The Supreme Court of Ukraine is the topmost judiciary body in the system of common jurisdiction courts. The Chairman of the Supreme Court is elected to and dismissed from office by secret ballot by the plenum of the Supreme Court, from among the Supreme Court judges. The latter are elected by the Verkhovna Rada with no fixed time limit. The Supreme Court operates within the plenum of the Supreme Court, the panel of judges for civil cases and the panel of judges for criminal cases. The competence of the Supreme Court includes revision of decisions and sentences of courts on a cassation basis or through its own initiative for the purposes of surveillance, judicial practice generalization and provision of guidelines of legislative application, as well as monitoring Ukrainian courts` compliance with laws. In cases provided by the law, the Supreme Court examines civil and criminal cases as a court of primary jurisdiction. It will be noted that, in juridical literature, discussions are underway regarding the legal nature of the Supreme Court`s guidelines of legislation application by courts. The traditional national approach denied the existence of case law in the Soviet legal system and therefore the Supreme Court`s guidelines were viewed exclusively as interpretations of rules of law. At the same time, the courts have always considered the opinion of the Supreme Court in their practical activity, followed and continue to follow its acts in examining specific cases.
The biggest number of cases are considered in courts of primary jurisdiction: district (city) and interdistrict (circuit) courts. These courts examine civil, criminal and other cases and decide them on merits. The same courts, in addition to performance of their direct functions, today have to address plenty of financial and administrative issues which complicates legal proceedings. Having embodied the principle of the key and determinative role of courts in human rights protection, the Constitution of Ukraine has increased the frame of reference of courts. In particular, under the Constitution, arrest and detention and seizure of property are permitted based on a court`s motivated decision (true, according to Para. 13 of the Transient Provisions of the Constitution, the existing procedure for arrest, holding in custody and detention will stay for five years following the Constitution taking effect).
Beside procedural and legal factors, the efficiency of judicature also depends on the allocation of budgetary resources as the proper financial support of courts and judges is the necessary condition of the independence of judicial power.