The project aimed to monitor and support proper implementation of strategic guidelines from the Judicial Reform Strategy 2014-2018 focused on further development of professions related to judiciary (attorneys at law, public notaries, public bailiffs, mediators and court experts). Existing practices of above mentioned professions related to judiciary were assessed through five thematic researches which resulted in public debate with five round tables on which conclusions of reports on performances of all professions were presented and debated with the wider public. After public debate HRA and CeMI conducted intensive advocacy campaign for institutional and legislative changes based on research findings. Overall objective of the project is to contribute to a higher level of efficiency of judicial system of Montenegro.
Specific objectives of the project are:
• To assess general performance of professions related to judiciary – attorneys at law, notaries, public bailiffs, mediators and court experts, especially regarding publicly disputed issues in the media related to their particular competences;
• To stimulate public debate about the role of professions related to judiciary – attorneys at law, notaries, public bailiffs, mediators and court experts within judicial reform process in Montenegro, on the basis of accurate information;
• To come about with concrete recommendations for improvement of rules of operation, legal framework or management of courts to the end of increasing efficiency of overall performance of the judicial system and advocate with the competent authorities to commit to their implementation.
The realization of project related activities required close cooperation with relevant professional associations – BAR Association; Chamber of Notaries; Chamber of Public Bailiffs; Association of mediators; Association of court experts. Also, existing cooperation with the Ministry of Justice within the framework of Judicial Reform Monitoring Project implemented by HRA and CeMI was used to facilitate realization of project activities and communication with representatives of relevant professional associations. Moreover, communication and cooperation was established with the representatives of the professions who have presented their grievances Annual Program and Financial Report 2016 27 in the media and highlighted issues that were not systematically addressed to date. Interviews with a number of reputable professionals, interested in promoting the overall judicial system provided the base for research.
Main outcomes of the project are:
• Assessed performances and practice of professions related to judiciary – attorneys at law, notaries, public bailiffs, mediators and court experts. Indicators: 5 thematic researches conducted; app. 100 conducted interviews with attorneys at law, notaries, public bailiffs, mediators and court experts; 5 research papers on existing practices developed and presented in advance of debate; at least 50 conclusions developed; at least 50 policy recommendations proposed.
• Public debate on the role of professions related to judiciary – attorneys at law, notaries, public bailiffs, mediators and court experts within judicial reform process in Montenegro launched; Indicators: 5 round tables organized; minimum 100 representatives of professions related to judiciary participated; minimum 50 representatives of state institutions, judiciary, and international organization participated; at least 15 topics covered with expert discussion; media presence ensured, accurate reporting facilitated with digest material.
• Advocacy campaign for further institutional (reform action plans’ amendments) and legislative changes based on research conclusions and recommendations launched. Indicators: 10 key institutions reached through advocacy campaign; at least 20 proposals for the legislative changes proposed to the Parliament and /or to the Government proposed.
• Public opinion poll to measure public perception about the role, performances and practice of professions related to judiciary – attorneys at law, notaries, public bailiffs, mediators and court experts conducted. Indicators: 1 general public opinion poll conducted; around 1000 citizens of Montenegro reached; Results of the public opinion poll presented at press conference, and/or round tables; At least 5 info graphics prepared in accordance with results of the public opinion poll.