Legal and Judicial Sector Assessment

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Small Claims: Where Does Serbia Stand? A Comparative Analysis

2020-05, World Bank

Evidence suggests that poor court performance negatively affects the economy. Complaints about the business climate are often associated with complicated procedural laws and backlogs that beleaguer the system and slow it down. According to the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) 2018 report, it takes on average 315 days to resolve a civil and commercial case in a first instance court in Serbia.1 This is well above the EU average of 233 days. Small value cases that get stuck in Serbia’s Basic Courts perpetuate backlogs, hamper access to justice and consume a disproportionate amount of judicial resources relative to the value of these cases. This report provides a comparative analysis of the procedure for resolving small claims in Serbia and recommendations to improve it, based on lessons learned from comparator jurisdictions: Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Latvia and Slovenia. The report was developed under the Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Justice Sector Support in Serbia (MDTF-JSS) and is informed by a broader World Bank initiative to support justice policy dialogue and reform in the Western Balkans. The analysis is primarily intended for the legal community in Serbia, including policy makers, judges, lawyers and those in academia.

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Serbia Judicial Functional Review

2014-10-01, World Bank Group

This functional review presents a comprehensive assessment of the current functioning of Serbia's judicial system, along with options and recommendations to inform Serbia's justice reform initiatives in view of the requirements of Chapter 23 of the Acquis Communautaire. The review comprises an external performance assessment and an internal performance assessment. The external performance assessment (Part 1) examines how well the Serbian judicial system serves its citizens in terms of efficiency, quality, and access to justice services. The internal performance assessment (Part 2) examines the inner workings of the system, and how governance and management, financial and human resources, ICT, and infrastructure are managed for service delivery. A distinct feature of this Review is its emphasis on data and analysis. The data collection was undertaken in the first half of 2014, and the preliminary findings were discussed with stakeholders and international partners through July, August and September of 2014. Overall, Serbia's judicial system performs at a lower standard than that of EU Member States. Of the many findings and recommendations outlined in the Report, the Functional Review team suggests that leaders focus on the following seven priorities which can set the Serbian judiciary on a critical path to performance improvement: 1) Develop a performance framework that tracks the performance of courts and PPOs against a targeted list of key performance indicators; 2) Ensure that courts use the full functionality of their case management systems to improve consistency of practice and support evidence-based decision-making; 3) Develop a comprehensive continuing training program for judges, prosecutors and court staff; 4) Reform procedural laws to simplify the service of process, and start simplifying business processes; 5) Eliminate the backlog of old utility bill enforcement cases; 6) Develop a more realistic budget within the existing resource envelope; and 7) Adjust the resource mix over time by gradually reducing the wage bill and increasing investments in productivity and innovation. This report was funded by the Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Justice Sector Support in Serbia (MDTF-JSS).

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Pre-trial Procedures in Administrative Justice Proceedings in England and Wales, France, Germany and the Netherlands : A Comparative Study with a View to the Possible Development of Pre Trial Procedures in Administrative Law in Turkey

2010-07-19, World Bank

Disputes between citizens or businesses and the State about respective rights and duties are at the core of administrative law. The ability for citizens and businesses to hold Government accountable for acting within the rule of law is a key element of good governance. It provides legal certainty and guarantees predictable and rule-based implementation of legal and regulatory frameworks across different sectors. It also provides Government with effective mechanisms to enforce these frameworks. An effective administrative justice system is therefore a crucial element to make sure all players follow the rules of the game. As such, it is an important aspect of a sound investment climate. The Turkish Ministry of Justice has identified the absence of pre-trial procedures in the administrative justice system as a major obstacle to the efficient and effective delivery of judicial services to citizens, businesses, and the state. There are widespread complaints that administrative judges crumble after a heavy workload and that certain types of cases may be more effectively dealt with outside of the courts. This will make dispute resolution for citizens, businesses, and the state more effective and will alleviate the workload of the administrative courts. Current dysfunctions also affect Turkey's ability to live up to its commitments under the European convention for human rights. Its article six grants those seeking justice the right to a fair trial within reasonable time. Citizens and businesses bring complaints to the European court of human rights which has the power to condemn signatory states for non-compliance. This has financial implications as a country found in violation of this convention has to pay compensation. Beyond the financial implications, though, it negatively affects the image of the Turkish justice system abroad and particularly in Europe, which casts a cloud over European Union accession negotiations.

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Improving the Business Climate in Macedonia: A Legal and Judicial Enforcement Assessment

2005-06-21, World Bank

The objective of this Legal and Judicial Enforcement Assessment is to identify the main judicial, legal, legislative, and institutional constraints on the enforcement of contract, creditor, and property rights in Macedonia, and to integrate the Macedonian Government's Judicial Reform Strategy with ongoing donor work. This Assessment makes recommendations on how to overcome the major obstacles to reform and move the Government's focus towards effective implementation. Additionally, the Assessment examines the current and future donor activity in this area, and suggests where additional donor assistance may be needed.

