2021 - Serbia Judical Functional Review
2021 - Serbia Judical Functional Review

Human Resource Management

Main Findings ↩︎

  1. Although all institutions made an effort to overcome the challenges, key problems with human resources management remained. However, the recently adopted constitutional amendments and the upcoming revision of the legal framework, as well as the implementation of the Human Resource Strategy in Judiciary for the period 2022-2026, have the potential to bring about significant positive change in the Serbian judiciary.
  2. Despite the progress in aligning human resources management procedures with EU standards, the Functional Review team could not locate evidence of a strategic approach to HR management in the Serbian court and prosecution system. However, the adoption of the Human Resource Strategy in the Judiciary for the period 2022-2026541represents a stepping-stone to applying a strategic approach in managing human resources. For instance, notwithstanding the transfer of criminal investigation and more than 38,000 investigation cases from Basic Courts to PPOs, the number of judges significantly increased between 2013 and 2014. At the same time, adequate resources were not assigned to prosecutors’ offices to absorb criminal investigations. While the SPC attempted to analyze the corresponding cost implications and staffing needs of criminal investigation functions newly assigned to the prosecutors’ offices, the analysis was not based on comprehensive and comparative examinations of staffing numbers and competencies, caseload, organizational and procedural changes, etc.
  3. Compared with European benchmarks, in 2018, Serbia had one of the highest ratios of judges-to-population and a lower number of public prosecutors per 100,000 inhabitants.542 When staffing is considered, Serbia had moderate ratios of staff per judge and prosecutor. However, this indicator should be considered with caution, taking into account that Serbia reported to CEPEJ on permanent employees only, and a significant number of contractors have been working in courts and PPOs. In addition, having a large number of judges with inadequate support staff prevents appropriate delegation of tasks and is financially more costly.
  4. The staffing levels for judges, prosecutors, and staff appeared to be set in an ad hoc manner. Serbia still lacks a comprehensive methodology for determining the number of judges and prosecutors needed in either a particular court/PPO or overall, and methods currently applied dated from 2006543 and 2009,544 respectively. From 2014-2017, the total number of 780 deputy prosecutor positions remained unchanged despite a significant increase in incoming cases. In the next two years, however, 60 new deputy prosecutor positions were approved in the Basic, Higher, and Appellate PPOs545 , but the methodology for doing so is unclear. Similarly, the number of judge positions had fluctuated over time, with 3022 positions in 2019, or 87 more than in 2013,546 despite the transfer of functions from the courts. The reduction in the number of staff positions and permanent employees in both courts and PPOs occurred as part of the implementation of the Public Administration Reform Strategy and the 2015 Law on Maximum Number of Employees in Public Sector547 , which called for an annual reduction in a number of employees in the period 2016-2019. Under the Law, the Government was to define the number maximum of permanent staff for each public institution each year.548 Instead, the number of contracted staff gradually increased.
  5. In addition to the large existing staff, large numbers of temporary staff and volunteers create a ‘shadow workforce’. Selection is decentralized, and the existing procedures do not apply to these categories of staff. In addition, their performance goes largely unmonitored. Such a practice impedes integrated resource planning and inhibits longer-term efficiency.
  6. Serbia does not have a national career service in the judiciary or prosecution. Judges and prosecutors are appointed to an individual court and PPO, and cannot be moved without their consent, notwithstanding the system's needs.
  7. The Judicial and the Prosecutorial Council have a central role in the recruitment and selection of judicial officials. Prior to the constitutional changes, the National Assembly also had a role in their appointment and dismissal. In addition, the Government played a highly influential role in the appointment of prosecutors, often not submitting the entire list of prosecutors recommended by the Prosecutorial Council to the National Assembly for consideration. By the new constitutional provisions, the role of the National assembly is limited to the election and dismissal of the Republic Public Prosecutor and judges of the Constitutional Court.
  8. The performance assessment systems designed for judges and prosecutors aim to boost organizational and individual advancement. Despite the HJC and SPC invested efforts to align its performance evaluation systems with European standards, the procedures still suffer from excessive rigidity and lack some elements of an effective performance appraisal system. The procedure for judges was first implemented in 2016 and that for prosecutors in 2015, and the results were used to decide on the election of candidates to permanent tenure and higher instance positions. For permanent judges, the evaluation rules were first implemented in 2017.
  9. The system should continue to invest in continuing training and lead a large-scale capacity-building initiative for judges, prosecutors, assistants, and other staff in courts and PPOs. Training should cover all aspects relevant to the transformation into a modern European judiciary, and the training programs should be designed based on a comprehensive training needs assessment.

Staffing Levels and Methodology ↩︎

Numbers of Judges and Prosecutors ↩︎

  1. Serbia still lacks a comprehensive methodology for determining the number of needed judges and prosecutors. The procedures currently applied549 require considering caseloads only, and the Councils’ decisions on the number of judges/prosecutors only included figures without justifications. No attempt has been made to establish more rigorous and transparent criteria for determining how many judges and prosecutors are needed, and it is, therefore, unknown if the decisions on a number of judges and deputy prosecutors periodically taken by the Councils reflected caseloads, organizational or procedural changes or some other needs of the judiciary550. In addition, although decisions on the number of judges and prosecutors are currently made by the Councils, prior consent of the Ministry of Justice is still required for the number of prosecutors.
  2. As there is no a rigorous and transparent methodology for determining the number of judges and prosecutors, and the Councils’ periodic decisions on the number of judge and prosecutor positions have not been accompanied by some justifications, it is unclear how the Councils decide on their number in each court and prosecution office. Despite the transfer of criminal investigation and more than 38,000 investigation cases from Basic courts to PPOs, additional judge positions were created in 2013. On the other hand, the overall number of authorized judge positions was reduced between 2014 and 2017, notwithstanding the rising numbers of incoming cases across all courts. Furthermore, changes in the number of authorized judges positions have not always followed the trend of incoming cases – e.g., the annual rise of the incoming case by approximately 5 percent in 2015 and 2016551 led to creation 25 percent more judge positions in the Administrative Court in 2017552 while the HR Plan of Higher Courts underwent changes in the opposite direction (annual rise of incoming cases by approximately 12percent in 2015 and 2016553 led to 3percent reduction in the number of judge positions in 2017554). At the same time, the overall number of authorized deputy prosecutor positions remained unchanged between 2014 and 2017 despite the introduction of prosecution-led investigations.

