Ukraine relaunches judicial selection and appointment system


On 11 August 2021, the acting head of Ukraine's High Council of Justice (HCJ) began implementing the requirements of the recently adopted laws that were passed to reform the nation's judicial system.

As reported, the Ukrainian parliament recently adopted Law of Ukraine No. 3711–D establishing a procedure for relaunching the work of the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine (HQCJ). Under the new procedure, the composition of the HQCJ, which is responsible for assessment and selection of judicial candidates, will be conducted by a mixed Selection Commission consisting of both national and international experts. The decisions of the Commission regarding each candidate for the HQCJ will be adopted by a majority vote, but at least two international experts must support each decision. The list of selected candidates will then be provided to the HCJ, which will make the final decision on the HQCJ's composition.

Also, in July 2021, parliament adopted Law of Ukraine No. 1635-IX, which legislates the relaunching of the HCJ. In order to reform the HCJ, the law envisages the creation of a new independent body to function as the Ethics Council. This new body will be entitled to:

  • assess the compliance of HCJ candidates with the criteria of professional ethics and integrity;
  • recommend eligible candidates for appointment to the HCJ; and
  • suggest HCJ members for dismissal.

This Ethics Council will be composed of six members, three of which must be appointed by acknowledged international organisations. In order to be approved, any decision of the first Ethics Council must be supported by at least two international experts. Thus, international experts will have a decisive role in the functioning of the first Ethics Council.

Both the HQCJ and the HCJ are essential for ensuring the independence, impartiality and integrity of the Ukrainian judiciary. Thus, passing and implementing the laws mentioned above represent an important milestone in the ongoing process of judicial reform in Ukraine. It is hoped that this reform will help strengthen public confidence in the judiciary and foster cooperation between Ukraine and its international partners.

For more information about Ukraine's judicial reform process, contact CMS dispute resolution experts: Olga Shenk, Maria Orlyk.


Law of Ukraine “On amendments to Law “On Judiciary and Status of Judges” and certain Laws of Ukraine concerning re-establishment of the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine” No. 3711-D dated 29 January 2021 (in Ukrainian).

Law of Ukraine “On Amending Certain Laws of Ukraine Regarding the Procedure for the Election (Appointment) of Members of the High Council of Justice and the Activities of Disciplinary Inspectors of the High Council of Justice” No. 1635-IX dated 14 July 2021 (in Ukrainian).