Judiciary reform: public opinion poll, judges and experts surveys


     Judiciary reform: public opinion poll, judges and experts surveys

Judiciary reform: public opinion of the population of Ukraine, December 2014

Public opinion poll was conducted by Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation in cooperation with Razumkov Center Sociology Service on December 19-24, 2014. 2008 respondents aged 18 and older were polled in all regions of Ukraine, except for AR Crimea. Theoretical sampling error – 2.3%. The poll was conducted upon request of the Center for political and legal reforms in frames of the project “Overcoming informal practices in judiciary system” funded by MATRA program of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the project “Ukraine-EU Speedometer: Constitutional and Judicial Reforms” funded by the EU.

  • The necessity to implement the judiciary reform in Ukraine is supported by the majority of Ukrainian citizens, at that 46% consider that this reform is one of the most urgent tasks and should start as soon as possible. Another 34% of respondents also observed the necessity to reform judiciary system, but stated that there are tasks of the greater importance and the judiciary reform can be delayed for some time. Only 1.5% of Ukrainians do not see a special urgency in reforming the judiciary branch in Ukraine.
  • Partial and careful changes in judiciary system as a way of its reformation are supported by only 8% of Ukrainians and only 1% of respondents think that there is no need to change anything. The majority of the society thinks that the judiciary system should be thoroughly changed in frames of the reform. At that 46% consider that these changes should be of a radical character and mean fundamental changes of almost everything in existing system of judicial procedures and another 34% think that the changes should be significant, but stress that it’s impossible to change everything.
  • Ukrainian courts as a social institutions still have negative balance of trust-distrust in the society (-71%). Thus, only 9% of respondents have trust to courts and 81% of Ukrainians show their distrust to courts. If we compare these data to the results of 2013 poll, we’ll see that the level of trust towards the courts in Ukrainian society has decreased (from 19% to 9%), at the same time the level of distrust has increased (from 71% up to 81%).
  • The absolute majority of the population thinks that the following negative phenomena exist in Ukrainian courts: corruption (94%), judges depending on politicians (80.5%) and oligarchs (80%), adoption of paid-for decisions (77%), mutual cover-up in the system of justice (73%), low level of morality of the majority of judges (66%), incomprehensibility and closedness of judicial processes for the common man (52%), complicated character of judiciary system (50.5%).
  • The population considers that main factor that negatively influences the level of trust towards courts in Ukraine is wide-spread corruption in courts (74%). Other factors were named not that often.
  • The most popular offer regarding the changes in judiciary system was an idea to dismiss a part of judicial manpower to conduct investigations – supported by 40% of the population. There were also offers to introduce property liability for judges for illegal decisions (31%) and deprivation of immunity and privileges (30%).
  • The appointment of judges should be a competence of the specially created independent from legislative and executive powers body and its members would be judges and representatives of the public – this idea is supported by 43% of Ukrainians. The second place is possessed by the idea of transformation of the judge’s position to elected position and election of judges by citizens during elections (28%). Appointments of judges by the President, Verkhovna Rada (the Parliament) or Supreme Court are supported equally by the insignificant part of the Ukrainian society (4-5%).
  • The idea of appointing judges for life to their positions does not find support in the Ukrainian society – only 2% of the population support it. Instead, the citizens consider that judges should be appointed for the term up to 5 years (41%) or for the term up to 1 year and later in case of the absence of violations and complaints – up to pension age (30%).
  • The most effective methods of the public control over the courts, as per population, are: filing complaints against judges to disciplinary bodies (37%), publishing the information about behavior and wellbeing of judges and members of their families in mass-media (35%), appealing to law enforcement agencies on crimes committed by judges (31%) and elections of judges and the possibility of their recall from positions by voters (30%).

 

Poll results

 

1. In your opinion how urgent is the judiciary reform today?

1 – I consider this to be one of the most urgent tasks

45.7

2 – The reform should be implemented, but there are more urgent tasks today

34.3

3 – I think that the reform is not timed today, it can be postponed

11.0

4 – I think that there is no real need to reform judiciary system in Ukraine at all

1.5

5 – It is difficult to say

7.4

 

2. If the judiciary reform will be implemented, how deep should changes be?     

1 – Radical changes are needed – there is a need to change almost everything

46.3

2 – Serious changes are needed, but it is impossible to change everything

34.4

3 – Partial and careful changes are needed

7.9

4 – Actually the judiciary system does not need any significant changes, probably something somewhere should be improved

