1. Evaluation of judges
In the framework of implementing needed reforms in the 5 key priorities, for the European integration process, more specifically justice reform, the Ministry of Justice sent for approval to the Council of Ministers the draft law ‘’On the evaluation system of judges’ performance in the Republic of Albania’’, which applies to judges of the First Instance Court and Court of Appeals.
During the preparatory phase of the project, the Ministry of Justice has closely cooperated with actors involved in the evaluation process, whose experience has been an added value during the design of the draft law. The joint working group was composed of representatives of the Ministry of Justice, High Council of Justice, Union of Judges, court chiefs, judges and representatives of EU mission Consolidation of the Justice System in Albania (EURALIUS IV), which assisted every phase of its design.
The current evaluation system is based mainly in the activity of inspectors from the High Council of Justice, to collect data related to judges’ performance. The current evaluation method is complicated and requires a lot of work from inspectors, where longterm searches that affect the timeline of the process are needed. Furthermore, the current criteria and procedures offer the High Council of Justice a relatively loose space for discretion. This draft law comes as a result of the need to improve the work of the judiciary, by promoting quality and efficiency in delivering justice, through personal skills evaluation and ethics in the work of a judge. Differently from the current system, what stands out in the draft law is the new evaluation system that concentrated in the self-evaluation of the judge, which becomes mandatory, by combining this way co-existence between evaluation and self-evaluation, ensuring that evaluation is objective and transparent. Self-evaluation will be attached to the evaluation of the Court chief and submitted to the High Council of Justice. In principle, it looks like an objective system, with several scales of evaluation, however a training is needed for our judges to familiarize themselves with the culture of self-evaluation.
Evaluation criteria are clearly set and measurable, based on clear indicators. These criteria are: judicial skills, organizational skills, ethics and engagement with judicial values and human abilities as well as professional engagement. The judge’s ability to face the workload, to carry out judicial procedures and the ability to administer judicial files are key evaluation elements. The criterion ‘’judicial abilities’’ is evaluated in terms of knowledge of the law. It is the duty of the Ministry of Justice to produce a guidebook which sets parameters according to which an important part of the evaluation will be conducted. The draft law avoids the percentage of changes in their decisions, which means that judges will not be held accountable for their ruling. The evaluation will be conducted at least once every three years for judges and once every four years for court chiefs.
The objectives of the law are related to identifying principles, criteria and procedures for the professional and ethical evaluation of judges from First Instance Courts and Court of Appeals. The law will not apply to judges recruited in the inspectorate of the High Council of Justice, when their work as inspectors is evaluated, as well as judges from the Supreme Court.
We can conclude that the reform has positive objectives and among others the approval of the draft law does not bring negative financial burdens for the state’s budget. The only challenge remains the objective and fair implementation of the law.
Agjencia Telegrafike Shqiptare. Prill 2015. Sistemi i vlerësimit te gjyqtareve. http://www.ata.gov.al/sistemi-i-vleresimit-te-gjyqtareve-ministria-e-drejtesise-harton-prligjin-e-ri-250607.html
Gazeta Panorama. Prill 2015. Vlerësimi i gjyqtareve, ja drafti i dërguar ne qeveri. http://www.panorama.com.al/vleresimi-i-gjyqtareve-ja-drafti-i-derguar-ne-qeveri/
Gazeta Shekulli. Prill 2015. Ministria e Drejtësisë, projektligj për vlerësimin e gjyqtareve. http://www.shekulli.com.al/p.php?id=217054
Ora News. Prill 2015. Ja kriteret e vlerësimit te gjyqtareve. http://www.oranews.tv/vendi/kriteret-per-vleresimin-e-gjyqtareve-prligji-shkon-ne-qeveri/
Ministria e Drejtësisë. Prill 2015. Projektligji “Për sistemin e vlerësimit të veprimtarisë së gjyqtarëve në Republikën Shqipërisë” http://www.drejtesia.gov.al/al/neësroom/lajme/md-dergon-ne-qeveri-projektligjin-per-sistemin-e-vleresimit-te-gjyqtareve