The Judicial Council did not reduce the monthly norms of judges

Judicial Council / Photo: "Sloboden Pechat" / Dragan Mitreski

Although the courts in Macedonia work in bad conditions, with a significant shortage of judges and professional associates, the Judicial Council did not reduce the indicative number of cases that one judge should resolve per month in the basic courts, appeals courts, the Administrative Court, the Higher Administrative Court and Supreme Court for 2024. The three-member commission of the Council made a unanimous proposal to reduce the orientation number of cases in certain courts, and to increase it in others, but the president of the Judicial Council, Vesna Dameva, asked to argue the proposals because for certain categories there were proposals for an enormous reduction in the number of monthly cases, which according to Dameva, "is not in the direction of faster and more efficient justice for the citizens".

The president of the commission, Mirsad Suroi, emphasized that they considered the reports on the influx of cases, on the resolution of the backlog cases, the complexity of the cases handled by the judges, etc.

- The basis for the proposal are the reports from the AKMIS system for the distribution of cases in the courts, the number of cases with which a certain court started the year, received, resolved and backlogged cases, how many judges are acting, number of judges who will retire this year. Opinions from the courts have also been obtained. Taking into account the remarks of previous years, the reduced number of judges, the necessary number of judges for efficient proceedings, the inability to provide adequate staff and technical assistance for judges, the necessary action to be taken by each judge, as well as financial weaknesses, I believe that changes are needed, there should be real standardization - said Suroi.

He presented a proposal for some courts, such as the Supreme Court, the High Administrative Court and Appeals, to keep the same orientation number of cases, and for other courts he proposed to reduce the norm for certain categories of cases and increase it for others.

- Many years ago, I have the same remarks about illogicalities in various court registers and I ask for a realistic picture. There is a reduced number of judges in the courts, some of them will retire. It is not their fault that there is a lack of professional services, good working conditions, and the financial weakness leads to major obstacles, to lack of promptness and inefficiency - said Suroi.

President Dameva said that she also sympathizes with the entire judiciary and that the judges make superhuman efforts in their work.

- But let's see what parameters are taken in the proposal to reduce the norms for some courts. We want to please the judges so that they have less work, but we also have a backlog of unresolved cases, justice is delayed, and the citizens cannot suffer - said Dameva.

And the vice-president Hanif Zendeli said that in order for them as the Judicial Council to reduce the norms, they should have a comprehensive analysis with inspections of the court registers.

- We reduce a little every year - said Zendeli.

Council member Antoineta Dimovska emphasized that there are many illogicalities in the norms for certain courts.

– For example, for a civil judge there is a norm of 20 registrations of political parties per month. Life does not deny that, it is impossible, that norm was established when there was a surge of parties. Furthermore, there is a norm of 100 cases from bankruptcy council, which no longer exists by law and should be deleted. There is a proposal to reduce the norm for liquidations, from five to two per month, and in the Basic Civil Court Skopje there are so many liquidations in the whole year, and in other cities there are none at all. There is a norm of 100 cases with issued warrants for enforcement actions in the debtor's apartment, and I do not know if in reality there are two such cases. The illogicalities in the established norms should be removed. But at this moment we do not have such an analysis and for now let the norms remain. They are for guidance, they are not mandatory, because a judge cannot decide what he does not have - said Dimova.

The member of the Svetot Sashko Georgiev said that he justifies the reduction of the norms in the basic courts, because the quality should come to the fore.

- We have a norm, which is a guideline for the judge's work, but we should have an understanding of the conditions in which they work. With the norms, the quality drops, because the judges are in a hurry to achieve them - said Georgiev.

Member Selim Ademi pointed out that the Judicial Council discusses the norms every year, which, he said, are only orientational, not a duty, and no judge is punished if he does not fulfill them.

- My position is that the same norms should remain now. I suggest that we should think about whether there should already be norms, because the judiciary is not mathematics, we need judgments. The time has come when judges should not have a number, but strong cases - said Ademi.

And Loreta Georgieva said that judges must not be burdened with norms, but the quality of decision-making should be their priority, but this is provided for in the law and the norm is one of the parameters against which the Council evaluates the work of judges.

– The judiciary is not a factory, we should dedicate ourselves to the quality of decision-making. Let's work on proposals to change the law - said Georgieva.

Dimova replied to this that although the norms are orientational, they are still taken as a fixed parameter during the assessment.

- And let's admit that the orientation norm was introduced because of lazy judges. If it was not, some judges will not decide even two cases - she said.

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