Updated selection procedure for judges running for administrative positions
Draft bill #8296 of December 21, 2022
Cosponsors: a group of MPs from the Servant of the People and Trust factions with Maksym Dyrdin as the first signatory.
Who is affected: judges, the head of the Supreme Court, attorneys, prosecutors, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court, plaintiffs, and Ukrainian citizens
Summary of the bill:
- heads and deputy heads of local, appeal, and high specialized courts will be elected by conferences of judges and then appointed by the head of the Supreme Court. Conferences of judges will delegate their candidate judges while the head of the Supreme Court will appoint one of these candidates
- if a conference of judges fails to elect the head of the court within two months, the head of the Supreme Court will single-handedly pick and appoint a candidate from a list considered by the conference of judges as the head of the court/his or her deputy
- the head of the Supreme Court will be able to dismiss a head of the court/his or her deputy upon the request supported by at least a third of the actual number of judges
- the head of the Supreme Court will get the power to approve the appointments of the heads of the courts of cassation. If a conference of courts of cassation fails to appoint the head of the court within two months, the head of the Supreme Court appoints the head single-handedly.
What is wrong:
- the draft bill will have a significant impact on internal judicial independence. The power to approve or single-handedly appoint heads of courts/their deputies and dismiss them de facto gives the head of the Supreme Court extraordinary authority to informally influence the work of all courts in Ukraine
- politicians’ influence on the head of the Supreme Court will give them control over the whole judicial system of Ukraine. It is a severe violation of the judicial independence
- the draft bill also gives politicians some means to influence the Supreme Anti-Corruption Court since it is a high specialized court. Thus, the draft bill undermines the idea of the independent work of the anti-corruption system.
Alternative solution: to withdraw the draft bill entirely since it presents a danger to judicial independence.
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