Upholding judicial democratisation and independence in securing human rights and interests, the Action Strategy 2017-2021 identifies access to justice, judicial efficiency and higher standards for justice hopefuls as the kernel of judicial reforms.
The Decree, which is an important step for state policy in this sphere, establishes the Supreme Judicial Council in Uzbekistan.
The council is called on to uphold judicial independence. It will be composed of a President-proposed and Senate-appointed Chairman, 20 President-approved judges, law enforcement workers, civil society representatives, and legal specialists. Thirteen of its members will work permanently, while the remaining 8 will work on a voluntary basis.
The Council will in an open process form the judiciary from among the best specialists, to preserve judicial integrity and train judges.
The council will, with the President’s approval, appoint and remove judges, except those of the Constitutional and the Supreme Courts and the top of the Military Court, Karakalpakstan’s Court, and the courts of regions and the city of Tashkent.
The judicial legislation and independence research centre will be converted into the Justice Problem Research Centre under the Supreme Judicial Council.
In an important step, the Supreme Court and the Supreme Economic Court were united into a single body to oversee civil, criminal, administrative and economic justice.
The two courts working alongside each other failed to harmonise their work and led to a divergence of decisions on similar topics.
The Decree forms a new public and administrative court system, to hold public officials and state bodies accountable in a process called judicial review.
Until now, this process has been delegated to civil and economic courts, or, in the case of administrative wrongdoing, to criminal courts under the Administrative Code.
Administrative proceedings will be held under the newly-proposed Laws ‘On Administrative Judicature’ and ‘On Administrative Procedures.’
Existing economic courts will be revamped and new ones instituted on a district level, to streamline the judicial process and cut costs.
A logistics department will be opened under the Supreme Court to help insulate courts’ finances and secure social packages for judges, as well as court employees.
Military courts have been moved to the Supreme Court system, as being part of the Defence Ministry, an executive body, slightly compromised the judicial independence principle.
ICT are introduced in the judiciary, and a respective Programme will be devised by the government.
The changes will bring about amendments in some laws, including the Constitution, the Economic and Civil Codes, and the Law ‘On Courts’.
The Decree sets out historic changes to modernise Uzbekistan’s judiciary under international standards.