Justice in Ukraine is administered exclusively by the courts. The delegation of the functions of the courts, and also the appropriation of these functions by other bodies or officials, shall not be permitted.
The jurisdiction of the courts extends to all legal relations that arise in the State.
Judicial proceedings are performed by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine and courts of general jurisdiction.
The people directly participate in the administration of justice through people's assessors and jurors.
Judicial decisions are adopted by the courts in the name of Ukraine and are mandatory for execution throughout the entire territory of Ukraine.
In Ukraine, the system of courts of general jurisdiction is formed in accordance with the territorial principle and the principle of specialisation.
The Supreme Court of Ukraine is highest judicial body in the system of courts of general jurisdiction.
The respective high courts are the highest judicial bodies of specialised courts.
Courts of appeal and local courts operate in accordance with the law.
The creation of extraordinary and special courts shall not be permitted.
The independence and immunity of judges are guaranteed by the Constitution and the laws of Ukraine.
Influencing judges in any manner is prohibited.
A judge shall not be detained or arrested without the consent of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, until a verdict of guilty is rendered by a court.
Judges hold office for permanent terms, except judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, and judges appointed to the office of judge for the first time.
A judge is dismissed from office by the body that elected or appointed him or her in the event of:
- the expiration of the term for which he or she was elected or appointed;
- the judge's attainment of the age of sixty-five;
- the impossibility to exercise his or her authority for reasons of health;
- the violation by the judge of requirements concerning incompatibility;
- the breach of oath by the judge;
- the entry into legal force of a verdict of guilty against him or her;
- the termination of his or her citizenship;
- the declaration that he or she is missing, or the pronouncement that he or she is dead;
- the submission by the judge of a statement of resignation or of voluntary dismissal from office.
The authority of the judge terminates in the event of his or her death.
The State ensures the personal security of judges and their families.
Justice is administered by professional judges and, in cases determined by law, people's assessors and jurors.
Professional judges shall not belong to political parties and trade unions, take part in any political activity, hold a representative mandate, occupy any other paid positions, perform other remunerated work except scholarly, teaching and creative act ivity.
A citizen of Ukraine, not younger than the age of twenty-five, who has a higher legal education and has work experience in the sphere of law for no less than three years, has resided in Ukraine for no less than ten years and has command of the state l anguage, may be recommended for the office of judge by the Qualification Commission of Judges.
Persons with professional training in issues of jurisdiction of specialised courts may be judges of these courts. These judges administer justice only as members of a collegium of judges.
Additional requirements for certain categories of judges in terms of experience, age and their professional level are established by law.
Protection of the professional interests of judges is exercised by the procedure established by law.
The first appointment of a professional judge to office for a five-year term is made by the President of Ukraine. All other judges, except the judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, are elected by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine for permanent t erms by the procedure established by law.
The Chairman of the Supreme Court of Ukraine is elected to office and dismissed from office by the Plenary Assembly of the Supreme Court of Ukraine by secret ballot, by the procedure established by law.
In the administration of justice, judges are independent and subject only to the law.
Judicial proceedings are conducted by a single judge, by a panel of judges, or by a court of the jury.
The main principles of judicial proceedings are:
- equality before the law and the court of all participants in a trial;
- ensuring that the guilt is proved;
- adversarial procedure and freedom of the parties to present their evidence to the court and to prove the weight of evidence before the court;
- prosecution by the procurator in court on behalf of the State;
- ensuring the right of an accused person to a defence;
- openness of a trial and its complete recording by technical means;
- ensuring complaint of a court decision by appeal and cassation, except in cases established by law;
- the mandatory nature of court decisions.
The law may also determine other principles of judicial proceedings in courts of specific judicial jurisdiction.
Persons guilty of contempt of court or of showing disrespect toward the judge are brought to legal liability.
The State ensures funding and proper conditions for the operation of courts and the activity of judges. Expenditures for the maintenance of courts are allocated separately in the State Budget of Ukraine.
Judges' self-management operates to resolve issues of the internal affairs of courts.
The High Council of Justice operates in Ukraine, whose competence comprises:
- forwarding submissions on the appointment of judges to office or on their dismissal from office;
- adopting decisions in regard to the violation by judges and procurators of the requirements concerning incompatibility;
- exercising disciplinary procedure in regard to judges of the Supreme Court of Ukraine and judges of high specialised courts, and the consideration of complaints regarding decisions on bringing to disciplinary liability judges of courts of appeal an d local courts, and also procurators.
The High Council of Justice consists of twenty members. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the President of Ukraine, the Congress of Judges of Ukraine, the Congress of Advocates of Ukraine, and the Congress of Representatives of Higher Legal Educational Establishments and Scientific Institutions, each appoint three members to the High Council of Justice, and the All-Ukrainian Conference of Employees of the Procuracy â€” two members of the High Council of Justice.
The Chairman of the Supreme Court of Ukraine, the Minister of Justice of Ukraine and the Procurator General of Ukraine are ex officio members of the High Council of Justice.