1.3

5.     5 – It is difficult to say

10.0

 

3. I will name certain social institutions. To what extent do you trust them?

 

Do not trust at all

Do not trust mainly

Trust mainly

Trust completely

It is difficult to say

1.          President of Ukraine

23.3

21.0

39.7

9.7

6.2

2.          Verkhovna Rada (the Parliament)

26.5

30.4

28.7

2.4

12.0

3.          Government of Ukraine

28.0

26.2

31.9

3.9

9.9

4.          Armed Forces of Ukraine

18.0

15.4

40.0

17.9

8.7

5.          Police

35.1

39.1

15.3

1.1

9.6

6.          Security Service of Ukraine

27.3

33.7

22.7

2.0

14.4

7.          Local authorities

21.8

30.0

33.1

3.9

11.3

8.          Courts

44.1

36.5

8.7

0.7

10.1

9.          The Constitutional Court of Ukraine

35.7

31.9

11.0

1.1

20.3

10.       Prosecutors Office

41.0

34.2

10.1

0.9

13.8

11.       Church

9.2

9.9

41.3

23.2

16.3

12.       Ukrainian mass-media

15.3

23.9

46.7

5.1

9.0

13.       Russian mass-media

56.3

23.2

6.6

1.2

12.8

14.       Public organizations

13.9

20.9

39.6

4.0

21.5

15.       Political parties

31.6

39.3

14.2

0.8

14.1

16.       Banks

45.6

34.7

8.3

1.1

10.3

 

 

4.1 Which of the phenomena listed below exist in Ukrainian judiciary system?

4.2 Which of the phenomena listed below have the most negative influence on trust to courts in Ukraine?

 

4.1 Whether it exists?

4.2 Has most negative influence

Wide-spread corruption among judges

93.9

74.0

Dependence of judges from politicians

80.5

33.2

Dependence of judges from oligarchs

80.1

35.0

Adoption of paid-for decisions

77.1

30.5

Low level of professional knowledge of the majority of judges

48.4

8.9

Low level of morality among judges

66.2

23.4

Low level of motivation and incomprehensibility of court decisions

43.7

4.0

Mutual cover-up in judiciary system

72.7

26.4

Incomprehensibility and closedness of judicial processes for the common man

51.9

6.2

Reluctance of judges to start the dialogue with public

43.5

5.6

Complicated character of judiciary system

50.5

6.7

Lack of the information in mass-media on positive activities of judges

34.7

1.8

Poor quality of laws that judges are forced to use

39.8

6.0

It is difficult to say

2.7

2.9

 

5. Which of the offers regarding the judiciary system would you support first of all?

Completely dismiss the whole judicial manpower (some 9 thousand of judges)

19.3

Dismiss a part of judges after investigations

40.2

To introduce lifetime appointment of judges

3.0

To introduce appointment of judges by independent body, consisting of judges and representatives of the public

15.4

To introduce elections of judges by citizens during elections

19.4

To introduce provocation of bribery to check the honesty of judges

21.1

To introduce competitive selection of candidates to all judges’ positions

20.9

To introduce lie-detector test for judges

25.0

Increase the salary to judges and court workers so that they did not accept bribes

4.3

Raise minimal age of judges (today it is 25 years old)

5.2

Raise pension age for judges at their positions (today it is 65 years old)

0.9

To introduce dismissal of judges as professionally incompetent for the certain number of reversed judgments

22.3

To introduce property liability for judges for illegal decisions

31.0

To deprive judges of immunity and privileges

30.4

I do not support any of abovementioned offers

1.5

It is difficult to say

5.3

 

6. Who, to your opinion, should appoint judges to their positions?

Citizens during elections

28.0

The President

4.1

Verkhovna Rada (the Parliament)

4.3

Supreme Court

4.6

Specially created independent from legislative and executive powers body and its members would be judges and representatives of the public

43.4

It is difficult to say

15.6

 

7. What, to your opinion, should be the term of appointing judges to their positions?

For the term up to 5 years

40.7

For the term from 5 up to 10 years

11.2

For a very short term in the beginning (up to 1 year) and then if there were no undignified deeds up to the pension age

29.8

Up to the pension age if the judge does not make undignified deeds

4.3

For the lifetime if the judge does not make undignified deeds

1.8

It is difficult to say

12.2

 

8. How, to your opinion, can the public control courts more effectively?

With the help of complaints on judges to disciplinary bodies

36.6

Through appealing to law enforcement agencies on crimes committed by judges

30.8

By means of collection and publishing the information about behavior and wellbeing of judges and members of their families in mass-media

