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19 may 2015

Judicial reform: public opinion poll, judges and experts surveys

                             

Judicial reform: public opinion of the population of Ukraine, December 2014

Public opinion poll was conducted by Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation in cooperation with Razumkov Center Sociology Service on December 19-24, 2014. 2008 respondents aged 18 and older were polled in all regions of Ukraine, except for AR Crimea. Theoretical sampling error is 2.3%.

The poll was conducted upon request of the Center for Political and Legal Reforms as part of the project “Overcoming informal practices in judicial system” funded by the MATRA program of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the project “Ukraine-EU Speedometer: Constitutional and Judicial Reforms” funded by the EU.
• The need to implement the judicial reform in Ukraine is supported by the majority of Ukrainian citizens; 46% consider that this reform is one of the most urgent tasks and should start as soon as possible. Another 34% of respondents also observed the need to reform judicial system, but stated that there are tasks of the greater importance and the judicial reform can be delayed for some time. Only 1.5% of Ukrainians do not see a special urgency in reforming the judicial branch in Ukraine.
• Partial and careful changes in judicial system as a way of reform are supported by only 8% of Ukrainians, and only 1% of respondents think that there is no need to change anything. The majority of the society thinks that the judicial system should be thoroughly changed as part of the reform. At that, 46% consider that these changes should be of a radical nature and mean fundamental changes of almost everything in the existing system of judicial procedures, while another 34% think that the changes should be significant, but stress that it’s impossible to change everything.
• Ukrainian courts as a social institution still have a negative balance of trust-distrust among the public (-71%). Thus, only 9% of respondents trust the courts and 81% of Ukrainians show their distrust to courts. If we compare these data to the results of 2013 poll, we’ll see that the level of trust towards the courts in Ukrainian society has decreased (from 19% to 9%), while the level of distrust has increased (from 71% up to 81%).
• The absolute majority of the population thinks that the following negative phenomena exist in Ukrainian courts: corruption (94%), judges dependent on politicians (80.5%) and oligarchs (80%), adoption of imposed judgements (77%), mutual cover-up in the system of justice (73%), low level of morality of the majority of judges (66%), lack of clarity and transparency of judicial processes for the ordinary citizens (52%), and complicated nature of judicial system (50.5%).
• The population considers that the main factor that negatively influences the level of trust towards courts in Ukraine is widespread corruption in the courts (74%). Other factors were not named too often.
• The most popular idea regarding the changes in judicial system was to dismiss a portion of judicial personnel based on results of investigations; this was supported by 40% of the population. There were also proposals to introduce pecuniary liability for judges for illegal decisions (31%) and deprivation of immunity and privileges (30%).
• The appointment of judges should be done by a specially created body independent from legislative and executive branches, whose members should be judges and representatives of the public; this idea is supported by 43% of Ukrainians. The idea of transforming the judge’s position to an elected one and election of judges directly by citizens came in the second place (28%). Appointments of judges by the President, Verkhovna Rada (the Parliament) or the Supreme Court are supported by an equally insignificant part of the Ukrainian society (4-5%).
• The idea of appointing judges for life to their positions does not enjoy support among the Ukrainian society; only 2% of the population support it. Instead, citizens consider that judges should be appointed for a term of up to 5 years (41%) or up to 1 year, followed by appointment up to retirement age, provided there have been no violations and complaints (30%).
• The most effective methods of public control over the courts, as per population, are: filing complaints against judges with disciplinary bodies (37%), publishing the information about bahaviour and property of judges and members of their families in mass media (35%), appealing to law enforcement agencies on crimes committed by judges (31%), and elections of judges and the possibility of their recall from office by voters (30%).

