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One Year Anniversary of the Model Courts Program

In December 2007, six courts the Kosovo Judicial Council endorsed six courts selected through a competitive process. The Commercial Court, Mitrovica District Court, Peja District Court, Ferizaj Municipal Court, Gjilan Municipal Court, and Prizren Municipal Court.

Each participating court set up a Court Improvement Team made up of 5 to 10 judges and administrative staff, including the President Judge and the Court Administrator. The Court Improvement Teams are the decision-making body of the Model Courts Program. Action plans for the implementation of the nine Court Improvement Standards were adopted in each court in between April and June 2008. The action plans lay out steps to be taken to implement the standards.

A Model Courts Consortium was established to facilitate information exchanges and take joint decisions on reforms to be implemented in the Model Courts. Five meetings have been held so far, on March 12, May 13, October 3, November 6, and December 16, 2008.

The Model Courts Program had several successes in its first year. The main successes are:

  • Leadership of President Judges and Court Administrators has increased. President Judges of non-participating courts noted that Model Courts seem to be more organized at a recent training seminar held in late October 2008;
  • Consortium Meetings are held regularly and are a forum for discussion, information exchange, and problem-solving;
  • The respective duties of President Judges and Court Administrators in general administration, personnel management, case management, public communication, and budgeting were clarified in clear, functional job descriptions;
  • Electronic case inventories have been developed for most case categories. These inventories are being maintained. Data on obstacles to case processing and case status is being included;
  • Public information coordinators have been appointed. Acting heads of registration office have been appointed;
  • Mission statements have been adopted and posted in offices and public areas;
  • Specifications for renovations to improve public access and work flow have been identified;