UBA News (#11 November 2017)

UBA VI Judicial Forum

The VI Judicial Forum, as organized by the Ukrainian Bar Association, brought together more than 300 participants on 28-29 September. Over the course of two days participants received an excellent opportunity to discuss the state of judicial reform, advantages of legal education of the 21st century, new procedural institutions as well as the future of trials with special cases from local and international trial practice.The event became an excellent opportunity to meet colleagues and friends, share experience and receive advice from top-notch experts.

Anna Ogrenchuk, a member of the Judicial Reform Council under the President of Ukraine, the chairman of the UBA Committee on Procedural Law, managing partner at LCF, was the event’s program coordinator.

Within the framework of the first session, professor of Criminal Law, dean of the Faculty of Law in the University of Helsinki, Kimmo Nuotio, presented a report called “XXI century legal education: how to prepare a competitive lawyer?” In Finland, educational programs for future lawyers put the focus on the analytical element. Each student is taught to be an explorer, not only to have knowledge, but to be able to apply it in practice. Technological innovation and innovative approaches are encouraged. At least one in every three students at the present time travels abroad every six months so as to get acquainted with international standards and the experience of other states. Foreign universities should take this trend into account in organizing their educational process.

The end of the first day was devoted to discussing trust in courts in the context of nationwide issues of trust. The participants exchanged their views on the level of trust and respect for the legal profession, legal science on the forefront of formation of a new generation of lawyers and how media can influence the reputation of judges. Ivan Mishchenko, managing partner of Trusted Advisors, and Sergiy Zhukov, lawyer, member of the Bar Commission, associate professor of the Department of Law and European Integration NADU under the President of Ukraine, spoke about the transformation of the new Supreme Court. According to Mr. Zhukov, the new Supreme Court should become more transparent and less conservative, and its decisions should be justified and understandable for ordinary people.

The second day of the event began with the first session, called “Hard Talk”, which was devoted to the state of judicial reform. Oleksiy Filatov, deputy head of thePresidential Administration, briefly answered key questions that are most often asked on judicial reform. 1)Why is judicial reform still not complete? According to him, an ideal system cannot be built in an imperfect environment. 2) When will this reform be changed? All of this is happening at a time when the average level of national culture, education, public consciousness will be the same as in European states. 3) In what way is it possible to realize all the goals set by the reform? Answering this question, the speaker stated that a great deal has been done in the sphere of justice over the past three years, that had not been done in all the previous years of independence. The most difficult question touched upon people who will work in the new institutions, and apply legislative innovations in practice. Mr. Filatov summed up that real changes in the judicial system will occur when a critical mass of people, primarily a professional legal community, become part of these changes.

Volodymyr Vashchenko, partner of VB PARTNERS, talking about the future of  trials, drew attention to the importance of the full disclosure of evidence. This institution is an integral part of the competition. The court will not take into account evidence that was provided in an untimely manner, as well as that which was not forwarded to other participants of the trial. According to the new Economic Procedure Code the court evaluates the evidence in its internal conviction that is based on comprehensive, complete and direct examination of available evidence.

Artem Doudko, counsel of White & Case LLP, touched upon the topic of foreign experience and talked about the peculiarities of frivolous British litigation practice, while Oleh Gromovyi, managing partner of GENTLS Law Firm,depicted Ukrainian practice in this question. Thus, Mr. Gromovyi noticed that the main consequence of abuse of process is that of harm to justice. Such harm is shown in: i) violation of reasonable time limits for proceedings; ii) critically low level of credibility towards the court system; iii) development of legal nihilism; iv) reduction in the effectiveness of justice. The speaker underlined that minimizing frivolous litigation will bring the domestic court system closer to the ideal which society requires. The courts must be provided with: i) implementation of procedural rights within the law by both lawyers and judges; ii) the progress of the process and adoption of judicial decisions must be predictable; iii) the terms (periods) of the trial must be observed; iv) the motives for judicial decisions should be clear.

Within the framework of a special presentation, Mateusz Pilich, Doctor of Law, member of the Office of Research and Analysis of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Poland, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Warsaw, spoke about Polish judicial reform in 2017: the pros, cons and lessons for Ukraine.

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