by Shaxrizoda Mamasoliyeva
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December 20, 2021

According to the International Association for the Independence of the Judiciary and World Peace Mt. Scopus, the constitutional aspects of the independence of the judiciary consist of at least five aspects: (1) non-political appointments to the judiciary; (2) guaranteed service life and salary; (3) interference by the executive and the legislature in court proceedings or officials; (4) budget autonomy 5) administrative autonomy. This blog post discusses the current situation with the independence of the judiciary in Uzbekistan, as well as a number of problems in the legislation and their legal solutions.

How independent is the judiciary in Uzbekistan?

How independent is the third government in Uzbekistan? It should be noted that the judiciary in the country is not yet independent. In particular, the US Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor released a report on human rights in Uzbekistan in 2020, which found that the judiciary was not fully impartial and independent. Also, it was noted that other officials of the government sometimes interfered with the judiciary. It is clear that the independence and transparency of the judiciary have not been achieved. Uzbekistan’s judicial system cannot be considered independent. “External interference undermines the impartiality of the judiciary in Uzbekistan, which undermines its independence from other branches of government,” said Diego Garcia-Sayan, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Advocates.

In addition, one of the factors undermining the independence of the judiciary is arbitrariness. Trials by members of the public or government officials without proof of an arbitrary crime or administrative offense are still considered a pain point in Uzbekistan. To explain, the trial of a person suspected of committing an arbitrary crime or offense may subsequently result in a judge rendering an incorrect verdict. This means that the suspect may not be guilty or not involved in the crime at all whereas it might also lead to the destruction of evidence. On the other hand, the judge may deviate from the content of the case to unproven circumstances. In this case, independent and evidence-based examination of the case which are elements of the judge’s inviolability would be directly impaired. In particular, despite the fact that the country has established administrative and criminal penalties for “samasud“, (arbitrary trial) arbitrary punishment of offenders and the spread of this situation on social networks is still growing. This undermines the independence of the judiciary and its transparency. Arbitrary trial sometimes makes it difficult to resolve a criminal or administrative offense quickly or effectively. There have also been cases of government officials interfering in the work of the judiciary and influencing judges’ decisions.

The courts must be financially independent

 The social and financial security of judges must be adequately ensured to achieve the transparency and independence of the judiciary. It turns out that judges in Uzbekistan receive a monthly salary from the state budget.

First of all, receiving salaries from the state budget increases judges’ financial dependence on the legislature and the president. Funding from the state budget of the judiciary leads to shortcomings ranging from a lack of appropriate material resources (buildings, furniture, office and computer equipment, etc.) to a complete lack of necessary assistance. In addition, the fact that the state budget is a source of funding for the judiciary can create barriers for judges to perform judicial functions in a modern way (qualified staff, professional assistants, use of computerized document sources, etc.). At the same time, it is a direct reason for judges to interfere in the corrupt system, as the fact that judges receive their salaries from the state budget means that their salaries are regulated and determined by the budget authorities.

A study of the French experience of financial independence of the judiciary shows that the financial independence of the judiciary in France can be seen in the determination and adoption of the sources of funding for the judiciary by the Council of Judges or the judge himself. In addition, the financial independence of the French judiciary is reflected in the fact that the general administrative courts have their own budgets. The General Administrative Courts participate in the State Counseling and Supervision mission with their own programs. Following an amendment to the constitution in 2003, the French Constitution enshrined the principle of financial autonomy of local authorities in Article 67. Interestingly, it follows from the principle of free governance of local authorities provided for in Article 72 of the Constitution, which can be compared with the principle of judicial independence enshrined in Article 70, so there was a possibility that such financial autonomy could be strengthened for the judiciary. However, the Supreme Courts of Estonia and Slovakia for their budgets and the Supreme Courts of Cyprus and Slovenia for courts of all levels. In Switzerland, the Federal Supreme Court has the right to present its budget (approved by a three-judge Administrative Commission) to the Federal Parliament, and its President and Secretary General have the right to defend their budget before parliament. In Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of 21 December 1999 established the principle that each court has the right to have its own budget, which is specified in the State Budget approved by the Parliament. In Russia, the Federal budget should be provided separately for the budget of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and other courts of general jurisdiction, the Federal Arbitration Court and other arbitration courts, and the Council of Judges of Russia has the right to participate only.

