Second presentation of the Report from the Matrix of Indicators for Monitoring the Performance and Reform of the Judiciary

The Center for Legal Research and Analysis presented the First National Report from the Matrix of Indicators for Monitoring the Performance and Reform of the Judiciary before the representatives of the remaining legal professions and the civil societ

The event was opened by Professor Igor Kambovski, who greeted the audience and expressed congratulations for the delivered report. He highlighted that the rule of law is a meaningful concept that should be followed when conducting reforms in the judiciary, adding that the analysis of these areas of value to the judiciary sets the primary basis to measure the progress and performance of the judicial system.

Nikola Jovanovski, Program Manager at CLRA, explained the methodology of the first national monitoring. He added that the responsiveness of all categories of target groups was at a high level, but that the responsiveness of more than 70% of judges, professional service and public prosecutors were was particularly indicative.

Lidija Stojkova Zafirovska, Zarko Aleksov and Aleksandar Godzo, legal experts who are authors of the report, presented the findings of the five areas that were evaluated through an analysis of the perceptions, the legal framework and the domestic and international reports relating to the functioning of the judiciary.

According to the findings, the courts have a lack of court service, but enjoy a high level of efficiency. In that sense, it was noted that the ICT infrastructure in the courts is inadequate, lacking speed, security and ease of access. Division in the positions of the different categories of interviewees was also recorded in the area of transparency and accountability, particularly with regard to the access to the court decisions and the publishing of the decisions of the Judicial Council.

In the area of the quality of judicial justice, it was noted that improvement is required in the application of the procedural laws and the Court Rules of Procedure. In that sense, with the purpose of securing a unified application of the law, a need was recorded of additional mechanisms for monitoring of the established judicial practice from the higher courts, legal opinions, particularly concerning the practice of the ECtHR.

Independence and impartiality was the lowest-graded area of evaluation with the Matrix of Indicators, with an overall grade of 2.2 from all categories of interviewees. During the event, it was pointed out that judging from the findings, the selection and removal of judges is subject to external pressure and influence, and that there is no objectivity and transparency in the process. Findings in this area are largely aligned with the perceptions of all stakeholders in the process. On another hand, the majority of judges believe that the criteria for grading their work do not affect their obligation to adjudicate in accordance with the laws and the other regulations. The majority of interviewed lawyers/attorneys are of the opinion that the criteria for grading of judges affect how they adjudicate, which is an opinion shared by one third of public prosecutors. Professional development should mandatorily be specialized and continue following the trends and needs of the judiciary. Adequate representation on grounds of sex, age and ethnicity is at a solid level, although there is a need for selection of judges of Roma ethnicity.

The report is a result of the first national monitoring implemented through the Matrix of Indicators for Monitoring of the Judicial Reforms, which is envisaged as a mechanism in the Strategy for Reform of the Judiciary 2017-2022, under Strategic Planning and Policymaking.

The report was drafted within the framework of the project “Enhancing the transparency, legal certainty and efficiency of the judicial system in North Macedonia”, implemented by the CLRA, and supported by the British embassy Skopje.

The report is available on the following link.

Gorica Nadjinska