34.7

Through elections of judges and the possibility of their recall from positions by voters

30.2

By means of participation of public representatives in qualification and disciplinary bodies

25.5

Through participation in opinion polls on the quality of judges activities

11.8

Through participation of peoples' assessors or jurymen in implementation of justice

26.1

With the help of demonstrations and protests

4.1

By means of creation of public councils attached to courts

15.5

Other

1.1

It is difficult to say

10.7

  

4. Dynamics of trust to courts
I will name certain social institutions. To what extent do you trust them?
Courts

 

May 2013

December 2013

December  2014

Do not trust at all

44.9

39.9

44.1

Do not trust mainly

27.4

31.4

36.5

Trust mainly

13.2

16.9

8.7

Trust completely

2.7

2.1

0.7

It is difficult to say

11.9

9.6

10.1

 

Constitutional Court of Ukraine

 

May 2013

December 2013

December  2014

Do not trust at all

36.6

34.9

35.7

Do not trust mainly

22.5

27.6

31.9

Trust mainly

17.0

19.2

11.0

Trust completely

4.0

2.9

1.1

It is difficult to say

20.0

15.4

20.3

 

Judiciary reform: opinion of judges, December 2014 – January 2015

The survey among the representatives of the judiciary branch was conducted from December 8, 2014 till January 27, 2015. 1066 judges and 26 workers of appeal courts were polled. Judges from Volyn, Vynnytsya, Zhytomyr, Zakarpatie, Zaporizhzhya, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kirovograd, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Poltava, Rivne, Ternopil, Kharkiv, Kherson, Cherkasy, Chernivtsy, Chernigiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Lviv, Sumy provinces (oblasts) and the city of Kyiv. The survey reached out to Appeal, Commercial, County Administrative, and Appeal Administrative courts. The survey was conducted upon request of the Center for political and legal reforms in frames of the project “Overcoming informal practices in judiciary system” funded by MATRA program of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the project “Ukraine-EU Speedometer: Constitutional and Judicial Reforms” funded by the EU.

  • Only 12% of polled judges and court workers consider that the judiciary reform in Ukraine is one of the most urgent tasks today. The majority of respondents (51%) consider that this reform should be implemented, but, to their mind, more urgent tasks exist today. Another 16% of polled judges think that this reform is not timed now and it can be postponed, and 19% consider that there is no urgent need to implement the judiciary reform at all.
  • Regarding the graveness of changes that judiciary system should undergo during the reform, the relative majority of respondents is advocating partial and careful changes (39%). The second place is possessed by the scenario of serious changes without changing the whole system (30%). Along with this almost the quarter of polled representatives of the judiciary manpower consider that there is no necessity to introduce changes into the judiciary system, probably there is a need to improve something selectively.
  • Only 9.5% of representatives of judiciary manpower are convinced in real independence of the system of justice in Ukraine. The majority of respondents (52.5%) acknowledge that the cases of the influence on judges still take place sometimes. 20% of respondents state that such cases are quite frequent and another 17% admit that actually the whole judiciary system is dependent.
  • The strongest influence on judges aimed at necessary decisions adoption, as per the representatives of courts belongs, on one hand, to journalists and public (50%) and, on the other hand, to politicians (not officials) – 48% of respondents admitted that influence. Accordingly, these results show that even in conditions of the current judiciary system, the pressure and influence of non-political and non-governmental actors is equally effective as non-formal political influence.
  • The majority of judges consider the possibility of prosecution (58%) to be the most wide-spread and working way of influencing the judge in the proceedings. The second place belongs to the public pressure by means of demonstrations and protests near the court building (46%). Other ways of influence on judges were named by respondents not that often: the request by influential people – 22%; bribery – 10.5%; the request by court management – 8%. At that the judges and court workers were making such evaluations of the efficiency of different methods of influence based on their own experience (43%) or the experience of their acquaintances (38%).
  • After the government of Ukraine was replaced the mechanisms of influence remained the same as earlier – only people who use them have changed. 46% of respondents share this opinion. Another 29% state that the number of mechanisms has increased comparing to previous government, and only 14% of respondents think that the number of channels of pressure on judges has decreased.
  • The majority of polled court representatives and judges evaluate the consistency of judges in the proceedings as quite high. Thus, 51% of respondents think that judges are mainly consistent not to fall for influences and temptation, another 23% state that almost all judges are consistent and stick to the law.
  • The question if bribery exists in Ukrainian courts was left by judges without answer: 51% were not able to shape an answer, another 4% refused to provide the answer. At that 41% of respondents provided their answers regarding the bribery based on their assumptions.
  • Judges almost never violate the procedural law – 49% of respondents have chosen this option. Another 27% stated that the judge can violate procedural law in certain cases. 67% of respondents think that judges violate the norms of procedural law due to the irrational character of Ukrainian laws; 9% of respondents consider that these violations appear because of the legal ignorance, and only 5.5% of respondents mentioned that judges can violate the law to simplify their life.
  • The question on objectiveness of candidates selection to appoint as judges for the first time, as well as the question on non-biased character of selection of judges to be transferred to the courts of the higher level were left without answers. Thus in both cases 40% of respondents could not provide an answer, another 3-4% of respondents completely refused to provide an answer. It is quite logical that 36.5% of respondents left the question on the reasons of biased selection of the candidates for their first posts in the courts without answer, 10% more refused to provide answers.
  • The idea of purging (lustration) does not find support among judges and court workers: 67% of respondents consider that lustration is not necessary and there is a need to create normal conditions for judges instead. Among those who after all expressed their support for certain methods of purging the judicial manpower, the majority (18%) supported lustration by means of judges check-ups by Temporary Special Commission with further approval of conclusions in the High Council of Justice of Ukraine (in accordance with the Law of Ukraine On restoration of trust to judiciary branch of power).
  • 72.5% of judges and court workers consider that the main problem that should be solved by judiciary reform in the first place is to remove the influence of the President and Verkhovna Rada on the courts. The problem #2 is lawsuits’ burdensomeness – bureaucratization, expensiveness and excessive formalization of the process. 

