Justice in Ukraine shall be administered exclusively by the courts

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Constitution and Fundamental Law of Ukraine

Title VIII
JUSTICE

Article 124. Justice in Ukraine shall be administered exclusively by the courts. Delegation of the functions of courts or appropriation of such functions by other bodies or officials shall be prohibited.

The jurisdiction of the courts shall extend to all legal relations that arise in the State.

Judicial proceedings shall be performed by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine and courts of general jurisdiction.

The people shall directly participate in the administration of justice through people’s assessors and jurors.

Court decisions shall be adopted by the courts in the name of Ukraine and shall be mandatory for execution throughout the entire territory of Ukraine.

Article 125. In Ukraine, the system of courts of general jurisdiction shall be formed in accordance with the territorial principle and the principle of specialisation.

The Supreme Court of Ukraine shall be the highest judicial body in the system of courts of general jurisdiction.

The respective high courts shall be the highest judicial bodies of specialised courts.

Courts of appeal and local courts shall operate in accordance with law.

Establishment of extraordinary and special courts shall not be permitted.

Article 126. The independence and immunity of judges shall be guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of Ukraine.

Any influence on judges shall be prohibited.

A judge shall not be detained or arrested without the consent of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, until a verdict of guilty is rendered by a court.

Judges shall hold office for unlimited term, except for the judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine and judges appointed as such for the first time.

A judge shall be dismissed from office by the body having elected or appointed him in the event of:

1) the expiration of the term, for which he has been elected or appointed;

2) attaining the age of sixty-five;

3) incapability to exercise his powers for health reasons;

4) violation by the judge of requirements concerning incompatibility;

5) a breach of oath by the judge;

6) the entry into legal force of a verdict of guilty against him;

7) the termination of his citizenship;

8) declaring the judge as missing, or pronouncing him dead;

9) the submission by a judge of a statement of resignation or of voluntary dismissal from the office.

The authority of a judge shall be terminated in the event of his death.

The State shall ensure the personal security of judges and their families.

Article 127. Justice shall be administered by professional judges and, in cases determined by law, people’s assessors and jurors.

Professional judges may not belong to political parties or trade unions, or take part in any political activity, hold a representative mandate, hold any other paid offices, perform other remunerated work except for research, teaching, or creative activities.

A citizen of Ukraine having attained at least twenty five years of age, having a higher legal education, three years of work experience in the legal profession, having resided in Ukraine for at least ten years, and having command of the state language may be recommended for the office of a judge by the Qualification Commission of Judges.

Persons having a professional training in issues of jurisdiction of specialised courts may become judges of such courts. Such judges shall administer justice only as members of a judicial chamber.

Additional requirements to certain categories of judges in terms of experience, age, and their professional level shall be established by law.

Protection of the professional interests of judges shall be provided in compliance with a procedure established by law.

Article 128. The first appointment as a professional judge to the office for a five-year term shall be made by the President of Ukraine. All other judges, except for the judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, shall be elected by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for unlimited term in compliance with a procedure established by law.

The Chairman of the Supreme Court of Ukraine shall be elected to his office and dismissed from such office by the Plenary Assembly of the Supreme Court of Ukraine by secret ballot in compliance with a procedure established by law.

Article 129. Administering justice, judges shall be independent and abide only by law.

Judicial proceedings shall be conducted by a single judge, by a panel of judges, or by a court of the jury.

The main principles of judicial proceedings shall be:

1) legality;

2) equality of all participants of a trial under the law and before the court;

3) ensuring that the guilt is proved;

4) adversarial procedure and freedom of the parties in presenting their evidence to the court and in proving the cogency of the evidence before the court;

5) prosecution by the prosecutor in court on behalf of the State;

6) ensuring the right of an accused person to a defence;

7) openness of trial and its complete recording by technical means;

8) ensuring appeal and cassation against a court decision, save as in cases established by law;

9) the mandatory nature of court decisions.

The law may also determine other principles of judicial proceedings in courts of specific judicial jurisdiction.

Persons guilty of contempt of court or of showing disrespect towards the judge shall be held legally responsible.

Article 130. The State shall ensure funding and proper conditions for the functioning of courts and the activity of judges. Expenditures for the maintenance of courts shall be allocated separately in the State Budget of Ukraine.

Judicial self-governance shall operate to resolve issues of the internal affairs of courts.

Article 131. The High Council of Justice shall operate in Ukraine with the following issues being under its authority:

1) submit a proposals for the appointment of judges to office or for their dismissal from office;

2) adopt decisions on the violation by judges and prosecutors of the incompatibility requirements;

3) execute disciplinary proceedings regarding judges of the Supreme Court of Ukraine and judges of high specialised courts, and the consideration of complaints regarding decisions on bringing judges of courts of appeal and local courts, and prosecutors to disciplinary liability.

The High Council of Justice shall comprise twenty members. Each of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the President of Ukraine, the Congress of Judges of Ukraine, the Congress of Advocates of Ukraine, and the Congress of Representatives of Higher Legal Educational Establishments and Research Institutions shall appoint three members to the High Council of Justice, and the All-Ukrainian Conference of Employees of the Public Prosecution – two members to the High Council of Justice.

The Chairman of the Supreme Court of Ukraine, the Minister of Justice of Ukraine and the Prosecutor General of Ukraine shall be ex officio members of the High Council of Justice.