Table 25: Number of Judges by Court Type, 2013-2020

Basic Courts Higher Courts Appellate Courts Administrative Court Commercial Courts Appellate Commercial Court Misdemeanor Courts Appellate Misdemeanour Court Supreme Court of Cassation
HR Plan 2013 1,430 377 237 38 172 33 548 65 35
2014 1508 369 237 38 178 33 544 65 37
2015 1,545 381 237 41 180 33 551 65 37
2016 1475 368 237 39 178 41 538 65 38
2017 1476 367 237 51 178 41 535 65 40
2018 1438 399 240 51 178 41 541 65 46
2019 1446 413 240 51 179 41 541 65 46
2020* 1451 420 240 51 179 41 541 65 50
Filled Positions 2013 1423 366 213 30 157 30 531 61 33
2014 1,384 342 219 NA 159 32 509 56 37
2015 1325 343 229 40 157 31 492 64 35
2016 1352 340 224 41 162 31 505 63 37
2017 1350 337 217 40 152 35 491 61 38
2018 1206 356 216 48 162 41 456 62 41
2019 1244 375 230 49 148 37 515 56 46
2020* 1266 366 229 50 169 37 512 56 45


HR Plan:

2013 Data - Serbia Judicial Functional Review, October 2014, Page 281, Table 21. Number of Judges by Court Type, 2013

2014 Data - HJC Decisions on the number of judges

2015-2017 data provided by the HJC

2018 Data - SCC Annual Report on the Work of Courts for 2018

2019-2020 data provided by the HJC

2020* - data as of 30 June

Filled Positions:

2013 Data - Serbia Judicial Functional Review, October 2014, Page 281, Table 21. Number of Judges by Court Type, 2013

2014-2017 data provided by the HJC

2018 Data - SCC Annual Report on the Work of Courts for 2018

2019-2020 data provided by the HJC

2020* - data as of 30 June

  1. There was also no documentation to justify the increase in the number of filled judge positions in 2013 or the reduction in their numbers between 2015 and 2018. As the criteria for filling vacant positions are not transparent, it is unknown if these decisions are based on objective needs. For example, to manage some 5 percent rise of incoming cases each year, the Administrative Court was supported with new judges while Higher Courts, who experienced an increase of over 10 percent of incoming cases each year, operated with fewer judges in 2016 and 2017 than in 2014.
  2. Recent Constitutional amendments granted full autonomy of the Councils in the appointment and dismissal of court presidents, judges, prosecutors, and deputy prosecutors and limited the role of the Parliament to the selection of four members555 of the HJC and SPC and the appointment and dismissal of the Republic Public Prosecutor and judges of the Constitutional Court, thus reducing the risk of political interference in human resource-related decisions. Before replacing judiciary-related constitutional provisions, the Councils were tasked to carry out recruitment procedures, and responsibility for the appointment and dismissal of Court Presidents, Republic Public Prosecutors, and Public Prosecutors, as well as initial appointment of judges and Deputy Public Prosecutors were shared with the Parliament. In addition, the Government confirmation of candidate lists for heads of PPOs was required before the parliamentary deliberations and not all candidates recommended by the SPC were put forward. Finally, even if the National Assembly merely elected candidates nominated by the Councils and previously selected by their peers, it could still refuse to elect proposed candidates and thereby trigger a new selection process.
  3. For 2018, Serbia reported almost twice the average of filled judge positions per capita compared with the EU28 average and more than the Western Balkan average. According to the CEPEJ 2020 report, the number of judges per 100,000 inhabitants was in Serbia 37, while the EU28 average was 20. The EU11 average was 29, and the Western Balkans average was 31.
  4. Among EU member countries, Croatia and Slovenia had more judges per capita than Serbia in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018. States with over 30 judges per 100,000 inhabitants are mainly those coming from the Former Yugoslavia, including Croatia, Montenegro, and Slovenia.
  5. The SCC does not have a clear methodology to systematically and transparently determine the number of needed judges in courts, which is a precondition for future appointments and equal workload per judge. The data shows that HJC filled about 75 percent of judge positions that became vacant over the six-year period.556 In the interim, the HJC priority should be to develop the above-mentioned staffing methodology.

Figure 137: Number of judges per 100,000 inhabitants, Serbia, EU member states and Western Balkan countries (CEPEJ data for 2018)

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  1. For 2018, Serbia reported a significant increase in the number of public prosecutors per 100,000 inhabitants and reached the EU28 average. According to CEPEJ reports, the number of public prosecutors per 100,000 inhabitants in Serbia increased from 9.2 in 2012 to 11.2 in 2018. EU28 average was 10.9, EU11 average was 16.7 and the Western Balkans average was 12.5.

Figure 138: Number of prosecutors per 100,000 inhabitants, Serbia, EU member states and Western Balkan countries (CEPEJ data for 2018)

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  1. As of December 2019, Serbia counted 68 Prosecutors, and 723 Deputy Prosecutors organized
    across six prosecution levels (see Table 26 below).
    The overall number of planned prosecutors increased by 12percent between 2013 and 2019, and those appointed by 11percent. The decision was taken in late 2013 to increase the number of higher and basic prosecutor positions. This occurred right after the adoption of the new CPC but also shortly after the establishment of a new network of PPOs that was significantly affected by the need to reintegrate 153 prosecutors who returned to office after the decisions of the Constitutional Court of Serbia. The figures suggest that the increase was more driven by the establishment of additional 25 basic PPOs than by new obligations that expanded their scope of work due to the transition to a prosecution-led adversarial system. In 2018, the decision was taken to create 23 new prosecutor positions at the basic prosecution level without reference to the offices’ relative workload. In contrast, the decision to create an additional prosecutor position in higher PPOs (13 in 2018 and 24 in 2019) was primarily motivated by a legal obligation557 to establish special departments for organized crime in four higher PPOs and was directly workload-related.

Table 26: Number of Prosecutors and Deputy Prosecutors in Serbia, 2013-2020

Type of Prosecutors' Office RPPO Appellate Prosecutors Higher Prosecutors Basic Prosecutors Special Prosecutor
for Organized Crime
Special Prosecutor
for War Crimes
HR Plan 2013 PPs 1 4 26 34 1 1 67
DPPs 15 72 171 428 25 8 719
2014 PPs 1 4 25 58 1 1 90
DPPs 15 72 179 442 25 8 741
2015 PPs 1 4 25 58 1 1 90
DPPs 15 72 179 442 25 8 741
2016 PPs 1 4 25 58 1 1 90
DPPs 15 56 185 452 25 8 741
2017 PPs 1 4 25 58 1 1 90
DPPs 15 56 185 452 25 8 741
2018 PPs 1 4 25 58 1 1 90
DPPs 15 56 198 475 25 11 780
2019 PPs 1 4 25 58 1 1 90
DPPs 15 56 222 475 25 11 804
2020* PPs 1 4 25 58 1 1 90
DPPs 15 56 222 475 25 11 804
Filled Positions 2013 PPs 1 0 21 30 1 1 54
DPPs 11 63 155 407 9 6 651
2014 PPs N/A N/A 18 12 N/A N/A 30
DPPs N/A N/A 165 394 N/A N/A 559
2015 PPs N/A 4 18 14 N/A N/A 36
DPPs N/A 56 167 381 N/A N/A 604
2016 PPs N/A 4 19 33 N/A N/A 56
DPPs N/A 46 174 389 N/A N/A 609
2017 PPs 1 3 21 46 1 1 73
DPPs 12 48 170 380 12 4 626
2018 PPs 1 3 21 44 1 1 71
DPPs 11 46 186 429 12 9 693
2019 PPs 1 3 20 42 1 1 68
DPPs 11 46 206 439 12 9 723
2020* PPs 1 N/A N/A N/A 1 1 68
DPPs 11 46 206 439 12 9 723

Sources: 2013 Data - Serbia Judicial Functional Review, October 2014, Page 282, Table 22. Number of Prosecutors and Deputy Prosecutors in Serbia, 2013; 2014-2020 data provided by the SPC; 2020* - data as of 30 June;

  1. Compared with 2013, the overall number of appointed prosecutors only increased in 2018 and 2019, notwithstanding the earlier court re-networking and PPOs' growing responsibilities. A continual backlog increase, affected, among other things, by the introduction of a prosecution-led adversarial system and transfer of more than 38,000 investigation cases from basic courts to PPOs in late 2013 triggered the SPC to undertake an analysis of resource needs. A caseload analysis conducted by five members of SPC in 2016 found both basic and higher PPOs to be under-resourced and suggests almost all vacant prosecutor positions be filled as well as an immediate increase of 77 authorized positions in basic PPOs and 17 in higher PPOs made. The SPC informed the Functional Review Team that the findings of this analysis were reflected in subsequent revisions of the act on the number of prosecutors in PPOs.

