KYIV - December 6, 2017. The Ukrainian Bar Association together with the Judicial Reform Council and the Council of Europe Project "Support to the implementation of judicial reform in Ukraine" presented the Opinion No. 20 of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCEJ) on the role of courts in ensuring the unity of the law.
The purpose of the event was to present the key provisions of Opinion No. 20, to discuss the peculiarities of ensuring the unity of judicial practice in Ukraine in the context of judicial reform, taking into account the standards of the Council of Europe and the exchange of views on the role of the Supreme Court in ensuring the unity of judicial practice.
The judges of the Supreme Court, the appellate courts and the courts of first instance were invited to the discussion as well as the members of the High Council of Justice, the Council of Judges of Ukraine, representatives of the National School of Judges of Ukraine; practicing lawyers and scholars; representatives of public and international organizations, representatives and experts of the Council of Europe.
The organizers welcomed the participants with introductory remarks, among them were Oleksiy Filatov, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration, Judicial Reform Board Coordinator, Olena Litvinenko, Deputy Head of the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine, Larysa Rogach, judge of the Supreme Court, Mykola Onischuk, Rector of the National School of Judges of Ukraine, and Denys Bugay, the UBA President (2013 - 2017).
Participants in the discussion began to determine the practical value of judicial reform. Oleksiy Filatov said: "The unity and consistency of judicial practice is one of the elements of judicial reform that is critically lacking in our country. Its implementation will mean equality of all before the law, the efficiency of legal proceedings, that the parties to civil and commercial intercourse will be able to predict court decisions in advance, which will mean a reduction in the burden on the court and an increase in the quality of court decisions. And this, in turn, will ensure public confidence in the judicial system. That is why this issue is the cornerstone of judicial reform."
Nils Engstad, member and former chairman of the Consultative Council of European Judges (Norway), and Viktor Gorodovenko, judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, member of the Advisory Council of European Judges (Ukraine), told about the activities of the Council of Europe on the development of the standards of the Council of Europe on judicial matters.
The key discussion touched upon the provisions of Opinion No. 20 of the CCJE on the role of courts in ensuring the unity of the law. In the introduction to the Opinion, the CCJE noted that the uniform and unified application of the law stipulates its general obligation, equality before the law and legal certainty. On the other hand, the need to ensure the uniform application of the law should not lead to the inflexibility of such law and unreasonable restrictions in the proper development of the law, nor to call into question the principle of judicial independence.
The Opinion answers the question: Why does the uniform application of the law important? In addition, the CCJE has identified judicial practice as a source of law and advised on ways to ensure a uniform legal practice.
The CCJE described possible cases of deviation from judicial practice and the consequences of such deviation, the role of lawyers and prosecutors in ensuring the uniform application of the law and the peculiarities of ensuring the uniform application of international and supranational law.
The Opinion includes recommendations on the uniform and unified application of the law, ensuring unity and consistency of court practice, empowering the courts to ensure, modify, harmonize judicial practice, as well as reporting systems on the case law of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals.
Mykola Onyshchuk spoke on ensuring the unity of judicial practice in the context of judicial reform in Ukraine; Olena Zakharova, candidate of judicial sciences, Associate Professor of the Department of Justice of the Kiev National University after Taras Shevchenko, and Lyudmila Luts, Doctor of Law, Professor of the Department of Theory and Philosophy of Law, Lviv National University after Ivan. Franko
The Ukrainian Bar Association expresses its sincere gratitude to all the co-organizers, event partners and experts who contributed to the discussion of such an important and relevant topic on the eve of the Supreme Court's functioning.