Summary report of the Chairman of the Council of Judges of the Russian Federation Federation Y.I. Sidorenko to the VIII All-Russian Congress of judges

Distinguished delegates,

 Distinguished guests of the Congress!

   During the reporting period, the Council of Judges in concert with the Supreme Court, theSupreme Arbitration Court, the Judicial Department was working to solve the priorities stated in Resolution of the VII Congress, mandates of the President of theRussian Federationfollowing the results of the Congress.

A number of laws which were pointed in the Resolution of the VII All-Russian Congress of Judges passed. This has contributed to increasing the role of the courts to ensure real protection of human rights and freedoms, resolving social conflicts in society, ensuring access to justice.

Over the past 4 years:

- passed the law on courts of general jurisdiction in theRussian Federation;

- established legal fundamentals to ensure transparency of the judiciary;

- defined grounds and compensation procedure for the violation of the right to trial within a reasonable time;

- enhanced legislative guarantees of citizens' rights for a free legal aid;

- established special rules to the arbitration courts of corporate disputes and summary proceedings in arbitration court;

- made first steps for the development inRussiaof an alternative adjustment of disputes;

- formalised the order of formation of the bench using an automated information system;

- brought into force compulsory declaration of income of candidates for judges and acting judges;

- excluded the procedure of initial appointment of a federal judge for a term of three years;

- improved the activity of examination commissions;

- determined the procedure and periods of professional training and the training of judges.

Annually the courts of general jurisdiction investigate 25.5 million cases and materials, arbitration courts - 1,7 million cases. The vast majority of the requirements are met by the courts, including in disputes with the government. So in 2011, the percentage of satisfaction of the claims in courts of general jurisdiction on the most important social issues was:

labor dispute - 94%

pension disputes - 96%

housing disputes - 97%

disputes with the government - 65%

These figures eloquently testify to trust of society in the courts and efficiency of the judicial protection of the rights and legitimate interests.

The Council of Judges of theRussian Federationwithin the competence actively involved in the legislative process. For the period between congresses 15 draft federal laws were prepared and over 130 projects were given suggestions and comments, which in a greater degree included in the laws.

The large contribution to the work of the commission on Legislation of the Council of Judges, headed by Rimma Evgenevna Volosatuih should be noted.

Despite all efforts, a number of laws were failed to achieve the adoption in disposal procedure of Resolution if the VII All-Russian Congress of Judges and mandates of the President of theRussian Federationon its outcome.

The legislation needs to change in part of:

- establishing clear rules to determine the jurisdiction of cases between courts of general jurisdiction and arbitration courts;

- distinguishing the criminal acts in the economic sphere of civil transactions;

- divulgation and promulgation of facts of non-procedural treatment to judges about cases pending in the court.

The issue of improving the administrative proceedings acquired special importance.

The adoption of the Code of Administrative Justice would provide an introduction of all forms of legal proceedings under Article 118 of the Constitution of theRussian Federation.

The need to improve legislation in this area was drown attention in the State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly in 2013.

The further development of the Russian judicial system is impossible without raising the authority of the judge, improving its status, strengthening guarantees of its independence.

Unfortunately, the laws aimed at strengthening the institutional, material and social guarantees of judicial independence, were not adopted.

The issues of improving the status of judges of peace, ensuring their dwellings, determining the budgetary system which shall have the duty to ensure these costs remains unresolved.

The Council of Judges holds the amount of work of judges of peace worthy of adequate state social and material support.

The issue of statement the evidence-based standards of judicial workload is not solving.

Analysis of the legislation in recent years suggests that the adopted laws increasing judicial workload.

Now the judges are working under constant intension, high physical, emotional stress, serious responsibility for decisions. It affects their health and may lead to a breach of reasonable terms of cases, an outflow of qualified judges from the judicial system.

We understand that the adoption of the law on standards of judicial workload would increase funding, but this is not a cut back issue. We hope that the responsible authorities finally will hear the judicial community.

Particular attention should be paid to the need for a significant increase in the material and social protection of judges. Duty of judges to execute justice impartially, in a professional manner is not in dispute - is an axiom. But one must see the conditions of judge’s work: it is the constant attempts to create pressure through the media, through public opinion, formed by the persons concerned, the pressure of administrative resources, criminal circles. The judge works in a large amount of legal and ethical prohibitions and restrictions.

All this suggests that we need adequate compensation corresponding to the level of a judge in the public office system.

In part of adoption of the Law on Judges housing, the Resolution of the Congress remains unrealized. The order of acquisition established by the Federal law and the Decree of the Government significantly deteriorated the positions of judges, and therefore by the decision of theConstitutional Courtwas declared unconstitutional.

The Council of Judges continually has addressed this issue, make suggestions, guided treatment in the State Duma, but the situation has not yet changed.

The order of housing administrative staff of courts does not find its solution.

No less important is the problem of wage increase. Financial security of judges, administrative staff of courts and the Judicial Department has been steadily declining in conditions of inflation. Real purchasing power of the wage of judges  decreased on 30-40% since 2008. This reduction will not be restored by the law on improving salaries of judges. It was adopted by the State Duma on December 14, 2012.

