Judicial power in Ukraine is based on the Constitution. It is an independent branch of state power created to solve legal problems between the state and citizens, citizens and legal persons; to supervise over constitutionality of laws; to defend citizens’ rights in their relations with bodies of state power and officials; to supervise citizens’ rights in the course of investigating crimes and conducting operational search activity; to establish the most significant legal facts.
Judicial power is realized by judges in the form of civil, criminal, economic, administrative as well as constitutional legal proceedings. Thus, judicial system is an aggregate of all existing courts in Ukraine. They have jurisdiction over all legal relations that appear in the state. The system provides availability of justice for every person. The courts interpret and apply the laws created according to the Constitution of Ukraine.Their decisions are made on behalf of Ukraine and are obligatory for enforcement on the entire territory of the country.
Judicial proceedings are administered by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine and courts of general jurisdiction.
The Constitutional Court of Ukraine is the sole body of constitutional jurisdiction. It decides on issues of conformity of laws and other legal acts with the Constitution and provides their official interpretation.
Courts of general jurisdiction form the common system of courts united by aims, tasks, principles of organization and activity, and are headed by the Supreme Court of Ukraine. They are set up according to principles of territoriality and specialization. General courts are local, appellate, Highest Specialized Courts, and the Supreme Court. Economic, administrative and some other courts are defined as specialized.
The lowest courts are local (district, city, etc), which are courts of first instance or trial courts, decide different types of cases. The appellate courts hear appeals from the local ones. The Highest Specialized Courts deal with cassations and determine the legality and reasoning of the previous court judgments. The Supreme Court, the highest court in their system, administers justice, ensures equal application of legislation by all courts of general jurisdiction.
The specialized courts of general jurisdiction consist of administrative and economic courts resolving disputes in the sphere of administrative and economic legal relations.
Justice is administered by professional judges and, in cases determined by law, people’s assessors and jurors. Judicial proceedings are administered by a judge personally, a board of judges or a jury.
A citizen of Ukraine of at least 25 years old, who has higher legal education and work experience in the sphere of law for not less than 3 years, has resided in Ukraine at least 10 years and speaks state language may be recommended by the qualification commission for the position of a judge. The first appointment is made by the President for a five-year term. All other judges, except for judges of the Constitutional Court, are elected by the Verkhovna Rada for a lifetime. Professional judges must not belong to political parties and trade unions, occupy any other paid positions, and perform other paid work except scientific, teaching and creative activity.
The independence and immunity of judges are guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of Ukraine.