The two days session on “The ethics and communication during the sessions in the court and the behavior towards the parties” was held in 23 and 24 March 2016 at the School of Magistrates in Albania. The sessions were organized by the European Centre and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the Office in Albania, with the cooperation of the School of Magistrates in Albania. The activity had as a target group the judicial administration at the national level.
The aim of the training was to teach the judicial administration about the most successful models at the national level, as well as brining to their attention the best practices of the European Union, so they could be applicable at the everyday work of the staff in the Albanian courts.
In addition, training the judicial administration for such topics will also be reflected in practice as they will be more prone to respecting the Code of Professional Ethics, which on the other hand is very important for every actor in the judicial system as it reflects the image of the court.
The activity started with the opening remarks of the Director of the Program of Continuous Training for Judges at the School of Magistrates in Albania, Mrs. Arta Mandro. She emphasized the importance of the training as it was the first of its kind, where the target group were not the judges but the judicial administration. Her speech was followed by the Executive Director of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Ms. Walter Glos, whom introduced the mission of KAS Albania and the necessity to support such projects. Whereas the Executive Director of the European Centre, Ina Xhepa was the moderator of the training.
During the two days training the lecturers of the School of Magistrates in Albania focused and presented on the following topics:
Prof. Dr. Arta Mandro lectured on the topic “Increasing the access of the public into the judicial system: The struggle of the judicial administration in the reform of justice and the EU perspective. The role of the judicial administration in increasing the public’s trust in the Albanian courts”. Throught this session it was brought under the participant’s attention the transparency, responsibility and equality, as important factors through which the staff can respond to the requests of the citizens/public. Moreover, the reform of the justice system brings more trust among the public, emphasizing the role of the judicial administration as crucial on enhancing the reform, reducing the negative phenomenas such as corruption etc..
On the other hand, the training on the moral and legal obligation to follow the ethics of the judicial administration was held by Av. Ardjana Shehi/Kalo, with the topic “The subjects of the judicial administration, ethics and the communication during the proceedings at the court. Positive examples from the EU model”. Mrs. Kalo elaborated on the philosophical and legal concept of ethics. As for the strict respect of ethics, she explained that only through this way we can respect the constitutional rights or avoid indirect violations of citizen’s rights. Among other concepts, the lecturer referred to the elements and standards of ethics like integrity, the respect of judicial practices, the loyalty towards the judicial system, the impartiality, the respect of confidentiality, the avoidance of the conflict of interest, the principle of non-discrimination, the proper clothing etc.. In order to make the training more interactive, the trainer brought some daily cases to discuss and illustrate the above principles.
The last of the trainers was Prof. Dr. Vangjel Kosta, whom elaborated upon the topic of “The solemnity of the proceedings, the preparation of the court’s sessions and the management of judicial time. Positive models from EU.” The lecturer started his training by a definition of the court, which can only be functional and realize their mission if there is a sollaboration between all actors of the judicial system, especially the staff of the court. Ms.Kosta also added that the solemnity of the proceedings as well as during the daily work like ethics and proper conduct, are important factors which contribute to the solemnity of the court itself. Moreover, the respect of the time of the sessions, the proper management of the case proceedings and the court room as the only place where a proceeding can take place, are crucial to build the trust of the public in the courts.
Despite the lecturing of the trainers, the participants were invited to actively participate in the debates and discussions, thus brining real examples from their daily work. In addition, the participants valued the importance of the training and expressed the will for similar trainings to be organized in the future. They emphasized that the training should be focused on the difficulties of working with the new technology in the courts or the unification of the set of duties of the judicial administration. In some courts, they stated, there is even lack of uniforms or judges, despite the lack of staff where the cancellor should also fill the duties of the secretary. The load of the cases was also very high, consisting in 25 to 30 cases per day in many courts around the country.
The suggestions and recommendations were carefully collected as to provide the terrain for other trainings at the national level.