 

Poll results

 

1. To your opinion how urgent is the judiciary reform today?  

 

%

1 – I consider this to be one of the most urgent tasks

12.4

2 – The reform should be implemented, but there are more urgent tasks today

50.6

3 – I think that the reform is not timed today, it can be postponed

15.8

4 – I think that there is no real need to reform judiciary system in Ukraine at all

18.6

5 – It is difficult to say

2.2

Did not provide the answer

0.4

 

2. If you think that judiciary reform is necessary, how deep should changes be?

 

%

1 – Radical changes are needed – there is a need to change almost everything

1.5

2 – Serious changes are needed, but it is impossible to change everything

30.3

3 – Partial and careful changes are needed

39.1

4 – Actually the judiciary system does not need any significant changes, probably something somewhere should be improved

24.0

5 – It is difficult to say

2.0

Did not provide the answer

3.1

 

3. Do you consider judiciary system in Ukraine to be independent?

 

%

1 – Yes, the judiciary system is really independent

9.5

2 – The cases of influence on judges happen from time to time

52.5

3 – The cases of influence on judges happen quite often

20.2

4 – Actually the whole judiciary system is dependent

16.7

Did not provide an answer

1.1

 

4. If you think that judiciary system in Ukraine is not completely independent, who has the biggest influence on judges aimed at adopting the necessary decision? (you can mark several answers)

 

%

1 – Head of the court

6.2

2 – Prosecutors

8.2

3 – Local officials

14.2

4 – Officials from President’s Administration

22.6

5 – Officials from the government

27.5

6 – Politicians (not officials)

48.4

7 – Lawsuits participants

15.2

8 – Oligarchs, businessmen

17.9

9 – People from the criminal world

3.5

10 – Public, journalists

49.9

11 – Other

8.4

 

4-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)

 

%

1 – I know this from my personal experience

47.7

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

31.0

3 – I know this from mass-media

28.9

4 – This is my assumption

16.4

 

5. To your opinion, which of mentioned below is the most spread and at the same time the most effective method of influence on the judge during the lawsuit? (you can mark several answers)

 

%

1 – Friendly relations with those for whom this lawsuit is important

6.4

2 – Bribery

10.5

3 – Blackmailing with compromising information

6.6

4 – Demonstrations near the court building

45.9

5 – The possibility to prosecute the judge

57.7

6 – The request by influential people

22.2

7 – The request by the court management

8.3

8 – Inner self-censorship (attempts to be in trend of political power)

6.1

9 – Other

7.3

 

5-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)

 

%

1 – I know this from my personal experience

43.3

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

37.8

3 – I know this from mass-media

23.3

4 – This is my assumption

21.6

 

6. To your opinion, did the mechanisms of influence on judges change after the change of the government?

 

