SHU professor enlisted by USAID to help strengthen Ukraine top court

Giuseppe Fazari

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Seton Hall University criminal justice professor Giuseppe Fazari was engaged by the United States Agency for International Development to help strengthen the administration of justice in the Supreme Court of Ukraine. Focusing on caseflow management, and policies and procedures designed to improve courtroom procedure, Fazari designed and delivered training to the Supreme Court.

While Fazari has consulted both domestically and abroad before his trips to Ukraine, he said, “This particular project was unique because Ukraine’s constitution was only ratified in 1996 with several amendments that have since passed. Their democracy is still in its infancy stages and so if there was ever a way to travel back in time to more fully consider how it was like to work with our first chief justice, John Jay, this would be it.”

The Nove Pravosuddya Justice Sector Reform Program, known as New Justice, in Ukraine was established and designed by USAID to support, among other responsibilities, the judiciary’s mission to serve its citizenry and society and to create and continually improve upon its administration so as to safeguard an independent, accountable, transparent and effective justice system. The New Justice Program sets forth five objectives: to strengthen judicial independence and self-governance; to increase accountability and transparency of the judiciary to citizens and the rule of law; to enhance the administration of justice; to strengthen the quality of legal education; and to protect access to justice while expanding human rights.

Following Fazari’s consultation on a wide range of issues that affect the disposition of appellate level cases, he provided extensive training in the principles and application of caseflow management to a large cohort of judges and judicial assistants.

The Supreme Court of Ukraine commenced operation on Dec. 15, 2017, after which decrees on the consolidation of appeal and local courts with the aim to achieve a more structured and efficient justice system were signed into law. The newly-instituted judiciary established working groups to address issues related to the unification of case law, quality of court decisions and communications, administration, management, and anti-corruption measures. Among other tasks, Fazari developed a wide-ranging questionnaire which accounted for 12 areas of inquiry including court administration, judicial policy making, judicial powers, allocation of resources, administrative support for the judiciary, training, judicial performance standards, automation, procedural issues, local legal culture, caseload and trials, and caseflow management. Fazari then utilized a court administration paradigm that he developed from his experiences as an executive judicial administrator to provide the court with a series of recommended strategies and training in the core areas of managing the court.

During his two visits to the country, the area of focus was on case management. Fazari’s model depicts equivalent importance along a range of judicial functions, but he stated caseflow management “is at the very heart of the model because it represents the ‘product’ of the court’s work. It ensures that individual justice is given to individual cases through the coordination of activities and resources so that it is not compromised or otherwise not attained due to unnecessary delay. Delay, perhaps more than any other single factor, vitiates all other efforts made by the court to achieve justice.”