Judicial Department at the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation
Questionnaire for the preparation of the CCJE Opinion No. 22 (2019)
The information is given within competence of the Judicial Department at the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation defined by the Federal Law No. 7-ФЗ “On the Judicial Department at the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation” from 08.01.1998.
In accordance with the abovementioned law Judicial Department at the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation is a federal state body with the aim to provide administrative support for the federal courts of general jurisdiction, federal commercial courts, bodies of the judiciary, to fund justices of the peace and also aimed to create unified information space of federal courts and justices of the peace.
Judicial Department and its bodies are aimed to strengthen independence of courts and judges and are not to intervene in delivery of justice.
Functioning of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation and Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation is within the jurisdiction of personnel of the each court (Article 30 of the Federal Constitutional Law No. 1-ФКЗ “On the judicial system of the Russian Federation” of 31 December,1996).
I. How are judges supported?
1. Are judges supported in their work by assistants who are not judges at that court (and also not members of the security or IT staff)?
a) by administrative assistants
b) by judicial assistants
A. Delivery of justice is completely within the power of courts and in particular within the power of judges and jury who are engaged into delivery of justice in accordance with the order prescribed by the law.
Court personnel are to perform activities aimed at organizational support of delivery of justice of a particular court.
Judicial assistants are members of court personnel. Principal tasks of a judicial assistant are legal organizational, informational, documentation and other kinds of support of judges’ activities including support of judges’ procedural activities.
Administrative matters in courts of the Russian Federation are supervised by court administrators. Court administrators’ responsibilities are mostly related to maintenance issues, administrators are not involved in organizational activities and don’t have any subordinates among court personnel. Court administrators are not members of court personnel.
Court administrators are state civil servants of the system of the Judicial Department at the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation.
Court administrators are subordinated to a chairperson of court and follows chairperson’s instructions.
2. What is the rationale for employing assistants in your system? If there are different rationales for employing administrative assistants and judicial assistants, please describe those rationales separately.
A. Professional activities of judicial assistants include auxiliary, organizational and informational function towards justice, since judicial assistants don’t have functions relating to the judicial power.
The goal of the institute of administrators is to free judges and especially chairpersons of courts from performing maintenance functions in courts, which are not related to the delivery of justice.
3. What kind of duties judicial assistants have at the courts in your member State? If they perform different duties in different courts, please explain these duties separately. Such duties may include:
• Research, maybe summarised in a memo
• Discussion with the judge(s)
• Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law
• Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law and a suggestion of the judicial assistant how the case should be decided
• Memos summarising the facts and the relevant law and including a suggestion if a case should be accepted for appeal/constitutional review
• Drafting parts of the judgment, if so which parts? Facts, certain points under discussion?
• Drafting complete judgments
• Proofreading of decisions, maybe including discussing certain points with the judge/pointing out inconsistencies etc.
• Reading draft judgments of other judges and discussing them with the judge
• Crosschecking references
• Drafting press releases
• Drafting procedural decisions
• Deciding procedural issues such as appointing an expert or deciding on costs of proceedings
• Conducting hearings and deciding simple cases autonomously, for example concerning enforcement, or simple criminal cases. If so, please specify if a judge has to approve the decision or if the decision is taken by the judicial assistant alone.
• In addition to tasks such as those mentioned above, judicial assistants may also perform administrative duties such as:
- Writing protocols in hearings
- Organisation of files
- Correspondence with parties
- Preparing the official copies of decisions, preparing decisions for publication
- Collecting statistical data
A. Responsibilities of judicial assistants are regulated by federal legislation on state civil service and normative legal acts.
Among responsibilities in legal organizational support judicial assistants are obliged to:
provide support in preparing judgements on debatable issues of applying current legislation;
participate in deliberation of applications of citizens of the Russian Federation delivered to a judge, report in oral (written) form on the matter of application and prepare a draft of a reply;
participate in checks of citizens’ and court personnel applications;
follow other instructions from a judge related to case (material) examination.
Among responsibilities in informational support of judge’s activities judicial assistants are obliged to:
provide codification organization of a judge’s activities;
monitor current legislation;
search for information necessary to a judge to exercise his powers;
prepare information on judge’s pending cases;
prepare other information on issues related to responsibilities of a judicial assistant;
follow other instructions from a judge related to informational support of the judge’s activities.
Among responsibilities in documentation support of judge’s activities judicial assistants are obliged to:
prepare drafts of compilations, analytical reports on court activities, overviews;
prepare drafts of procedural and other documents necessary for a judge to exercise his powers.
Among responsibilities in procedural support of judge’s activities judicial assistants are obliged to:
provide support for a judge in preparing and organizing a hearing but not to interfere with the process of delivery of justice;
provide support in preparing draft documents related to the professional activities of a judge;
participate in examination of received applications (legal claims) within the frame of civil proceedings, cases (materials), appeals within the frame of criminal proceedings, cases on administrative infractions and appeals on them;
make proposals to a judge on taking action prescribed by the procedural legislation and instruction on judicial workflow on the stage of preparing case (material) for a hearing;
prepare in oral (written) form a preliminary judgement on applications (legal claims) within the frame of civil proceedings, on cases (materials), on appeals within the frame of criminal proceedings, on cases on administrative infractions and pending appeals on them;
on a judge’s instructions make entries in informational systems on cases (materials), pending applications of citizens;
make selection of federal laws, other normative legal acts, practice materials necessary for pending cases;
prepare drafts of procedural documents;
perform other functions related to procedural activities of a judge.