Numbers of Court Staff ↩︎

  1. In 2018, Serbia had an average of 3.4 non-judicial employees per judge (see Figure 138 below). This is in the middle of staff-to-judge ratios seen in the EU and lower than the average of EU Member States that submitted data on this issue to the CEPEJ for 2018. The average staff-to-judge ratio fluctuated over time for both EU28 and Serbia, and in 2018 the EU28 ratio returned to the same level as in 2012, and that for Serbia dropped by 0.3 points compared to 2014 data.

Figure 139: Ratio of Court Staff to Judges, Serbia, EU and Western Balkan countries, 2018558

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  1. While staffing norms exist in theory to set personnel allocations, they are not implemented or enforced in practice. The norms may be a too simplistic way of determining staffing levels given the complexity of justice institutions and the absence of a case weighting methodology, and it may be reasonable for systematizations to vary from these prescribed norms. However, such variations should be justified and documented.
  2. The ratios of budgeted staff-to-judges vary significantly between courts of the same type, demonstrating that the numbers of personnel are not determined based on needs or data analysis. There are significant ranges of budgeted staff to judge ratios in the Basic, Higher, Commercial, and Misdemeanor Courts (see Table 27 below). Compared to the range of positions per judge in 2013, variation among the Basic Courts and less in the Higher, Commercial, and Misdemeanor Courts grew in 2019.

Table 27: Budgeted Employees per Judge by Category of Employees and Court Type, 2019

Court Type 2019
Judges Total Non-Judge Employees Judicial Assistants Other Case Processing Positions* Other Positions**



Mean Ratio to Judge



Mean Ratio to Judge



Mean Ratio to Judge



Mean Ratio to Judge


Basic 1446 4747 3.3 2.2-5.0 590 0.4 0.1-0.7 3039 2.1 1.2-2.9 1118 0.8 0.3-2.0
Higher 413 1475 3.6 2.6-4.8 248 0.6 0.3-1.0 812 2.0 1.5-3.2 415 1.0 0.7-1.8
Appellate 240 515 2.1 1.9-2.5 213 0.9 0.7-1.0 250 1.0 0.9-1.2 52 0.2 0.0-0.5
Appellate Commercial 41 69 1.7 35 0.9 34 0.8 0 0.0
Commercial 179 593 3.3 2.8-4.6 94 0.5 0.2-1.0 409 2.3 1.8-2.9 90 0.5 0.1-1.3
Appellate Misdemeanor 65 174 2.7 52 0.8 101 1.6 21 0.3
Misdemeanor 541 1659 3.1 2.5-5.8 76 0.1 0.0-0.4 1129 2.1 1.7-4.0 454 0.8 0.4-2.2
Administrative 51 174 3.4 64 1.3 108 2.1 2 0.0
Supreme Court of Cassation 46 212 4.6 54 1.2 65 1.4 93 2.0
TOTAL 3022 9618 3.2 1.7-5.8 1426 0.5 0-1.3 5947 2.0 0.8-4.0 2245 0.7 0-2.2

*Case-related staff include judicial assistants (judicial trainees not included); Court Managers/Secretaries; Registry Office, Other Administration, Typists; and ICT positions. ** ‘Other’ includes technical support, court police, enforcement staff and land book staff

  1. Despite reductions in the number of low-level staff positions, over 23 percent of court staff do not contribute to case processing; this number represents a decline in non-case-processing staff since 2013. The proportion of these ancillary staff (such as drivers, cleaners, and judicial guards) to total non-judge staff positions is higher in the Basic, Higher, and Misdemeanor courts and the Supreme Court of Cassation (see Table 28 below) than the average for the Commercial and Appellate Courts. Over the past six years, the proportion of ancillary to total staff positions dropped in all courts. In 2013, ancillary employees represented 33 percent of non-judge staff positions in basic, 31percent in higher, 14percent in appellate, 17percent in commercial, and 32percent in misdemeanor courts.

Table 28: Ratio of Budgeted Ancillary to Core Staff by Court Type, 2019

Court Type Total
All Case
percent Case
percent Ancillary
Basic 4747 3629 76percent 1118 24percent
Higher 1475 1060 72percent 415 28percent
Appellate 515 463 90percent 52 10percent
Appellate Commercial 69 69 100percent 0 0percent
Commercial 593 503 85percent 90 15percent
Appellate Misdemeanor 174 153 88percent 21 12percent
Misdemeanor 1659 1205 73percent 454 27percent
Administrative 174 172 99percent 2 1percent
Supreme Court of Cassation 212 119 56percent 93 44percent
TOTAL 9618 7373 77percent 2245 23percent
  1. However, comparisons with EU Member States suggest that Serbia could further reduce its complement of non-case-processing staff. According to CEPEJ 2020 Report (2018 data), Serbia’s 78 percent of staff dedicated to case-processing tasks is lower than in a majority of EU member countries. However, this comparison should be treated as a general depiction of the use of court support staff as the staff categories and job descriptions are not clearly distinguished by the CEPEJ.
  2. Even though overall court staffing decreased, staffing needs have not been evaluated in a systematic way, and significant variations in the ratio of budgeted positions per judge/prosecutor among courts and PPOs remained. The ratio of budgeted judicial assistants per judge continued to vary significantly across courts of the same type – e.g. among basic courts, it ranged from 0.3 to 1.0 in 2013 and from 0.1 to 0.7 in 2019. However, with the devolution of certain responsibilities to prosecutors under the new CPC, the number of budgeted judicial assistants dropped in courts and increased in PPOs. Thus, courts budgeted 2,115 judicial assistants and trainees in 2013 and 1,649559 in 2019, and PPOs560 planned 252 prosecutor assistants and trainees in 2014 compared to 374561 in 2019.
  3. Similarly, the courts have not evaluated its staffing needs in light of the devolution of certain responsibilities to other judicial professions. The number of court-employed bailiffs was reduced since the introduction of private enforcement agents in 2011. However, there were still 640 budgeted positions and 597 bailiffs employed by courts in 2019. Their functions are not clear in the court systematizations or job descriptions.
  4. Similarly, the establishment of the notary system has not dramatically changed the profile of court staff in Serbia. Rationally, the transfer of verification services should result in large-scale redundancies among registry staff, particularly in Basic Courts. However, the transfer of these functions to private notaries in Serbia resulted in a slight increase in staff in these positions. Between 2014 and 2019, Basic Courts added 29 registry positions, and the number of employees in these functions was increased from 1,080 to 1110. So far, no analysis has been conducted of the staffing implications of the introduction of private notaries.
  5. A strategy for eliminating excess positions through layoffs, attrition, or other means such as transfers is needed. For the strategy development, and analysis of the staffing implications of the reforms undertaken in previous years is needed, primarily those related to the transfer of responsibilities to PPOs and other judicial professions. The funds saved through right-sizing could then be invested in much-needed areas, such as in technical and advisory positions or improvements in ICT or judicial facilities.
  6. Despite reductions in the number of budgeted employees, significant variations by region remained with no clear justification. For instance, the Higher and Basic Courts in Belgrade and Novi Sad demonstrate much higher staffing ratios than courts in Nis or Kragujevac. Moreover, revisions of staffing plans of Higher Courts created even higher discrepancies between regions. The overall range did decline from 3.8-4.6 budgeted employees per judge in 2013 to 3.1-4.0 in 2019.

