Iryna Zheltobriukh
Faces of the new Supreme Court of Ukraine
22.03.2018 15:44 232

Ukrinform continues the project, which acquaints Ukrainians with new faces of the Supreme Court of Ukraine, tells about those who will wear judge gowns for the first time, and those who came to the country's highest judicial body from scientific and educational institutions, from the bar and other spheres of social activity.

A judge of the Cassation Administrative Court in the Supreme Court, Iryna Zheltobriukh, was born and grew up in the city of Rivne. In 1998, she graduated from the Faculty of Economics and Law at the Yaroslav the Wise National Law Academy of Ukraine. She is specialized in jurisprudence and qualified as a lawyer.

She began her career as a legal adviser at private companies, worked as an attorney in the pension fund bodies, and headed the legal department in a district tax inspectorate.

She has been working as a judge since 2002.

She thinks that participation in the competition was a logical step forward in professional and personal development. She promised to bring professional experience to the Supreme Court, as well as complete dedication and faith in the triumph of justice.

About choice of lawyer's profession

In fact, before entering the university, I hesitated for a long time between journalism and law, as they seemed equally attractive.

I was preparing for about two years for a journalistic creative competition, and my articles were published in local newspapers. I received my first money for an article in a local newspaper, seven rubles at the time, when I was a schoolgirl.

Simultaneously, I studied history and law. I hesitated until the last moment, because I'm a person born under the Libra sign. My parents advised me to think rationally, and the documents were submitted to a law school. It happened so that it was not me who chose, but the law faculty that chose me.

About pleasure from work

Looking back, I can say that I have never regretted having become a lawyer. Wherever I work, I like my every next job even more than the previous one. I feel that people need me, and I feel that I am in the right place. Jurisprudence is not just a profession for me, it's my vocation, irrepressible thirst for justice. When you feel this, you cannot choose a different way. Now I cannot imagine me working in a different capacity.

About cases considered

I started my judicial career in a district court, when judges still received citizens, and districts between judges were distributed in terms of post offices. After some time, I recognized residents of my district on the streets of the city. So, for the first few years in a row, I remembered almost all cases - from the names of the parties to the substance of the dispute and rulings issued. Looking through my "early" rulings, I feel pleased with good work done - the completeness of the study of circumstances and the presentation of motives. The number of cases should not influence the quality of a court judgment. Then a judge has time and inspiration to administer justice.

Since I became a judge early enough, I had to make every effort to gain credibility among my fellow judges, lawyers and visitors. I believe that I succeeded in doing so due to scrupulous and honest work. Sixteen years have passed, and people still call me or congratulate me on some holidays.

About scientific and teaching activity

I work at the National School of Judges as a training teacher and developer of training courses. As a guest lecturer, I deliver lectures at higher educational institutions. As a member of the board of the Association of Administrative Judges, I actively participate in the preparation and holding of numerous scientific and practical events (round table meetings, forums, conferences) and in the implementation of other initiatives under the auspices of the association.

I always feel responsible before writing a lecture or a report. Realizing that I will deal with prepared listeners, I try to respect the time and experience of the latter and not to repeat obvious things.

About function of new Supreme Court

I do not want my words to sound foolish, but I think that we finally need to understand the difference between formal legality and the rule of law. For the sake of effective protection of human rights, freedoms and interests, it is time for us to deviate from the practice of "protecting the interests of the budget" and apply as often as possible the principles of direct action of the Constitution of Ukraine, the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the practice of not only the ECHR, but also the EU Court of Justice. Otherwise, the purpose of creating the Administrative Court will not be justified.

About the team

It is extremely interesting experience to work together in one team with lawyers and scientists. It is worth paying tribute to the commission, which selected candidates directly to our Cassation Administrative Court, because, as for me, they fully coped with their task. I do not know if it would be possible to pick up a better team. Among us are scientists, lawyers, and judges of the previous profession, but all of us are jurists. These are all people with their own position, who can defend it, and always give strong arguments that are difficult to refute. Most importantly, my colleagues hear each other and are ready to make a consolidated, well-balanced decision.

About judges' expectations from society

Society, rather boldly and "loudly" through the media and other accessible ways, expresses its dissatisfaction with and expectations from judges. But the community of judges also has expectations from society.

Law is a two-way street, in both directions. The law of one person ends where the law of the other begins. Until the society stops thinking one-sidedly, we will not achieve the rule of law in the state or a really desired result in judicial reform or in any other sphere of life.

Legitimacy, like air, must fill the entire free space. The law is one for all, the rights are one for everyone, and responsibility is one for everyone. We must realize our responsibility before the law.

Those who do not pay taxes cannot demand legal actions from a prosecutor. A politician, for the sake of his or her ratings, cannot criticize a judgment that came into force, hoping that his or her activities will not be evaluated in the same way. We all need to stop electing the authorities for buckwheat, but we should do it in a constitutional way.

About vacation, hobbies and 'wanderlust gene'

The love for art fills me from inside. Literature, painting, sculpture, architecture, music, theater, dancing, and singing - all of this enriches me spiritually, and I physically feel thirst for all of this.

To completely rest from work, I take a vacation and try to leave at least Kyiv and sometimes Ukraine. They say that there is such a "wanderlust gene," and I probably have one. I love new places, new impressions - they inspire me, charge me with energy. In every city I try to visit art galleries, museums, and "take pictures" of architectural masterpieces.

About Ukrainian and world literature

I read a lot, almost everything I get. A teacher of literature once taught me that if you do not like a certain author, this does not mean that the author is bad. Therefore, I read to the last sheet even what I did not want to read, and I often take into my hands several more works by this author in order to gain an impression about him. And it often happens that I was really mistaken, and I start to like a writer.

About favorite place in Kyiv

Another dream of my life - to live in a city on the Dnipro River - has also come true. I love Kyiv! The most favorite and most sacred place for me in the capital is the Lavra monastery.

About publicity of judges

Too much attention is currently paid to judges. Such an objective requirement of a radical society has led to an unprecedented level of transparency and openness in the selection, qualification assessment, professional activity and evaluation of its results in the world. This stage is a kind of test that we have to pass with honor. As for me, it is not necessary to get used to that too much. It should not be forgotten that the judge is not a star, not a football commentator, not a journalist and not a Facebook blogger. We work not for applause or ovation. Judges have a high professional level to carry out their main task of administering justice, regardless of who is dissatisfied and who has reproaches against them. They have to stay on the side of the law, not on any other side.

Now that the Supreme Court has just been set up and started to work, I believe that moderate openness will not have a negative effect. Quite the contrary, it will give us an understanding of who came to the Supreme Court, which principles they are guided by, and what they seek.

Olena Lytvynenko, Kyiv.

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