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Strengthening the Bulgarian Judges Association

Project details

  • Funder: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MATRA)
  • Partners(s): Nederlandse Vereniging voor Rechtspraak (NVvR); Czech Union of Judges, Bulgarian Judges Association (BJA)
  • Project period: June 2010 – May 2011
  • For information mail to: office@nhc.nl

Bulgaria is in the process of judicial reform, but the Bulgarian government is taking an approach which does not address the legal culture or the alienation between judges and citizens. As a result, most Bulgarians perceive it as a rather distant and abstract effort. The public image of the judicial system in Bulgaria is rather negative. Legal and constitutional flaws cause further harm. The Bulgarian Judges Association (BJA) could involve itself more effectively in improving the public image of the judiciary, and in the judicial reform process in general. To attain this, the BJA needed to focus its vision clearly, formulate its mission and enhance the skills and knowledge of its members.

The aim of this project was to contribute to a more independent judiciary, and to increase the confidence of the Bulgarian public in the judicial system. The strenghtening of the BJA was considered an important step in this direction. Therefore, the project focused on supporting the BJA to become an organisation with a clear mission, an efficient organisational structure and a sound budgetting system. Four special committees were set up on legal, ethical, organisational and finacial topics.

As a result of the project efforts the BJA also made significant progress in the communication with its members and towards the media and general public. Members increasingly recognized the BJA as a representative of their professional interests and it became a more significant public factor in the judicial reform process.

The experts from the Dutch (NvvR) and Czech (CUJ) Judges Associations supported the BJA also in developing a three year strategic plan for the Association. Further, the project strengthened the relations between the three judges associations. This international network will continue to provide support to the BJA after the end of the project.

A cooperation agreement to this extent was signed at the end of the project.