Tetiana A. Tsuvina Alina Yu. Serhieieva


The principle of judicial independence is a fundamental tenet of the rule of law and fair trial standards. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) identifies four criteria for evaluating judicial independence: (a) the manner of a judge’s appointment; (b) the duration of such an appointment; (c) safeguards against external influence; and (d) the appearance of independence. The ECtHR also distinguishes several dimensions of judicial independence, including independence vis-à-vis the executive, parliament, other courts, and parties, as well as independence from judicial councils. Nevertheless, despite the existence of shared European principles on judicial independence, certain countries, particularly those undergoing transitions, encounter challenges such as political interference, corruption, and insufficient safeguards against dismissal. This results in a discernible disjunction between de jure and de facto judicial independence. This article poses the following research questions: What are the main approaches and common challenges for judicial independence in European countries based on the latest case law of the ECtHR? What lessons can be learned by Ukraine, as an EU candidate, from this case law in order to mitigate the gap between de jure and de facto judicial independence?