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30.11.2009

Dependent independence

   

Or how the Constitutional Court has ended up in material dependence on executive bodies of power. According to the Accounting Chamber, systemic failings in legal regulation of organizational provisions for the Constitutional Court are seriously impeding fulfilment of the constitutional guarantees of Court and judges’ independence.

In the absence of legislatively approved norms for financial provisions to the Constitutional Court, the determining of the upper limit of its expenditure, in accordance with Cabinet of Ministers Resolution No. 621 from 26.04.2003 entirely depends on the Ministry of Finance.

This creates the danger of administrative influence being brought to bear on the justice system via restriction of financing of measures providing for the running of the Court and material provisions to judges.

As a result of the virtual halt to legal reform, the proposals of the Accounting Chamber on improving the system of remuneration for judges and provision of accommodation have remained unimplemented. For example, the base salary of judges of the Constitutional Court makes up only 16 percent of their salary, with additional types of remuneration and other incentives and compensatory payments being stipulated by the Cabinet of Ministers.

At the legislative level there are no standardized legal norms for calculating judges’ salary, this leading to a number of significant problems in determining the grounds for supplementary payments and the size of the base salary.  This has resulted in different approaches being applied to calculating judges’ salaries, with these discrepancies leading to court disputes. As of 1 September this year there were four cases under court examination on suits brought by retired judges regarding outstanding payments due of 2097 thousand UAH. According to the established procedure, money awarded claimants should be taken out of the accounts of the Constitutional Court.

Under these circumstances according to court rulings the Constitutional Court is responsible for commitments on remuneration for judges, and thus for the current contradictory and flawed legislative base on judges’ pay.

The Accounting Chamber has suggested that the President cancel the instructions on assigning lifelong support payments to former Chairs of the Court.

Accounting Chamber Press Service

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