The President awarded Vyacheslav Lebedev the Order of St Andrew the Apostle the First-Called for his outstanding service in developing the Russian judiciary and strengthening the rule of law and order.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Lebedev,
Before we begin the official part of our meeting and get down to business, I would like to perform a pleasant and honourable mission by presenting you with the Order of St Andrew the Apostle the First-Called. You are receiving this decoration not only for your contribution to developing and strengthening the Supreme Court, but also for your immense and remarkable contribution to strengthening Russia’s statehood in general.
Our country has reached a very challenging juncture in its development, when efforts to strengthen our judiciary and the country’s judicial and legal systems in general serve as a foundation not only for national development but also for the very existence of the Russian state. This is why I have every reason and must say that you have done a great deal to strengthen the Russian state over the years since you took up the post of President of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation.
For that, you have my gratitude. It is my pleasure to award you this order.
Mr Lebedev, congratulations!
Supreme Court President Vyacheslav Lebedev: Mr President, please accept my sincere gratitude for decorating me with this high state award.
Much has been done to streamline the functioning of the justice system, including accessibility to justice, transparency, humanisation of the law and law enforcement, the establishment and development of administrative justice, implementation of digital technology and modern technology in court operations to simplify access to justice and ensure that cases are processed within reasonable terms.
Mr President, all this has been achieved thanks to your systematic and consistent support for the development and improvement of judicial activities, and also because the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation maintains regular, constructive and productive cooperation with the Presidential Executive Office, the State Duma, the Federation Council and the Government of the Russian Federation. While it is in a well-maintained and functioning state for all our plans to be fulfilled, the justice system still has some room for improvement.
Vladimir Putin: Most importantly, the justice system is being developed in line with the needs of the economy and especially our citizens who rely on it to protect their legal rights and interests. This is the most important thing. And you are the person guiding and stimulating this progress by clearly showing the direction and the pace. Thank you very much.
Vyacheslav Lebedev: Thank you, Mr President.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
Vyacheslav Lebedev: Mr President, I would like to inform you about the issues related to the organising and the start of work of the courts in the new regions of the federation.
The staff size for these regions provides for 1,115 judges. As of today, 258 judges have been appointed. The next meeting of the qualification board of judges will take place on August 23 of this year. Its participants will review another 49 applications.
I must say that under the circumstances the qualification board had to somewhat depart from its usual procedure and work schedule. It reviews applications as they arrive to prevent any delays in the process of appointing judges in the four new regions of the Russian Federation.
A plenary meeting of the Supreme Court is scheduled for September. It will announce the day when the courts will start functioning. This applies to the Supreme Court of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Arbitration Court of the Donetsk People’s Republic, 17 of 39 district courts in the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Supreme Court of the Lugansk People’s Republic, the Arbitration Court of the Lugansk People’s Republic, and 24 of 31 district courts in the Lugansk People’s Republic.
In addition, the plenary meeting will announce the first day of work of the courts in the Zaporozhye Region – the Zaporozhye Regional Court, the Zaporozhye Arbitration Court and three of five district courts in the Zaporozhye Region, as well as the Regional Court of the Kherson Region, the Kherson Arbitration Court and three of 13 district courts in the Kherson Region.
They will work as you suggested – rhythmically and depending on the incoming applications.
Judges need 185 buildings to work in normal conditions. Now 101 buildings have been registered for both regional and district courts. Under the plan, repairs and restoration work will be completed in buildings for 16 courts before the end of the year.
We are closely working with Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin on this issue. Our interaction is very productive and constructive, quick and prompt. I believe we will be able to maintain our schedule.
Vladimir Putin: Excellent. This is a very important part of the joint efforts on the issue you are talking about. No doubt about it.
Mr Lebedev, when we met with Supreme Court judges, we conducted this work online and discussed a number of vital issues, including some promising ones. How is work going in this area?
Vyacheslav Lebedev: Mr President, this work is in progress. The Supreme Court and the judicial system of Russia are focusing on all of your instructions, as well as the goals, tasks and ideas you set before us. So we are working on these issues and have already resolved some of them. Our colleagues from law-enforcement had some input on a number of issues and we are working on them now.
I am planning to respond to all of the questions you set before us for the future in a full, clear-cut and reasonable report on the performance of the courts in 2023.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.