The Lay Judges – Active Citizens for Real Participation in the Judicial Process

I. Description

Duration: October 2014 – April 2016

Lay judges are an important form of civil participation in the judicial process. Their election, however, is conducted with no guarantees for transparency and outside participation. There are also no means for protection against conflict of interests on the part of lay judges on the cases they hear. Thus, this mechanism for civil participation is void of meaning and reduced to an instrument for unregulated political bargaining and nepotism.

The aim of the project is to study the state of the legislature and propose the necessary amendments which would guarantee transparency of the election process and activity of the lay judges, and affirm good practices through advocacy and information campaign. Through the publication of survey findings, analyses and proposals the project would lead to higher participation and familiarity of the public with the topic and would confirm the NGOs’ contribution to the policy formation. The legislative branch, members of local councils, lay judges, candidates for lay judges, the broader public will benefit from the project’s outcomes.

II. Main activities

BILI will:

(1) conduct a study of the lay judges institute, which will consist of two main parts: empirical sociological study and a comparative legal analysis; 

(2) on the grounds of the study results, a model and standards for the election of lay judges will be drafted;

(3) conduct an advocacy complain for transparent and responsible appointment of lay judges;

(4) build a specialized web page.

III. Funding/ Support/ Partners

The project is funded with co-grant of the NGO Programme in Bulgaria under the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism 2009 – 2014.

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