The Judicial Legal Council
of Azerbaijan Republic
COMPREHENSİVE MEASURES ARE BEİNG TAKEN İN OUR COUNTRY TO İMPROVE JUSTİCE AND REDUCE THE WORKLOAD OF JUDGES
Baku, August 12, AZERTAC
In order to ensure the access of citizens to the judiciary, to inform regularly them about the activities of the judiciary, the work of wide use of opportunities of both of civil society representatives and the media, as well as the official websites and social networks of the Ministry of Justice is continued. This has a positive effect on educating people in the field of justice. From this point of view, the live broadcast of the Ministry`s official Facebook page on various activities of the judiciary during the special quarantine regime in the implementation of the President`s instructions also plays an important role in legal education of the population.
AZERTAC reports that, as one of the next measures taken in this direction, an online public discussion on "Measures to improve judicial activity" was organized on August 12.
Participating in the public discussion, Seyfalpasha Aliyev, Head of the Anti-Corruption and Judicial Monitoring Sector of the Judicial-Legal Council, gave detailed information on the organization of work in this direction and the steps taken in this direction.
It was noted that, the reforms in the judicial system of our country are being carried out at a new stage in accordance with modern challenges. Thus, the Decree "On deepening reforms in the judicial-legal system" signed by the President Ilham Aliyev on April 3, 2019 in order to improve the judicial system, as well as being the beginning of a new phase of reforms in this area, set important tasks for relevant agencies.
In order to increase public confidence in the judiciary and transparency of judicial activity, the Judicial-Legal Council has adopted relevant decisions on effective interaction with the public, and the Judicial-Legal Council itself and the courts have appointed persons responsible for public relations.
It was noted that the Judicial-Legal Council, which is a self-governing body of the judiciary in our country, has been operating since 2005. Its powers include many aspects of the judicial power, including the evaluation of judges` activity, their disciplinary action, reassignment, promotion in position, and the provision of independence of the judicial system. So far, significant reforms have been carried out in the judicial system, and the health departments of the Judicial-Legal Council are expanding every year.
It was noted that, numerous measures have been taken on implementation of the Decree of the President Ilham Aliyev "On deepening reforms in the judicial-legal system" dated April 3, 2019. The decree includes the deepening of judicial and legal reforms and is a logical continuation of the important measures taken so far in our country. Covering various aspects of the judiciary, the Decree envisages the creation of new courts, improvement of provision of judges and court staff, the establishment of private enforcement and expert institutions, and innovations in the field of mediation, arbitration and other fields. After the adoption of this document, its implementation was discussed at a meeting of the Judicial-Legal Council, and a Working Group was established in this regard, and various meetings were organized to inform the public about the Decree.
Also, based on the instructions of the Decree, new commercial and administrative courts have been established in the country. By order of the President, 12 regional commercial and administrative courts were established. 42 new judges have been appointed to these courts, which have been operating since January this year. At the same time, the legislation was amended to improve the financial security of judges and the salaries of judges were doubled. As part of the implementation of the decree, the Supreme Court has made radical changes in the legislation to establish a new mechanism for the formation of a unified judicial practice, for the humanization of penal policy.
It was noted that, one of the important measures envisaged in the decree was the increase of judge staff by 200 units. It was noted that the recruitment of new staff will play an important role in reducing the workload of judges. It was noted that, the examination process for candidates for the position of judge in Azerbaijan is one of the most advanced practices in Europe. To date, 415 people who have successfully passed these processes have been appointed to new positions.
It was noted that, the process of selecting judges by the Council has been improved in order to quickly fill the additional 200 judge staff allocated by the Decree. 108 people who have already passed the exams in a new way - with the application of modern information technologies - are at various stages of the competition. It was noted with satisfaction that, 75% of these candidates are under 35 years old, including one in four under 30 years old.
It was noted at the public discussion, where other measures were taken to reduce the workload in the courts, that the changes in the legislation of our country, including the expansion of the application of the "electron court" information system, the launch of the institution of mediation in the country from 2021 will further reduce the workload of the courts.
It was noted that, the decree gave a number of important recommendations to the Judicial-Legal Council, including envisaged monitoring to ensure the inadmissibility of non-procedural relations in the courts. New structures have been established in the Office of the Council to implement these recommendations. Thus, the sectors "Fight against Corruption and Judicial Monitoring" and "Information Technology and Innovation" were established. So far, the Judicial-Legal Council has monitored more than 60 courts. The revealed violations were brought to the attention of more than 150 judges and court chairmen. Special monitoring was carried out in connection with the implementation of electronic distribution of work. This was done both locally and remotely through the e-court information system. The violations were brought to the attention of about 20 court chairmen. Disciplinary proceedings have been instituted against two court chairmen for more serious violations. In total, 44 judges have been disciplined since the decree was adopted.
It was noted that the main purpose of the event is to improve justice and increase the sense of responsibility of judges. In this regard, the President`s recommendations on ensuring the rule of law and fairness of decisions were brought to the attention in a video conference of the Judicial-Legal Council on the forthcoming tasks with the participation of all chairmen and deputies of courts, chairmen of boards. They stressed the importance of a serious response to violations of the law, uncompromising attitude to corruption and other negative situations, and decisive measures to prevent cases that damage the name and reputation of the judge. The measures taken have yielded positive results in a short period of time, the judges have become more demanding of themselves and towards the court staff, and many negative cases have been eliminated.
It was reported that, the rules for assessing the performance of judges have been adopted within the implementation of the Decree. The new rules will make an important contribution to improving the judiciary. In order to assess the performance of judges, a preliminary draft of the evaluation rules was prepared by European experts. The rules for evaluating the performance of judges, adopted in March this year, cover various areas. The activities of more than a hundred judges will be evaluated by new rules by the end of this year.
The public discussion also touched upon the administration of justice during the special quarantine regime and the activities of the courts in the current quarantine regime. It was noted that the Supreme Court recommended the procedure to the courts in this regard. Urgent cases were considered in the courts under quarantine regime. Certain civil cases are also heard in the courts using the achievements of the e-court information system. It was also determined that the cases will be considered in the courts via video link.
While informing about the activities of the anti-corruption and judicial monitoring sector, the works to be done in the future, it was noted that this sector is a part of the important tasks arising from the Decree. One of the activities of the sector is to investigate the appeals of individuals and legal entities. So far, 39 judges have been disciplined for corruption and artificial obstruction of citizens` rights. Nine of these judges were dismissed, and four were transferred to lower positions. In addition, the courts conduct monitoring to prevent the inadmissibility of non-procedural relations. The courts are also raising awareness and preparing relevant proposals.
In the online public discussion, it was noted that, in general, thanks to the recently adopted laws, a number of commendable reforms have been carried out in the judicial sphere, as well as the questions from social network users were answered.