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International Management Group – IMG

International Organization International Management Group – IMG through a donation made available by the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway is implementing the Program “Improving the Delivery of Justice in Serbia”. The overall goal of the Program is to improve the access to justice and restore public confidence in judiciary, as well as to make a direct impact on the process of establishing more transparent, open and efficient judicial system.

IMG focuses on three important segments: improving the work of the courts and delivery of justice, reform of the juvenile justice and strengthening the capacity of the High Judicial Council (HJC). Within all three program components the Program focuses on providing technical assistance, construction and tools production on one hand, and on providing relevant trainings, mentoring and establishment of policies and procedures on the other.

Cooperation with the HJC has the following goals:

  • To establish effective courts users’ complaint process and announce it publicly
  • To establish an effective disciplinary process and announce it publicly
  • To ensure high capability within the HJC Administrative Office
  • To improve HJC ICT- and general infrastructure
  • To establish a well assorted physical and digital legal library

When working to build institutional capability and functionality, it is important that the developments are initiated from within the institution itself as one otherwise risks high discrepancy in policy versus operation. Thus, the approach to realize above mentioned goals is based on intensive cooperation between representatives of the HJC, IMG team and other external associates with wide range of expertise.

To accomplish the first two goals IMG and HJC formed a working group that has been active since January 2012 on upgrading the process for handling court users’ complaints and the disciplinary proceedings. After analyzing the current process and defining “bottle necks” the working group concluded that there are reasons to redefine and improve the process in order to provide more efficient service to the citizens and rationalize the amount of work of the employees in judicial institutions who handle complaints and proceedings. Engagement of the working group was completed with an analysis of the ways in which judiciaries in other countries handle complaints and disciplinary proceedings. After thorough analysis the working group made a report that suggests changes in these processes, and which has been adopted by the HJC. For the suggested alterations to be implemented it is necessary to prepare suitable ICT support, which is planned in the near future.

In close cooperation with the Аdministrative office of the HJC, IMG is developing a concept for a capacity building plan for employees, which should identify the gaps between existing and necessary knowledge and skill level and define relevant fields for instruction and trainings. A training plan for the employees of the Administrative office will also be developed. In line with ensuring high capabilities within the Administrative office IMG has enabled for these employees exchange of work experience with colleagues from the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council from Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as attendance at the foreign language courses.

Improvement of the ICT and general infrastructure foresees that the HJC operates with modern and efficient ICT technology. Hence, a study is being produced that will suggest improvements to the ICT infrastructure through supply of relevant hardware and software components, as well as through organizational changes in the ICT domain. Based on this study IMG will, in cooperation with the HJC, analyze which of the suggested improvements can be implemented within this Program.

Finally, it is defined that for the use of the Council the printed and digital library will be equipped through this donation. Investigation of the condition of the HJC basement, where the library is located, showed that without renovation of the basement area, that is fully endangered by the humidity and water penetration, the sustainability of equipping a library cannot be ensured. Therefore, the Program widened the scope of this activity to reconstruction of the entire basement area which will introduce a new reception / registry office, archive, several administrative and technical premises and the library.

In addition to all mentioned, IMG together with implementing partners detected certain problems and “grey zones” and concluded that adding certain activities to the scope would lead to a better quality of provided support to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), High Judicial Council (HJC) and the partner courts. In particular, one “gray zone” was discovered during the implementation of works within the program component “Improving the work of the courts and delivery of justice”, where different level of construction works was done in seven courts in Serbia. Our experience was that there was a lack of general and specific information, additional standards and recommendations necessary in the planning, programming and design of court buildings. This gave birth to the development of the Model Court Guideline, a project done in close cooperation with the HJC. The Model Court Guideline will set the standards for:

  • The optimal court building and court organization for the judiciary in Serbia
  • The design and implementation of interventions in the existing court buildings in Serbia and
  • Business processes in the courts in Serbia.

Some of the recommendations of the Model Court Guideline have been implemented in the Basic Court in Leskovac, where IMG completed full reconstruction of the building.