The plenary session of the Council of Judges of the Russian Federation was held in Moscow on May 24 to 27, 2011.

The following persons took part in the work of the Council: Chairman of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation V.M. Lebedev, Chairman of the Supreme Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation A.A. Ivanov, Deputy Chief of the Administration – Chief of the Department of the Human Resources Policy in the Judicial System of the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation in charge of the state service and human resources N.N. Suslov, Chairman of the Committee in charge of the constitutional legislation and State construction of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation V.G. Pligin, Deputy Chief of the State Legal Administration of the President of the Russian Federation S.V. Pchelintsev, General Director of the Judicial Department at the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation A.V. Gusev, Manager of the Project “Enhancement of the Efficiency of Execution of Judicial Acts in the Russian Federation” Xavier Barre.

The Chairman of the Supreme Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation A.A. Ivanov noted that it’s necessary to adjust salaries of judges according to index as well as to approve the scientifically justified workload of judges. He touched upon the issue related to the immunity of judges, stating that the limitation of the immunity may be positive, however, taking into account the condition of the law enforcement system of Russia, this might affect the independence of judges. He vocalized the idea of the procedure which would regulate the appointment of chairmen of courts and their deputies by resolutions of plenary sessions of courts. He thinks that it is reasonable to cancel the restriction on the appointment of chairmen of courts that provided for the appointment of the same person to the post of the chairman only 2 times in a row.

Xavier Barre stressed that the dominion of the law might be ensured by more efficient consideration of cases in courts and enhancement of the efficiency of the execution of judicial acts. He specified problems of the judicial system of Russia and gave recommendations on how to solve them. Criteria for the judge work evaluation should be clearly determined and differentiated.

The Chairman of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation V.M. Lebedev mentioned great workload of courts of general jurisdiction, especially in connection with civil-law cases what is caused by the consideration of “penny cases” by courts of first instance. The workload may be reduced by differentiating cases between magistrate courts and federal courts and fixing the floor of the action at 1,500 rubles. The development of the mediation institute, as a pre-judicial way of dispute settlement, may significantly simplify the work of judges. It is necessary to secure the scientifically justified workloads either by law or by resolution of the Government of the Russian Federation what would entail the increase of the judge salary fund.

After the speeches of the chairmen of the supreme courts, the members of the Council discussed the submitted law drafts.

The draft regarding amendments to be made to the Law of the Russian Federation “On the Status of Judges in the Russian Federation” and the Federal Law “On Additional Guarantees of Social Protection of Judges and Staff of Judicial Machinery of Courts of the Russian Federation” to the extent related to the determination of the length of service of judges has been approved. According to the draft, the length of service of a judge to be calculated to determine the length of service allowing the judge to resign and get all the payments and privileges should include the period of work in courts at positions requiring the higher legal education as well as at positions of the public prosecutor, investigator or solicitor, if the length of service as a judge is less than 10 years.

As far as the law draft regarding the improvement of the system of remuneration of judges is concerned, there are differences between opinions of the Council of Judges and the Ministry of Finance. The relevant proposals have been sent to the Ministry of Finance. As it was stated, the Minister of Finance A.L. Kudrin asked for the prolongation of the term for the fulfillment of the order till January 2012 due to the necessity to evaluate proposals of the Council of Judges and the supreme courts. The working group included members of the Council of Judges.

In addition, the meeting dealt with the following issues:

- On the progress of the implementation of order of the President of the Russian Federation dated December 5, 2010, No. Pr-3520, regarding the optimization of workloads on judges.

- On the progress of the implementation of order of the President of the Russian Federation dated December 15, 2010, No. Pr-3645, regarding the enhancement of the transparency and accessibility of justice in the Russian Federation.

- On the development of the concept of the federal target-oriented program “Development of the Judicial System of Russia” for the period from 2013 to 2017.

- On the results of the fulfillment of the federal budget for 2010 and the elapsed period of 2011.

- On the preparation of recommendations on the evaluation of the quality of work of judges of arbitration courts of the Russian Federation.

- On the work of the Judicial Department at the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation aimed at equipping escort rooms in buildings of federal courts of general jurisdiction.

- On securing and realizing rights by handicapped people referring to judicial bodies for the protection of breached or disputed rights, freedoms and legal interests.

- On actions implemented to settle, by legislative measures, the issue related to organization of health services for judges and members of their families and to apply the previously approved organization of health services rendered to judges and members of their families.

- On the development of the Indicative Provisions on awarding judges of courts of general jurisdiction and justices of peace.

- On creation, in the Rostov region, of the Association of Justices of Peace and on election of the Council of Justices of Peace.

- On tasks of the Fund for assistance to the social and legal protection of judicial staff and members of their families entitled “Law, Justice, and Mercy”.

- On the convocation of the ordinary 8th All-Russian Congress of Judges.

- On the approval of representatives to the Council of Judges of the Russian Federation from judges of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, judges of the Republic of the Khakass Republic, judges of the Republic of Bashkortostan, judges of garrison military courts, instead of the resigned members of the Council of Judges of the Russian Federation.

The Council of Judges approved a number of resolutions which will be posted in the section entitled “Resolutions”.



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