Poll results

1. In your opinion how urgent is the judiciary reform today? 

1 – I consider this to be one of the most urgent tasks

45.7

2 – The reform should be implemented, but there are more urgent tasks today

34.3

3 – I think that the reform is not timed today, it can be postponed

11.0

4 – I think that there is no real need to reform judiciary system in Ukraine at all

1.5

5 – It is difficult to say

7.4


2. If the judiciary reform will be implemented, how deep should changes be?

1 – Radical changes are needed – there is a need to change almost everything

46.3

2 – Serious changes are needed, but it is impossible to change everything

34.4

3 – Partial and careful changes are needed

7.9

4 – Actually the judiciary system does not need any significant changes, probably something somewhere should be improved

1.3

5 – It is difficult to say

10.0

3. I will name certain social institutions. To what extent do you trust them?

 

Do not trust at all

Do not trust mainly

Trust mainly

Trust completely

It is difficult to say

1.     President of Ukraine

23.3

21.0

39.7

9.7

6.2

2.     Verkhovna Rada (the Parliament)

26.5

30.4

28.7

2.4

12.0

3.     Government of Ukraine

28.0

26.2

31.9

3.9

9.9

4.     Armed Forces of Ukraine

18.0

15.4

40.0

17.9

8.7

5.     Police

35.1

39.1

15.3

1.1

9.6

6.     Security Service of Ukraine

27.3

33.7

22.7

2.0

14.4

7.     Local authorities

21.8

30.0

33.1

3.9

11.3

8.     Courts

44.1

36.5

8.7

0.7

10.1

9.     The Constitutional Court of Ukraine

35.7

31.9

11.0

1.1

20.3

10.   Prosecutors Office

41.0

34.2

10.1

0.9

13.8

11.   Church

9.2

9.9

41.3

23.2

16.3

12.   Ukrainian mass-media

15.3

23.9

46.7

5.1

9.0

13.   Russian mass-media

56.3

23.2

6.6

1.2

12.8

14.   Public organizations

13.9

20.9

39.6

4.0

21.5

15.   Political parties

31.6

39.3

14.2

0.8

14.1

16.   Banks

45.6

34.7

8.3

1.1

10.3

4.1 Which of the phenomena listed below exist in Ukrainian judiciary system?


4.2 Which of the phenomena listed below have the most negative influence on trust to courts in Ukraine?

 

4.1 Whether it exists?

4.2 Has most negative influence

1- Wide-spread corruption among judges

93.9

74.0

2- Dependence of judges from politicians

80.5

33.2

3- Dependence of judges from oligarchs

80.1

35.0

4- Adoption of imposed judgements

77.1

30.5

5- Low level of professional knowledge of the majority of judges

48.4

8.9

6- Low level of morality among judges

66.2

23.4

7- Low level of motivation and incomprehensibility of court decisions

43.7

4.0

8- Mutual cover-up in judiciary system

72.7

26.4

9- Incomprehensibility and closedness of judicial processes for the common man

51.9

6.2

10- Reluctance of judges to start the dialogue with public

43.5

5.6

11- Complicated character of judiciary system

50.5

6.7

12- Lack of the information in mass-media on positive activities of judges

34.7

1.8

13- Poor quality of laws that judges are forced to use

39.8

6.0

14- It is difficult to say

2.7

2.9


5. Which of the offers regarding the judiciary system would you support first of all?

1- Completely dismiss the whole judicial manpower (some 9 thousand of judges)

19.3

2- Dismiss a part of judges after investigations

40.2

3- To introduce lifetime appointment of judges

3.0

4- To introduce appointment of judges by independent body, consisting of judges and representatives of the public

15.4

5- To introduce elections of judges by citizens during elections

19.4

6- To introduce provocation of bribery to check the honesty of judges

21.1

7- To introduce competitive selection of candidates to all judges’ positions

20.9

8- To introduce lie-detector test for judges

25.0

9- Increase the salary to judges and court workers so that they did not accept bribes

4.3

10- Raise minimal age of judges (today it is 25 years old)

5.2

11- Raise pension age for judges at their positions (today it is 65 years old)

0.9

12- To introduce dismissal of judges as professionally incompetent for the certain number of reversed judgments

