Justice without delays
The nation-wide Justice Without Delays initiative seeks to improve the efficiency of proceedings in all district courts in Albania. It will profit from the trust and reputation which the OSCE Presence in Tirana (OSCE) has established with the courts, and will build on successful experiences, established intra-district co-operation, peer-to-peer mentoring, and will foster strong co-operation with the appellate courts and local institutions.
• Knowledge of about 1500 justice professionals, such as court administrators, judges, chancellors, judicial administration staff, practicing lawyers, prosecutors, young lawyers and magistrates on conducting efficient proceedings is improved
• 20% reduction of the number of hearings in civil and criminal cases in each district court
• 10% decrease in the length of first instance proceedings
Direct beneficiaries of the initiative will be approximately 30 court administrators (out of which 6 female court administrators), 320 judges (155 female judges), 180 lawyers and 200 prosecutors, the School of Magistrates (60 students) and the School of Advocates (300 students) .
The Ministry of Justice, the High Council of Justice and agencies working with the courts and Albanian citizens as a whole will benefit indirectly from the project, especially through improvements triggered in the justice system.
In particular, the OSCE will encourage judges and court staff to increase the efficiency of trials by:
• Introducing practical measures to improve the efficiency of proceedings in 18 district courts in Albania;
• Fostering co-operation between the courts and local institutions;
• Involving educational institutions and high level authorities in the justice sector to ensure the sustainability of the initiative through the training of justice professionals on the conduct of efficient proceedings; and
• Supporting durable mechanisms to ensure the efficiency of proceedings at the institutional level.
Delays in judicial proceedings remain a concern of high importance in Albania. Inefficient proceedings, in addition to potentially undermining the citizens’ right to access justice and their right to a trial within a reasonable time, create public mistrust towards the judiciary and increase opportunities for graft.
As observed by the OSCE in the "Towards Justice" report, on average civil trials are concluded in more than 280 days or 10.5 court hearings, with 47.7% non-productive hearings. The report also formulated a series of practical recommendations, including the adoption of active case management techniques by the courts. On the basis of the recommendations of its trial-monitoring report, the OSCE successfully piloted in 2014 an initiative to increase the efficiency of proceedings through the adoption of active case management measures in the Kruja, Korça, Puka and Tropoja district courts. In light of the positive results achieved by the pilot courts, the OSCE seeks to extend the Justice Without Delays initiative to all first instance district courts in the country.