So, what does the new version of the Law “On Courts” adopted in 2021 say in this regard?  The most important change expected in the run-up to the adoption of this law was the strengthening of measures to ensure the financial security of judges. However, the new law also failed to ensure the financial independence of judges. Because, according to Article 81 of the Law “On Courts”, a judge’s salary consists of a monthly salary paid from the state budget, a qualification, many years of service, a monthly bonus for an honorary title. However, the fact that all this is done at the expense of the state budget further increases the financial dependence of the judiciary on the legislature and the executive.

Secondly, there is also a Fund for the Development of the Judiciary and a Fund for the Development of Extra budgetary Judicial Bodies and Institutions. To explain, court fines are levied on the income of the republican budget and the Judicial Development Fund in the prescribed manner. Judges will seek to impose more state duties and fines on residents and businesses in order to get more premiums. As a result, the principle of justice is violated and the population and entrepreneurs suffer.  

The financial independence of the judiciary in Uzbekistan can be achieved in two ways: the Judicial Power Development Fund should allocate funds for the formation of the material and technical base of the judiciary, along with the payment of bonuses and surcharges to judges. Also, representatives of the judiciary, in particular the Chairman of the Supreme Court or the Chairman of the Supreme Council of Judges, should participate in the approval of the state budget with their financial program.

Analysis of the appointment of judges

It is expedient to improve the process of appointing the Chairman of the Constitutional Court, the Chairman of the Supreme Court, their deputies and judges. According to Article 93 of the Constitution of Uzbekistan, the President nominates to the Senate candidates for the positions of Chairman of the Constitutional Court, Chairman of the Supreme Court, his deputies and judges. Thereafter, this issue shall be included in the agenda of the Senate for the election or dismissal of judges nominated by the President. This requires a majority vote in the relevant Senate committee. During the consideration of candidates for judges, members of the Senate Committee may ask them questions to determine the candidates’ professional qualifications and level of training. It is high time to update this system and introduce a dialogue on the philosophical and political issues of candidates for the judiciary.

The Presidential Decree “On ensuring the true independence of judges and the prevention of corruption in the judiciary” introduced a system of psychological testing to improve the criteria for evaluating the performance of judges, which helps to assess the professional suitability of candidates for judicial positions and judges. However, this test consists only of psychological questions and should be considered as a test that controls the logical and analytical thinking of candidates for the judiciary. Asking political questions and interviewing the President means that the Senate will examine the candidates nominated by the President. In this way, the principle of reciprocity of the three branches of government: the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary can be achieved. It is not enough to ask only psychological questions in the process of appointing judges. In this case, it is also advisable to check the political knowledge of the judges. Looking at the U.S. judiciary system, the nominee is not directly voted on in the Senate. First, the candidate must be interviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. In doing so, the senators focus not only on his knowledge of the law but also on his philosophical views. At the end of the interview, the senators send their opinion on the candidate, whether positive or negative, to the Senate for a final vote. Presidents also pay attention to the candidate’s political views. Because if the president is conservative, he doesn’t want the candidate he nominates to work for the Liberals once he becomes a judge. The U.S. experience suggests for Uzbekistan that the elements of psychological testing in the appointment of judges should include a phase in the verification of judges’ political views.


The judicial system has undergone the necessary reforms over the past five years which do not mean the end of judicial reform. The judiciary in Uzbekistan still needs significant reform. First, in order to achieve the financial independence of the judiciary, it is necessary to combine the state duties and fines transferred to the Judicial Development Fund and the State Budget into a single budget organization. The annual budget report should also be monitored in the media. Second, when appointing the President of the Constitutional Court and the President of the Supreme Court, it is advisable to ask them political questions while they are being examined on a psychological test site.

Cite as: Shaxrizoda Mamasoliyeva, “How can the independence of the judiciary be achieved in Uzbekistan?”, Uzbekistanlawblog, 20.12.2021