The Supreme Court discussed draft guidelines for organizing effective judicial proceedings

A meeting was held in the Supreme Court to discuss the draft guidelines for the courts of first and appellate instances “Guidelines for organizing effective civil proceedings” and “Guidelines for organizing effective criminal proceedings”.

The discussion was attended by the Justice of the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court, Elena Kibenko, head of the department of international legal interaction of the Supreme Court, Lina Gubar, expert of the international project “Court, citizens, society, state: cooperation for change”, Deputy President of Amsterdam Court Esther De Roy and project coordinators-Deputy President of Odessa Appellate Court, Andriy Drishlyuk and the judge of Ochakivsky City District Court of Mykolaiv region, Tatyana Shevyrina.

According to Esther De Roy, mentioned guidelines for organizing effective legal proceedings are designed to fill in gaps in the procedural legislation in order to regulate some internal aspects of court’s activities. The development and use of such guidelines is not prohibited by law and is the discretionary power of judges. In the Netherlands there is one such document, but in Ukraine it is possible to create several guidelines for courts, depending on the instance and jurisdiction. However, they should not be fundamentally different and contradict each other.

According to Tetyana Shevyrina, these documents should fix the provisions concerning the grounds for recusal and selfrecusal of a judge, specifying the norms of procedural legislation, taking into account ethical standards and the current practice of resolving such issues.

Andriy Drishlyuk noted that these guidelines will be tested primarily in pilot courts, so that their developers can find out what problems may arise in practice and whether such a model of organizing court’s work will be effective.

Olena Kibenko noted that in Ukraine, unlike many other countries, until recently there was almost no practice of regulating court’s activities using documents adopted by the court itself. Such instruments have traditionally been considered more inherent to common law countries where there are no procedural codes. But today, such rules and guidelines are actively used by courts of many European countries to regulate certain internal aspects of their work and provide participants of proceedings with the necessary information.

According to Olena Kibenko, these issues were most acute for the Grand Chamber and the joint chambers of the Supreme Court, since many aspects of their activities in the procedural codes remained unresolved. Therefore, on November 12, 2018, the assembly of justices of the Constitutional Court of the Supreme Court recommended that the procedure for preparing cases for consideration by the Supreme Court as part of the Joint Chamber of the Constitutional Court be applied. And the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court continues to work on the draft rules of procedure for consideration of cases by the Grand Chamber, the working version of which has already been discussed at the meeting.

“Participants in a proceeding sometimes do not understand how the Grand Chamber works. For example, why some cases are scheduled earlier and others – later, how cases are considered in written proceedings, and why the time of speech in debates is limited. Because of this, the court receives numerous requests and complaints from citizens. If we had regulations, many such situations could have been avoided. Therefore, this document is needed, among other things, in order to explain to people such organizational aspects of court’s work,” Olena Kibenko said.

The participants of the meeting agreed on the participation of the Supreme Court Justices in conducting an expert examination and public discussion of draft guidelines for organizing effective judicial proceedings. It was decided to involve the National School of Judges of Ukraine and members of the scientific and expert council under the Supreme Court in discussing the role and functions of such guidelines.

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