22.3

13- To introduce property liability for judges for illegal decisions

31.0

14- To deprive judges of immunity and privileges

30.4

15- I do not support any of abovementioned offers

1.5

16- It is difficult to say

5.3

 6. Who, to your opinion, should appoint judges to their positions? 

1- Citizens during elections

28.0

2- The President

4.1

3- Verkhovna Rada (the Parliament)

4.3

4- Supreme Court

4.6

5- Specially created independent from legislative and executive powers body and its members would be judges and representatives of the public

43.4

6- It is difficult to say

15.6

7. What, to your opinion, should be the term of appointing judges to their positions? 

1- For the term up to 5 years

40.7

2- For the term from 5 up to 10 years

11.2

3- For a very short term in the beginning (up to 1 year) and then if there were no undignified deeds up to the pension age

29.8

4- Up to the pension age if the judge does not make undignified deeds

4.3

5- For the lifetime if the judge does not make undignified deeds

1.8

6- It is difficult to say

12.2

8. How, to your opinion, can the public control courts more effectively?

1- With the help of complaints on judges to disciplinary bodies

36.6

2- Through appealing to law enforcement agencies on crimes committed by judges

30.8

3- By means of collection and publishing the information about behavior and wellbeing of judges and members of their families in mass-media

34.7

4- Through elections of judges and the possibility of their recall from positions by voters

30.2

5- By means of participation of public representatives in qualification and disciplinary bodies

25.5

6- Through participation in opinion polls on the quality of judges activities

11.8

7- Through participation of peoples' assessors or jurymen in implementation of justice

26.1

8- With the help of demonstrations and protests

4.1

9- By means of creation of public councils attached to courts

15.5

 10- Other

1.1

11- It is difficult to say

10.7

4. Dynamics of trust to courts
I will name certain social institutions. To what extent do you trust them?

Courts

 

May 2013

December 2013

December  2014

1- Do not trust at all

44.9

39.9

44.1

2-  Do not trust mainly

27.4

31.4

36.5

3- Trust mainly

13.2

16.9

8.7

4- Trust completely

2.7

2.1

0.7

5- It is difficult to say

11.9

9.6

10.1

I will name certain social institutions. To what extent do you trust them?
Constitutional Court of Ukraine

 

May 2013

December 2013

December  2014

1- Do not trust at all

36.6

34.9

35.7

2- Do not trust mainly

22.5

27.6

31.9

3- Trust mainly

17.0

19.2

11.0

4- Trust completely

4.0

2.9

1.1

5- It is difficult to say

20.0

15.4

20.3

 

