VI Judicial Forum: Theory, Practice and Prospects of Judicial Reform


KYIV - September 28, 2017. One of the largest events of the Ukrainian Bar Association was held - VI Judicial Forum, which aims to cover the most pressing issues related to judicial proceedings, judicial reform, novelties of procedural legislation, as well as modern requirements towards the legal profession.

The first day of the forum was held in the premises of Law Faculty of the Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University. Andriy Stelmashchuk, President of the Ukrainian Bar Association, managing partner of Vasil Kisil & Partners Law Firm addressed the guests with a welcoming speech; Anna Ogrenchuk, Candidate of Law, member of the Judicial Reform Council under the President of Ukraine, chairman of the UBA procedural law committee, managing partner of LCF, and Mykola Onischuk, doctor of law, rector of the National School of Judges of Ukraine, Honored Lawyer Of Ukraine also welcomed the colleagues attending the event.

After the greeting remarks the floor took a guest from Finland Kimmo Nuotio, Professor of Criminal Law, Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Helsinki with a keynote speech. The topic of his presentation was the legal education of the XXI century: how to educate a professional lawyer? On the example of Finland, the professor described the new trends in the professional development and the current challenges of the legal profession and answered the questions of the audience.

The discussion on the new generation of lawyers continued during the public talk with Ivan Mishchenko, Managing Partner of Trusted Advisors; Sergiy Zhukov, Candidate of judicial Sciences, member of HQCJ, associate professor of the Department of Law and European Integration DRIDU NADU under the President of Ukraine; Viktoriya Reznikova, Doctor of Law, Professor of the Department of Economic Law of Kyiv National University after Taras Shevchenko; Ivan Gorodiskiy, Candidate of Judicial Sciences, Director of the School of Law of the Ukrainian Catholic University; Mikhailo Podolyak, Attorney General of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine; Alexander Bilous, First Deputy Prosecutor of Mykolaiv Region; Oleksiy Kuzminsky, Candidate of Law, Head of the UBA Branch in Cherkassy region, attorney.

The participants raised questions of trust and respect for the legal profession, standards of profession, plagiarism, voiced the expectation of society from a lawyer, a judge, a prosecutor, offered a personalized approach to education, to teach students all forms of communication, to be intolerant to manifestations of corruption etc.

An alternative perspective on these issues was suggested by Natalia Zabolotna, a public figure, president of the Humanitarian Development Fund of Ukraine. She called on state officials, law enforcers, prosecutors, and lawyers to treat an individual as a personality with respect and love. This behavior, in her opinion, will contribute to the establishment of patriotism and raising the standards of living in the country.

The first day of the forum ended with an OP-ED SPEECH presentation entitled "Trust in court in the context of a nationwide trust issue". Moderator was Sevgil Musayev-Borovik, Editor-in-Chief of the Ukrainska Pravda news portal, and speakers were Maksym Zhydko, Candidate of Psychological Sciences, Associate Professor, member of the Unified Register of Professional Psychotherapists of the European Association of Psychotherapists, and Sergiy Verlanov, a member of the Public Council of Integrity, partner at Sayenko Kharenko.

The participants exchanged views on how to increase confidence in the court in Ukraine, how to educate the younger generation, why it is worth starting with and how the media influence the reputation of judges.

New forum day - new location. The program of the second day was more intense, containing several parallel sections. The forum participants were welcomed by Andriy Stelmashchuk, Anna Ogrenchuk and Hanne Junker, Head of the Department of Justice and Legal Cooperation of the Council of Europe.

The first session was devoted to discussing the status of judicial reform and was held in the format of HARD TALK. The moderator, Anna Ogrenchuk, noted the urgency of the issue and challenges for judges and society. The participants of the discussion were directly involved in the process of selection of candidates for the positions of judges of the Supreme Court from both sides: Oleksiy Filatov, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration; Hanne Junker; Serhiy Koziakov, Head of the High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine, member of the Judicial Reform Council under the President of Ukraine, and Mykola Onischuk, Rector of the National School of Judges of Ukraine, Honored Lawyer of Ukraine.

The hottest questions, as the participants of the discussion pointed out, were as follows: why the reform is going on for too long, why haven't all the judiciary institution been re-elected, why not all candidates have passed the competition, why not all candidates to the Supreme Court are crystal-honored, etc.

Speakers tried to convey the idea that society needs a change in consciousness, which is a long process. Still, it lasts. Among the reasons were the reluctance to take responsibility, make unpopular decisions, imperfect legislation, different political interests and the lack of political will to unite for effective solutions.

The issues of the existence and functioning of the anti-corruption court, the burden and organization of the transitional period of the work of the Supreme Court were discussed.

During the discussion, the speakers exchanged views on the main achievements of the judicial reform, announced further actions, discussed the practical issues of the selection of candidates for positions of judges of local courts and the role of the High Council of Justice in the formation and refinement of the judiciary, summarized the results of the contest to the Supreme Court.

The next topic of discussion was the expected new procedural institutes. As for the full disclosure of evidence in foreign practice, Dovidas Vitkauskas, Head of the expert group of the EU Project "Support to Justice Sector reforms in Ukraine" presented his findings on the matter. The Ukrainian version was delivered by Volodymyr Vashchenko, partner at VB PARTNERS.

Artem Dudko, Advisor to White & Case LLP (London), spoke about the peculiarities of the British practice of abuse of procedural rights, while the managing partner at Gentls Oleg Gromov reported on the national peculiarities of overcoming these phenomena.

What should prevail: the truth or the right to competitive trial process? This was the topic covered by Ivan Kasinyuk, associate professor, partner of AGA Partners (in terms of foreign experience) and Larysa Rogacheva, judge of the Supreme Commercial Court of Ukraine, secretary of the plenum (Ukrainian experience).

Maksym Kodunov, Head of the Office of the State Representative in the Foreign Jurisdictions of the Department of Litigation and Bankruptcy of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, prepared a special report on the status of resonance lawsuits with the participation of Ukraine.

The afternoon's third session was divided into 3 sections. Participating in the discussion were scholars, judges, lawyers from leading law firms of Ukraine, civil servants

Natalya Petrova, Deputy Director of the USAID Justice Project, and Mateusz Pilikh,  member of the Office of Research and Analysis of the Supreme Court, talked about the experience of Poland in judicial reform, the difficulties experienced by our neighbors and what lessons should be learned from the Polish experience in Ukraine.

The forum ended with a panel discussion at which judges, foreign experts, the representative of the Council of Business Ombudsmen, scholars and leading lawyers expressed their views on the new objectives and tasks of the Supreme Court, its role in raising the investment climate and the interaction of national courts and international tribunals.

As the results of the forum showed, the topics discussed during these 2 days, cause a great interest in society and a resonance in the legal community. The Ukrainian Bar Association expresses its gratitude to all those involved in its preparation and organization, who acted as speakers and developed a discussion, who raised important issues and shared their experiences with the guests of the event.

We are grateful to our colleagues and partners - LCF Law Group - for the strong support of the Judicial Forum. We also express our gratitude to our partners of the event: Ario Law Firm, AVER LEX, Sokolovsky & Partners, VB PARTNERS, GENTLS, MORIS GROUP, ESQUIRES, Integrites, Trusted Advisors.

Join the Ukrainian Bar Association! The announcement of upcoming events can be found on the UBA website and on the Facebook page.