Ukrainian law

Legal news in Ukraine: the changes to the Law on the Judiciary came into force, qualification evaluation, debt to lawyers of free legal aid, recommendations for the transfer of judges, Ministry of Justice announced a competition for new Directorates

12.08.2018 / 13:38
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Legal news in Ukraine: the changes to the Law on the Judiciary came into force, qualification evaluation, debt to lawyers of free legal aid, recommendations for the transfer of judges, Ministry of Justice announced a competition for new Directorates

The amendments to the Law on Judicial System and Status of Judges have come into force

On August 5, 2018 amendments to the Law of Ukraine "On Judicial System and Status of Judges" came into force.

Changes to the Supreme Court

The amendments expanded the list of the Supreme Court powers. The court will now provide local and appellate courts with methodological information on enforcement issues.

The powers of the Supreme Court chairman are now: control over the effectiveness of the Supreme Court apparatus and approval of candidates for positions of the court apparatus head and his first deputy.

Changes in the activities of judges and courts, including new ones

The court that is liquidated must, within a month from the termination of the administration justice, transfer to the new court materials and documents related to the exercise of this court powers. The cases of the court that is liquidated shall be transferred to the new court immediately – before the day the new court commences its work.

In courts with several locations, the distribution of cases takes into account the location of the judges' workplaces in the respective settlements and the criterias are established by law to determine the jurisdiction of the court.

If the court will be located in several places, then to calculate the salary of a judge is used the regional coefficient for the location of the body that conducted the state registration of a court.

After appointment to the post, a judge who needs to improve housing conditions is provided with official housing at the location of the court. Housing is provided by local self-government bodies in the manner determined by the the Government.

In courts that will be located in several settlements, in order to calculate the basic amount of the judge salary, the regional coefficient will be applied at the location of the state body that registered the court.

Judges, who need improvement in housing conditions are provided with office accommodation at the court's location. Housing is provided to judges by local self-government bodies in the order determined by the the Government.

Work experience in the position of judge

The seniority (experience) of work (professional activity), the requirement of which is determined by the Law and gives the right to appoint a judge, are now included in the seniority of work in the position of a judge.

Changes in the main activity of the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine

The procedure for special inspection of candidates for the position of a judge has been changed. If for cheking the candidates are used automated information and reference systems, registers and data banks, administrated by state bodies or local self-government bodies, then requests to these bodies are not sent.

The law excludes the provision that candidates for the position of a judge have the right to familiarize themselves with the information on them, received by the Commission, provide appropriate explanations, refute and reject such information.

In addition, it was established that a special procedure is appointed not only for judge of a higher specialized court or the Supreme Court, but also for a judge of the appellate court.

The regulation on suspension of the qualification assessment has been changed. Now, in the casea report f a criminal offense suspicion not only to the judge, but also to the candidate for the position of judge, the Commission has the right to terminate the qualification of that judge or candidate before the court judgment comes into effect or the criminal proceedings are closed.

The Commission will be able to reconsider the decision taken by the Chamber or the Collegium on the results of the participant practical testing.

Judges of the higher specialized court are not subject to disciplinary sanction in the form of judge transfer to the lower court. Also the transfer of a judge to a higher specialized court, as a result of disciplinary punishment, is not allowed.

It was determined that the judicial self-government would now also be carried out through the meeting of the High Specialized Court Appeals Chamber.

Changes in the work of specialized courts

In the composition of the high specialized court, the chambers will be formed to examine certain categories of cases in the first instance, as well as the appellate chamber to hear cases in the appellate instance.

The Appeals Chamber of the High Specialized Court will act in its composition on the basis of institutional, organizational, personnel and financial autonomy. The number of judges in the Appeals Chamber of the High Specialized Court will be determined by the State Judicial Administration of Ukraine in consultation with the High Council of Justice within the total number of high specialized court judges.

The chamber for the consideration of cases in the first instance will be headed by the secretary of the court chamber, and the Appeals Chamber – the chairman of the Appeals Chamber. The heads of the Chambers are elected from among the judges of the Chambers for a period of three years. The President of the Appeals Chamber will elect at the meeting of the Chamber judges by secret ballot.

Also, in the apparatus of the high specialized court will be form an independent unit to organize the work of the Appeals Chamber. The activities of this unit and its head will be under the control of the Appeals Chamber chairman, and not the head of the high specialized court.

Changes in the work of the Court Guard Service

Court Guard Serviceis a state body in the justice system to ensure the protection and maintenance of public order in the courts. The service is accountable to the Supreme Council of Justice and is under the control of the State Judicial Administration of Ukraine.

The Chairman of the Service is appointed to the post according to an open tender and dismissed from office by the Supreme Council of Justice.

The maximum number of the central management body and territorial subdivisions of the Service is approved by the State Judicial Administration of Ukraine.