Among other responsibilities judicial assistants are obliged to:
take minutes of a hearing;
control recording of a hearing via technical means
check presence of participants of a hearing who are obliged to participate;
provide support for members of court personnel in selection of judicial acts which have to be published on the Internet;
process arriving e-documents within established time limits;
follow other instructions of a judge aimed at giving access to information on court activities for citizens.
A judicial assistant follows other instructions of a judge within the frame of fulfilling him his duties, both professional and procedural which are defined by federal constitutional laws and federal laws.
(Law of the Judicial Department at the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation No. 272 “On enforcing standard labor regulations of judicial assistant of judge of region or military district courts” of 6 December, 2010).
4. If judicial assistants help in the drafting process, how do they do it?
A. Judicial assistants provides support for a judge in preparing drafts of court rulings, taking into account judge’s instructions, case materials and procedure, determined by the procedural legislation of the Russian Federation.
Judicial assistants are not allowed to take part in the process of delivery of justice.
5. Are judicial assistants present during deliberations? If yes, do they participate in the discussion?
A. In accordance with the procedural legislation of the Russian Federation court ruling and verdict are delivered in a deliberations room. Only judges involved in a particular case are allowed to be present during the delivery of court ruling and verdict.
6. Are judicial assistants present in hearings? If so, what duties do they have during hearings? Are they allowed to ask questions?
A. Procedural status of judicial assistants is currently not determined in civil, administrative or criminal procedural legislation.
On instructions of a presiding judge judicial assistants take minutes of a hearing, control recording of a hearing via technical means, check presence of participants of a hearing who are obliged to participate, perform other procedural activities in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.
7. Is there a formal rule or an informal consensus among judges, what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake?
A. Justice is delivered by judges in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation, while judicial assistants fulfil their duties in accordance with the legislation requirements and requirements of labor regulations.
8. Which duties belong exclusively to the judge?
A. In accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation judicial power exclusively belongs to courts and in particular to judges and members of society (jury and commercial court jury) who are engaged into delivery justice in accordance with the order prescribed by the law.
9. How does the work of judicial assistants affect decisions and judicial decision making? How do judges ensure that the decision remains "their"?
A. Judicial assistants are not allowed to take part in the process of delivery of justice.
10. Is there any official data or - if not - do you have a view how useful judicial assistants actually are e.g. in saving judges’ time ?
A. No official data.
11. At which courts in your member State are judges supported by judicial assistants? First instance/second instance/third instance/constitutional court?
A. Judicial assistants fulfil their duties in all courts of the Russian Federation, irrespective of instance.
(Federal Constitutional Law No. 1-ФКЗ «On the courts of general jurisdiction in the Russian Federation» of 7 December, 2011).
12. If there are lay judges in your system, are they specifically supported by judicial assistants?
A. The delivery of justice by lay judges is not provided in the judicial system of the Russian Federation.
According to the Articles 118 and 123 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, Article 1 of the Federal Constitutional Law No. 1-ФКЗ of December 31, 1996 “On the Judicial System of the Russian Federation”, the judicial power in the Russian Federation exclusively belongs to courts and in particular to judges and jury who are engaged into delivery justice in accordance with the order prescribed by the law.
In accordance with the functions defined by the federal legislation of the Russian Federation, judicial assistants support judges in engaging jurors into delivery of justice - for example, select candidates for jurors from the principal and secondary lists in a court at random, check for the circumstances preventing a person to act as a juror in a criminal case, report on the presence of candidates for jurors in the preparatory stage of a court hearing.
Jurors do not have judicial assistants. Personnel of the relevant court provide organizational assistance to jurors in the process of exercising justice.
13. How are judicial assistants organised? If there are different forms of organisation at different courts, please explain the different models. For example:
· Are assistants assigned to one judge individually? If so, how many assistants work for each judge?
· Or are they assigned to a panel of judges? If so, how many judicial assistants work for each panel?
· Or are they part of a pool of judicial assistants serving the whole court? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?
· Or do they work in teams put together for certain cases? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?
21. How long do judicial assistants usually work in that capacity? Just for one or a few months, or years? Or is it a long-term/permanent career?
22. If it is a short-term position, what do they do afterwards?
24. If being a judicial assistant is a long-term/permanent position, are there opportunities for advancement?
A. Appointment to a position of a judicial assistant, as well as dismissal, is made by an order of the chairperson of a particular court.
In accordance with the federal legislation of the Russian Federation regulating the state civil service, civil servants who are appointed to positions of judicial assistants sign service contracts for the term of office of a particular judge.
