Officials speak of peculiarities of anonymous testing for judges-to-be, out of 1500 applications, less than a half are accepted to take the test.
On approximately January 30, candidates for judges of the Supreme Court will take written tests, and on February 2 they will do practical tasks*. Then the candidates will go through psychological tests to determine their moral and psychological qualities and general abilities, and have an overall interview. Final results are to be published in March. This was stated by members of the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine at a presentation held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Test takers will use special numbers allocated to them, so the judges see only digits thus can make fair assessment. Out of about 1,500 candidates who applied for the competition, 653 participants have been admitted to take the test. The test will last four hours and consist of 120 multiple choice questions. “The testing is anonymous. We have seen to it that there will be no manipulations with test booklets, swapping identification elements. Candidates will know their unique number only when they get a task,” noted Andriy Kozlov, member of the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine. Some tasks without answers have already been given to candidates for training.
According to Taras Lukash, member of the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine, the computer will calculate the results by scanning a mark on the test. Questions were prepared and reviewed by experts outside the High Qualification Commission. “The Commission did not prepare any questions. A group of experts was formed. The tests were reviewed four times, there was a cross-review within the group,” said Mr. Lukash. According to Andriy Kozlov, a larger number of points will be given for questions relating to the candidate’s specialization, the rest will include constitutional law, anti-corruption legislation and practice of the European Court of Human Rights.
“Inside the mind” of a potential judge
The second component of the assessment is a practical task. It aims at examining a legal personality of a judge. “It is important to see the ability of a judge to create a source of law. That is why he will be examined on the following criteria: the ability to organize and process information, to be quite explicit on the point, to raise issues, to find gaps in legislation; clarity and predictability of his decisions; motivation – clarity for the parties to the proceedings and society, why some argument is acceptable and another is not. Clarity of justice is no less important than justice as such,” believes Dovydas Vitkauskas, EU project coordinator “Support for Justice Reforms in Ukraine.”
According to Taras Lukash, a candidate will be given a first judgment, appeals and a cassation together with its descriptive part. A candidate should provide motivational and effective parts. He will have five hours for the task. The task will be checked by members of the High Qualification Commission of Judges of Ukraine. At this stage, the assessment also remains anonymous. A candidate can receive maximum 120 points for the practical task.
The assessment is open to the public. It is necessary to apply no less than 10 days before it.
Moral and psychological qualities of a judge to be
A candidate can receive maximum 200 scores when his moral and psychological qualities as well as general skills are tested. “We try to look at a judge as a person for the first time. To get inside the head and soul of a man who has decided to occupy such a responsible position these days. It is in common practice of many modern developed jurisdictions. The mere testing of candidate’s knowledge would not give such a result,” believes Andriy Kozlov. A psychologist will make a professional conclusion based on the results. The members of the High Qualification Commission do not participate in this stage.The process of assessment is completed with a general interview, where the results of the previous stages are supposed to be used.
* On January 11, the High Qualification Commission held a meeting to determine final dates.