Candidates for positions in the Service are subjects to the requirements of the Law of Ukraine «On the National Police».

Time of service in the Service is included in the length of service, length of service in the specialty, as well as in the length of service, experience of service in the police and other law enforcement agencies.

It should be noted that the State Judicial Administration of Ukraine should ensure the launch of the Service until January 1, 2019.

Almost 25% of judges passed the qualification evaluation

The High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine has determined the results of the qualification evaluation for 1486 out of 5157 judges of local and appellate courts.

1245 (84%) judges passed the qualification. It should be noted that this is almost a quarter of judges from the total number of judges for which a qualification is conducted.

241 (16%) of judges are subjects to dismissal or have already been fired: 130 judges did not confirm their compliance with the position - 83 judges did not pass the exam and 47 judges did not interview with the members of the Commission. 111 judges were dismissed, among other things, at their own discretion or their authority was suspended during the assessment.

There are no final results for the 289 judges for which the evaluation has begun.

It should be noted that the assessment is intended for three groups of judges in the amount of 5157 persons. The High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine evaluates judges according to criteria of competence, professional ethics and integrity.

For the first thousand judges the qualification lasted more than nine months. 252 «five-year judges», has already been recommended to the High Council of Justice for appointment. This will allow the work of courts to be restored. Currently, judges from the first group are in the final stage of qualification – interviewing and analyzing the dossier. The second group of judges took exams and is currently testing moral and psychological qualities. The third group is 2,188 judges who have already begun examinations.

Almost 80% of debt before lawyers of legal aid is paid off

Almost 80% of debt before lawyers of legal aid is paid off, said Director of the Coordination Center for Legal Assistance Oleksiy Bonyuk.

Duty to lawyers in July amounted to more than 60 million UAH. For 7 months of this year, for lawyers of the free legal aid system was paid almost 146 million UAH.

"For the system of free legal aid this year was expected 127 million UAH. But by early June, lawyers had already been registered for the amount of about 99 million UAH. This meant that for half a year the system had reached the limit of financing. Therefore, the Government increased the funding of the free legal aid system by another 122 million UAH. We will fully settle with lawyers during August», said Bonyuk.

According to the decree № 424-p from June 20, 2018 , the Government redistributed the state budget expenditures envisaged to the Ministry of Justice for 2018.

The financing of payment for services and reimbursement of lawyers' expenses was increased by more than 122 million UAH. And to pay the staff lawyers of the system was allocated an additional 12 million UAH.

It should be noted that the state budget for 2018 did not take into account the growth of hourly payment for the work of a lawyer - from 2.5 to 5 percent of the subsistence minimum, as well as an increase in the categories of persons entitled to free legal aid.

HQCJU recommended the transfer of 895 judges to new courts

The High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine recommended the transfer of 895 appellate courts judges, which passed the qualification evaluation, to the newly formed courts.

The Commission recommended the transfer of 582 judges of general appellate courts.

179 judges are recommended to be transferred from the appellate administrative courts.

The Commission also recommended the transfer of 134 judges from the appellate economic courts.

26 appeals courts were formed by the Decree of the President of Ukraine on December 29, 2017 "On liquidation of appellate courts and formation of appellate courts in appellate districts". Two other Orders established appellate commercial courts in appellate districts and appellate administrative courts in appellate counties.

The state registration of 163 out of 350 new courts were established as of July 16, 2018.

The Ministry of Justice has announced contests for the heads of the new Directorates

The Ministry of Justice has announced contests for the positions of general directors in the new Directorates of the Office, reports the press service of the Ministry.

Namely - the Directorate of Legal Policy in the Judiciary, legal proceedings and related Institutions and the Directorate for Administrative Policy.

The Directorate of Legal Policy in the field of the Judiciary, legal proceedings and related institutions will form a state policy on the enforcement of court decisions, determine the strategy of organizing the expert provision of justice within the authority of the Ministry; will monitor and evaluate the results of the state policy implementation in the areas of its administration, will assess the effectiveness of expert justice and will monitor the effectiveness of legislation in the areas of legal regulation of the court decisions enforcement.

The main task of the Directorate for Administrative Policy will be the formation of a state policy on public administration in the sphere of competence of the Ministry, ensuring the formation of state policy in the field of archives and records management, the creation and functioning of the state system of the insurance fund. Also, the competence of the Directorate will include the development of alternative solutions to existing problems in the areas of public policy, the formation of which is the responsibility of the Directorate, monitoring and evaluation of the results of the relevant public policies implementation, developing proposals for their continuation or adjustment and regulatory support.

Among the qualification requirements for candidates is higher education at an educational level not lower than the master's degree in the field of knowledge "Law", experience in civil service positions of categories "Б" or "B", or experience of service in local government bodies, or experience in managing positions of enterprises, institutions and organizations irrespective of the ownership of at least two years, possession of the state language.

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