ORGANIZATIONAL STUDY OF THE ALBANIAN JUDICIAL SECTOR

10. OVERVIEW OF DONORS OPERATIVE IN THE SECTOR

World Bank Program

Legal & Judicial Reform Project

A Project Implementation Unit consisting of a Director, a Deputy Director, a Procurement Officer and an Auditor will head the project. These people are selected and hired by the Ministry of Justice subject to a No Objection letter from the World Bank. The Director of the PIU was nominated Ms. Jolanda Theodhori.

The Program will be funded from a World Bank (Soft) Loan - (40 years and % interest rate yearly). The preparation has been funded under a PHRD grant. The plan is that the legal reform loan will be discussed and approved by the Albanian government in February and then approved by the Board of the World Bank March 22, the money will start flowing in June.

The Program has four elements:

  1. Tirana Law School: twinning program with foreign law school, material support, working with Danida, total 2 million USD - 500,000 in a grant from the Danish Government;
  2. Judicial Strengthening Element:
    1. Court and Case Management - 1,5 million USD - counterpart is Supreme Court and/or Ministry of Justice
      • Consultants will review the whole case management system, one court administration consultant will start in January, this consultant will later be increased to a group of court administration experts. This group will provide a study of its findings to the Albanian counterpart
      • Develop the software for the court administration
      • Make an integrated computer system
    2. Magistrate School support, 4-500.000 USD, some of it could go to CLE
    3. Judicial Inspectorate of the High Counsel office, technical assistance to the Inspectorate focus on anti corruption, judicial behavior and annual performance of the judges
    4. Execution office, consultants will start review of the enforcement issue in January
  3. Support Independence, Mediation, and Arbitration, support the start of ADR/Mediation in Albania, and provide training
  4. Support the State Publication Office set up distribution of Legal Publication system, a Legislation Data base, make one big database - 1,5 million USD allocated to this element

Total for whole program presently budgeted to 6 million USD but is expected to be raised to 8 million USD

GTZ Programs

GTZ is working mainly in the field of economic legislation. They are working closely with the Minister of Finance, Minister of Trade and the Minister of Justice. More concretely their activity is focused in the following areas:

  1. Arbitration and Mediation program;
  2. Company Registry, making a soft ware program standardizing what shall be registered ;
  3. Assist the Minister of Justice, the Albanian Working Group that are reviewing and making amendments to the Civil Procedure Law. Their expert, Judge Schnidger, reviews and comments on the amendments. Similar working group will review the penal code and the civil code but that work has not started yet.

ABA CEELI

ABA/CEELI is active in the following areas and activities:

  • Legal education through seminars and lecturing both at the Tirana Faculty of Law and the School of Magistrates.
  • Assistance in the organizing the National Judicial Conference.
  • Criminal Law Training in Poland for judges provided by United States Department of Justice.
  • Several publications and translation of Albanian legislation.
  • Legal Advice when requested to the government institutions.

Council of Europe

Council of Europe has consistently maintained an active presence in Albania. The primary assistance is in the form of technical advisors, seminars, and study trips abroad. COE has focused technical assistance efforts outside the area of economic legislation. In terms of the judiciary, the COE has been particularly active in the efforts to draft the law on the organization of the judiciary, the draft law on the organization and functioning of the High Court and the development of the Magistrates School.

The COE has also received EU funding to assist in the drafting of the Civil Code, the Civil Procedure Code and penitentiary reform. During 1997 to 1999 COE has worked closely with the Minister of State for Legislation Reform and the Relations with the Parliament in drafting almost 22 pieces of legislation such as Code of Administrative Procedures, Government Tort Liability Law, Privacy Act, Freedom of Information Act, Law on the People’s Advocate, Law on Asylum, Law on Citizenship, etc.

They are by no doubt the most remarkable partner of the Government in terms of technical assistance in law drafting.

European Union PHARE Program (EU PHARE)

The EU through its PHARE Program has been involved in legal assistance both tangentially through various projects and also directly through the Approximation of Legislation Project. The focus of the Approximation of Legislation Project is the Development and revision of Albanian legislation to prepare Albania for accession to the EU. In October 1999, within the Council of Minister structure a Department for the Approximation of Legislation with the EU was created. The Director of this Department is Mr. Ylli Manjani ( Phone number: 042/29084). The EU Project is now working very closely with this Department.

