Law on ex-judges gets tough

Russian parliament has adopted in the third, final, hearing amendments to the law ‘On judges in the Russian Federation’. The law prohibits retired judges from acting as representatives in court. Earlier they were forbidden from entering the bar. An ex- judge, therefore, will no longer be able to speak in court, either as an advocate or as a private attorney.

Currently the restrictions concern only judiciary. As soon as the bill becomes the law both acting and retired judges will be subject to the same regulation.

Also, ex-judges are not allowed, either personally or through an attorney, to take part in the management of a commercial entity, receive - without consent of the qualification committee - honorary or special degrees, and speak publicly on any subject which is or can become the matter of the hearing until the case is resolved and the decision comes into effect.

The amendments are a part of the anti-corruption package introduced by the president Dmitry Medvedev in October 2008. The president said that ‘the measures aim to achieve the independence of the judge in a case and to return public trust to judiciary’.

A few years ago Veniamin Yakovlev, at the time the Head of the Supreme Arbitrazhniy Court, said that ‘there are three main ways of getting someone else’s property in our country: illegal bankruptcy, creation of separate management bodies of a joint stock company, and abuse of procedure’ and ‘all these methods are being used by judges.’

To become the law the bill needs to be approved by the upper chamber of parliament and signed by the president.



September 18, 2009