Presentation of Public Policy Document for Improving the situation in the judiciary of the Republic of North Macedonia

On October 27, 2021, the Center for Legal Research and Analysis presented the Public Policy Document for Improving the Situation in the Judiciary in the Republic of North Macedonia, which emerged from the Second National Report for Measuring Performance and Reform in the Judiciary. The document summarizes the results of the Second National Measurement by proposing the next steps and activities for reform in the justice sector and improving the situation. The event was attended by the President and members of the Judicial Council, representatives of the Ministry of Justice, and the Presidents of the Appellate Court in the Republic of North Macedonia.

The presentation started with a detailed explanation of each of the evaluation areas from the Second National Measurement and the assessment of the evaluation of each of the areas were presented separately, and a comparison was presented between the results of the First and Second Measurement of judicial reforms, emphasizing that the courts did not record major deviations in the assessment of areas, which further speaks for the progress of the judiciary in two years.

In the part dedicated to transparency and accountability, the functioning of the court portal, i.e. the electronic search on the website of the courts was pointed out as one of the major challenges of the courts. This includes not only the court decisions but also the publication of daily announcements about the work of the court, which affects the gradual return of trust in the court by the citizens.

In the area of ​​efficiency, the importance of gradually introducing a novelty in the judicial work, i.e. digital transformation in the monitoring and evaluation of the courts, was emphasized, as a segment that would increase the efficiency in the overall process of functioning of the judiciary. The digitalization process would be a tool that will enable electronic detailed review of the work of the courts, i.e. insight in the influx of cases, the backlog of cases, the rate of resolved cases, by area, the number of total resolved cases during a year, compared to other years, as well as recording the progress of the work. The adoption of the Methodology for digitalization of the judiciary through an easily applicable application will provide a quick overview of the stage of the judiciary on a daily basis which should be implemented in the judiciary as soon as possible and it will significantly facilitate and support the primary work and function of the Judicial Council.

Regarding the financing of the judicial system, it was concluded that the Law on Court Budget should be fully implemented, especially in the area of ​​financing the judicial system, without any intervention by the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of North Macedonia, in order to realistically achieve the essential division of authorities in the state.

In the part of the open discussion, the participants agreed that the current situation in the judiciary is a result of long-term management of the judiciary, without deep reflection and aspiration to overcome the problems. The participants said that the challenges could be solved only with a joint effort by the relevant stakeholders and officials in the courts and judicial bodies.

Gorica Nadjinska