LawRegulatory Compliance

Judge's challenge - reasons, conditions, requirements

The challenge of a judge in a criminal or civil proceeding is a statutory measure to ensure that a fair and impartial review of all the circumstances of the case is carried out and an objective decision is made. The challenge can be carried out at the request of the participant in the process with consideration of the reasons given or at the judge's own request (self-withdrawal).

The challenge of a judge in the civil proceedings is made in the following cases:

- In the past case, the judge participated in the proceedings as a prosecutor, witness, expert, court clerk, representative of any party, as well as an interpreter or specialist;

- the judge is a relative of the party to the proceedings;

- he is interested in a certain outcome of the case (directly or indirectly);

- there are other grounds for doubting his impartiality;

- he was a judge of first instance in transferring proceedings to a subsequent instance (appellate, cassation, etc.).

The challenge of a judge in criminal proceedings occurs if:

- in this criminal case the judge is a defendant, plaintiff or witness.

- Previously, he was in this case as a prosecutor, an inquirer, an investigator, an expert, an interpreter, a meeting secretary or a representative of either party;

- he participated in the consideration of the case by the court of the previous instance;

- is related to one of the participants in the process.

When considering an application for the challenge of a judge, the court of the Russian Federation must be guided by the position of the European Court of Justice. Any grounds for challenging a judge should be carefully and comprehensively considered to exclude the slightest reasons that give rise to doubts about the fairness and impartiality of the decision. The lack of justice and partiality of the judge can be testified even by his manner of behavior in the courtroom.

Unfortunately, in Russian courts this requirement is not always met. During the consideration of civil cases, the judge often takes the side of the plaintiff or the defendant and allows criticism of the arguments presented. The judge may express his personal opinion on the arguments presented by the parties or indicate his position before being removed to the meeting and making a formal decision. In the course of criminal proceedings, a judge can openly support the prosecutor and ignore the defense's arguments.

The challenge of the judge in these circumstances, despite the apparent existence of grounds, is practically not made. The higher courts also ignore the applicant's complaints about the rejected applications for challenge. Thus, it becomes obvious that there is a need to review the procedure for considering applications for the challenge of judges and for a thorough investigation of all the circumstances of the case.

At the same time, there is the practice of endlessly delaying the trial of one of the parties by filing more and more applications for the challenge of the judge, even if they are not satisfied. In the procedural code there is a reservation about the inadmissibility of a repeated application for challenge by the same person for the same reasons.

The challenge of a judge can be announced at a preliminary meeting, and then this issue should be resolved before the end of the meeting. In the process of consideration of a court case, challenge is impossible - except for cases when the circumstances for the challenge became known to the applicant after the start of the process. After the consideration of the case, the law does not allow such statements.

An application for a challenge is considered by the judge alone or by the composition of the court (at a collegiate hearing). In this case, the judge, whose issue is being considered, does not participate in the meeting. When the magistrate is dismissed, as a rule, the case is referred to another peace judge of the same judicial district, and if this is not possible, the magistrate to another district. In the event of the withdrawal of the entire composition of the court, the case is examined by the other district court in the same district court or is transferred to the court of another district if this substitution is impossible.

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