The First Comprehensive Judicial Selection Handbook has been Developed in Ukraine with USAID Support

The USAID New Justice Program presented the draft Judicial Selection Handbook to the international donor community. The handbook systemizes the Ukrainian experience and best international practices of selection and evaluation of judicial candidates.

“Selecting the best-qualified judicial nominees is a tremendous responsibility with longstanding consequences for the democratic, social and economic development of Ukraine,” Jay Totte, Anti-Corruption Lead Specialist, USAID/Ukraine Office of Democracy and Governance, pointed out at the online presentation.

Mr. Totte mentioned also that USAID, through the New Justice Program, is very pleased to support efforts that promote the fair, transparent and merit-based selection of judges, which is crucial for increasing public trust and confidence in the process.

Thanks to a systemic description of the selection procedure standards and similar practices in other countries, the handbook will ensure equal and unbiased treatment of all candidates. Recommendations on resolving a wide range of issues – from professional ethics and conflicts of interests to establishing evaluation criteria and interviewing candidates – will help those responsible for the selection to understand their duties better and discharge them in a professional manner and honestly.

A model designed by the American Judicature Society served a basis for developing the handbook. To this end, the USAID New Justice Program engaged a team of experts consisting of Pim Albers (the Netherlands), judicial administration expert, former Special Advisor to the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ), Tilman Hoppe (Germany), anti-corruption expert, head of department at the German Parliament, Former Judge; Anatolii Miroshnychenko, Professor at Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University, former member of the High Council of Justice; and Roman Kuybida, Deputy Head of the Board of the Centre of Policy and Legal Reform, member of the Public Integrity Council. The writing team ensured that the handbook content and recommendations allow for international and European standards and best practices as well as challenges and lessons learned from selection of judges in Ukraine.

USAID New Justice Program Chief of Party David Vaughn stressed that the draft handbook is a “living” document, and the authors will refine it with due regard to comments and proposals on its content received from international donor organizations during this online discussion and later.  The updated handbook will be sent out to judicial institutions dealing with judicial selection in Ukraine for familiarization and further use.