The agreement on the program of approx. EUR 4.6 million has been signed by the Norwegian and the Croation Ministry of Foreign Affairs within the framework of the EEA funds. The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in Croatia is the program operator. The program mainly consists of activities aimed at courts, but it also has a probation component. The Norwegian Court Administration (NCA) is a program partner and will work with the Croatian MoJ on the preparation and implementation of the program and projects. We plan to begin the implementation in the second part of 2019. The content of the programme was not yet decided, but based on the latest draft of the Concept Note, the main focus of the court projects will be on:
Better and more objective evaluation of judges. Based on best practices from several European countries, Croatia plans to improve its judge evaluation system. A Norwegian expert will participate in the work on mapping the best practice. The new system should put a stronger focus on the quality of the court decisions when evaluating judges.
Building a new court in Split. One of the largest courts in Croatia operates in two different buildings, which are also in a bad condition. About 330 employees, including 89 judges, work in poor conditions. This results in low efficiency and increased costs. Through the program, a new court will be built.
Increasing the use of alternative dispute solutions. Less than 0.1% of all disputes in Croatia are solved through mediation. To increase the use of mediation, a study that will identify the causes of low use will be conducted. In addition, judges, prosecution, lawyers and state employees will participate in trainings on mediation. Norwegian experts in mediation will participate in the project implementation.