Creation of classical public organization of judges will allow to expand the horizons of our possibilities

     Dear Yuriy Ivanovich! In this issue of the magazine we planned to publish article of one our dear author in which he suggested to reform the Russian judicial community. In particular he argued that public association of judges should be with voluntary membership and that this association shouldn't have state functions. Frankly speaking, we believed that round this publication will be rough polemic and you as the Chairman of the Council of judges of Russia, will take a part in it and you will defend other point of view. We were mistaken. The group of judges initiated creation of the Russian association of judges. And on April 17 its Rules were already approved and a governing body was elected — Central Council which you headed. What does it mean? Need of reforming of judicial community ripened, and not somewhere, and in the Council of judges?

I would raise the question differently. Need ripened, only not reforming, but evolutionary development. The all-Russian organization of judges based on a principle of voluntary membership is really necessary. This idea soared for a long time in air. Time goes, life changes, there are the new professional inquiries, new tasks for the decision which are necessary new structures and new methods, including also organizational. But for this purpose it is not necessary to break and destroy those bodies of the judicial community which developed long ago and effectively carry out its functions. The activity of the Council of judges always was very productive and promoted to the improvement and strengthening of the judicial system of the country. Everything, that the Council of judges managed to reach during the whole period of its existence, certainly, causes respect.

The Council of judges is effective, his authority grows. There is a reasonable question — then why to create the new organization?

I will call only a few reasons. The Council of judges in that organizational form, in which it exists, in any way, is impossible to call classical public organization. It is unique in its own way as it combines public and state functions. Yes, it is the body of the judicial community which is created and operates on democratic principles. And it, certainly, has lines of public organization, such, for example, as selectivity of governing bodies, collective nature, publicity, openness. A number of the main objectives of the Council of judges makes related it with public association, for example, such as assistance in improvement of the judicial system, protection of the rights and interests of judges, strengthening of their independence and of the judicial authority. But the term "public organization" in that value which is fixed in the Law «About public associations» is inapplicable to it. The Council unites all without an exception judges ofRussia, instead of those who voluntary expressed intention to become his member. Besides, it carries out a number of the state functions, including expenditure of budgetary funds. And, respectively, such function of the Council of judges as participation in organizational, personnel and resource ensuring judicial activity which is fixed in the law on bodies of judicial community, doesn't fall in any way under the purposes of public organization.

What is terrible in it?

Nothing. Moreover, the Council of judges carries out the functions very effectively. It would be unreasonable and irrational if we have relieved the Council from similar functions as some of our colleagues had offered. At the same time creation of classical public organization of judges will allow to expand the horizons of our possibilities. It will allow us to lift on a new level of interaction with other professional communities and public organizations, including — human rights, with mass media that as we assume, will positively be reflected in strengthening of authority of the judicial system.

Besides, we can become the subject of international relations, enter into the international judicial associations, strengthen the international cooperation including in order that worthy and truthfully to represent our judicial authority to the world and foreign colleagues.

Is the international judicial association is ready to cooperate with the Russian public organization?

Certainly, and we have been preparing for a long time to join it ranks. We invited representatives of the international association of judges toRussia, we took part in their annual conferences. So the preparatory work according to the accession to the international judicial community is conducted actively. But so far the organizational nature of the Council of judges is not quite corresponded to those requirements which are shown to the members of this international association. We perfectly understood that we are not entered in their format. And though they treated with understanding our specifics and were ready to admit community of the Russian judges to the association, but we considered it to be wrong. We want to be equitable member of the international community, instead of an exception of the general rules. As the international judicial organization consists of the public unions, and such union is necessary for us.

Why the need of creation of the Public organization of judges became obvious just now, instead of five or ten years ago?

Everything is good in its season. Probably, the idea should ripen, seize masses. I can tell you that about five years ago we offered something similar at the meeting of the Council, but then judges didn't show any enthusiasm. Actually, we offered those who want to access to a new public organization to write a demand. We argued so: if the sufficient number of desirous will gather, we will start to realize an idea. A similar desire was expressed by two persons.

It is poorly.

It is.

What has occurred for five years, that the quantity of desirous to create the new organization increased in tens times?

The Council gathers two times a year, and during the meetings it should manage to consider a large quantity of questions, among which such volume and difficult, as the annual report of the General Director of the Judicial department, the budgetary, personnel and many other problems. At such loading no wonder that the Council of judges in many respects lost its free spirit of public organization, "veche" spirit. All these years the Council have been governmentalizating. And this process will proceed, so, the powers of judicial self-government at the Council of judges will become even more over time. It normally and completely corresponds to those tasks which should be solved. Now the Council forms not only qualifying collegiums of judges, but also examination committees. The circle of questions on which the Council adopts obligatory provisions, such, for example, as formation of the list of the diseases interfering appointment to the post of the judge extends.

And new powers and new duties demand time and forces therefore there is no time on many other important issues simply.

For example, on what?

We are sure that it is necessary to give much more time to questions of social protection of judges. It is necessary to give more attention to work with veterans. We consider that the Public organization of judges can partially carry out functions of trade union of judges. Besides, it is necessary to deduce on a new level horizontal interaction of judges not only with the organizations uniting lawyers but also with other structures of civil society, to adjust with them constructive cooperation and to expand space of professional dialogue.

So the Public organization of judges will make judicial corporation which is often tax with the isolation much more open?

