In Kyiv The National Bar Association of Ukraine and the Association of Administrative Judges held a conference “Dispute settlement procedure with the participation of a judge: international and Ukrainian experience”.
30 days to compromise
On December 15, 2017 new procedural codes entered into force. One of the innovations of the reform is the introduction of an institution for the pre-trial dispute settlement with the participation of a judge.
Notwithstanding, such a procedure is a new one for Ukraine, similar mechanisms of reconciliation are long-standing in other countries. The dispute settlement with the participation of a judge refers to resolving a dispute with the mutual consent of the parties until the trial began.
The procedure begins with the court ruling and the suspension of the proceeding, and the settlement period cannot exceed 30 days. One judge participates in the procedure, everything happens in the form of joint or closed meetings with the parties involved. The information received during the dispute settlement is confidential. In case of failure to reach an agreement between the parties, the dispute is referred to another judge for consideration.
Caution against the procedure
Natalia Blazhivska, the Vice-President of the All-Ukrainian Association of Administrative Judges, opened the conference and stressed out the importance of such events. She indicated that over 100 judges and lawyers visited the conference.
It was frequently stated about the shortcomings of the procedural codes on the dispute settlement with the participation of a judge. In particular, it was noted that 30 days may not be sufficient to resolve the issue in some cases.
A note of caution was struck that one of the parties could use the procedure as a base to challenge the judge.
Judge of the Kyiv Court of Appeal Oksana Epel proposed to create a joint working group and to apply to the Cabinet of Ministers and the Verkhovna Rada to correct those shortcomings. According to O. Epel, we also need to ensure how we will encourage the parties to solve problems using this method. One of the lawyers noted that, perhaps, it is not yet time for change, because it was not yet fully understood how this rule will work.
In turn, the judge of the District Administrative Court of Kyiv, Bogdan Sanin encouraged to support the proposal of his colleague.
The conference was remembered by another important event: a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between the All-Ukrainian Association of Administrative Judges, the National Bar Association of Ukraine and representatives of the Supreme Court, which should improve communication in the legal field.