Photo from UNIAN, Volodymyr Hontar

The Committee on Legal Policy of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament has recommended that the Parliament include in the agenda of the Rada's fifth session a draft law on constitutional procedure (No.4533) related to reform of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (CCU), as well as an alternative bill.

Verkhovna Rada envoy to the Constitutional Court, Deputy Head of the Parliamentary Working Group for Resolving the Constitutional Crisis, Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada's Committee on Legal Policy, MP from the ruling Servant of the People Party Olga Sovgiria announced this on Telegram on January 14.

"The Committee on Legal Policy has decided to recommend to the Verkhovna Rada that the draft law on the constitutional procedure (No. 4533 of December 21, 2020) and the alternative one, No. 4533-1, be put on the agenda of the fifth session of the Verkhovna Rada of the ninth convocation. It also recommends that the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada send the documents to The Venice Commission to obtain its opinion," she said.

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CCU reform

When presenting the bill at a press conference on December 21, Sovgiria said the document proposed that the Constitutional Court of Ukraine pass decisions by two-thirds of its members.

"These are 12 judges of the Constitutional Court. Today, decisions can be made by 10 judges. This is less than two-thirds," Sovgiria said, explaining that two-thirds is "the absolute majority required for us to realize that the move to repeal a certain law, recognize it unconstitutional is motivated, justified, and backed by a vast majority of CCU judges."

Read alsoPresident's Office: CCU statement defying Zelensky's decree "null and void"In addition, it is envisaged that certain CCU judges may be challenged during proceedings. In this case, the number of votes required to hand down a ruling may be reduced, but at least 10 judges must still vote in favor of the decision.

Moreover, it is envisaged that the Constitutional Court shall hear cases in oral proceedings, which will ensure openness and transparency in the CCU's activities.

Sovgiria also explained that with regard to constitutional complaints, the proceedings shall be carried out mainly in writing, with the possibility of switching to oral ones if the issue raised in the constitutional complaint is publicly important and resonant.

Speaking about the formation of the CCU agenda, she noted that it is formed in fact in "manual mode".

"Today we have a situation where there are cases, whose consideration is delayed by Constitutional Court for six months or even more. There are certain cases that are heard for five or six years ... We propose that not only CCU chairman be able to influence the agenda and its formation, but also CCU judges. Cases with a certain frequency must be included on the agenda and heard by Court," she said.

The draft law also proposes the introduction of an automated register of court acts and automated distribution of cases among judges-rapporteurs. Sovgiria also stressed that there should be no grounds for removing acts from such a register.

The document stipulates that the CCU must not go beyond the issues raised in the constitutional motion.

Among other things, it is envisaged that the CCU's definitions and acts, that is, rulings and conclusions, must be sound and motivated.

In addition, it is proposed to regulate the basis of disciplinary proceedings against CCU judges in the law on the Constitutional Court of Ukraine with the possibility of resolving certain aspects in line with the CCU rules. In particular, it is established that the issue of disciplinary proceedings is considered by the Commission on Regulations and Ethics, which operates in the Constitutional Court; certain grounds for initiating disciplinary proceedings are determined; while those who can initiate such proceedings are designated, namely the council of judges, the president, people's deputies, and CCU judges.