Judicialry reform: opinion of judges, December 2014 – January 2015


The survey among the representatives of the judicialry branch was conducted from December 8, 2014 till January 27, 2015. 1066 judges and 26 workers support staff of appellateal courts were polled. 
Judges from Volyn, Viynnytsiya, Zhytomyr, Zakarpattiaie, Zaporizhzhiya, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kirovohgrad, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Poltava, Rivne, Ternopil, Kharkiv, Kherson, Cherkasy, Chernivtsy, Chernihgiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Lviv, Sumy provinces (oblasts) and the city of Kyiv were included in the survey. The survey was directed towards reached out to appellateAppeal, Ccommercial, circuit County Aadministrative, and Aappeallate aAdministrative courts. 
The survey was conducted upon request of the Center for Ppolitical and lLegal rReforms in framesas part of the project “Overcoming informal practices in judicialry system” funded by the MATRA program of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the project “Ukraine-EU Speedometer: Constitutional and Judicial Reforms” funded by the EU.
• Only 12% of polled judges and court workers staff polled consider that the judicialry reform in Ukraine is one of the most urgent tasks today. The majority of respondents (51%) consider that this reform should be implemented, but, to their mindin their opinion, more urgent tasks exist today. Another 16% of polled judges polled think that this reform is not timelyd now and it can be postponed, and 19% consider that there is no urgent need to implement the judicialry reform at all.
• Regarding the graveness magnitude of changes that judicialry system should undergo during the reform, the a relative majority of respondents is advocating for partial and careful changes (39%). The second place is possessed by tThe scenario of serious changes without changing the whole system came in the second place (30%). Along with this, almost the a quarter of polled representatives of the judiciary manpower polled consider that there is no necessity need to introduce changes into the judicialry system, although probably there probably is a need to improve something selectively.
• Only 9.5% of representatives of the judiciary manpower are convinced in real independence ofthat the system of justice in Ukraine is truly independent. The majority of respondents (52.5%) acknowledge that the cases of the influence on against judges still take place sometimes. 20% of respondents state that such cases are quite frequent, and another 17% admit that actually the whole judicialry system is actually dependent.
• The strongest influence on over judges in order to achieve the issuance of aimed at “needed”necessary decisions adoption, as per the representatives of courts, is exerted belongs, on one hand, to by journalists and the public (50%) and, on the other hand, to by politicians (not officials); – 48% of respondents admitted that the latter type of influence. Accordingly, these results show that even in conditions of the current judicialry system, the pressure and influence of non-political and non-governmental actors is equally as effective common as non-informal political influence.
• The majority of judges consider the possibility of prosecution (58%) to be the most wide-spread and working effective way of influencing the a judge in the proceedings. The second place belongs to the pPublic pressure by means of demonstrations and protests near the court building came in the second place (46%). Other ways of influence on over judges were not named by respondents not thattoo often: the requests by influential people – (22%); bribery – (10.5%); the request by court management – (8%). At that, the judges and court workers staff were making such evaluations of the efficiency of different methods of influence based on their own experience (43%) or the experience of their acquaintances (38%).
• After the government of in Ukraine was replaced, the mechanisms of influence remained the same as earlier before;– only people who use them have changed. 46% of respondents share this opinion. Another 29% stated that the number of mechanisms has increased compareding to previous government, and only 14% of respondents think that the number of channels of pressure on over judges has decreased. 
• The majority of polled court representatives staff and judges polled evaluate the consistency of judges in the proceedings as quite high. Thus, 51% of respondents think that judges are mainly consistent not to fall for influences and temptation , and another 23% stated that almost all judges are consistent and stick adhere to the law.
• Judges left Tthe question of whetherif bribery exists in Ukrainian courts was left by judges without unanswered: 51% were unnot able to formulate shape an answer, and another 4% refused to provide the answer. At that 41% of respondents provided their answers regarding the bribery based on their assumptionsperceptions.
• Judges almost never violate the procedural law, according to – 49% of respondents have chosen this option. Another 27% stated that the a judge can might violate procedural law in certain cases. 67% of respondents think that judges violate the norms of procedural law due to the irrational character of Ukrainian laws; 9% of respondents consider that these violations appear becauseare a result of the legal ignorance, and only 5.5% of respondents mentioned that judges can could violate the law to simplify their life .
• Judges also left unanswered Tthe question on the objectiveness of candidates’ selection process for candidates for judicial appointmentto appoint as judges for the first time, as well as the question on non-biased character of selection process for of judges to be transferred to higher level the courts of the higher level were left without answers. Thus, in both cases, 40% of respondents could not provide an answer, another 3-4% of respondents completely refused to provide an answer. It is quite logical that 36.5% of respondents left unanswered the question on the reasons for of bias in theed selection of the candidates for initial judicial appointmenttheir first posts in the courts without answer, and an additional 10% more refused to provide an answers.
• The idea of purging cleansing (lustration) does not find enjoy support among judges and court staffworkers: 67% of respondents consider that lustration is not necessary and there is a needit is necessary to create normal conditions for judges instead. Among those who did after all expressed their support for certain methods of purging cleansing of the judicial ranksmanpower, the majority (18%) supported lustration by means of integrity reviews of judges check-ups conducted by the Temporary Special Commission, with further approval of conclusions byin the High Council of Justice of Ukraine (in accordance with the Law of Ukraine “On rRestoringation of tTrust in the to jJudicialry branch of pPower”).
• 72.5% of judges and court workers staff consider that the main problem that should be solved addressed by judicialry reform in the first place is to remove eliminate the influence of the President and Verkhovna Rada overon the courts. The second most important problem #2 is lawsuits’ the burdensomeness nature of adjudication process – bureaucratization, high costexpensiveness , and excessive formalization of the process.


