Study visit to The Hague

In the period from 2 until 8 of June 2019, representatives and members of the Center for Legal Research and Analysis (CLRA) attended study visit in The Hague, Netherlands.

The aim of the organized study visit was exchange of experiences and ideas with representatives of the judicial institutions for better learning of the good practices of the Dutch legal system. During the study visit, CLRA visited number of judicial institutions and held several meetings with professionals in the area of the Rule of law, protection of Human Rights, lobbying and advocacy.

The topic discussed during the visit of the Judicial Council of the Netherlands was the role and the model of functioning of the Council. It was mentioned that the judiciary in the Netherlands enjoys quite high level of trust by the citizens of the Netherlands and that the Council measures the public opinion on the work of the performance of the judicial institutions on every 4-5 years.

CLRA had a meeting with Mr. Reinier van Zutphen, the Ombudsman of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and former judge. At the meeting experiences and ideas were exchanged for the model of operation of the institutions in both states, as well as the Dutch model used by the Ombudsman for monitoring the implementation of the recommendations and conclusions of the reports as well as the processed individual cases.

The project has aim to strengthen the capacities of the CLRA in the areas of lobbying and advocacy and for that matter CLRA had meeting with Edward Figee, expert in the area of lobbying.

With final goal to complete the circle and get to know with all segments for cooperation and financing of foreign programs by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, a meeting was held with Ms. Simone Gerrits, Policy Officer for Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Slovenia from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. At the meeting the next steps that should be taken by North Macedonia were discussed, in regard of the Rule of Law in the country with a goal for opening accession negotiations with the EU.

A meeting was held with Mr. Martin de Kuijer, legal expert, counselor in the Ministry of Justice of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and member of the Venice commission. The longstanding and rich experience of Mr. de Kuijer gave the opportunity to the members of CLRA to discuss in close about the reforms of ECHR from 2010, about the mechanisms for quality check of the legislative, the way of which the barristers advocate the cases at the ECHR, the process of vetting of judges in the developing democracy societies as well as the practices for strengthening the ethics and the integrity of Dutch judges.

Beside of the meetings at the judicial institutions, CLRA held a meeting with Mr. Donald Kalff, representative of Transparency International Netherlands. Mr. Kalff gave his opinion about the challenges and weaknesses in the Dutch judiciary and shared recommendations for management of corruptive practices in the judiciary.

The representatives of CLRA also visited the Supreme Court of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On a meeting with judge Ybo Buruma, CLRA had opportunity to get introduced with the model of functioning of the Supreme Court, the role and the level of trust that the institution is enjoying by the citizens in regard of protection of the public interest. Judge Buruma explained that the Supreme Court in under its jurisdiction possesses the role to follow the changes in the law and to interpret its influence on the citizens. In that way the Supreme Court has the most important role in securing unified practice of law norms in the light of the context of the country.

A meeting with Mr. Bart van der Wiel, attorney and representative of the organization Lawyers for Lawyers was also held. The organization has aim to develop the legal profession in the Netherlands and advocates for the lawyers who are jeopardized or bring to a halt in implementation of their work. They support the lawyers in the Netherlands to fulfill their role as substantial agents in the implementation of the justice.

The study visit in The Hague was completed with a visit to the Parliament of the Netherlands. A meeting with Mr. Anne Mulder from the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy was held, where the implemented reforms and the ongoing situation in North Macedonia was debated. It was also noted that North Macedonia has achieved improvement in the bilateral and multilateral international relations but was also mentioned that it is necessary those commitments to be transmitted in the field of Rule of Law with a goal for strengthening the actual position in the Western Balkans in the process of approximation to the EU.

During the study visit, the CLRA members were actively working on the development of ideas and skills in regard of improved communication and effective lobbying. The tailor-made workshops for the needs of CLRA were moderated by the experts for Rule of Law and communication, Servaas Feiertag and Len Midelbeek.

The visit at The Hague was organized as part of the project for strengthening the capacities of the Center for Legal Research and Analysys (CLRA), financed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs trough the Nuffic – Orange knowledge platform and implemented by the Center for International Legal Cooperation (CILC).

Gorica Nadjinska