%

1 – Mechanisms remained the same, only people using them have changed

46.1

2 – The number of mechanisms increased

29.3

3 – The number of mechanisms decreased

13.7

4 – Other

3.3

Did not provide the answer

7.6

 

6-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)

 

%

1 – I know this from my personal experience

45.7

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

33.5

3 – I know this from mass-media

25.8

4 – This is my assumption

24.3

 

7. How, to your opinion, is the distribution of cases in court taking place:

 

%

1 – The distribution is made by computer

88.6

2 – The distribution is made by hand

0.4

3 – The distribution is made by computer, but sometimes the process is being interfered so that the case would go to the certain judge

8.7

4 – Other

0.5

Did not provide the answer

1.8

 

7-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)  

 

%

1 – I know this from my personal experience

81.6

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

10.0

3 – I know this from mass-media

1.4

4 – This is my assumption

12.8

 

8. To your opinion, to what extent judges in Ukraine can consistently oppose influences and temptations during the lawsuits proceedings:

 

%

1 – Almost all judges are consistent

23.3

2 – Judges are mainly consistent

51.4

3 – Judges are mainly non-consistent

2.2

4 – Almost all judges are unprincipled and non-consistent

0.2

5 – Each judge in certain cases can be consistent and in some cases falls for influence

20.2

6 – Other

2.1

Did not provide the answer

0.6

 

8-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)  

 

Number of references

%

1 – I know this from my personal experience

840

76.9

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

329

30.1

3 – I know this from mass-media

66

6.0

4 – This is my assumption

196

17.9

 

9. To what extent, to your opinion, are the facts of bribery wide-spread in courts?

 

%

1 – Yes, in the majority of cases the decisions are adopted in exchange for money

0.2

2 – The decisions are adopted in exchange for money quite often

2.7

3 – Sometimes it happens

26.0

4 – Court decisions are adopted for money only in exceptional cases

16.0

5 – It is difficult to say

50.8

Did not provide the answer

4.3

 

9-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)  

 

%

1 – I know this from my personal experience

21.1

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

17.9

3 – I know this from mass-media

22.1

4 – This is my assumption

40.8

 

10. How often do judges violate the procedural law during the lawsuits:

 

%

1 – All the time

0.0

2 – Often

2.2

3 – From time to time

26.9

4 – Almost never

48.6

5 – It is difficult to say

17.9

Did not provide the answer

4.3

 

10-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)

 

%

1 – I know this from my personal experience

63.9

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

21.6

3 – I know this from mass-media

6.0

4 – This is my assumption

24.0

 

11. What, to your opinion, is a main reason for judges’ violation of procedural law:

 

%

1 – Irrational character of the law

67.0

2 – The wish of judges to simplify their lives

5.5

3 – Judges’ ignorance of law

9.3

4 – Other

12.0

Did not provide the answer

6.1

 

11-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)  

 

%

1 – I know this from my personal experience

70.5

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

21.2

3 – I know this from mass-media

4.9

4 – This is my assumption

16.9

 

12. Was the selection of judges to be appointed for the first time to this position objective lately:

 

%

1 – Almost always it was fairly objective

11.3

2 – Mainly it was objective

23.3

3 – Mainly it was not objective

14.2

4 – Almost always it was not objective

7.1

5 – It is difficult to say

40.3

Did not provide the answer

3.8

 

12-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)  

 

%

1 – I know this from my personal experience

23.1

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

32.7

3 – I know this from mass-media

9.7

4 – This is my assumption

37.6

 

13. Was the selection of judges to be transferred to the courts of higher level objective lately:

 

%

1 – Almost always it was fairly objective

9.8

2 – Mainly it was objective

23.1

3 – Mainly it was not objective

15.9

4 – Almost always it was not objective

7.5

5 – It is difficult to say

40.4

Did not provide the answer

3.3

 

13-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)  

 

%

1 – I know this from my personal experience

26.4

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

31.8

3 – I know this from mass-media

5.2

4 – This is my assumption

39.1

 

14. If the selection of judges for the first time was non-objective, why do you think it happened?

 

%

1 – Bribery of qualification commission members

5.9

2 – Protecting of certain persons by members of commission

31.8

3 – Low level of tests

9.3

4 – Low professional level if commission members

1.7

5 – Other

4.7

6 – It is difficult to say

36.5

Did not provide the answer

10.1

 

 14-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)  

 

%

1 – I know this from my personal experience

10.0

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

30.1

3 – I know this from mass-media

8.7

4 – This is my assumption

43.6

 