Table 29: Ratios of Budgeted Positions to Judges in Higher Courts by Region, 2019

Judges Total Non-Judge
Judicial Assistants Other Case
Processing Positions
Other Non-Judge
Number Number Ratio
Number Ratio
Number Ratio
Number Ratio
Belgrade 146 590 4.0 133 0.9 313 2.1 144 1.0
Kragujevac 95 297 3.1 39 0.4 179 1.9 79 0.8
Nis 81 270 3.3 29 0.4 146 1.8 95 1.2
Novi Sad 88 318 3.6 47 0.5 174 2.0 97 1.1
TOTAL 410 1475 3.6 248 0.6 812 2.0 415 1.0

Source: MoJ data and WB calculation

  1. As in previous years, staffing patterns do not generally reflect economies of scale (see figures below). Overall figures at the court level indicate that this approach is consistently in effect in misdemeanor courts only. At the same time, the Higher, Commercial, and to a lesser extent the Basic Courts begin to experience economies of scale as they grow from small to large courts. However, that pattern does not continue as basic courts in Belgrade and Novi Sad grow in size to become very large or high courts grow to a large size.
  2. However, the ratio of budgeted employees per judge significantly differs among courts of the same type and size. For instance, in 2019, this ratio ranged from 2.5 to 5.8 among small size misdemeanor courts.562

Figure 140: Ratios of Budgeted Staff Positions to Judges by Court Size in Basic Courts, 2013 and 2019

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Figure 141: Ratios of Budgeted Positions by Court Size in Higher Courts, 2013 and 2019

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  1. In PPOs, the number of prosecutor assistants and trainees is defined without taking into account caseloads or the complexity of cases. Moreover, staffing patterns and/or work processes have not been revised to address the introduction of a prosecution-led adversarial system that expanded the roles and responsibilities of prosecution offices and increased their caseloads. According to the Rulebook adopted by the MoJ in 2009, the Basic and Higher PPOs are allowed to have one assistant for every two prosecutors, while in the Appellate PPOs, the recommendation is for one assistant for every three prosecutors. However, the real ratios are far different, with PPOs enjoying significantly fewer budgeted prosecutor assistants than authorized by legislation563. According to this Rulebook, trainee positions are planned in all Basic and Higher PPOs, but the criteria used to determine the number of these positions in individual PPOs is unknown. Additionally, there were wide variations in the ratio of budgeted trainee positions to prosecutors, ranging from 0.1 to 1.0 in 2019. Prosecutor-trained positions were no longer planned by individual PPOs but by an act adopted by the MoJ564.
  2. Furthermore, even already budgeted PA positions remain vacant for years – of the total 267 prosecutor assistant positions budgeted in 2019, only 142 were filled. Between 2013 and 2019, the number of filled PA positions dropped significantly565 even though the PPOs undertook new responsibilities in this period. The reason for having a significant number of vacant prosecution assistants’ positions remained unclear. Without an objective staffing ratio, it is not possible to determine whether all these vacancies should be filled or funds reallocated to other priority positions, invested in capacity building of the existing staff or ICT and infrastructure projects.

Table 30: Number of Prosecution Assistants, 2019

and Deputy
Allowed Number
per Quota Defined
by Rulebook
Variation to
RPPO 12 0 5 -5
Appellate Prosecutors 49 3 20 -17
Higher Prosecutors 226 49 124 -75
Basic Prosecutors 481 85 267 -182
Special Prosecutor for Organized Crime 13 0 26 -26
Special Prosecutor for War Crimes 10 5 6 -1
  1. As in courts, the average ratio of ancillary staff to core prosecutor staff is high and varies significantly between prosecution types. Table 31 below indicates that the number of case processing positions ranges from 79percent in Basic to 64percent in Appellate PPOs. Compared to 2013 data, the proportion of case-related total staff slightly increased in Higher PPOs only. The lower numbers of ancillary staff in Basic PPOs are mostly due to the fact that these PPOs often share facilities with courts and rely on the services of ancillary court staff (such as cleaners, maintenance staff, etc.).

Table 31: Ratio of Budgeted Ancillary-to-Core Staff by Type of Prosecutors Office, 2019

Total Non-Prosecutor Employees All Case Processing Positions percent Comprising Case Processing Related Ancillary
percent Ancillary
RPPO 26 14 54percent 12 46percent
Appellate Prosecutors 80 51 64percent 29 36percent
Higher Prosecutors 400 287 72percent 113 28percent
Basic Prosecutors 785 618 79percent 167 21percent
Special Prosecutor for Organized Crime 51 38 75percent 13 25percent
Special Prosecutor for War Crimes 36 21 58percent 15 42percent
TOTAL 1378 1029 75percent 349 25percent

Extent and Impact of Temporary Staffing ↩︎

  1. The judiciary employs over 1,900 temporary employees, representing 18 percent of the total workforce. Despite the legal requirement that temporary staff shall not exceed 10 percent of the permanent employees in a public authority566, an effective mechanism for controlling temporary engagements in courts has not been established.
  2. The use of temporaries is extensive in both courts and PPOs, particularly those located in regional city centers. Moreover, the number of employees in certain positions often exceeds budgeted staff figures. For example, the Belgrade Commercial Court planned only 27 judicial assistants, but 56 were working in 2019. Of the total of 41 temporary judicial assistants in this court, one was a substitute for a colleague on leave, and 40 were attributed to ‘increased workload’ even though the number of incoming cases dropped by over 8 percent in 2019. While the total number of permanently appointed judicial assistants rarely exceeds the staffing norm, it seems that their temporary engagement goes largely unplanned.
  3. In addition to temporary staff, a large number of interns and volunteers support permanent personnel in courts. This shadow workforce is reported to be extensive, but precise numbers are unknown. Their roles are also unclear, but it is reported that the majority of them perform tasks of judicial assistants. As there is no effective mechanism for performance monitoring of “shadow” workers, their contribution is difficult to assess.
  4. Overall, the total number of employees exceeded the 2019 courts’ staffing plan by 10percent (see Table 32 below). Much of the additional labor is focused in the Basic Courts. In 2019, the majority of courts exceeded the staffing complement due to temporary employment. The largest deviations were in the Basic and Commercial Courts, which employed 13percent and 22percent more staff than envisaged by the systematizations.

Table 32: Total Employment Compared to Budgeted Personnel Complement, 2019

Court Type Budgeted
Vacancies Permanent
(budgeted less
percent over
Basic 4747 540 4207 1174 5381 13percent
Higher 1475 167 1308 211 1519 3percent
Appellate 515 34 481 48 529 3percent
Appellate Commercial 69 1 68 0 68 (1percent)
Commercial 593 60 533 193 726 22percent
Appellate Misdemeanor 174 21 153 18 171 (2percent)
Misdemeanor 1659 121 1538 289 1827 10percent
Administrative 174 50 124 15 139 (20percent)
Supreme Court of Cassation 212 13 199 12 211 0percent
TOTAL 9618 1007 8611 1960 10571 10percent
  1. There are also large variations among courts, with some courts hiring significantly more employees than approved by their systematizations (see Table 33 below) and not always in relation to caseload. In total, 67 courts had over 10 percent more staff than envisaged in 2019. In some cases, this seems justified by caseloads, while in others, it does not. For example, Commercial Court Leskovac employed around 28 percent more staff than their budgeted positions in 2019 to cope with a significant increase in the number of incoming cases each year. On the other hand, Misdemeanor Court Zrenjanin exceeded its staffing complement by 12 percent in 2019, notwithstanding a decline in the number of incoming cases in this court. Considering the number of temporary contracts increase each year, further efforts are needed to restrict the unjustifiable use of temporary contracts in the judiciary.

