Improving the courts’ performance

Aug 4, 2015

 

July 16-31, 2015 – International consultant on strategic planning and management of court systems, Kathryn Harrison, is visiting Tashkent within the framework of the research component of the “Rule of Law Partnership in Uzbekistan” project. The goal of the mission is to study the existing mechanism of evaluation of courts’ performance in Uzbekistan; based on the international experience introduce best-practice methodologies and approaches to improve the evaluation system, including the development of methodology of civil courts’ user satisfaction survey. “Rule of Law Partnership in Uzbekistan” is a joint project of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The primary goal of justice system is to ensure the protection of the constitutional rights, freedoms and legal interests of the citizens. Hence, citizens are the primary users of the court system, specifically, in the case with the civil courts. Given rapidly growing number of civil disputes and high workload of the civil courts, only efficient, transparent and accessible courts are able to guarantee the protection of the civil rights and interests of the citizens they serve.

Therefore, today, it is crucial to set up a mechanism increasing transparency and accessibility of information about the courts, enhancing court responsiveness to citizen feedback, improving accessibility of justice for all layers of population, guaranteeing execution of court decisions, etc. It is empirical that such mechanism should include a complete cycle of preparation, data collection, including direct cooperation between judicial system and citizens (conduction of direct surveys on satisfaction), their handling and further usage for enhancement of judicial system and administration of courts. It should be noted, that establishing such mechanism is also in line with the provisions of Laws on “On transparency of the activities of the state authority and management bodies” and “On petitions of physical bodies and legal entities”, as well as Civil Procedural Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

In order to do so, in collaboration with local consultants, Kathryn Harrison is going to study international best-practice methodologies of court performance evaluation, including administration of court user satisfaction surveys. In addition, an analysis of the existing legislative framework and objectives of the judicial reform will be conducted.

“The main goal of my work is to study the existing court performance evaluation practice in Uzbekistan. But this is just a small part of my work. I am also going to study international experience in court performance evaluation, and come up with specific recommendations to improve the system, including suggestions on development of specific methodology. The goal is to develop a court performance evaluation system in collaboration with the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan and its Research center. Currently, there is a certain evaluation framework, and specific criteria, for court performance evaluation, developed by the Supreme Court together with the Higher qualification commission on selection and appointment of judges under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Supreme Economic Court. At the current stage, we need to develop specific mechanism to carry out such framework, answering such questions as how the evaluation will be conducted, what will be evaluated, what other questions and challenges can come up in the process, and the ways to resolve them”, says Kathryn Harrison.

To study the experience of court performance assessment in Uzbekistan, Kathryn Harrison held meetings with the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan and particularly Research Center of the Supreme Court, Higher Economic Court of Uzbekistan, Higher Qualification Commission for the Selection and Recommendation for the Position of Judges under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Department on enforcement of court decisions, material and financial support of activities of courts under the Ministry of Justice of Uzbekistan, and Lawyers’ Training Center under the Ministry of Justice of Uzbekistan.

*Kathryn Harrison possesses extensive experience leading teams of consultants in projects in the justice sector, following 18 years in executive positions in the judicial branch in California and management positions in the executive and legislative branches.  Expertise includes creating effective management and planning structures; analyzing and recommending improvements in human resources, budgetary and information technology processes; developing strategic plans; and developing and delivering management training.  Projects include World Bank- and USAID-funded projects in the Balkans (Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Bulgaria), Romania, Armenia, Indonesia, and Nigeria. 

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