We are used to open days being held in schools, higher education institutions and sometimes museums. But out with the stereotypes! For the first time Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine (SACU) has held Doors Open Day.

Within the event journalists learned everyday work of the Court: saw the procedure of admission, registration and distribution of service documents, visited chambers, courtroom, "secret" judges' room, museum expositions of the Supreme Administrative Court.

The Court is located in the former facility of "Arsenal" plant. First two floors were built in 1850-51 years, top floors were erected in 50s of XX century. "Originally, these facilities were not adapted for a court, and as they were transmitted to the court in 1995, we have been adapting the rooms for the needs of the court since then,"  SACU chief of staff Stanislav Kotorobayev tells. 

So, shall we begin! If you want to file a cassation appeal, you are expected in the room of service documents admission, opened only three months ago. "There are no guards here, so a person can enter and give the appeal directly to a clerk or put it in the post box," Kotorobayev says.

There are 1000-1200 appeals, being filed every day.

Among innovations of the Court, there is an information stall, where you can find information about your case. "Use instruction is very simple. You should type requisites of the case, and you will get the information about the progress of the procedure. In total, there are three stalls installed in the Court," Kotorobayev explains.

When cassation appeals and claim forms are filed, they go to the court registry for registration. 

These are the documents which need to be processed. By the end of the day they will be registered and added to the database.

After the registration, documents go to the chamber of appeals procedure department, and then to judges.

This is the procedure department of the fourth chamber of appeals, specialized in claims against the tax inspection. A total of 78 specialists and court session secretaries work here.

The staff keeps documents in safes.

"Batmobile" is the right hand of the staff. "It is our lifesaver. The majority of the staff is women, and they cannot carry heavy piles of documents. With the help of our "batmobile" we take cases from the registry and bring them to judges," head of the department Lesya Martseniuk says.

In the narrow corridors there are numerous lockers for storing cases. Every locker is assigned to a certain judge.

And finally we are welcomed by Evhenia Usenko, judge of the fourth chamber of appeals of the Supreme Administrative Court.

According to the Administrative Legal Proceedings Code of January 1, 2011, cases get distributed among judges by the automated system.

"There are 16 thousand 305 cases in the fourth chamber. As of July 1, 2013 eight thousand 271 cases had already been considered. The work of a judge depends largely on teamwork of the whole organization, including a judge assistant, consultant, court session secretary," Usenko says.

Then journalists were invited to the new courtrooms, equipped only a year ago. To get to a new courtroom a person must pass a security control leaving all unauthorized objects with the guards. All courtrooms are equipped with recording appliances. "There are about 100 thousand cases being considered annually. Most common cases include claims against the tax inspection, Pension fund and social security bodies," Kotorobayev says.

This is the "secret" judge rooms, where judges come to decide on a case.

Museum exposition room is one of the most interesting places of the Court. Keeper of this mini-museum Viktor Basov conditionally divides the museum pieces into three categories. "The first one is the history of formation of administrative legal proceedings in Ukraine. The second category is the modern state of the administrative justice. And a separate department is dedicated to the souvenir gifts.

Among particular showpieces there are original manual of baron Korf and a copy of Ostrog Bible.
"This tie was given by Yuri Karamsin. When the Court was just established Karamsin told Oleksandr Panasiuk, the first SACU chairman, that if the administrative justices proved functional he would cut off his tie and give it to the Court. Well, he did not cut it off, but gave as a gift anyway," Basov says.

According to the deputy chief of the Supreme Administrative court Dmytro Lipski, with this event the Court establishes regular holding of open days. "We know that high-quality justice is very important, but showing and telling how this justice is administrated is of no less importance as well. During such welcome days we will try to draw people's attention to the necessity of strengthening the judicial branch in Ukraine; to familiarize people with court activities, records system, case examination procedure; to explain the rules of admission and case consideration procedures," he notes.

Lipski also added that the Doors Open Day in the Court will be held for mass media, public organizations, students of law faculties and high-school children.

Thus, Welcome to Court!

Daryna Schwartzman, photos by Maxim Trebukhov


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