Table 33: Temporary Positions by Court Type, 2019

Court Type Judicial Assistants All Other Total
No. of
percent of
End of
No. of
percent of
End of
No. of
percent of
End of
Basic 262 44percent 300percent 912 22percent 58percent 1174 25percent 64percent
Higher 71 29percent 80percent 140 11percent 32percent 211 14percent 33percent
Appellate 32 15percent 24percent 16 5percent 8percent 48 9percent 15percent
Appellate Commercial 0 0percent   0 0percent   0 0percent  
Commercial 66 70percent 152percent 127 25percent 42percent 193 33percent 58percent
Appellate Misdemeanor 5 10percent   13 11percent   18 10percent  
Misdemeanor 36 47percent 300percent 253 16percent 50percent 289 17percent 47percent
Administrative 0 0percent   15 14percent   15 9percent  
Supreme Court of Cassation 0 0percent   12 8percent   12 6percent  
TOTAL 472 33percent 300percent 1488 18percent 58percent 1960 20percent 64percent

Source: MoJ data and WB calculation

  1. The use of temporary staff is most acute in Basic and Commercial Courts. Basic courts in the Belgrade appellate region exceeded their staffing complement by around 21 percent, and nearly 30 percent percent of all employees were temporarily engaged in 2019. Commercial Courts in the region of Belgrade employed 32percent more staff than budgeted. There is no correlation between court size and over-budget employment - the most significant over-budget employments occur among courts of different types and size (Table 34, below).

Table 34: Temporary Positions by Type of Position in Basic Courts, 2019

Appellate Group Judicial Assistants All Other Total
No. of
percent of
End of
No. of
percent of
End of
No. of
percent of
End of
Belgrade 101 49percent 100percent 426 34percent 58percent 527 36percent 64percent
Kragujevac 51 40percent 150percent 207 20percent 38percent 258 22percent 42percent
Nis 54 52percent 133percent 146 18percent 24percent 200 22percent 33percent
Novi Sad 56 37percent 300percent 140 14percent 34percent 196 17percent 40percent
TOTAL 262 44percent 300percent 919 22percent 58percent 1181 25percent 64percent

Source: MoJ data and WB calculation

  1. Temporary staff recruitment procedures have not been developed, and stakeholders report that recruitment practices are neither open nor transparent. Temporary employees and contractors are still hired at the discretion of the Court President, and the absence of procedures opens space for cronyism and influence-trading. Stakeholders also report that many temporaries continue to work for years despite the legislation limited terms of their engagement to one year for civil servants and six months for non-civil servants.
  2. The extensive use of temporary staff over the years indicates the system has not stabilized but is still in crisis. The extensive use of contracted staff impacts quality and efficiency as their presence often distracts more experienced staff, their performance goes largely unmonitored, and their use increases the risk of losing institutional memory. Furthermore, staff contracts that are not integrated into the overall resource plan create an unstable working environment as additional efforts are required in building staff knowledge and skills and trigger the need for additional management and training time. Moreover, high numbers of temporary employees usually impact quality and efficiency.
  3. The number of temporary employees in PPOs grew each year. There were 480 temporary employees in 2019567, compared to 46 temporary staff in 2013. Moreover, PPOs rely on a large number of volunteers as part of a ‘shadow workforce,’ but these data were not available in the course of the analysis.

Use of Lay Judges ↩︎

  1. A significant number of lay judges assist professional judges in Serbian courts. The HJC estimated the need for 2,392 lay judge positions in the judiciary568, and Serbia reported to CEPEJ that there were 2,123 lay judges in 2018. The actual number of lay judges is not known for 2019.
  2. Current Law on Judges does not delineate the roles and responsibilities of lay judges in court proceedings. In practice, their duties were limited to listening to the proceeding without being engaged in deliberations with professional judges.
  3. With recent Constitutional changes, Serbia meets the minimum requirement and definition of a lay judge outlined in the European Charter on Lay Judges569 - lay judges would have to “take part in decision-making”. The role of non-professional judges and the appointment procedures vary considerably among countries.
  4. As lay judges are not functioning as intended, the need for these 2,000 positions should be reconsidered. The upcoming legislative changes would need to address their new roles and responsibilities in judicial activities should be modified, and their election should be in accordance with objective criteria and in consideration of suitability without political interference.
  5. The methods for the selection of lay judges are rather vague – although announcements and formal criteria are published, the selection is left to the discretion of HJC. The Law on Judges specifies that any citizen of Serbia between the age of 18 and 70 at the time of appointment and ‘who is worthy of the function’ may become a lay judge. These generic criteria and lack of transparency in the selection undertaken by the HJC leave room for potential abuses.
  6. No induction or ongoing training is provided for lay judges. If a lay judge is interested in a trial, the judge is expected to provide an explanation of the proceedings. Such a practice slows down the efficiency of proceedings. Lay judges should receive properly funded initial and continuing training in order to meet the standards in the European Charter of Lay Judges.
  7. Lay judges are entitled to remuneration plus transport costs, but the funds spent specifically for this purpose are not publically available. Although lay judge net remuneration equals only around 3 Euro per hour, this may generate high costs for the system. Assuming that each appointed lay judge is paid for 20 working days per year, the annual cost of their salaries would exceed 1.5 million Euros.
  8. There is a broad consensus among stakeholders that the contribution of lay judges to sector performance is likely to be marginal. The newly granted decision-making role of lay judges creates room for their more effective use and a positive contribution to the delivery of justice. Nevertheless, at least a part of the funds used for their salaries could be reallocated to more effective mechanisms for enhancing transparency, access to justice, and fair treatment of parties.

Recruitment, Evaluation, and Promotion of Judges and Prosecutors ↩︎

  1. Following the recent adoption of the constitutional amendments, it is expected that the legal framework be thoroughly revised to allow for merit-based judicial recruitments and careers.

Recruitment and Nomination of Judges and Prosecutors ↩︎

  1. Graduation from the Academy is not a mandatory precondition for the initial selection of judges and prosecutors. To comply with a 2013 Constitutional Court decision and CoE principles, the Councils must select Judges and Deputy Prosecutors from both those who have attended the Judicial Academy and those who have not. However, the Law on Judicial Academy stipulates that judges and prosecutors elected for the first time who have not attended the initial Judicial Academy training must undergo a special training program.
  2. General and specific requirements for the appointment of judges and prosecutors are stipulated by the Law on Judges and the Law on Public Prosecution. Recruitment and selection procedures require public competition for all positions. The HJC’s and SPC’s Selection Panels publish invitations to apply and select candidates based on procedures specified by the rulebooks for the assessment of qualifications, competencies, and ethics of candidates. The use of written applications, tests, and interviews as tools to assess applicants strengthens the merit-based selection process. However, the criteria used for evaluation and the award of points both for professional knowledge and competence and for soft skills are unclear, triggering criticisms by both local stakeholders and international partners.
  3. Once appointed, Serbian judges and prosecutors cannot be moved either permanently nor temporarily to another court without their consent. Thus, accommodating shifts in workload is very difficult. Over the six-year period, the HJC took 81570 decisions to transfer judges permanently from one to another court. Additional 71 decisions571 were issued for the temporary transfers of judges.
  4. Candidates who complete the initial training at the Judicial Academy apply to open positions in Basic and Misdemeanor Courts and Basic PPOs. For those not selected for a judge or deputy prosecutor position, the Councils may approve temporary employment as judicial/prosecution assistant in a court or a prosecution office for a period of up to three years.572 As discussed above, these decisions are not made based on workload criteria.
  5. There is no internal nomination process for appointment to higher instance courts and PPOs, and applicants can be from inside or outside the judiciary. Applicants respond to HJC and SPC announcements of open positions; the job requirements and the selection procedure are similar to those for first instance courts and PPOs. Statistical data on the profile of judges appointed from 2013 to 2019 indicates the system gives preference to internal promotions rather than appointing candidates from outside the judiciary.

