On June 5, 2012, more than 3,500 Ukrainian aspiring judges participated in the second national anonymous test of judicial candidates conducted by the High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine (HQC) with support from the USAID FAIR Justice Project. According to the Law of Ukraine on the Judiciary and Status of Judges, the test (examination) is a mandatory first stage in the process of judicial selection. The goal of the test is to identify the level of legal knowledge of candidates to ensure an objective and merit-based judicial selection process. The test consists of 100 multiple choice test questions covering 13 areas of law.
The HQC conducted the test in a single location – the International Exhibition Center in Kyiv – in the presence of independent monitors and media representatives. This helped to improve the quality of oversight and control of the test, while providing a level playing field for all candidates.
Prior to taking the test, judicial candidates had an opportunity to become familiar with the test format on the website of the High Qualifications Commission at www.vkksu.gov.ua, which included video guidelines on how to properly fill in the answer sheet.
“The High Qualifications Commission of Ukraine made enormous efforts to successfully give the test for all the candidates at the same time. Our staff and experts ensured objectivity of the test by providing equal conditions for candidates in terms of time, number and level of complexity of test items, as well as unified criteria for test evaluation. Information about test results will be absolutely open,” stated Ihor Samsin, Chair of the High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine.
After completion of the test, answer sheets were processed by a computer in the presence of independent monitors, representatives of judicial candidates and media. The results were immediately made public and posted on the HQC’s website.
Representatives of USAID and the USAID FAIR Justice Project observed the administration of the anonymous judicial test. “In a democratic society, the responsibility for selecting judicial nominees is an enormous one with long lasting consequences; thus it is critical that this selection process is based on objective and merit-based criteria. To accomplish this, it is critically important that the process for selecting judges be fair, transparent and objective, and it is equally important that the public are able to trust the process by which their judges are selected,” said Laura Pavlovic, Director of USAID/Ukraine’s Democracy and Governance office.
USAID has been supporting the Ukrainian judiciary since 2007. In May 2011, the HQC conducted the first national test of judicial candidates in the history of Ukraine USAID supported the HQC in developing and validating test questions, training test item writers, and procuring equipment necessary to ensure proper automated scoring of tests. This year USAID, through the FAIR Justice Project, continued these initiatives. In cooperation with Ukrainian partners the FAIR Justice Project analyzed the results of the first national test, trained test questions writers, and developed new test questions. The project also procured additional equipment to support effective test administration.
“We stand ready to continue our support of the HQC’s efforts to further improve judicial selection procedures in line with International and European standards. Specifically, the Project will help to introduce initial training of judicial candidates based on judicial competences, focusing on what judges need to know and be able to do. Furthermore, quality training of judicial candidates is a guarantor of professionalism of future judges which will in turn contribute to improved public trust and confidence in the judiciary,” said David Vaughn, Chief of Party of the USAID FAIR Justice Project.
Last updated: January 30, 2015