(Article 9 of the Federal Law of 27July, 2004 No. 79-ФЗ “On the State Civil Service of the Russian Federation”).
After the expiration of the service contract with a civil servant, a new contract may be signed for the term of office of another judge. Judicial assistant also have the right to professional development and to fill other positions in the court on a competitive basis.
Judicial assistants are not assigned to a panel of judges for the consideration of specific cases.
The number of judges and their assistants is determined by the staffing table of each court.
14. Who pays them?
15. What is their status? Are they considered as, for example, civil servants, seconded judges or just employees?
A. According to the provisions of the current legislation of the Russian Federation, judicial assistants are civil servants.
Financial provision of civil servants and their allowance is carried out at the expense of the federal budget and the budgets of the subjects of the Russian Federation in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.
Salaries and civil service rank salaries are established by a decree of the President of the Russian Federation.
(Articles 50 and 65 of the Federal Law of 27 July, 2004 No. 79-ФЗ “On the State Civil Service of the Russian Federation”).
16. How much do they earn compared to the judges for whom they work? You do not need to indicate exact amounts, but mentioning the proportion between the salaries of
judges and assistants would be helpful. For example, how does the salary of a judicial assistant working at a first instance court compare to that of a judge at that court?
A. At present salary of civil servants appointed to positions of judicial assistants in federal courts is on average comprises 21% of salary of judges.
17. Is serving as a judicial assistant a necessary part of the legal education in your member State/a prerequisite for becoming a judge?
A. The legislation of the Russian Federation does not require candidates applying for a position of a judge to have work experience as a judicial assistant.
18. What kind of education do judicial assistants have? For example, studies of law, politics, service in the police or military etc., a special education?
A. In order to fill a position of a judicial assistant, candidates are required to have a higher legal education.
19. What kind of work experience do judicial assistants have? If they have a legal education, have they qualified for practice? Are they seconded judges? Have they gained practical experience, if so, in what areas?
A. Since the beginning of 2017, there are no state servant or legal work experience requirements for this category of positions.
20. How are they selected?
A. Judicial assistants are civil servants, and therefore issues related to their admission to civil service of the Russian Federation, the process of service and dismissal are regulated by the Federal law of 27 July, 2004 No. 79-ФЗ “On the State Civil Service of the Russian Federation.
23. If serving as a judicial assistant is not part of the legal education, why do applicants apply to work as judicial assistants?
A. The judicial assistants are civil servants. In the course of carrying out official duties, a person working as a judicial assistant acquires legal work experience.
25. Do judicial assistants swear an oath? Do they wear some form of official dress at certain occasions? E.g. gowns when in court?
A. Current legislation does not establish an oath for judicial assistants.
Court employees, who have civil service ranks, including judicial assistants, are provided with official uniform.
(Article 19 of the Law of the Russian Federation of June 26, 1992 No. 3132-1 “On the status of judges in the Russian Federation”)
26. Are there formal regulations concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants? if so, is it a statute or internal regulation? If yes, what is regulated by them? Could you provide, as a separate attachment to vour answers, the text of the regulation please?
A. The rights and duties, the direct tasks performed by judicial assistants, are defined in labor regulations approved by the chairperson of a particular court. Additionally, functions of judicial assistants, as an officials, are regulated in separate statutory acts and acts of higher judicial bodies.
Also, by the order of the Judicial Department at the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation No. 79 of April 26, 2011, the Standard Code of ethics and service conduct of federal state civil servants of federal courts of general jurisdiction, federal commercial courts and divisions of the Judicial Department in the subjects of the Russian Federation was approved, which is a set of general principles of the professional service ethics and the basic rules of official conduct that federal civil state servants of federal courts of general jurisdiction, federal commercial courts and divisions of the Judicial Department in the subjects of the Russian Federation should be guided by regardless of the position they occupy.
Resolution of the Council of Judges of the Russian Federation No. 156 of April 27, 2006 "On approval of the rules of conduct for employees of courts" clarifies and specifies ethical norms of behavior of court personnel, which base on statutory requirements for official conduct of civil servants.
These rules are an integral part of the labor requirements of civil servants from the moment they sign a service contract for civil service.
27. Are there informal rules governing the relationship between judge and judicial assistants?
A. There are no informal rules in this sphere.
28. Are there any rules - formal or informal - concerning the independence and impartiality of judicial assistants?
A. The principle of independence and impartiality applies only to judges (the Law of the Russian Federation of June 26, 1992 No. 3132-1 “On the Status of Judges in the Russian Federation”).
According to the current legislation, judicial assistants are not allowed to take part in the process of delivery of justice.
29. Can judicial assistants in your member State become members of an association of judges or is there a special association for them?
A. The judicial assistants cannot be members of the judicial community.
There are no special associations for judicial assistants in the Russian Federation.
30. Do you believe that judges in your system would need more or different support by personnel to work effectively? If yes, what kind of support?
31. Are there certain challenges that your member State faces as regards the support for judges which have not been mentioned so far?
A. This Part is not within the competence of the Judicial Department at the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation.