The Ministry of Justice has prepared draft amendments to the Law on the Judicial Council based on EU peer review recommendations. These amendments address individual disciplinary responsibility, grounds for initiating proceedings, responsible bodies, and the right to appeal.

The current Law on the Judicial Council of North Macedonia has shortcomings identified by the EU peer review mission, leading the Minister of Justice to form a working group. This group held 23 meetings to draft the amendments.

Key updates in the draft law include:

1. Allowing the Interuniversity Conference and the Bar Association of North Macedonia to nominate candidates for Council members.
2. Extending the judicial tenure requirement from 6 to 15 years for judges on the Council.
3. Increasing the work experience requirement from 15 to 20 years for members elected by Parliament.
4. Regulating the selection method of Council members by Parliament.
5. Introducing an electoral threshold for selecting Judicial Council members from the judiciary.
6. Requiring candidates to receive more than half the total voter turnout to be elected.

The EU peer review mission’s report contains 40 recommendations covering the Judicial Council’s structure, member mandate, judge selection, disciplinary procedures, transparency, and resources. The Judicial Council has already implemented 17 recommendations through amendments to its procedures and a new communication strategy for greater transparency. Remaining recommendations require constitutional or legislative changes.

The EU peer review mission included experts from Croatia, Belgium, and Italy, who visited North Macedonia in September 2023 to analyze the legal framework and meet with relevant institutions and experts.