Table 35:Profile of Judges Appointed in the period 2013-2019

Year Other Court Judges Judicial
Judicial Academy Graduates Others Total
2013 77 14 14 1 106
2014 57 44 3 5 109
2015 48 67 6 5 126
2016 40 83 4 6 133
2017 48 2 1 0 51
2018 92 229 45 17 383
2019 117 46 6 7 176
Total 479 485 79 41 1084

Source: HJC Annual Report for 2020

Criteria for the Evaluation and Promotion of Judges and Prosecutors ↩︎

  1. After being piloted in 20 courts in 2014, formal rules for the evaluation of judges and court presidents became effective as of July 2015. The purposes of the HJC’s Performance Assessment Act are improving system efficiency, enhancing the competence and accountability of judges, motivating judges to improve performance, and increasing public confidence in the judiciary. Performance evaluation should also be used as a tool for deciding on the professional career of judges, i.e., for informing decisions on the appointment, obligatory training, and dismissal.
  2. The evaluation scale has three levels: extraordinarily successful, successful, and not satisfied, and no marks are given. The evaluation generally covers a three-year period, with annual evaluations for initially appointed judges. Extraordinary assessments are being made upon the decision of the HJC. All performance elements must be evaluated as excellent or satisfactory for satisfactory overall performance.
  3. The Rulebook on Performance Assessment573 was first implemented in 2016. The performance results were considered when deciding on the election of candidates to permanent tenure, and the HJC found all 27 candidates met the performance standards in this first evaluation cycle. For permanent judges, the evaluation rules were first implemented in 2017. The performance evaluations conducted during the three-year period (2017-2019) encompassed 1816574 judges, with a total of 1949575 regular and extraordinary evaluations being made. The HJC Performance Evaluation Committees found 19576 judges did not meet minimum performance standards.
  4. The assessment criteria contain both quantitative and qualitative elements with standards and targets specified by court type. The performance evaluation system relies heavily on the existence of reliable and accurate statistical data. Productivity norms rely on the number of dispositions per month, with targets specified by case type. For judges having fewer cases than prescribed by monthly norms, the performance evaluations consider the total number of cases assigned to him/her. However, since no case-weighting methodology is in place, the system still lacks a mechanism for discouraging judges from ‘cherry-picking’ simple cases while avoiding complex ones.577 The consideration of work quality encompasses the judge’s timely resolution of cases and appellate success rate during the evaluation period.

Table 36: Factors in Judicial Evaluation effective as of July 2015

Criteria Factor
Quantity Number of resolved cases in relation to the norm;
Quality Percent of abolished decisions; Time to draft decisions;
  1. The evaluation of court presidents includes aspects of their work as a judge and performance of court administration, but there is only one insufficient indicator for their work as court presidents. That simple numerical indicator is whether there are elements of malfunctioning court administration identified by the immediately superior court president and which were not remedied during the performance period. This is an insufficient performance metric of a court president, which should also include statistical analyses of the disposition rate of judges under his/her supervision and founded complaints from the public about the court’s performance.
  2. The rules remained very imprecise about how evaluations are used to determine promotions or discipline judges, with a few exceptions. It is clear that initially appointed judges evaluated as ‘not satisfactory’ cannot be retained in a permanent appointment. For the election of candidates to permanent tenure, an automatic appointment is envisaged for judges who have attained ‘exceptional success’ during probation. For permanent judges applying to open positions in courts of the same or higher instance, the Law on Judges only specifies that ‘an extraordinary evaluation’ of a judge can be conducted but does not discuss how regular performance evaluations will be applied. Concerning performance improvement of individual judges, the procedures specify only that low-performing judges can be mandated to attend training. Further, the Law on Judges specifies that the ‘incompetent’ performance of a judge should lead to his/her dismissal, but without further guidance.
  3. The lack of nuance in grading may result in under-performing judges being graded as satisfactory. Judges complained about 96578 decisions made by the Performance Evaluation Committees over the three years, and the HJC Appeal Committee revised 85579 and confirmed only 11580 decisions581. In 2017, for example, of 42 revisions made by the Appellate Committee, 28 initial decisions were changed to extraordinary successful and 14 to successful performance.
  4. If the system tolerates under-performance as a satisfactory, substantial effort to develop the performance evaluation system will be undermined. Moreover, such a practice may then discourage well-performing judges and negatively affect motivation and morale within the judiciary. Time will tell whether the system is implemented rigorously for under-performing judges.
  5. The evaluations present a significant administrative burden and additional workload for higher instance courts. 44 Performance Evaluation Committees, each comprising three judges, have been established from the court level immediately superior to the judge being reviewed. The Committees must collect and verify the data, perform all the calculations, conduct performance interviews and prepare needed reports for each judge. If judges were evaluated once every three years, around 900 judges would need to be evaluated each year. On average, each Committee would have to undertake around 20 regular evaluation processes annually.
  6. Incentives should be built into the performance evaluation system to encourage judges to continually develop knowledge and skills. Training-related criteria should be included to create incentives to improve performance, such as mentoring less-experienced judges, participation in relevant task forces and working groups, introducing obligatory training for promotion to a higher instance, changing a legal area, or becoming head of the judicial authority, etc.
  7. The evaluation system would also benefit from building positive incentives for judges to contribute to the judiciary’s performance. Such criteria would recognize good behavior and personal attitudes required for career progression. The HJC has yet to consider the ‘highly desirable’ criteria for career advancement already identified in the 2014 Judiciary Functional Review report582, i.e.:
  1. served in at least one court (thus encouraging judges to move locations at least once in their career, which may also foster consistency in practice and procedure and stronger collegiality);
  2. undertook management training (thus encouraging a modern management approach in courts);
  3. undertook continuing training, particularly in European law (thus encouraging increased capacity in line with European standards); and
  4. contributed to performance improvements, such as participating in backlog reduction teams or leading an innovative project within their court.
  1. The performance assessment system for Public Prosecutors and Deputy Prosecutors aims to boost organizational and individual advancement in line with EC norms.583 The SPC’s draft procedure was piloted in 18 PPOs in 2014, and the Rulebook on Performance Assessment584 was first implemented in 2015. The performance results used over the four-year period585 were considered when deciding on the election of candidates to permanent tenure or higher instance positions, on temporary transfers or assignment of specific tasks, on initiating dismissal procedures and on obligatory training.
  2. Despite the fact that the SPC invested efforts to align its performance evaluation system with CCPE recommendations, the procedures suffered from excessive rigidity and lacked some elements of an effective performance appraisal system. The missing elements included specific quantity standards and targets, self-evaluations, performance feedback, and guidelines on how less-than-optimal performance should be addressed. Thus, instead of having evaluations based on quantitative criteria that applied to all PPOs at the same level, the quantity of work was scored based on the number of cases allocated to and resolved by a prosecutor, without taking into account the caseloads of other prosecutors in the PPO or the jurisdictional average. Further, the performance rating system based on the number of cases allocated to and resolved by a prosecutor introduced considerable subjectivity in the evaluation process. This was particularly true since there was (and is) no automated system for the distribution of cases. The rules also were not clear about how evaluation ratings could be used to make decisions about probation, promotion, and discipline and did not include criteria that create incentives to improve performance.
  3. For both the HJC and SPC performance evaluation rules, the procedures should be reviewed to incorporate lessons learned from the implementation and ensure further alignment with directions provided by their European colleagues. If designed and implemented properly, the performance evaluation system may strengthen the judicial system’s performance.

