Discussing the annual progress of cooperation in the judicial branchDec 17, 2015
December 17, 2015 – Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan hosted a meeting of Interagency working group to discuss the annual progress of the “Rule of law partnership in Uzbekistan” for 2015. The project is a joint initiative of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The "Rule of Law Partnership in Uzbekistan" project is mainly aimed at enhancement of public access to justice through improvement of citizen petitions response mechanism, raising knowledge and skills of judges and court staff, as well as the improvement of court performance through scale-up of E-SUD electronic case management system. The project is being implemented in line with the on-going judicial reform in the country, specifically the national concept of further strengthening of the democratic reforms and development of civil society in the country, announced in 2010 by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, as well as a number of legal acts aimed at improving the efficiency and transparency of the judicial system. The project also operates under the the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and the post-2015 Global Sustainable Development Goals.
Members of the interagency working group were presented an overview of the achievements of the project in 2015. In particular, the meeting participants were informed about the progress of the scale-up of E-SUD electronic case management system. Currently, the system is expanded to cover first instance and appeal civil courts. In the meantime, the project is designing the module for supervisory review of civil cases. Shayhontohur, Mirzo Ulugbek and Yakkasaroy interdistrict civil courts of Tashkent city have been provided with necessary equipment, local area networks, and are connected to the E-SUD system. Judges and court staff have been trained to operate the system.
Simultaneously, to ensure successful scale-up of the system and its sustainable functioning, it is crucial to establish alignment of the system with all stakeholders, including bailiffs, attorneys, and others, and thus requires their active participation. To study the best international practices in this area, this year the project organized two study tours to the United States and Estonia. As a result of the study tours, the participants were able to generate key lessons learned and recommendations on further improvement of E-SUD and its alignment with relevant parties, which have been submitted to the Supreme Court.
The project also presented the work being done to strengthen the capacity of judges and court personnel, as well as its efforts to provide policy advice. In this regard, a draft law of the Republic of Uzbekistan "On introducing changes and amendments into selected legislative acts of the Republic of Uzbekistan" and “On introduction of changes and amendments into the Civil Procedural Code” developed by the project was specifically highlighted. The project also presented its work in terms of development of court performance assessment methodology, and enhancement of citizen feedback mechanism and transparency of the judiciary, particularly, the launch of Supreme Court’s new official website and interactive services.
The project has been also strongly collaborating the Supreme Economic Court of Uzbekistan, and piloted system for audio-visual recording of court proceedings at the Supreme Economic Court and Tashkent regional and city economic courts. It is expected that the system will improve the discipline of the parties, help minimize procedural violations and improve the efficiency of commercial litigation. In addition, the project has been designing the mechanism for publication of court decisions on the official website of the Supreme Economic Court.
Apart from the achievements of the project, the national partners also discussed some challenges and opportunities in project implementation, as well as the areas of potential cooperation. The representatives of the Supreme Court emphasized their readiness to support the upcoming project initiatives, as well as their significant interest in productive cooperation with international partners. In addition, the project presented its annual action plan for 2016, while the participants presented their suggestions and additions to the action plan.
It should be noted, that the interagency working group consists of the representatives of the Supreme Court, Research center on democratization and liberalization of judicial legislation and enhancement of independence of the judiciary under the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Supreme Economic Court, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chairmen of Tashkent region and Tashkent city civil courts, Ministry for Development of Information Technologies and Communications, Tashkent State Law University, and UNDP.