The Court derives its authority from the Constitution of Ukraine, but much of its structure is outlined in legislation. More detailed description of the Court's functions and authority may be found in the Law of Ukraine "On the Judiciary and the Status of Judges".
The Court consists of several judicial chambers (on criminal, civil, administrative, and arbitration (commercial) cases and the Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court). According to a judicial reform the Court consists of 48 justices.
Appointments to the Court are made after selected in a competition candidates are vetted by the Supreme Council of Justice, who then draw up a final list of candidates for the Supreme Court. After a relevant presidential decree, these candidates will become judges of the Supreme Court. Each member of the Court (as far as each judge in Ukraine) is obligated to retire at the age of 65.
The Chairman of the Supreme Court is elected to office and dismissed from office by the Plenary Assembly of the Court by secret ballot.
The first Supreme Court of Ukraine was established on December 15, 1917 as the General Court of the Ukrainian People's Republic. It was the first established national court since liquidation of Hetmanate in the 18th century. Soon after that on January 17, 1918 the Communist government of Ukraine People's Secretariat declared about creation of the People's Court of Ukraine.
The General Court consisted of 15 judges that were elected by the Central Council of Ukraine on proposition of the General Secretariat of Ukraine. The competence of the elected judges was extended until the adoption of the Constitution of Ukraine by the All-Ukrainian Constituent Assembly. Office of Prosecutor was established within the General Court and headed by the Senior Prosecutor who was appointed by the Secretary of Court Affairs (Minister of Justice).
The first judges to the court were elected on January 15, 1918 among which were M. Pukhtynsky, P. Achkasov, O. Butovsky, F. Popov, M. Radchenko, O. Khrutsky, S. Shelukhin, and H. Shyianov and later were joined by P. Yatsenko, M. Vasylenko, K. Tovkach, A. Margolin, M. Cherniavsky, B. Kistiakivsky, I. Kistiakivsky. The Senior Prosecutor was appointed Dmytro Markovych.
On July 8, 1918, the Hetman of Ukraine completely changed the upper echelon of judicial jurisdiction in the country.
The court in the Soviet Ukraine was established on March 11, 1923. It moved into the 18th-century Klov Palace in 2003.
According to a 2009 poll, the overall trust in the Court in Ukraine is very low.
In the judicial reform introduced in 2016 the following three courts were abolished and its tasks transferred to special chambers of the Supreme Court of Ukraine.
|Name||Term of office||Length of term|
|Oleksandr Yakimenko||1991–1993||2 years, 53 days|
|Georgiy Butenko||1993–1994||342 days|
|Vitali Boiko||1994–2002||7 years, 307 days|
|Vasil Malyarenko||2002–2006||3 years, 252 days|
|Vasil Onopenko||2006–2011||4 years, 362 days|
|Petro Pilipchuk||2011–2013||1 year, 116 days|
|Yaroslav Romanyuk||2013–present||4 years, 322 days|