15. What type of renewal (lustration) do you support? (you can mark several answers):

 

%

1 – Through judges check-ups by Temporary Special Commission with further approval of conclusions in the High Council of Justice of Ukraine (in accordance with the Law of Ukraine On restoration of trust to judiciary branch of power)

17.9

2 – By means of the automatic dismissal of the judge for adopting certain decisions (based of the Law of Ukraine On lustration)

3.8

3 – Based on the verification of their property declarations (Law On lustration)

14.5

4 – Through introduction of qualification competency test and dismissal upon its results

7.1

5 –Through creation of the new judiciary system by means of introducing changes to the Constitution and new selection for all judges positions

2.3

6 – Voluntary lustration – through writing resignation notices by judges

10.8

7 – I do not support purging (lustration) at all, there is a need to create normal conditions for judges

66.9

8 – Other

4.5

 

16. Which three problems should be solved first of all by the judiciary reform? (you can mark up to three answers):

 

%

1 – The influence if other branches of power – the president and Verkhovna Rada (the Parliament) – on judges

72.5

2 – Judiciary system multilayer character

25.2

3 – Corruption in courts

14.7

4 – The influence of Prosecutor’s Office and Security Service on judges

20.2

5 – Corporatism of judges

2.8

6 – Exclusion of representatives of public from procedures of formation of judicial manpower

4.7

7 – Absence of fully-fledged trial jury

5.9

8 – Lawsuits’ burdensomeness – bureaucratization, different practices, expensiveness and excessive formalization of the process

46.6

9 – Other

7.8

10 – It is difficult to say

7.0

 

Judiciary reform: experts’ opinion

Expert survey was conducted by Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation on December 8-26, 2014. 27 experts participated in the poll (attorneys, human rights activists, public figures, lawyers who are not attorneys or judges). The survey was conducted upon request of the Center for political and legal reforms in frames of the project “Overcoming informal practices in judiciary system” funded by MATRA program of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the project “Ukraine-EU Speedometer: Constitutional and Judicial Reforms” funded by the EU.

  • The absolute majority of polled experts consider the judiciary reform to be one of the most urgent and actual tasks. None of the polled attorneys, human rights activists or lawyers stated that the reform can be postponed or that it was not necessary at all. At that the majority of experts agreed that the judiciary system should undergo serious changes up to radical innovations, which would completely change the existing system.
  • Polled experts do not believe in non-biased character and independence of the judicial system in Ukraine and consider that the whole judiciary system in Ukraine is dependent – completely or partially, in the form of frequent cases of influence on judges. None of the polled experts was able to say that Ukrainian judiciary system was really independent and non-biased.
  • As per experts the biggest influence on judges aimed at the adoption of necessary decisions is made by court heads. The next on intensiveness of pressure are oligarchs and businessmen, local officials, prosecutors, governmental officials and lawsuits participants. At that these conclusions are made by experts based on their own experience or the experience of their acquaintances.
  • The most wide-spread and the most effective ways to influence a judge during the lawsuit proceedings are: the request by immediate management of the court, bribe to the judge or the request by influential people. The absolute majority of experts have personally encountered such mechanisms of influence on judges. At that as it appeared the change of the government in Ukraine in 2014 did not lead to the changes in the ways of influencing judges – the mechanisms remained the same only the people using them have changed.
  • The experts could not say that the distribution of the cases in the courts was fair and stated that in reality the process is being controlled by the computer, but from time to time this process is being interfered so that the case would go to the certain judge.
  • Experts did not have consensus regarding the level of consistency of judges against the external influence during lawsuits proceedings. Thus, the part of respondents considers that judges are mainly non-consistent towards influences and temptations during lawsuits proceedings, and the other part of experts thinks that each judge in certain cases can be consistent and in other situation can not oppose influence.
  • Bribery is a regular practice in Ukrainian courts. In particular, the majority of experts stressed the widespread character of the practice of adoption of court decisions in exchange for money.
  • The majority of experts pointed out frequent violations of the norms of procedural law during the lawsuits proceedings by judges; the experts consider that the reason for these violations by judges is a wish to simplify their lives.
  • The selection of the candidates for their first appointment to the position of a judge is mainly conducted in a biased manner (13 experts). The main reasons for this are protection of certain people by members of commissions as well as bribery of the members of qualification commissions.
  • The evaluation of the objectiveness of judges selection for their transfer to the higher levels is also negative – the experts consider that this process can also be biased and unfair.
  • There is a possibility to conduct purging (lustration) of the judiciary manpower by means of creation of the new judiciary system through changes to the Constitution and selection of the new candidates to all positions of judges. The second best mechanism by experts is a way of dismissal of judges based on the verification of their property declarations, which is envisaged by the recently adopted law on lustration. Besides that the part of experts supports purging based on the Law of Ukraine On restoration of trust to judiciary branch of power as well as by means of the automatic dismissal of the judge for adopting certain decisions (based of the Law of Ukraine On lustration).
  • As per experts the most urgent problems that should be solved by judiciary reform are corruption and the influence of other branches and authorities on courts.  

