On May 16, 2024, Aspen Institute Kyiv together with the Association of Lawyers of Ukraine held the Dialogue “Social contract: dimensions of justice”. People’s deputies of Ukraine, representatives of the judiciary and anti-corruption bodies, media, scientists, representatives of civil society institutes and international organizations took part in the event.

At the panel discussion of the event with the speech “Justice and the court of public opinion: how to find a balance?” Doctor of Political Sciences, Professor, Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Head of our Institute, Galyna Zelenko, spoke. In her speech, she focused on explaining the reasons for the sometimes excessive pressure of society on the judiciary. According to the researcher, it is caused by mistrust of the judiciary. And since Ukraine is a country where the informal institution of public opinion mostly worked weakly, public pressure often took unconventional forms. Therefore, the balance between justice and public opinion lies in the plane of strengthening trust in the judiciary through an adequate communication policy, the implementation of judicial proceedings exclusively on the legal plane, and the clarity of court decisions.

During the meeting

Galyna Zelenko is speaking

In general, the participants of the session “Justice and the court of public opinion” agreed that to ensure transparency in the administration of justice, effective mechanisms of public control are needed, which will eliminate bias on the part of the public. In this regard, a campaign against disinformation, which can distort the understanding of justice, is needed; measures to ensure the principle of transparency of judicial decisions and accountability of judges as key aspects of ensuring justice; activation of public education in legal matters in order to prevent society from passing “judgments without trials”; regarding fact-checking — as one of the methods of preventing emotional coloring during coverage of sensitive news. It is necessary to establish communication work: to explain the news of the justice sector to society in an understandable language.