Business still lacks confidence in the court system
This is what became clear in light of the Court Index, an expert study conducted by the European Business Association together with Sayenko Kharenko NewLaw Firm. The new wave of surveys reviewing 2019 demonstrated the conceptual consistency of the assessment of the judicial system in Ukraine by legal professionals and heads of EBA member companies. Unfortunately, this means there is no progress in reforming the judiciary.
Thus, the integrated Court Index has slightly decreased to 2.45 points on a five-point scale (2.48 points in the previous period). The index has been in the negative plane throughout the history of the study since 2013.
The assessment of all index components has deteriorated. Traditionally, the company executives’ confidence in the court system receives the lowest score – 1.98 points (2.01 in the previous period). It is not surprising as the business is the actual client of Ukrainian justice, and at least three components are important for it – speed, quality, and transparency in protecting violated rights and interests. Moreover, the ability to defend oneself through effective judicial institutions is extremely important for foreign investors who are only considering Ukraine as a prospective investment destination.
Professionals estimating the impartiality of the judiciary system gave it 2.55 points (2.58 in 2018), while the average assessment of criteria of organization and operation of judicial power hit the highest score – 2.83 points (2.87 in the last wave of the survey).
Among the criteria influencing the work of the judiciary, experts highly evaluated the availability of court decisions and judicial protection, the qualifications and professionalism of judges, while the terms of proceedings and the independence of the judiciary were considered poor.
In terms of court specialization, traditionally the commercial courts were rated the best – 2.56 points out of 5 possible while both general and administrative courts received 2.40 points from experts.
Listing top factors that negatively affect the trust in the court system, experts included corruption and bribery in the court process, overloaded courts, which affects the quality of the decisions, as well as the length of proceedings and the decision-making process.
Compared to the last year’s slight improvement in the moods of the company executives and the expert community, there has been some regression in assessing the work of the judiciary. Again, the trust of the EBA member companies’ CEOs to Ukrainian courts received the lowest assessment. We see certain deterioration of the attitude after the announced court reform was put on hold. We need to restore confidence in our justice system if we want investors to come to Ukraine, and we need to build a transparent court system. It is the minimum that is necessary to develop economy and create attractive business environment.
Trust to the court system goes beyond indices and figures. It means confidence in the state, its ability to stand up for justice, democratic values and European direction.
For the reference:
The Court Index survey has been conducted by the European Business Association since 2013.
The purpose of the study is constant monitoring and timely identification of problematic aspects in the relationship between business and the judiciary in terms of the work of general, administrative, and commercial courts of Ukraine.
The Court Index consists of three equivalent components:
- Estimation of the level of confidence in the court system by the executives of the EBA member companies;
- Estimation of the impartiality of the judicial system;
- Average assessment of nine criteria in the organization and operation of the judiciary.
The study was conducted from 6 to 20 April 2020, altogether 92 lawyers of the EBA member companies and 100+ CEOs of 2 waves of Investment Attractiveness Index in 2019 participated in the survey.
You can find all the EBA’s researches on site.