“Justice without delays” initiative in Albania

“Justice without delays” initiative in Albania

Tirana, 26 May 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

The OSCE Presence in Albania, USAID and the Austrian Development Co-operation launched a new phase of the ‘Justice without delays’ initiative in Shkodra, Albania, with the aim of increasing the efficiency of court proceedings by reducing unnecessary hold ups.

Judges and support staff, with guidance from the Presence, USAID and local partners, will analyse the root causes for delays in their court and commit to improved planning and administration of cases by strengthening co-operation with trial participants, including state institutions.

This will give the courts the benefit of active case management techniques and provide citizens with better access to justice.

“The courts have made remarkable progress in reducing the number of hearings and the overall length of trial proceedings, with no changes to legislation and no additional budgetary resources,” emphasized Florian Raunig, Head of the OSCE Presence in Albania. “This achievement not only benefited court users in those districts, but has become an important step toward improving the quality of justice throughout Albania. It shows the clear potential for all Albanians to have efficient justice in all first instance courts throughout the country.”

Ambassador Johann Sattler of Austria stated that, “the nationwide roll-out of the ‘Justice without delays’ project ultimately aims to increase citizen’s trust in the judiciary.”

The initiative is implemented by the OSCE Presence and USAID’s Project Justice for All, with funding from the Austrian Development Co-operation. It was developed by the Presence and USAID after a study conducted by the Presence showed that almost half of the sessions in Albanian courts were non-productive – no argument was put forward, no documents circulated, no evidence taken and no requests made.

‘Justice without delays’ first started as a pilot project in Kruja court in February 2014, and was quickly embraced by courts in Korça, Puka and Tropoja. Building on the programme’s success in these four initial courts, and with the strong support of the High Council of Justice and the Ministry of Justice, over the next three years the ‘Justice without delays’ initiative will be extended successively to all 18 district courts in Albania.