EEA Norway Grants Programme Lithuanian Courts
The agreement on the Judiciary program of approx. 11 million euro has been signed by the Norwegian and Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs within the framework of the EEA grants. It is the Lithuanian Court Administration (CA) that will implement the programme. The Norwegian Court Administration (NCA) is a program partner, and will cooperate with the Lithuanian CA on the preparation and implementation of the program.
You can read more information about the results achieved during the 2009 - 2014 Norway EEA grants cycle below.
The program is in preparation, and we expect to begin with the implementation in the second part of 2019. During the preparatory phase, NCA had several meetings with the Lithuanian CA and other relevant institutions. It is not yet clear what areas will be covered, but the main focus will be on:
Improved Court Efficiency - this is to be achieved through a comprehensive analysis of: case management in Lithuanian courts, criminal and civil procedures and of the extent to which the rights of vulnerable groups are respected. Based on these analyses, several competence building measures will be initiated.
Improving the selection, evaluation and promotion procedure of judges.
Increased quality in the Lithuanian courts - the project will contribute to better administration of the courts, with a focus on user experience. In addition, some courts will be modernized.
2009 - 2014 programme results
In 2009 - 2014, the Lithuanian CA, in collaboration with the NCA, implemented the "Efficiency, Quality and Transparency in Lithuanian Courts" program. The program had a Budget of EUR 7.7 million, and it contributed to:
1. Better user experience in the courts
Introduction of Witness Support. Based on the Norwegian model, Lithuanian courts have introduced a witness support system. The system involves, inter alia, use of volunteers to assist witnesses, information in the form of brochures and a webpage, and training of employees in the courts. The aim of the activities was to improve the way in which witnesses and victims are received. The system has been a success. Therefore, we will continue to strengthen it in the new program period (2014-2021).
Better user service - based on a sociological research, quality service standards for users were introduced in 10 courts. 1360 court officials participated in competence development in communication between the courts and users.
Security in courts. Several measures both in terms of infrastructure and training were put in place to improve the safety of the courts.
2. Increased use of digital solutions. The courts' information system was substantially modernized. The system works faster, better and has become more user-friendly. To make the information exchange faster, safer and less expensive, the courts' information system was also integrated with 10 other electronic systems from other government agencies. The project has also helped to ensure better audio recording of hearings in 396 courtrooms in Lithuania. In addition, it has become easier to access the recordings.
3. Increased quality of court decisions. Several seminars, study visits and conferences were organized to improve the way in which the courts decide on different cases and how the courts work. These measures included, among other things, reasoning of Court decisions, insuring uniform practice, use of mediation, etc.
News from the Lithuanian Courts can be found on the Lithuanian National Court Administration webpage.