 

Poll results

 

1. To your opinion how urgent is the judiciary reform today? 

 

Number of experts

1 – I consider this to be one of the most urgent tasks

24

2 – The reform should be implemented, but there are more urgent tasks today

2

3 – I think that the reform is not timed today, it can be postponed

 

4 – I think that there is no real need to reform judiciary system in Ukraine at all

 

5 – It is difficult to say

1

 

2. If you think that judiciary reform is necessary, how deep should changes be?

 

Number of experts

1 – Radical changes are needed – there is a need to change almost everything

7

2 – Serious changes are needed, but it is impossible to change everything

16

3 – Partial and careful changes are needed

3

4 – Actually the judiciary system does not need any significant changes, probably something somewhere should be improved

 

5 – It is difficult to say

1

 

3. Do you consider judiciary system in Ukraine to be independent?

 

Number of experts

1 – Yes, the judiciary system is really independent

 

2 – The cases of influence on judges happen from time to time

3

3 – The cases of influence on judges happen quite often

8

4 – Actually the whole judiciary system is dependent

16

 

4. If you think that judiciary system in Ukraine is not completely independent, who has the biggest influence on judges aimed at adopting the necessary decision? (you can mark several answers)

 

Number of experts

1 – Head of the court

21

2 – Prosecutors

13

3 – Local officials

14

4 – Officials from President’s Administration

9

5 – Officials from the government

10

6 – Politicians (not officials)

6

7 – Lawsuits participants

11

8 – Oligarchs, businessmen

16

9 – People from the criminal world

4

10 – Public, journalists

 

11 – Other

5

 

4-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)

 

Number of experts

1 – I know this from my personal experience

22

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

20

3 – I know this from mass-media

8

4 – This is my assumption

2

 

5. To your opinion, which of mentioned below is the most spread and at the same time the most effective method of influence on the judge during the lawsuit? (you can mark several answers)  

 

Number of experts

1 – Friendly relations with those for whom this lawsuit is important

10

2 – Bribery

20

3 – Blackmailing with compromising information

2

4 – Demonstrations near the court building

2

5 – The possibility to prosecute the judge

5

6 – The request by influential people

19

7 – The request by the court management

24

8 – Inner self-censorship (attempts to be in trend of political power)

5

9 – Other

1

 

5-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)

 

Number of experts

1 – I know this from my personal experience

23

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

21

3 – I know this from mass-media

8

4 – This is my assumption

3

 

6. To your opinion, did the mechanisms of influence on judges change after the change of the government?

 

Number of experts

1 – Mechanisms remained the same, only people using them have changed

21

2 – The number of mechanisms increased

2

3 – The number of mechanisms decreased

3

4 – Other

1

 

6-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)

 

Number of experts

1 – I know this from my personal experience

20

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

19

3 – I know this from mass-media

9

4 – This is my assumption

3

 

7. How, to your opinion, is the distribution of cases in court taking place:

 

Number of experts

1 – The distribution is made by computer

6

2 – The distribution is made by hand

2

3 – The distribution is made by computer, but sometimes the process is being interfered so that the case would go to the certain judge

17

4 – Other

2

 

7-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)

 

Number of experts

1 – I know this from my personal experience

11

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

16

3 – I know this from mass-media

5

4 – This is my assumption

4

 

8. To your opinion, to what extent judges in Ukraine can consistently oppose influences and temptations during the lawsuits proceedings:

 

Number of experts

1 – Almost all judges are consistent

 

2 – Judges are mainly consistent

2

3 – Judges are mainly non-consistent

11

4 – Almost all judges are unprincipled and non-consistent

2

5 – Each judge in certain cases can be consistent and in some cases falls for influence

11

6 – Other

1

 

8-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)

 

Number of experts

1 – I know this from my personal experience

23

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

17

3 – I know this from mass-media

7

4 – This is my assumption

1

 