Poll results

1. In your opinion how urgent is the judiciary reform today?

 

 

%

1 – I consider this to be one of the most urgent tasks

12.4

2 – The reform should be implemented, but there are more urgent tasks today

50.6

3 – I think that the reform is not timed today, it can be postponed

15.8

4 – I think that there is no real need to reform judiciary system in Ukraine at all

18.6

5 – It is difficult to say

2.2

Did not provide the answer

0.4

2. If you think that judiciary reform is necessary, how deep should changes be?

 

%

1 – Radical changes are needed – there is a need to change almost everything

1.5

2 – Serious changes are needed, but it is impossible to change everything

30.3

3 – Partial and careful changes are needed

39.1

4 – Actually the judiciary system does not need any significant changes, probably something somewhere should be improved

24.0

5.     5 – It is difficult to say

2.0

Did not provide the answer

3.1

3. Do you consider judiciary system in Ukraine to be independent? 

 

%

1 – Yes, the judiciary system is really independent

9.5

2 – The cases of influence on judges happen from time to time

52.5

3 – The cases of influence on judges happen quite often

20.2

4 – Actually the whole judiciary system is dependent

16.7

Did not provide an answer

1.1

4. If you think that judiciary system in Ukraine is not completely independent, who has the biggest influence on judges aimed at adopting the necessary decision? (you can mark several answers) 

 

%

1 – Head of the court

6.2

2 – Prosecutors

8.2

3 – Local officials

14.2

4 – Officials from President’s Administration

22.6

5 – Officials from the government

27.5

6 – Politicians (not officials)

48.4

7 – Lawsuits participants

15.2

8 – Oligarchs, businessmen

17.9

9 – People from the criminal world

3.5

10 – Public, journalists

49.9

11 – Other

8.4

4-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)

 

%

1 – Head of the court

6.2

2 – Prosecutors

8.2

3 – Local officials

14.2

4 – Officials from President’s Administration

22.6

5 – Officials from the government

27.5

6 – Politicians (not officials)

48.4

7 – Lawsuits participants

15.2

8 – Oligarchs, businessmen

17.9

9 – People from the criminal world

3.5

10 – Public, journalists

49.9

11 – Other

8.4

5. To your opinion, which of mentioned below is the most spread and at the same time the most effective method of influence on the judge during the lawsuit? (you can mark several answers)

 

%

1 – Friendly relations with those for whom this lawsuit is important

6.4

2 – Bribery

10.5

3 – Blackmailing with compromising information

6.6

4 – Demonstrations near the court building

45.9

5 – The possibility to prosecute the judge

57.7

6 – The request by influential people

22.2

7 – The request by the court management

8.3

8 – Inner self-censorship (attempts to be in trend of political power)

6.1

9 – Other

7.3

5-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers) 

 

%

1 – I know this from my personal experience

43.3

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

37.8

3 – I know this from mass-media

23.3

4 – This is my assumption

21.6

6. To your opinion, did the mechanisms of influence on judges change after the change of the government?

 

%

1 – Mechanisms remained the same, only people using them have changed

46.1

2 – The number of mechanisms increased

29.3

3 – The number of mechanisms decreased

13.7

4 – Other

3.3

5- Did not provide the answer

7.6

6-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)

 

%

1 – I know this from my personal experience

45.7

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

33.5

3 – I know this from mass-media

25.8

4 – This is my assumption

24.3

7. How, to your opinion, is the distribution of cases in court taking place:

 

%

1 – The distribution is made by computer

88.6

2 – The distribution is made by hand

0.4

3 – The distribution is made by computer, but sometimes the process is being interfered so that the case would go to the certain judge

8.7

4 – Other

0.5

5- Did not provide the answer

1.8

7-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)

 

%

1 – I know this from my personal experience

81.6

2 – I know this from experience of my acqua

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