Reanimation Package of Reforms proposes to reform the judiciary system and the ranks of judges through amending the Constitution of Ukraine
The proposal put forward by the Reanimation Package of Reforms (hereinafter RPR) involves creating a new three-tier judicial system with an open and transparent competition for appointment of judges to each position. This proposal is aimed at ensuring the right to a fair trial, as guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.
The new judicial system envisions rejecting the current system with four cassation courts (one Supreme Court and three higher courts). Initially, the Supreme Court will be established as a unified cassation jurisdiction for the general courts. We also envision a separate Supreme Administrative Court as a cassation court for the administrative courts.
These courts would begin operating as soon as possible (within a year after the adoption of the relevant amendments to the Constitution). With this, the existing top-tier courts will cease operating.As a result of decentralization, the consolidation of local communities, and the considerable reduction in the number of court cases, the number of lowest-tier courts (of which there are approximately 700 today) will be reduced. A similar process has already commenced for prosecutor’s offices, whereby 170 circuit prosecutor’s offices will soon take over the work of nearly 700 local prosecutor’s office.
The new courts will be created in phases, starting from the top tier. This process could be completed in three years. Both sitting judges and lawyers outside of the judicial system would be eligible to participate in competition for positions on new courts. Once the new judges begin working, the tenures of other judges appointed under the old system will be terminated on the grounds of complete reorganization of the judicial system.
A temporary commission will be established to carry out the selection of judges for new judicial positions. Parliament would appoint members of this commission from among the most respected individuals from the ranks of retired judges, human rights defenders, international experts, and foreign specialists with impeccable reputations.
The RPR’s proposal to establish a three-tier judicial system with an open and transparent competition for each position is designed as transitional provisions to the constitutional amendments; as such, it contains only the most essential elements. In the event that this proposal is supported, its implementation will require that the detailed procedures are specified by a law, taking into account European standards.