Montenegro’s Judiciary Improves Efficiency

Having reduced their backlog of cases to less than 4,000, the Montenegrin courts have improved their performance in comparison to previous years.Marking the Days of the Montenegrin Judiciary, the chairperson of Montenegro’s Supreme Court, Vesna Medenica, gave a speech in Budva on Monday where she praised the performance of the country’s courts.

“At the end of 2011, the Montenegrin courts had inherited 11,551 unresolved cases from previous years, while at the end of September this year there were only 3,905 unresolved cases,” said Medenica.

Medenica also noted that the appeals process had been shortened. Previously, judicial appeals might take more than three and a half years on average, while now it takes the courts a maximum of just four months to process appeals.

She pointed to the most recent EU report on Montenegro’s progress, which was published on October 10, as further proof that Montenegro’s efforts to reform its judicial system are succeeding.

The reported noted that Montenegro had made “some progress” on the judiciary, adding, however, that certain mechanisms still needed to be put in place to enhance the independence and accountability of the judicial system.

“Initial steps have been taken to rationalise the court network, but Montenegro remains one of the countries with the highest number of basic courts, judges, prosecutors and administrative staff per capita in Europe,” states the report.

Medenica said that the EU’s approach in measuring the efficiency of the system by comparing the number of judges to population size was an inadequate, since the number of cases handled by the Montenegrin courts is higher than the EU average.

She said that Montenegro needs to make its court network more efficient but that does not necessarily means decreasing the number of judges.

The Days of the Montenegrin Judiciary were established in 1999, to mark adoption of the legal code in 1798, which laid the basis for the modern Montenegrin state.

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