The draft law № 4229, which empowers the High Council of Justice to complete competitions in local courts initiated by the currently inoperative HQCJ, appeared on the agenda of the Verkhovna Rada for voting on Thursday, January 27. The draft law stipulates that those judges who received low scores during the HQCJ competition will undergo a separate competition procedure, and the unreformed HCJ will be responsible for their appointment. According to the authors of the draft law, such steps will solve the "staff shortage" in the judiciary.
Here we explain why this draft law is not only harmful but also completely inexpedient in the current circumstances.
As it is known, on January 20, 2022, Oleksiy Malovatsky and Pavlo Hrechkivsky resigned as the Head and the member of the High Council of Justice. Their powers expire on January 26. In addition, according to the information available to us, other HCJ members will resign. Thus, from January 27, 2022, the High Council of Justice will be incompetent. Meanwhile, the Ethics Council has launched a competition for 5 vacancies in the HCJ - the interviews are scheduled for January 31.
Moreover, on February 4, the Selection Commission will start selecting candidates for the High Qualification Commission of Judges, the body responsible for the qualification assessment of current judges and selection of new ones. Thus, a new composition of the HQCJ, selected by the Selection Commission with the participation of international experts, will start working this year.
“Given that the HCJ will not function in the near future, and the new HQCJ will be formed in the coming months, the draft law № 4229 is meaningless. Not to mention that the very idea behind it is harmful.”
- emphasized Stepan Berko, Advocacy Manager of the DEJURE Foundation.
On February 2, 2021, the draft law №4229, which transfers to the High Council of Justice the power to hold competitions in local courts, was adopted in the first reading.