Training ↩︎

  1. Pursuant to the law, the Academy delivers special mandatory in-service training for judicial and prosecutor assistants and trainees. There are also voluntary training programs organized by experience levels and staff categories, some of which are done for administrative staff.586
  2. The prosecution offices reported that there were few management-related courses offered by the JA at all in 2014-2016587 . Moreover, there were no management training specifically for Public Prosecutors, although the Academy provides a specific management training program for court presidents. Prosecutor assistants primarily took courses relating to core prosecutorial functions, but they also participated in management training. Training for other staff usually focused on technical skills and financial issues. In 2016, a total of 40 Public Prosecutors and Deputy Public Prosecutors participated in some form of training. Training statistics for PPOs were not available for other years, and no data on training organized for judges and court staff were available to the Functional Review Team.

Figure 142: Number of Trainees by Area of Training and Category of Staff in PPOs, 2014-2016

Chart, bar chart Description automatically generated

Source: Data provided by PPOs and WB calculation

  1. Capacity enhancement of the HJC and SPC has been supported by the Judicial Academy, National Academy for Public Administration, and technical assistance projects, but it seems they are not ready yet for undertaking new responsibilities. The Professional Development Plan for Employees of the Administrative Office of the HJC for the period 2020–2022588 represents an intention of the HJC to apply a strategic approach to improve the functioning of the Administrative Office. This training plan considers the training needs of each individual staff member and also includes courses on strategic planning and management issues.

Salary and Benefit Structure for Judges, Prosecutors, and Staff ↩︎

  1. Compared to Serbia’s national average salary, judges and prosecutors in Serbia are paid on a par with their EU counterparts, however, in the observed period, there is a decline in the salaries of judges and public prosecutors in Serbia compared to the national average salary. In relation to the 2018 average salary in the country, the salaries of judges ranged from 2.1 times higher than the average salary at the first instance and 5.0 times higher at the Supreme Court level, however, in 2020 that ratio was reduced and the salaries of first-instance judges were 1.9 times higher, and in the highest instance 1.9 times. Among EU member countries, these indicators ranged from 1.0 to 6.8 at early career stages and from 1.6 to 6.4 at the highest instance589. Salaries of prosecutors were also within the range of EU Member States monitored by the CEPEJ. In 2018, Serbian prosecutors earned 2.4 times more than the national average in Basic and 4.6 times in the highest PPOs. As with judges, public prosecutors also feced a decline in 2020, so the first-instance public prosecutors earned 2.2 times more that the national average salary, while the highest-instance public prosecutors eared 3.4 times more. Among the member countries of the Council of Europe, CEPEJ reported590 these indicators ranged from 1.0 to 4.1 at early career stages and from 1.7 to 6.6 at the highest instance.
  2. Since 2012, the salaries of Serbian judges and prosecutors have decreased both in real terms and in relation to the average salary in the country. Such decreases have been common in countries where the 2008 financial crisis was significant. In addition, a one-time 10 percent decrease in public sector salaries was in effect from November 2014 to November 2017591. The relative salaries of Serbian judges and prosecutors also were affected by national average salary increases and a high variation in the exchange rate, in particular between 2012 and 2014. By 2018, however, their salaries had almost reached the 2012 levels.
  3. Non-salary compensation592 should be monitored. On average, “other compensation” equaled only 3 percent of judges’ salaries throughout the observed period. However, the share of other compensation to salary was as high as 9 percent at the appellate level in 2015. As “other compensation” could relate to a range of compensations, these should be further examined and regulated as to prevent favoritism.

Table 37: Share of ‘Other-compensation’ to a Judge Salary by Court Type, 2013-2019

Court Type Basic Courts Higher Courts Appellate Courts Commercial Courts Misdemeanor Court
Other Compensation as Share of Net Salary 2013 3percent 3percent 8percent 3percent 3percent
2014 3percent 2percent 8percent 3percent 3percent
2015 3percent 3percent 9percent 2percent 3percent
2016 3percent 2percent 8percent 2percent 3percent
2017 3percent 2percent 6percent 2percent 4percent
2018 3percent 3percent 6percent 4percent 4percent
2019 3percent 2percent 5percent 2percent 3percent
Range of Other Compensation as Share of Net Salary 2013 1-6percent 1-18percent 3-16percent 0-12percent 0-12percent
2014 0-11percent 1-6percent 3-17percent 1-15percent 0-12percent
2015 0-8percent 1-7percent 3-19percent 1-3percent 0-9percent
2016 0-9percent 1-6percent 3-20percent 1-5percent 0-9percent
2017 0-41percent 1-6percent 3-12percent 1-4percent 1-17percent
2018 0-9percent 1-7percent 3-10percent 1-10percent 0-13percent
2019 1-8percent 1-6percent 3-8percent 1-4percent 1-7percent
  1. As in most European jurisdictions, the salaries of Serbian prosecutors correspond to the salaries of judges. They have the same salary structure, with the same factors influencing their salaries. As there is no clear guidance on the use of non-salary compensation, some PPOs reported no expenses in this category, while in others, it represented as much as 28 percent593 of a prosecutor's salary in 2015.

Table 38: Share of ‘Other-compensation’ to a Prosecutor Salary by PPO Type, 2013-2019

Prosecutors Level Appellate Prosecutors Higher Prosecutors Basic Prosecutors
Other Compensation as Share of Net Salary 2013 17percent 5percent 6percent
2014 13percent 3percent 3percent
2015 14percent 3percent 3percent
2016 13percent 3percent 3percent
2017 11percent 3percent 3percent
2018 11percent 3percent 3percent
  2019 9percent 3percent 3percent
Range of Other Compensation as Share of Net Salary 2013 1-18percent 1-18percent 1-18percent
2014 6-24percent 0-6percent 0-12percent
2015 6-28percent 0-7percent 0-11percent
2016 7-22percent 0-11percent 0-12percent
2017 5-19percent 0-9percent 0-12percent
2018 5-18percent 0-12percent 0-11percent
2019 3-18percent 0-11percent 0-8percent

Source: SPC data and WB calculation

  1. The salaries of administrative staff in courts and PPOs are regulated by the law applicable to allcivil servants, but the wide variation in non-salary compensation indicates inconsistent implementation of the provisions of the salary law. However, a separate analysis of salaries by categories of the administrative staff seems to be useful as stakeholders reported their salaries rarely reach the national average. The salary is composed of a basic salary (fixed compensation for regular work calculated by multiplying the coefficient foreseen for specific categories of jobs594, with their value set by the Government on an annual basis595) and596 supplements, such as the one for years of service. Additional payments can be made for the performance of additional duties, overtime work, on-call duty, and work on public holidays. There are wide variations in non-salary compensations to salary, ranging 0-33percent among courts and 0-29percent among PPOs.

