On the reform’s significance for Ukraine’s future

You have managed to take a huge step forward. <…> The legislative basis for change has been created, but in order for the Ukrainian society to get what it deserves, you need to see changes in the mindset of both the public and the judges.

Gianni Buquicchio, President of the Venice Commission

After the Revolution of Dignity, we are seeing significant changes in Ukraine’s judiciary. This includes amendments to the Constitution, passing the law ‘On the Judicial System and the Status of Judges,’ passing amendments to core procedural legislation like the Civil Procedure Code, Commercial Procedure Code, and Administrative Procedure Code; setting up the new Supreme Court, appointing justices to the Constitutional Court, as well as introducing the right to a constitutional complaint and adopting the Rules of Order of the Constitutional Court.

Regis Brillat, Special Advisor to the Council of Europe’s Secretary General for Ukraine

Regis Brillat

On how the reforms were implemented

Amendments to the Constitution have been passed. For the first time ever, this process happened without political influence either on the part of the President, or on the part of the Verkhovna Rada.

Gianni Buquicchio, President of the Venice Commission

On amendments to the Constitution

An important consequence of the constitutional changes in Ukraine has been to sever the link between parliament and the judiciary and its self-governing structures.

Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe

On the new setup of the judiciary

The Law [“On the Judicial System and the Status of Judges”] appears to be coherent, well put together and appears to follow the previous Venice Commission recommendations on many points. The strengthening of the role of the Supreme Court as the guarantor of the unity of the jurisprudence <…> [is one of the] examples of improvements in the Law as amended.

Opinion of the Venice Commission

On systemic changes in the judiciary

The Law [“On the Judicial System and the Status of Judges”] is, overall, in line with international standards. Its efforts at increasing transparency in the judiciary as well as its emphasis on streamlining the judicial system and ensuring the unity of jurisprudence in Ukraine are welcome.

Opinion of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

On the public trust in the court system

After the critical downslide [in trust in the judiciary] in 2015 the trend is overall positive. The number of those who trust in the judiciary remains very low but is growing. The number of those who do not trust in the judiciary remains high but is decreasing.

—USAID survey

On the Supreme Court

A transparent and impartial Supreme Court, as well as the overall process of staff selection for judicial bodies that would be modeled on approaches that were developed and tested in Ukraine will at some point become standard not only in developing countries, but also in established democracies.

— Dovydas Vitkauskas, team leader of the EU Project “Pravo-Justice” (“Support to Justice Sector Reforms in Ukraine”)

The Supreme Court is one of the bulwarks of the rule of law.

Gianni Buquicchio, President of the Venice Commission

We have something to learn from you.

— Justice John McMenamin, the Supreme Court of Ireland

Gianni Buquicchio

On the judges selection process

Anonymously administered testing that included a practical case to solve was conducted at a superb level. The process is very transparent in Ukraine. Interviews with the candidates and their profiles will be publicly available. And it is great.

— John Cubbon, Senior Advisor on the Judiciary, European Union Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine

Ukraine is in a much better position compared to that regarding the selection of judges in Lithuania and Austria. In Austria, journalists could not even hold discussions on the selection of judges since the selection is conducted behind closed doors. <…> Procedures for selecting judges in Ukraine are well accomplished and successful.

Georg Stawa, Secretary General of the Austrian Ministry of Justice, expert of the EU Project “Pravo-Justice”

On the overhaul of procedural rules

With the new Civil Procedure Code having entered into force, what you now have, to put it jokingly, is a Ferrari. You now have a great automobile and you just need to learn to drive it.

— Fredrik Sundberg, Acting Head of the Department for the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights of the Council of Europe

The matter of justice and judicial protection is not a social-benefits project. According to European standards, parties to a case are responsible for the quality of the proceedings—they make use of a certain scope of procedural rights depending on their own behavior. There are no absolute procedural rights, and the state is obligated only to provide someone with options, not with a father-figure judge who will take care of someone’s rights. The judiciary should be more passive. This key idea is undoubtedly integrated into the new procedure codes.

— Dovydas Vitkauskas, team leader of the EU Project “Pravo-Justice”

On the reform of the bar

The draft law of Ukraine “On amending the Law of Ukraine “On the Bar and [the] Practice of Law” is coherent and, in general, complies with the European standards.

Opinion of the Council of Europe

The draft law “On the Bar and the Practice of Law” is in line with European standards and contains a number of positive and progressive provisions.

American Chamber of Commerce Ukraine

The reform of the judiciary is not complete without the long-awaited law on reforming the bar.

Thomas Greminger,  Secretary General of the OSCE

It is important that the legal profession is capable of upholding the rule of law, democracy, and human rights. Draft law # 9055 is consistent with European standards.

Regis Brillat, Special Advisor to the Council of Europe’s Secretary General for Ukraine