine. According to the Article 126 of the Constitution the independence and irremovability of judges are guaranteed by the Constitution and the laws of Ukraine. The principle of the independence of judges is defined in the Law of Ukraine "About the Status of Judges". According to this law the activities of the judges are independent and regulated by law only.
2. According to the article 11 of the Law of Ukraine "About the Status of Judges" the independence of judges is guaranteed by:
- appointed procedure of the election of judges and removing them from office;
- apointed by law procedure of justice;
- secret of deciding the verdict and prohibition of its divulgement;
- prohibition of interference with judiciary;
- responsibility for disrespect to the court or the judge;
- right of the judge for resignation;
- irremovability of judges;
- providing the adequate support staff and equipment, particularly office automation and data processing facilities, social and material support of the judges according to their status;
- special order of funding the courts;
- system of the authorities managing the courts.
3. The independence of judges is guaranteed and recognised by the Constitution of Ukraine. According to the Article 13 of the Law of Ukraine "About the Status of Judges" the judges are irrremovable. The irremovability of judges is expanded on their living accomodations, office, transport, means of communucation, correspondence, their assets and documents. The judge cannot be taken to the court or arrested without the approval of the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) before he/she is not going to be accused of being guilty.
4. In Ukraine there have not been any cases when the judge's decision was reviewed or set aside without the appeal or cassation.
5. According to the current procedure codexes the case can be withdrawn
from a judge.
i. Only when those grounds are defined in the special procedure codexes.
ii. By the authority of the Chief Justice, or after the cassation or appeal.
II. THE APPOINTMENT OF JUDGES AND THEIR CAREERS.
1. According to the article 127 of the Constitution of Ukraine the person can be recommended to become a judge by the qualification committee of judges, if he/she is the citizen of Ukraine, not younger than 25 years old, who has a university degree in law and has worked in the area of law for not less than three years, who lives in Ukraine for not less than 10 years and who speaks and understands Ukrainian language, which is the official language of our state.
2. The judges are recruited according to their qualifications on a competitive basis.
3. The judge is required to hold a university degree in law.
4. The judge should work in the area of law for not less than three years.
5. The judge should be older than 25 years old.
6. The judges are appointed by the President of Ukraine.
7. Yes, they are.
8. In Ukraine we have two phases of appointing judges. First of all, the President appoints a judge for a period of 5 years. After that a judge is elected by the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) for the lifetime term.
9. The judges are recommended by the qualification committee of judges. Then they are appointed by the President for the first term (5 years). After the first term they can be elected by the Verkhovna Rada for a lifetime term.
10. In Ukraine there is a specific authority responsible for the selection of judges. It is the High Council of Justice. It is composed of the representatives of the Parliament, President of Ukraine, Council of Ukrainian Judges, Council of Ukrainian Lawyers, Council of Law Teachers and Council of Ukrainian Prosecutors.
11. The judges are promoted through their own efforts and with the recommendation of the Ministry of Justice.
12. The Ukrainian legislature does not define any specific criteria for the promotion of judges. Usually those are the personal qualities, experience and the term of working in the area of law.
13. There are a lot of cases when the judge can be removed from his office. The most significant are: reaching the age border (65 years), the violation of the activities of the judge, conviction of the judge.
14. The biggest difficulty with regard to the independence and appointment of judges in Ukraine is that we do not have a procedure for the appeal of the decision of Verkhovna Rada in regard to the appointment of judges.
III. THE FUNDING OF THE COURTS.
1. The courts' activities are funded by the Ministry of Justice, except for the activities of the Supreme Court of Ukraine.
2. We do not have specific rules established by legislature.
3. Judges cannot participate in making the decisions concerning funding or in managing the budget.
4. Unfortunately, not in an adequate quantity.
5. Unadequate material standing sometimes prevents judges from acting efficiently. When the officers' salaries rise, the judges' salaries rise also, but not much.
6. Those measures are taken and this is the way for the progress in judges' activities.
7. We think it is necessary for the funding of courts of different levels be represented in the Budget, either the country's budget or regional budget.