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Result Oriented Review of Delivery of Justice in Montenegro

2019-06-01, World Bank

This functional review presents a comprehensive, results-oriented assessment of the functioning of Montenegro’s judicial system from 2014 through 2017, and the country’s compliance with the requirements of chapter 23 (Justice and human rights) of the European Union’s Acquis Communautaire. More specifically, the Functional Review (FR) is intended to assist Montenegro authorities in developing its strategy for the reform of the Judiciary 2019-2023, and an accompanying action plan. This report is structured as follows: Section 1 presents the overall conclusions and priority recommendations from the functional review; Section 2 presents governance and management over the system; Section 3 presents efficiency and effectiveness of justice services; Section 4 presents quality of justice services; Section 5 access to justice services; Section 6 presents financial resource management; Section 7 presents human resource management, Section 8 presents ICT management and Section 9 presents infrastructure management.

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Romania Judicial Functional Review

2013-03, World Bank

This review is one of a series of functional reviews commissioned by the Government of Romania (GOR), funded by the European Union, and carried out by the World Bank. It is an element agreed on by the European Union and the Government as part of the post-accession Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) established to assess further need for reform in the judicial system and to suggest reforms that would ensure Romania's full integration into the European Union system. The objective of the review is to analyze the functioning of institutions of the judicial system in Romania with a view to providing analytical and advisory input to the Romanian authorities as they formulate an action program to improve the performance of the judicial system. The present report covers a large part of Romania's judicial system, a term used here with broad scope. In accord with the terms of reference (appendix one), in addition to the courts, the review covers the Ministry of Justice, focusing on those functions most directly related to the judiciary and to the Public Ministry (PM), the PM itself, and a range of independent legal professionals whose work complements and in some cases replaces that of judges and prosecutors. Within the judiciary, aside from the ordinary courts, the review also addressed the operations of the Superior Council of Magistracy, the Judicial Inspectorate, and the High Court of Cassation and Justice, all of which operate quasi-independently. They have their own budgets and administrative structures, although are still governed by laws on staffing set by Parliament and staffing levels approved by the cabinet. Within the PM, the team also looked at the quasi-independent National Anti-Corruption Directorate.

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Comparative Study on Expert Witnesses in Court Proceedings

2010-06-30, World Bank

The Turkish Ministry of Justice has identified the existing system of expert witnesses as an obstacle to the efficiency and effectiveness of the judicial services. The 2009 judicial reform strategy and the judicial reform action plan call for a comparative study analyzing the experience in other countries to provide input into the policy debate in Turkey. This study provides descriptions and analyses of approaches to the use of expert opinions in civil, criminal, and administrative court proceedings in France, Germany, Italy, and the United States. It focuses on five key areas: access to the function of expert, execution of an expert opinion, the opinion and its use in evidence, remuneration, and liability.

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Bulgaria Judicial Performance, Caseload and Expenditure Review (2008-2014)

2015-11, World Bank

The World Bank published a Public Expenditure and Institutional Review (PEIR) of the Bulgarian justice sector entitled “Resourcing the Judiciary for Performance and Accountability: A Judicial Public Expenditure and Institutional Review” in 2008. The objective of the present study is to conduct an assessment of the spending and institutional changes in Bulgaria’s judiciary from 2008 onwards. The current report examines the principal trends in resourcing Bulgaria’s judiciary since 2008, while comparing the expenditure and judicial performance with those of other European countries. The report provides a set of conclusion and recommendations for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of Bulgaria’s judiciary and the judicial budget process.

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Fiscal Projections for Pension System of Belarus

2011-05, World Bank

This note attempts to describe the pension system in Belarus including its fiscal performance, redistributive aspects benefit levels and benefit eligibility conditions. The note also discusses the challenging demographic environment which Belarus pension system is expected to face in the future and explores alternative paths that the system could take in this environment. Some reform scenarios are explored including the increase in retirement ages, changes in benefit indexation rules and the introduction of notional defined contribution accounts.

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Bulgaria - Resourcing the Judiciary for Performance and Accountability : A Judicial Public Expenditure and Institutional Review

2008-06, World Bank

This report examines why, given the increasing resources allocated to the judiciary, there seem to have been only modest improvements in judicial performance. It lifts the veil on the conflicting opinions on the reasons for slow progress on performance and efficiency by analyzing the institutional environment within which the judiciary functions and the key incentives propelling the policy stances and actions of major institutional actors. A supply-demand approach is then used to review the challenges behind improving judicial performance, focusing on resource allocation and management issues on the supply side and on case inflow on the demand side. This perspective enables consideration of both supply and demand issues impacting judicial performance and offers an opportunity to suggest actions and policy responses that could enable policy makers to manage demand more effectively while strengthening access to justice. Overall, therefore, improving judicial performance now requires a shift from increasing the overall level of resources to approaches that do not increase the burden on the central budget. The key challenge now confronting Bulgaria's judiciary is to build on the reforms so far by developing, financing and implementing a judiciary-wide modernization program to sustain the transformation and demonstrate impact through monitor able indicators of performance. The information and analysis in this report much of it familiar to the leadership of Bulgaria's judiciary, executive and legislature could facilitate a consensus between the three branches of power on the resources that the judiciary could realistically expect to receive, and on the results that it can be expected to achieve, given existing resource and capacity constraints. In this dialogue, an exclusive focus on judicial independence could risk diverting attention from concrete measures needed to ensure that the judiciary is adequately resourced and that mechanisms to ensure the efficient use of resources and improved performance are in place. Indeed, judicial independence is a fundamental principle guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of Bulgaria, and unconditionally respected with regard to the judiciary's adjudicative functions. However, sustained focus on the achievement of performance goals could have important potential long-term benefits for the judicial system, not only in terms of increased budgetary resources, but more importantly in terms of increased public trust and confidence.