At its 488th session on Wednesday, the Judicial Council adopted amendments to the rulebook on ranking candidates for the election of judges in higher courts. These changes align with recommendations from the EU peer review mission report on the Council’s functioning.

The amendments ensure that each supplementary task performed by a judge will be considered, with delegations of judges viewed as rewards rather than punishments, resulting in added points. Candidates will also earn points for mentoring judges and holding certain posts after their terms, such as being a member of the Judicial Council, director or deputy director of the Academy for Judges and Public Prosecutors, judge at the Constitutional Court, public prosecutor, or judge in an international court.

Judicial Council President Vesna Dameva described the amendments as crucial for implementing EU recommendations from the peer review mission report.

“In 2020, a rulebook was adopted for ranking candidates for higher court judgeships, but during the election procedure, the need to amend certain provisions became apparent. It was recommended to expedite the process of evaluating judges’ work to fill positions more quickly, rather than waiting too long, and to assess and adjust the new system as necessary,” Dameva stated.

Dameva noted that while the Action Plan’s timeframe for implementing these changes was set for June 2024, financial assistance and the EU project have enabled the amendments to be adopted much sooner.

The amendments will apply to future calls for the election of judges in higher courts, while ongoing procedures will continue under the previous rulebook.