The purpose of the adoption of this law is defined in the mandate of the President on the VII Congress. The highest courts, the Council of Judges and the Judicial Department prepared the draft law which would solve the problem of increasing judges' salaries in accurate global fit with mandate. However, the Ministry of Finance did not agree with it. The Government has instructed the Finance Ministry to prepare a draft law to improve the overall system of remuneration of judges, which was done. The Council of Judges objected, but the proposal of the Ministry of Finance was supported by the Administration of the President and the Government. The Council of Judges had no choice but to work on the new version of the draft, while defending the current level of guarantees of social protection of judges. The mandate of the President elongated because of the inconsistency of positions. Prepared by the Ministry of Finance draft significantly reduced the current level of guarantees of the independence of the judge. Particularly it proposed:

- to abolish the principle of formation of the salary the judge as a percentage of the salary of President of the Superior Courts;

- to determine the size of the components of monetary pay not by the federal law, but by-laws, that is to reduce the level of regulatory control;

- to abolish the seniority bonus for an academic degree or title, the title "Honored Lawyer of theRussian Federation";

- to abolish the quarterly and annual bonus;

- proposed to stop re-calculation of the monthly lifetime monetry pay of judges residing in retirement.

The Council of Judges strongly objected against that, and, in the end, the Ministry of Finance has agreed with us.

While working on the draft, we are constantly asked for calculations of financiers of the Judicial Department. According to these calculations, the adoption of the draft expected to exceed the average monthly wage of all the judges in comparission with current guaranteed payments (excluding payments from savings payroll, as well as on regional regulation). The excess is following:

judges of regional courts and equal to them - up to 38%;

district court judges - from 15% to 29%;

judges of peace - from 10% to 21%.

The Council of Judges of the new convocation should further improve the legislation to change the salaries of judges, of course, to increase.

President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, speaking at the VI-th congress of judges in 2004, said that "... it is necessary to raise the salary to the judges by 2-3 times, and then once more in the same amount." The first part of this wish was realized in 2008. Now it would be good to implement the second one.

The wage level of administrative stuff of courts cause distinct concern of judicial community. This level is so small that it does not allow the judicial system to attract qualified lawyers, generate mass dismissals of employee. In some courts all stuff office rotates annually.

The Resolution of the VII Congress and mandate of the President on this subject remain unfulfilled. Paltry pay rise for 100-150 rubles for certain categories is difficult to pay increment.

The Council of the Judges with the Judicial Department offered pay increment options for employees of the courts, but they were not accepted.

The resorts on this issue to the President remained unfulfilled, the last time such a resort has been prepared and sent on November 12, 2012.

We hope that the Congress proposals on how to improve financial maintain of administrative staff of courts will also be supported.

According to the Resoluion of the Presidium of the Council of November 12, 2012 the Judicial Council and the Judicial Department prepared and submitted to the Supreme Court for the implementation of a legislative initiative draft federal law on family pension judge, his dependents in case of death of the judge, the so-called "widow's law. "

November 27, 2012 the Plenum of the Supreme Court introduced the draft to the State Duma. This was the third attempt. Previous draft was rejected by the State Duma in 2009. We hope this attempt will be successful since there is a support of theConstitutional Courtthat November 19, 2012 adopted a resolution on that issue. We also need support of the Congress.

Distinguished guests, colleagues!

It should be noted that the switch to the new orbit of activity of courts was largely facilitated by the adoption of the Federal Target Program "Development of the Judicial System of Russia" for 2007 - 2012 years, the development of which involved the Council of Judges. Through the program courts disbursed significant amounts of capital investment:

- the construction, reconstruction, acquisition of court buildings;

- the creation of complexes of MEP systems and safety systems, security of the court buildings.

However, the real needs of the judicial system in additional space of offices are not provided. Especially this issue arises after the increase of the court administrative staff connected with the implementation of appeal procedure to the courts.

Moreover, operation and maintenance of immovable property in a proper condition requires annual proportional investment increase in budgetary allocations. Currently, an increase in these expenses is not provided in the federal budget law. The uncontrolled growth of expenditure of court buildings, which generally is not being indexed for the last years, causes concern.

Iindexation coefficient of expenditures on telecommunications services, transportation, utilities, is much lower than the actual price increase for these services.

Targets of the Program of development of the judicial system can only be implemented with the full funding.

The Congress of Judges repeatedly requested the Government to develop and submit to the State Duma a draft federal law on standards of court financing, however, so far that law wasn't adopted. The judicial system does not receive funding for realization of the few social guarantees, which remained in the legal system. Especially it concerns issues of medical attendance and sanatorium treatment of judges.

In recent years, attempts to make changes to the legislation of the status of judges to reduce the achieved level of guarantees of independence. Proposals are being made:

- on decrease of judicial immunity so far as relevant on attracting judge to disciplinary liability,

- on reduce of the representation of judges in qualifying boards,

- on prohibition of judges residing in retirement, to participate in the qualifying boards of judges as members of the public,

- on decrease of the level of statutory regulation of judicial salaries and its components, etc.

The Council of Judges always objected to these proposals, and they are currently not implemented.

