Support for the implementation of judicial reform in Serbia
The Council of Europe is implementing the project “Support for the implementation of judicial reform in Serbia”, co-funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe.
The three-years project (2022-2024) will contribute to the process of consolidation of the rule of law in Serbia, by supporting the advancement of reforms of the justice system through the development of the legislation and practices relevant for the issues of judicial independence, accountability, access to justice, judicial training and harmonisation of judicial practice.
The project will serve as a platform to discuss and support the further alignment of the Serbian legislative and institutional frameworks with European standards, including recommendations of the Council of Europe monitoring and advisory bodies, Chapter 23 acquis communautaire and with other relevant EU standards.
Key beneficiaries of the project are: the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Court of Cassation, the High Judicial Council, the Republic Public Prosecution, the State Prosecutorial Council, and the Judicial Academy. The project also engages civil society, including professional associations of judges and prosecutors.
Structure of the project
The project is structured in four components:
Component I aims at improving the legal framework, legislation and regulations, in order to facilitate judicial reforms in line with European standards, as well as the institutional capacities of judicial institutions. The component will address: the composition and functioning of the High Judicial Council and of the High Prosecutorial Council, as genuine self-governing bodies which act proactively and in a transparent manner; the procedures of appointment, promotion and appraisal of court presidents, judges, public prosecutors and deputy public prosecutors, in line with CoE recommendations and European best practices; the development and application of regulations and practical mechanisms for increasing the accountability and transparency of the judiciary, as well as increasing the awareness of individual judges and prosecutors of CoE standards on independence, impartiality and accountability to ensure that they act in a transparent and accountable manner. Component I will support the design of a roadmap for the justice sector reform, facilitate the work and provide expertise to the working groups tasked with developing the accompanying legislation and support the development of relevant MoJ, HJC, HPC and Judicial Academy bylaws and monitoring of their effects.
Component II focuses on consolidating the judicial system through enhanced management practices to achieve effective and consistent delivery of judicial services, to better serve the needs of end beneficiaries. This will be achieved by building the capacity of the administrative staff of the HJC, SPC, courts and prosecution offices, and of the Judicial Academy to strengthen their analytical, statistical and managerial capacities. The component will address some of the deficiencies highlighted by the updated Functional Analysis and implement relevant points from the Human Resource Strategy of the Judiciary. This component will also serve to assist the Serbian authorities in the preparation and implementation of the Sector Budget Support under IPA III framework.
Component III aims at advancing the quality of justice through enhanced judicial training and increased compliance with European standards by legal professionals. The component will address shortcomings in judicial training at the initial and in-service level, and strengthen the operational capacity of the Judicial Academy to respond to the needs of future holders of judicial office, by delivering appropriate training and through support to further development of relevant ICT solutions. Activities within this component encompass analysing and enhancing the institutional set up and functioning of the Judicial Academy, with particular focus on the multi-annual work programme, the methodology and establishment of the system for evaluation and quality assessment of delivered training.
Component IV focuses on increasing harmonisation of judicial practice, hence improving legal certainty. The component aims at establishing fora and measures for the harmonisation of judicial practice and prevention of conflicting caselaw. Activities will consist of the analysis of the legal framework and existing practices, providing recommendations for improving available or developing new mechanisms to ensure consistency of judicial practice, exchange of good practices and strengthening the capacities of the case law departments at the level of the Supreme Court of Cassation and Appellate Courts.
Duration: The project started on 1 January 2022 and will last for 36 months, until 31 December 2024.
Funding: The overall budget is 3.334.000 Euros.