The Ukrainian delegation, which consisted of judges of the High Anti-Corruption Court, chiefs of staff of first instance courts and appellate court, legal advisors of the USAID New Justice Program, and local faculty member of the Rule of Law Certificate Program, took part in the Annual Conference of the International Association for Court Administration (IACA) in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
The event agenda included discussion of strategies for tracking court performance and efficiency, tools and methods for optimizing the efficient allocation of judicial resources, and opportunities and challenges faced by courts and posed by emerging technologies (artificial intelligence, smart contracts, predictive analytics, neural networks, block chain). The conference participants focused also on matters associated with expanding access to justice and resuming trust in the judiciary, court administration, management in bankruptcy cases, and counteracting transnational corruption.
Tetiana Tsuvina, a faculty member of the Rule of Law Certificate Program, and Ashot Agaian, a legal advisor of the USAID New Justice Program, presented the Rule of Law Certificate Program which was implemented by Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University in cooperation with the University of South Carolina (USA) with support from the USAID New Justice Program.
The initial group of 30 graduates of the program including judges, prosecutors, attorneys, lawyer-practitioners, and law school (post-graduate) students received certificates in April 2019, thus contributing to creation of a professional community in Ukraine oriented towards promoting rule of law, improving skills of practical application of this principle by representatives of various legal professions, expanding access to justice, and improving protection of human rights in Ukraine. The European Court of Human Rights supported the legal position of one of graduates provided in his capstone projects.
The Conference participants were interested in an example of consolidation of representatives from different areas of the justice systems united by a common academic goal. They highly appreciated best Ukrainian practices of developing solutions to common tasks faced by judicial systems in Ukraine and other countries.
During the discussion of court administration matters, legal advisor of the USAID New Justice Program Sergii Suchenko presented the Ukrainian experience in implementing a system of judicial workload measurement for the purposes of optimizing distribution of court resources and managing court performance.
Since 2014, the State Judicial Administration has been using this system, which was developed with USAID support, to determine a substantiated workload of judges and duration of time needed to consider cases of various categories. Today, the system makes it possible to optimize courts operations and budget allocations required to organize such operations. While reviewing the process of implementing the system in Ukraine, Mr. Suchenko stressed a need to use modern data collection tools and to form focus groups. He advised those counterparts who decided to borrow the Ukrainian experience to check the data for reliability and to update the system in a timely manner so that it reflects essential changes.
While communicating with the international expert community, members of the Ukrainian delegation discussed new ideas, learned more about initiatives which may be introduced in Ukraine, familiarized themselves with new methodologies for court administration, and gained access to best international practices in this sphere.
The USAID New Justice Program supports participation of active members of the judicial community in international conferences so that they could share experience and raise their professional level. Participation of the Ukrainian delegation in the IACA Conference will help Ukraine to promote court administration further through development of a progressive group of managers-leaders oriented towards reforms in this sphere.