National Qualifications Exam for Judicial Candidates Takes Place in Ukraine

National Qualifications Exam for Judicial Candidates Takes Place in Ukraine
Registration of judicial candidates to take the national qualifications exam and automated generation of personal identification codes
Courtesy of the USAID FAIR Justice Project
"Fair and objective merit-based selection of judicial candidates is a guarantee for creating a professional corps of judges which will in turn contributes to the independence of the judiciary," stated David Vaughn, Chief of Party of the USAID FAIR Justice Project. "The USAID FAIR Justice Project continues to provide their support to the High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine’s efforts to further improve judicial selection procedures and methods."

The High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine (HQC), with support from the USAID FAIR Justice Project, conduced the qualifications exam for judicial candidates. One thousand four hundred fifty three candidates who successfully had passed the first test (exam) conducted on June 5, 2012, which tested their level of general theoretical law knowledge, were admitted to take the qualifications exam. This is the next stage of judicial selection process as required by the Law of Ukraine on the Judiciary and Status of Judges.

"Among other state bodies, the Commission the most interested in the exam quality and openness, both from organization and methodology stand points, since it is the only body responsible for professional selection of judicial cadre for their first appointments to judicial positions," emphasized Ihor Samsin, Head of the High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine.

The qualifications exam will take place in two stages. On September 11, a written anonymous testing took place. The second stage, planned for September 19 and 20, 2012, will include written case studies. The exam’s goal is to determine professional level of judicial candidates, their readiness to render justice and their personal and moral qualities.

The qualifications exam consists of 120 multiple choice questions from 9 areas of law. The HQC-approved testing procedures were officially published at the website of the HQC on August 12, 2012. Similar to the previous stage of the selection process, the test was conducted at the Exhibition Center KyivExpoPlaza in the presence of the media, with mandatory video and audio recording. Such measures improved administration and control quality over the testing process, while providing equal conditions for all candidates. The duration of the testing was 4 hours.

After the completion of the test, scores will be automatically processed in the presence of representatives of judicial candidates and the media with results to be immediately announced and posted at the website of the HQC.

During the case study, candidates will be required to consider the proposed model case on issues pertaining to the jurisdiction of a relevant court by writing a draft procedural document in a form of a decision (civil and commercial specialization), ruling (administrative specialization), sentence (criminal specialization) based on specific case information in compliance with qualifications requirements.

USAID has been supporting the Ukrainian judiciary since 2006. In May 2011, the High Qualifications Commission of Judges of Ukraine 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, continues 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. Specifically, FAIR experts conducted a series of trainings for HQC members on the standards of verification and methods of evaluation of a qualifications exam.

Last updated: August 13, 2014

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