The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Nove Pravosuddia Justice Sector Reform Program (New Justice) started implementation in Ukraine since October 2016 and builds upon the success of previous USAID projects – Ukraine Rule of Law Project (2006-2011) and FAIR Justice Project (2011-2016). The Program uses its achievements to coordinate close cooperation with Ukrainian partners in the justice sector reform sphere, support of the judiciary, Government, Parliament, bar community, law schools, and civil society in creating conditions for the functioning of an independent, accountable, transparent, and effective justice system that can ensure the rule of law.
The judicial reform in Ukraine has been among the most significant political priorities after the Revolution of Dignity in 2014. USAID, via the New Justice Program’s activities, supported the establishment of the new Supreme Court and High Anti-Corruption Court (HACC) in line with international and European standards. They have been formed based on an open and transparent competition for the first time in the history of the country. USAID via the Program’s activities has facilitated comprehensive professional training of judges and employees of the courts’ administration and development of the HACC’s strategic plan. Besides, automation of the judicial system’s work implemented with the USAID’s support has ensured that Ukrainians have better access to justice thanks to the automated distribution of cases among judges and ensuring their open consideration, increased transparency, and decreased corruption risks in the judicial system.
USAID via the New Justice Program supports the development of commercial arbitration and mediation in Ukraine intending to solve the problem of courts being overloaded; developed an online platform for dispute resolution on cases of minor traffic violations, uncontested divorce, and child support alimony (Solution Finder); provides continuous expert support to respective public authorities and courts in the process of implementing the classic jury trial model for separate categories of cases.
Besides, intending to improve access to justice for all citizens, the Program supports the free legal aid system and has assisted together with partners in establishing the first community justice centers and their branch offices in Kyiv, Odesa, Kharkiv, and Chernihiv regions. Such centers provide citizens with legal assistance, promote alternative dispute resolution, raise legal awareness on operations of courts, etc.
Moreover, the USAID New Justice Program together with its partners has been implementing a range of initiatives and projects aimed at fighting corruption in legal education in Ukraine. In particular, there are being developed national standards for bachelor’s and master’s degrees in law, requirements to the system of academic integrity in law schools, as well as model training courses and programs aimed at improving the quality of legal education.
Besides, since 2018 the Program together with its partners – the Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University and the University of South Carolina (USA) – has been implementing the unique Rule of Law Certificate Program. The goal of the program consists in strengthening the rule of law in Ukraine through improving legal professionals’ understanding of the practical application of its elements. This year 26 graduates received a joint certificate from Ukrainian and U.S. universities, joining 59 previous graduates. Participants of the three rounds of the program were selected from among 725 candidates and have gone on to become champions for the rule of law at their respective institutions in different regions.
USAID and the New Justice Program congratulate Ukraine on the 30th anniversary of its independence. Our powerful partnership continues!