Certainly. We are sure that the discussion platform organized by the Russian association of judges, will be constantly operating that will allow to discuss operatively all pressing problems, and it will promote adopting optimum decisions.

Probably, it is impossible to differentiate rigidly functions of the Council of judges and the Russian association of judges, many of them will be crossed or duplicated. Respectively, there will be a competition between two organizations. You aren't afraid, what it will generate the conflicts in judicial community?

We have no occasions and motives to the competition. Differently, we have nothing to divide: both the Council and Public organization of judges look in one direction and aspire to common goals. We are allies by definition, so, accumulation of forces and possibilities on development of judicial system is necessary for all Russian judges and for the whole community. But also, intention to enter the new organization was expressed by many members of the Council of judges. Hardly they will compete by themselves, in any case I even can't present such "split personality" to myself.

Nevertheless, is it possible that the Council of judges itself will share with the Russian association of judges by the powers? In part where Council carries out public functions.

No. Once again I will emphasize: the Council of judges manages all the powers. Let's surely cooperate, and joint projects to carry out, supplement each other, especially in such important and sacred issue, as strengthening of independence of judges. Any actions will need to be carried out within the Council of judges, and any — within Public organization of judges which structure is more free and less held down by those restrictions which Council has.

Creation of the Public organization of judges caused ambiguous reaction among your colleagues from arbitration system. They had an impression that you create Public association of judges of courts of general jurisdiction.

It is misintelligence. And such reaction, frankly speaking, surprised me, because we explained at once: the association will unite all judges who will consider as expedient to enter it. I believe that to create some judicial public associations with approximately same purposes — means to spray forces. What for? Than more numerous there will be a created organization and the more jurisdictions it will unite, it becomes stronger and more authoritative. Therefore we told at once that doors in the Public organization of judges are open for everybody.

Probably, such misapprehension of your colleagues from commercial courts of the Russian Federation have emerged since they have not been invited to the constituent assembly on April 17.

Yes, I understand everything. But I vigorously reject charges in secrecy and that preparation for our meeting took place in s strict secret. It would be so silly, as and it is impossible. We notified on the offers courts and the Councils of judges of 48 regions, what here a secrecy and all the more a secret? Simply always it is necessary to begin, take the first step from something. And then to address with specific proposals to the general judicial public. That is to offer the judicial community not the illusive dreams or plans, and the distinct plan of action and the clear concept of future organization.

At first there was a private initiative of several judges, and we discussed it in a very narrow circle. Then a circle expanded, but exactly so to have possibility to make the concrete decision concerning that, to create the new organization or not. In courts of 48 regions of theRussian Federationheld meetings and nominated the delegates to the first meeting. But even during that moment we weren't sure at all that the meeting in expanded structure will end with making decision on creation of the Public organization of judges. Certainly, it is good that our meeting passed so structurally and that all 49 delegates supported our idea. Now we will suggest everybody to take part in further discussions of destiny of the Public organization of judges and plans of its activity. We are open to cooperation and we will be sincerely glad, if the new organization unites as much as possible judges.

And nevertheless by what criteria you selected participants of the first meeting?

We invited judges from the regions most approached toMoscow. Now we send letters to the regions, which are in a very long distance and also to the Commercial courts and to theConstitutional Court.

I want to remind that the initiative of creation of the Council of judges proceeded from courts of law too. And it at all didn't prevent the subsequent association in Council of all judges ofRussia. I hope, and this time it will be possible to create the all-judicial organization. And further — association of judges of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The relevant proposals fromBelarus,Kazakhstanand other states have already arrived to us. They want to communicate with us, and their experience, opinions, offers are interesting for us.

The initiative, which is similar to yours, was repeatedly sounded by representatives of arbitration system.

And not only it was sounded. It is possible to tell that the Supreme Commercial Court of theRussian Federationundertook quite specific actions, namely conducted business correspondence with chairmen of the supreme courts of theUnionof the independent states about creation of association of judges of commonwealth. With that, however, a difference that this association should operate under the supreme commercial and economic courts. And here is not absolutely clear to me. If we create the organization, the member of which can be all acting judges and judges in resignation, but why at the head of it — only one of the judicial jurisdictions?

You didn't ask to colleagues from arbitration system this question?

I would ask, but us — neither the Supreme Court of theRussian Federation, nor the Council of judges — didn't invite to these meetings. I speak about it, believe, without any offense. Possibly, colleagues from arbitration system would like to work more deeply on these questions and then to invite us. But also there is nothing to take offense on us, because in the organization created by ourselves there will be a full equality of all the members, regardless of what branch of judicial authority they represent. And it will not be exact so that this or that jurisdiction predominates, and the others are arranged in its waterway.

We are for mutual respect,  equality, for first of all we have to concentrate on our common problems and common goals.

But you don't plunge into details of activity of the new organization yet?

Creating the Council of judges, we didn't imagine, how it will work, what powers and structure it will have. It was pure amateur performance of judges. But we accurately understood one: the main thing is to start. Not to indulge in vain hopes and not to be afraid to take the first step. We knew that the tribune is necessary to judges that their voice should be audible that the body which will represent their interests is necessary for them and it will also protect their professional rights. And, as we see, this initiative started to develop at once in the necessary direction.

It is necessary to wish the same to the Russian association of judges.

Everything will depend on us. We have a desire and an experience too. I think, that the Public organization of judges have a good future.

Thanks you.

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