EU PHARE has given a much larger material assistance especially in building or rehabilitation several court houses allover Albania. So far EU PHARE has renovated about 6 courts.

USAID/East-West Management Institute -Judicial System Training/strengthening Project in Albania

The Project’s objectives are to strengthen the commercial law knowledge of Albanian judges and their ability to adjudicate commercial law cases and to improve the efficiency of operations in the administrative offices supporting Albanian courts.

Judicial Strengthening

The judicial strengthening program is designed to update the judges’ current knowledge in Albanian commercial law and prepare them for more sophisticated commercial law litigation they may adjudicate in the future. The project has already delivered seminar series providing an overview of basic principles in Albanian commercial law, covering Company Law, Bankruptcy and Secured Transactions.

Building on this foundation, the project progresses to more advanced concepts in commercial law, presenting seminars in Tirana in the spring of 2000. These upcoming seminars will be delivered by IDLI (International Development Law Institute). These seminars will cover current trends in commercial law in the European Union and the United States and discuss how these developments will affect what Albanian judges might expect in their courtrooms now and in the coming years.

Court Administration Improvements

The Project is also working to improve the efficiency of the administrative offices supporting the courts in Albania. These offices include The Chief Judges, the court secretaries, chancellors, archive personnel, budget staff and execution officers. The Project will assist the court offices in their transition to a computerized network by coordinating efforts to provide computer skills training. So far the project has provided computer training through the Fultz School for all District Court of Tirana court secretaries. The Project will also help improve and update the courts’ archival systems, operations in the courts’ execution offices, and provide a computer budget preparation-training program for the court budget officers.

The project has a short-term court administration expert, Mr. Charles Nihan who will fulfill the following tasks:

  • Assess needs of court administration system regarding docketing system, case file management, dissemination of judicial opinions, court administration staffing and supervisory role of judges over court administration
  • Provide hands-on training to secretaries, clerks and other court administration staff regarding filing, docketing and general court administration processes
  • Provide training to judges throughout Albania regarding supervisory role to maximize efficient court administration
  • Identify areas within the court administration where further improvement is needed and the project may be most effective.
  • Coordinate activities with other donors working within court administration in order to avoid overlap.

The project is closely working and coordinating with the School of Magistrates. The School is trying to organize programs for the following court administration training:

  1. Training for the District Court Chief Judges in their administrative duties;
  2. Training for the Chief Secretaries (Chancellors);
  3. Training of the court secretaries.

Both the project and the school will move soon toward a kind of memorandum of understanding by putting their intended cooperation in a written form. Activities that can be organized together or on which the school of magistrates gives it full support are the following:

  1. The above training activities;
  2. Training courses organized from IDLI with the commercial judges;
  3. Computer training at the Fultz School for all the court administrators of Albania;
  4. Basic office management training organized by the Fultz School;
  5. Seminars for the students of the School of Magistrates.

USAID/INSTITUTIONAL REFORM AND THE INFORMAL SECTOR (IRIS)

IRIS is focused on collateral law reform. Their long term advisor, Mr. Yair Baranes, (Phone number 042/32525) formed a working group of government lawyers to develop a law establishing a moveable property register. The law “On Secured Transactions” was approved by the Albanian Parliament in December 1999. The passage of this new law will be followed by educational initiatives directed toward judges that will apply this legislation.

The Office of the Legal Counselor within the OSCE

The Office of the Legal Counselor within the OSCE Presence in Tirana was created to analyze and help address serious legal conflicts arising regularly in Albania, with the purpose of promoting democratization through the development of democratic institutions, legal culture, and the rule of law, and promoting the protection of human rights. The LCO now operates in a variety of areas that can be loosely grouped into the following six categories: (1) legislative reform; (2) legal education reform, focusing on developing institution-building capacity and providing technical legal assistance; (3) constitutional civic education work; (4) human rights; (5)legal system reform, including the Office of the People's Advocate and the General Prosecutor's Office; and (6)internal technical assistance to various units within the Presence, including the OSCE field offices.

 


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Institute for Policy & Legal Studies 2000