detail - Rule of Law Programme Middle East / North Africa
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The aim of this seminar, entitled “Towards A Rule of Law Culture: Exploring Responses to Court Administration Challenges”, was to promote the concept of court administrator in the Lebanese judiciary and raise the awareness of judges as to its positive impact on the quality of the justice and on the capacity of the judiciary to perform as an independent body that is responsible for its own management.
The seminar, which was attended by representatives of the “consultative committees” (elected committees within the Lebanese Judicial Superior Council (JSC)), began with a welcome speech given by the President of the Lebanese Judicial Superior Council, Judge Jean Fahed, who thanked the Konrad Adenauer Foundation for its assistance and highlighted the importance of such a seminar in introducing, for the first time, the concept of court administrator in the Lebanese judiciary.
In his opening remarks, the director of the regional Rule of Law program for the Middle East and North Africa, Peter Rimmele, stated the need for an independent judiciary in Lebanon and expressed his contentment about the ongoing partnership with the Judicial Superior Council in its endeavor to improve its oversight function as well as its administrative performance. Rimmele emphasized the crucial role of the state in providing sufficient and adequate resources that enable the judiciary to deliver justice properly and independently.
Among the guest speakers was Mr. Reinhart Hoffmann, the administrative director of the first regional court (Landgericht) in Munich, Bavaria. Hoffmann gave an overview of the scope of work of the court administrator in Germany and provided insights on how a German regional court operates, including issues of finance, budgeting, human resources, and procurement. Following the presentation, most inquiries expressed by the Lebanese judges focused on the separation of the duties and responsibilities between the court administrators and the judges. Feedback from the participants also presented the realities and challenges of the Lebanese courts in an effort to identify potential solutions and reforms in light of the exposé.
The second guest speaker, Mr. Dovydas Vitkauskas, expert consultant for the Venice Commission, an advisory body of the Council of Europe, engaged in a comparative overview by giving insights on key criteria of performance management systems in different European and Mediterranean jurisdictions. Vitkauskas also addressed backlog management challenges and responses based on several case studies in Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Inquiries from the participating judges mainly touched upon performance standards in European countries and potential ways to set up and improve an efficient case-flow management.
Information and Technology and the issue of e-Justice were also part of the program. Lawyer Rani Sader, co-founder and managing partner of Sader & Associates, introduced the participants to the “Sader Legal Database Online” and its use.
At the end of the seminar, the consultative committees held a closed meeting during which they reviewed and discussed internal decision related to the implementation of a formal judicial evaluation system (see previous event co-organized with KAS).