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Ukraine Amends Procedure for Selection of Constitutional Court Judges

On 13 December 2022, the Ukrainian parliament adopted a new law that amends the selection procedure of candidates for Constitutional Court judges and establishes the Advisory Group to conduct candidate evaluations. The law came into force on 23 December 2022.

The Advisory Group is a body, which evaluates the moral qualities and legal competence of judicial candidates, and decides on whether to recommend a candidate for a position on the Constitutional Court. Only recommended candidates can be appointed to the Constitutional Court’s bench.

According to the law, Advisory Group members must be at least forty-five years old, have higher legal education consisting of a master's degree obtained in Ukraine or higher legal education of a corresponding degree received abroad, possess at least 20 years professional experience in the field of law, possess high moral qualities, be a lawyer with a recognised level of competence, and meet the criterion of political neutrality.

The Advisory Group will include six experts, each appointed by the Ukrainian President, parliament, Congress of Judges, National Academy of Legal Sciences, congress of the representatives of law universities and research institutions, and representatives of civic associations, respectively.

However, during a transition period of six years, three Advisory Group experts will be appointed by the President, parliament and the Congress of Judges of Ukraine, and three experts by the government upon recommendations received from international organisations providing assistance to Ukraine.

The transitional appointment procedure raised a debate in the Ukrainian legal community with some experts expressing concern that the suggested appointment procedure might not result in a completely independent Advisory Group. To address that concern, the draft law “On Amendments to the Law of Ukraine “On the Constitutional Court of Ukraine” on the Procedure for Formation of the Advisory Group of Experts” was registered on 23 December 2022. The text of the Draft Law is not available yet.

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