We believe that such initiatives will take place in the future, and therefore the legal mechanism of an effective response by judicial community bodies from attempts of contravention of constitutional and international guarantees of the independence  and autonomy of judiciary and courts is required.

It corresponds with the "European Charter on the statute for judges". In virtue of its paragraph 1.8., judges through their representatives and through their professional organizations take part in making decisions related to the management of the courts.

Therefore, the Council of Judges prepared and sent to the Supreme Court draft laws lodging Council of Judges with powers of giving a written opinion on the draft laws:

- on the federal budget (in terms of funding for the court system):

- on the bodies of the judicial community,

- on the status of judges,

- on the judiciary and judicial procedure in theRussian Federation.

The proposed changes would introduce the Council of Judges as a mandatory participant in the law making on judicial activities and status of judges.

We ask the Congress of Judges support this initiative.

Actual issues on improving the judicial system, strengthening the status of judges, organizational and staff support of judicial activities, transparency of courts, laws and regulations compliance of the Code of Judicial Ethics were brought a dispute heard and resolved by the Council of Judges.

Since before the entry into legal force of the Federal Law "On Access to information about the courts activity in theRussian Federation", the Provisional regulations on placing information about court cases in the "Internet" on the official website of the courts were approved. Later, the recommendations on registration information stands were developed and approved.

In accordance with the resolution of the Presidium of the Council of February 18, 2010 on the basis of the "SAS "Justice" an online portal and websites of courts of general jurisdiction, and the sites of the judicial community and justice of the peace were created.

November 30, 2009 the Resolution of the Presidium of the Council "on the framework draft law of the constituent entity of theRussian Federation"On Access to information about the judges of peace and constitutional (statutory) courts" was adopted.

The Council of Judges and the Judicial Department have developed and approved the Regulation on the procedure of appeals received in electronic form.

March 24, 2011 the Resolution of the Presidium of the Council "On the implementation of mandates of the President of theRussian Federationof December 15, 2010 on increasing the transparency and accessibility of justice" was adopted. The commission of the Council of Judges on informatization and automation of the courts made familiarization with the work on the distribution of information about the activities of courts at the relevant sites in a number of subjects of theRussian Federation. An exchange of experience, promotion of advanced technologies, practical assistance, the results were discussed at the meetings of the Presidium.

Active work was carried out on the implementation of the Resolution of the Constitutional Court of April 20, 2010 № 9-P on the сonstitutionality test of Chapter 1, Article 7 of the Federal Law "On Additional Guarantees of Social Protection for Judges and Administrative Staff of Courts of theRussian Federation."

You remember that law was amended in 2008, accordingly that in the period of service as a judge giving the right to retire and receive all benefits and privileges was included teaching length of employment, but length of employment as a prosecutor, investigator and lawyer was excluded.

It was an unfair situation required correction, so it was corroborated theConstitutional Court. For four years, the Council of Judges had tried to correct the situation. 8 different versions of the draft laws were prepared, the issue was repeatedly discussed at the meetings of the Council of Judges.

Finally, the Council of Judges unanimously supported the draft law according to which the judicial length of employment supposed to include the time of previous work in the courts in positions to fill that need a higher legal education, as well as the prosecutor, investigator, lawyer if its length of employment is not less than 10 years. For that version of the draft law voted all the members of the Council of Judges, including the judges of arbitration courts.

That concept formed the basis of the draft law prepared by the Ministry of Finance. However, subsequently, that version was not supported by theSupreme Arbitration Court, which issued its version of the draft law.

Currently that draft law in version of  the Ministry of Finance is being coordinated. The last meeting of the conciliation committee was held on December 3, 2012. Participants in the majority supported the concept of the Judicial Council.

Issues of the organization of medical attendance and sanatorium treatment of judges and their families have been traditional. Commission of the Council of on the status of judges annually collects and analyzes information on the implementation of social protection of judges and administrative staff office and made suggestions for its improvement.

We must finally address the issue of departmental medical and health center.

Major efforts were carried out to prepare the new version of the Code of Judicial Ethics. It involved not only the judicial, but the journalistic community, social, professional, international organizations, and it will be reported separately to the Congress by the working group director, Chairman of the Commission on Ethics Andreeva Tatiana Konstantinovna.

There are many issues, but it must be said that many of the problems have been solved, and the judicial system is developing rapidly, dynamically and in the right direction.

Recognizing the merits of judges to the state and the judiciary, the Council of Judges regularly awarded the judges, administrative staff of the courts, the Judicial Department by departmental awards. During the reporting period, were awarded by:

Badges "For Service to Justice" - 322;

Diploma of the Council of Judges - 283;

Medal "For Distinguished Service " - 479 people;

Medal "20 years of the Council of Judges of the Russian Federation" - 837 people.

Announced 133 letters of acknowledgment of the Council of Judges.

Dear colleagues!

We can talk for a long time about Council activity, but the scope of the rules does not allow it. In addition, the report will be complemented by the other speakers. Necessary additional information can be found in the materials distributed to you.

Thanks for the work all members of the current Council, and I wish success to the further composition and achieve their goals.

Thank you for your attention.

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