On 23 September 2016, President Petro Poroshenko filed Draft Law No. 5180 On the Supreme Council of Justice (the “Draft Law”) with Ukraine’s parliament. The Draft Law was introduced to the Verkhovna Rada as a part of new legislation in support of judicial reform.

If adopted into law, the Draft Law will clarify provisions of the recently amended Constitution regarding the powers of the Supreme Council of Justice (“Вища рада правосуддя”), a new body which will replace the discredited Higher Council of Justice (“Вища рада юстицїї”).

The foremost objective of the Draft Law is to eliminate the possibility of the judicial branch of power being politically dependent. The Draft Law provides that the Supreme Council of Justice will recommend a judge to the President, who is then to appoint such judge.

The Draft Law also provides that the Supreme Council of Justice is responsible for adopting decisions on the dismissal or the detention of a judge, cases concerning the prohibition of concurrent service, appeals against decisions on the disciplinary measures in respect of judges, their rotation, etc.

The adoption of the Draft Law is expected to result in the minimisation of political influence over judges and to create fair and equitable rules as to the process of appointing judges. The Draft Law should result in a new influx of professionals into the tainted Ukrainian judicial system and improve its overall quality.

Ultimately, this should increase public trust and confidence in the Ukrainian judicial system.