About the project
Official website of the Transparent Judicial Appointments Initiative
This website is providing a unified format for making relevant data on judicial performance evaluation and career process easily accessible on an on-going basis. It is one-stop resource where members of the public are able to access all monitoring outcomes (profiles) for individual judges. This website contains detailed, reliable, uniform and standardized information on judicial candidates. Something that, currently, irrespective of the bits of information scattered around the Internet, is not available to the public or even to the Supreme Judicial Council. It is a critical Project tool in structuring civic participation and focusing media and public attention.
Description of the project:
The Transparent Judicial Appointments Initiative is an innovatory project pioneering for the first time in Bulgaria the building of a framework for independent public scrutiny of the procedures for career development and leadership formation in the Bulgarian judicial system. Based on US and international examples but attuned to Bulgarian needs and legal system, the project will utilize a combination of methodologies for data collection and analysis of judicial performance, thus creating the knowledge base for evaluation candidates for elections and promotions. We will use the potential of Internet to publish all relevant, reliable and legal information on such candidates and air conclusions on their strength and weaknesses and particularly on misconduct and indications of corruption. We will work with individual courts and the Supreme Judicial Council to organize public hearings to create the format in which the candidates can be put to fair questioning and the representatives of the civil society would be heard. To succeed we will establish a coalition of judicial reform leaders and will build on the desire of the majority of Bulgarian judges to better the reputation of the bench and the courts.
Objectives and Activities:
• Enable effective civic scrutiny of judicial career processes in a way that:
• Enhances judicial accountability, particularly in cases of misconduct;
• Improves the policies of judicial performance evaluation, judicial appointments and promotions;
• Improves the leadership of courts and the judicial branch overall; and
• Promotes public trust in Bulgarian justice.
• In consultation with leading experts, judicial reform advocates and representatives of civil society develop a set of methodologies for collecting and evaluation information on judges – candidates for appointment and promotion.
• Create a specialized Interned resource on judicial career policy and practices and as a base for publishing the full profiles of judges facing career procedures.
• Work with local Pilot courts to organize a model review of judges facing tenuring or promotion and engage the local community and the point of view of the court users.
• Work with the Supreme Judicial Council and other national bodies to organize a model procedure of civic scrutiny of candidates for leadership positions within the judicial branch involving vigorous vetting of the candidate’s track-record and public hearing.
The Bulgarian Institute for Legal Initiatives (BILI) is a non-partisan independent NGO working to promote the Rule of Law in Bulgaria and the region of South-East Europe and the Black See. BILI was founded by the former country director of ABA CEELI - Marc Lassman and three former staff attorneys of the Initiative: Bilyana Gyaurova - Wegertseder, Todor Dotchev and Violetta Kostadinova. It is registered in 2006 as a foundation designated in public interest and as a matter of principle is financed exclusively from recognized international and governmental assistance programs. BILI is a relatively young organization, but in this short time it has managed to establish itself as a reliable partner able to initiate and trigger policy oriented reforms. We were able to show that a locally owned NGO can make a difference and sustain itself not only through diverse funding but also through trying to “sell” the Bulgarian experience to the other countries from the region with which we share common cultural and social traits. In doing this, BILI also managed the side-split between the governmental and the non-governmental sector proving that the nongovernmental actors can effectively cooperate with the state institutions.