The EU project Pravo-Justice, judicial authorities, judges and heads of court staff discussed the issue of court personnel management in wartime conditions

On September 9, the EU Project Pravo-Justice held a conference "Personnel management: adaptation of courts in conditions of war", organized within the framework of the "Model Courts" Initiative. The participants of the event discussed the team management in times of war crisis to ensure the courts’ continuous operation, aspects of remote work, maintaining personnel documentation, and social protection of court employees.

Opening the conference, the Chairman of the Council of Judges of Ukraine, Bohdan Monich, thanked the Project for implementation of the "Model Courts" Initiative, including such an important topic as managing a court team in wartime.

"Due to active hostilities, a significant number of judges and court employees had to evacuate. The question arose of how to organize the courts’ employees remote work from other regions and from abroad. Therefore, under the initiative of the Supreme Court, the development of draft laws is continuing, which would provide an opportunity to settle the controversial issues of remote work for courts and courts’ staff," Bohdan Monich noted.

In his turn, the Head of the State Judicial Administration (SJA) of Ukraine, Oleksiy Salnikov, emphasized that the constitutional rights of citizens to apply to court cannot be limited even under martial law. Therefore, the work of the courts does not stop. To date, 578 courts continue to work successfully, considering, also, cases from those regions where it is currently not possible to administer justice.

"Over the past six months, the judicial system faced unprecedented problems that required immediate solutions. Jurisdiction of cases of courts that could not fulfill their duties changed. Some courts were recommended by the State Judicial Administration to be put on hold, while others could organize work remotely. All this required urgent management decisions. In such extraordinary conditions, the courts demonstrated high coherence by making high-quality decisions to maintain the courts’ work," Oleksiy Salnikov said.

Anna Adamska-Gallant, International Key Expert on Judicial Reform of the EU Project "Pravo-Justice", added that Ukrainian courts are functioning despite the full-scale war.

"The judicial system has demonstrated that it is ready to continue its work even in the difficult conditions of war, to guarantee access to justice for the citizens of Ukraine. We are glad that we can support our Ukrainian colleagues in this difficult time," said Mrs. Adamska-Gallant.

According to Vladyslav Gurtenko, head of the international cooperation department of the High Council of Justice, the courts’ management teams who got more responsibility and an additional workload should be rightly credited for the ensuring of smooth operation of the courts.

Natalia Alyushina, head of the National Agency for Civil Service (NACS), spoke about the difficulties that state bodies and their teams had to face: "Already in the first months of the military invasion, the organizational approaches in the work of state bodies were changed, the functions, forms, and communications had to be revised. At the same time, as the study conducted by the NACS shows, half of the employees felt an increase in workload, 64% are involved in weekend work, unfortunately, 54% of civil servants saw a decrease in wages."

During the conference, experts on public administration reform, representatives of the NACS and SJA, judges and heads of court apparatus considered:

  • aspects of remote work of a civil servant being an internally displaced person and the possibility of working from abroad;
  • implementing the legislation on civil service and legislation on labor under martial law;
  • social protection of courts employees, SJA of Ukraine;
  • experience of courts in overcoming crisis situations to ensure continuous operation of judiciary;
  • psychological components of personnel management during the war;
  • transfer of cases from other jurisdictions caused by compulsory change of territorial jurisdiction under martial law.

The full recording of the conference is available at the link.