9. To what extent, to your opinion, are the facts of bribery wide-spread in courts?

 

Number of experts

1 – Yes, in the majority of cases the decisions are adopted in exchange for money

2

2 – The decisions are adopted in exchange for money quite often

19

3 – Sometimes it happens

5

4 – Court decisions are adopted for money only in exceptional cases

 

5 – It is difficult to say

1

 

9-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)

 

Number of experts

1 – I know this from my personal experience

12

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

21

3 – I know this from mass-media

8

4 – This is my assumption

3

 

10. How often do judges violate the procedural law during the lawsuits:

 

Number of experts

1 – All the time

2

2 – Often

16

3 – From time to time

9

4 – Almost never

 

5 – It is difficult to say

 

 

10-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)

 

Number of experts

1 – I know this from my personal experience

24

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

18

3 – I know this from mass-media

6

4 – This is my assumption

1

 

11. What, to your opinion, is a main reason for judges’ violation of procedural law:

 

Number of experts

1 – Irrational character of the law

2

2 – The wish of judges to simplify their lives

18

3 – Judges’ ignorance of law

1

4 – Other

6

 

11-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)

 

Number of experts

1 – I know this from my personal experience

20

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

15

3 – I know this from mass-media

7

4 – This is my assumption

4

 

12. Was the selection of judges to be appointed for the first time to this position objective lately:

 

Number of experts

1 – Almost always it was fairly objective

 

2 – Mainly it was objective

7

3 – Mainly it was not objective

11

4 – Almost always it was not objective

3

5 – It is difficult to say

6

 

12-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)

 

Number of experts

1 – I know this from my personal experience

7

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

17

3 – I know this from mass-media

9

4 – This is my assumption

6

5 – Did not provide the answer

1

 

13. Was the selection of judges to be transferred to the courts of higher level objective lately:

 

Number of experts

1 – Almost always it was fairly objective

 

2 – Mainly it was objective

2

3 – Mainly it was not objective

10

4 – Almost always it was not objective

6

5 – It is difficult to say

9

 

13-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)

 

Number of experts

1 – I know this from my personal experience

8

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

12

3 – I know this from mass-media

6

4 – This is my assumption

9

 

14. If the selection of judges for the first time was non-objective, why do you think it happened?  

 

Number of experts

1 – Bribery of qualification commission members

8

2 – Protecting of certain persons by members of commission

13

3 – Low level of tests

 

4 – Low professional level if commission members

 

5 – Other

2

6 – It is difficult to say

4

 

14-а. How did you get this information? (you can mark several answers)

 

Number of experts

1 – I know this from my personal experience

6

2 – I know this from experience of my acquaintances

14

3 – I know this from mass-media

7

4 – This is my assumption

7

5 – Did not provide the answer

3

 

15. What type of renewal (lustration) do you support? (you can mark several answers):

 

Number of experts

1 – Through judges check-ups by Temporary Special Commission with further approval of conclusions in the High Council of Justice of Ukraine (in accordance with the Law of Ukraine On restoration of trust to judiciary branch of power)

8

2 – By means of the automatic dismissal of the judge for adopting certain decisions (based of the Law of Ukraine On lustration)

8

3 – Based on the verification of their property declarations (Law On lustration)

11

4 – Through introduction of qualification competency test and dismissal upon its results

6

5 –Through creation of the new judiciary system by means of introducing changes to the Constitution and new selection for all judges positions

15

6 – Voluntary lustration – through writing resignation notices by judges

4

7 – I do not support purging (lustration) at all, there is a need to create normal conditions for judges

2

8 – Other

4

 

16. Which three problems should be solved first of all by the judiciary reform? (you can mark up to three answers):

 

Number of experts

1 – The influence if other branches of power – the president and Verkhovna Rada (the Parliament) – on judges

19

2 – Judiciary system multilayer character

4

3 – Corruption in courts

21

4 – The influence of Prosecutor’s Office and Security Service on judges

14

5 – Corporatism of judges

6

6 – Exclusion of representatives of public from procedures of formation of judicial manpower

4

7 – Absence of fully-fledged trial jury

4

8 – Lawsuits’ burdensomeness – bureaucratization, different practices, expensiveness and excessive formalization of the process

5

9 – Other

4

10 – It is difficult to say

 

 

17. Please, specify your occupation

1 – Attorney

11

2 – Lawyer (not attorney or judge)

8

3 – Public figures, human rights activists

5

4 – Other

2

5 – Did not provide the answer

1