Summary: 1. Introduction. – 2. The Legal Content of the Principle of a Natural Court. – 3. The Principle of a Natural Court and ‘Extraordinary’ Judicial Specialisation. – 4. The Anti-corruption Court in Ukraine: ‘Specialised’ or ‘Special’? – 5. Concluding Remarks.
Background: In the current conditions of the intensive development of public relations and the complication of their legal regulation, more and more states are turning to the specialisation of the judiciary and judicial exercise. Thus, in Ukraine, it is established at the constitutional level that the judicial system in Ukraine is built on the principles of territoriality and specialisation, and higher specialised courts may operate in accordance with the law. In addition, the Constitution of Ukraine states that the establishment of extraordinary and special courts is not allowed. Art. 31 of the Law of Ukraine ‘On the Judiciary and the Status of Judges’ (2016) states that in the judicial system, there are higher specialised courts, such as courts of first instance for certain categories of cases. This category of court now includes the High Court of Intellectual Property and the High Anti-Corruption Court.
However, there has been a heated debate in Ukrainian political circles about the constitutionality of the anti-corruption court, and accordingly, the subject of the constitutional petition questioned the number of provisions of the Law on the High Anti-Corruption Court and appealed to the Constitutional Court to declare the law unconstitutional. The Constitutional Court of Ukraine has initiated constitutional proceedings on this issue. Acquaintance with the legal position of the subject of the constitutional petition indicates that the key issue of this constitutional proceeding concerns the presence of signs of a ‘special court’ (within the meaning of Part 6 of Art. 125 of the Constitution of Ukraine) in the mechanism of legislative regulation of the High Anti- Corruption Court.
Methods: To find an objective answer to the existing conflict, it was necessary to clarify the legal nature of judicial specialisation and identify key features of the ‘special court’. To solve this problem, the authors turned to the theoretical and applied provisions of the principle of a natural court, which became the basis of the subject of this work.
Results and Conclusions: In conclusion, this article argues for the idea of the unity and integrity of the judiciary. Common goals and tasks are assigned to the courts, regardless of their place in the judiciary and jurisdictional specialisation. Therefore, courts that are endowed with special goals and objectives, different from those of general courts, were assessed as special courts.