Table 39: Share of ‘Other-compensation’ to Salary of Non-Judge Staff, 2013-2019

Court Type Basic Courts Higher Courts Appellate Courts Commercial Courts Misdemeanor Court

Other Compensation as Share of Net Salary


2013 18percent 18percent 18percent 18percent 18percent
2014 19percent 15percent 12percent 16percent 19percent
2015 19percent 15percent 12percent 15percent 19percent
2016 21percent 16percent 13percent 18percent 20percent
2017 22percent 17percent 13percent 19percent 21percent
2018 19percent 15percent 11percent 17percent 19percent
2019 17percent 13percent 10percent 14percent 16percent
Range of Other Compensation as Share of Net Salary 2013 NA NA NA NA NA
2014 0-33percent 11-24percent 9-16percent 12-21percent 3-27percent
2015 12-27percent 12-22percent 9-15percent 0-22percent 12-28percent
2016 13-29percent 12-23percent 9-16percent 12-23percent 10-28percent
2017 11-31percent 12-22percent 9-17percent 12-21percent 15-30percent
2019 12-22percent   7-12percent 10-17percent 10-21percent

Source: MoJ data and WB calculation

Table 40: Share of ‘Other-compensation’ to Salary of Non-Prosecutor Staff, 2013-2019

Prosecution Type Appellate PPOs Higher PPOs Basic PPOs

Other Compensation as Share of Net Salary


2013 NA NA NA
2014 NA NA NA
2015 NA NA NA
2016 19percent 19percent 20percent
2017 16percent 17percent 20percent
2018 16percent 17percent 18percent
2019 3percent 3percent 3percent
Range of Other Compensation as Share of Net Salary 2013 NA NA NA
2014 NA NA NA
2015 NA NA NA
2016 16-21percent 14-24percent 14-27percent
2017 10-23percent 11-24percent 14-29percent
2018 NA NA NA
2019 2-4percent 0-6percent 0-14percent

Source: MoJ data and WB calculation

  1. Performance bonuses are envisaged by the salary law, but not as one-time payments, and are rarely used to promote performance. The bonus scheme is linked to the performance assessment system, allowing for promotion to a higher salary grade. The Serbian system provides additional compensation based on performance for exceptional performers and those who meet expectations, although bearing in mind the differences between these two. However, these pay-for-performance provisions are not used extensively in the judiciary or the rest of public service due to budgetary constraints.

Support Staff Planning and Utilization

Human Resource Systems for Court and PPO Staff ↩︎

  1. The MOJ retains responsibility for the internal organization of courts and PPOs, for the use and number of civil servants and state employees, and for staff salaries.
  2. The books of rules for courts and PPOs have been amended a few times since 2013. The rules revisions were organized under the leadership of the MoJ, and key stakeholders were consulted. These revisions were primarily motivated by the need to improve statistical reporting. In a positive step, however, courts are enabled to exchange digital documents.
  3. The responsibilities for human resources management of non-judge/non-prosecutor staff are split between the MoJ and Court Presidents/Heads of PPOs. Civil service policies and procedures apply to staff working in courts and PPOs, with some specific procedures applicable to the judiciary by the MoJ and HJC/SPC. Thus, MoJ develops methodologies for determining the number of needed staff and recruitment and selection procedures for all staff and HJC/SPC design criteria for performance evaluation of judicial/prosecutor assistants only. The responsibilities for implementation lie with Court Presidents/Heads of PPOs (planning, selection, assignment, performance assessment, promotion, and termination), with the exception of trainees, where the MoJ decides the number of trainees in each court and PPO and prescribes the selection procedure, while the Judicial Academy conducts the selection process.
  4. Court Presidents and Heads of PPOs do not have full autonomy in planning their staff and deciding on new employees. When developing staffing plans, courts and PPOs are required to anticipate the needs for additional employment in the following year, but they also must obtain approval of the plans from the MoJ and MoF. The staffing plan comprises information on planned staff, filled positions and contractors engaged for a definite period, and the need for additional staff, both permanent and temporary. The data are organized by types of positions597 and ranks598and education levels.
  5. Hiring for positions in courts and PPOs remained excessively rigid. Prior consent of the MoJ is required to fill even those positions already in an approved staffing plan. In addition, MoJ and MoF approval is required to add non-budgeted positions, even if the funds are available within the salary budgets of the relevant court or PPOs.
  6. The roles of judicial and prosecutor assistants, a position critical to court and PPO performance, are specified by legislation, but the level of assistants’ autonomy in performing the duties is decided by their immediate supervisors and varies widely. By the Law on Organization of Courts599, judicial assistants are supposed to assist judges by drafting judgments, analysis of legal issues, researching court practice and legal literature, drafting legal opinions, etc. The Law on Public Prosecution600 specifies that prosecutor assistants assist the Public Prosecutors and Deputy Public Prosecutors in drafting acts, recording complaints and submissions, taking statements of citizens, etc.
  7. Many trainees and volunteers are reported to work in courts and PPOs (but, as discussed above, the number is unknown) as part of their preparation for the bar exam. In practice, they perform the same tasks as the assistants. Most volunteers are law faculty graduates completing their two-year stage period before they take the bar exam. However, volunteers are not entitled to financial compensation, while trainees receive 80percent of the basic salary of a judicial/prosecutor assistant and enjoy all labor rights as permanent staff601.
  8. As of mid-2020, uniform position-specific methods for recruitment or promotion of non-judge and non-prosecutor staff in the courts and POs had not been developed. This is despite the fact that, in late 2018, the Government decided to implement a competency-based approach to hiring and promotion of civil servants.602 Like all other state authorities, courts and PPOs were required to amend job descriptions by specifying the required knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes and applying competency-based staff selection and performance assessments.
  9. Although the Civil Service Law passed in 2005 calls for management by results, there is little evidence that employee performance assessment systems have been properly applied. Although Court Presidents and Heads of PPOs followed standard procedure and regularly completed performance evaluation forms for their staff,603 no analysis has been conducted to review these evaluations or assess how those affected any decisions on promotion, performance bonuses, compulsory training, etc.
  10. An appropriate implementation of the performance assessment system can boost individual advancement and system performance. Evaluation can be a valuable tool to help employees improve their skills or advance in their jobs by identifying training needs or development assignments. On the other hand, skilled and motivated staff can contribute to priority efforts such as backlog reduction or innovation in case processing.
  11. The staffing plan for the Councils lacks the needed specialization. For instance, HJC employs one statistician for all data analyses needed, while the SPC has not even planned for such a position. The human resources staff in both HJC and SPC focuses only on their internal needs and primarily performs administrative duties.

Division of Labor between Judges and Support Staff ↩︎

  1. A heavy administrative burden impacts the ability of Court Presidents and Heads of PPOs to focus on case management and other substantive management issues. Revisions of the books of rules have not reflected the need to re-engineer business processes in courts and PPOs to ensure work is effectively assigned or relieve judges and prosecutors of administrative tasks where possible.
  2. Effective allocation of duties to staff in preparatory departments would ensure more efficient use of the judges’ and prosecutors’ time, as well as the assistants’ capacity and more consistent decision making. The legislation provides that these departments be established in larger courts604 and PPOs605. According to the information presented in reports on the organization and operation of individual courts606, these departments are rarely established – e.g., only 11607 basic and five608 higher courts have established preparatory departments.
  3. The system would benefit from more effective use of existing human resources. The legislation provides that preparatory departments be established in larger courts609 and PPOs610. An effective allocation of duties to staff in these departments would ensure more efficient use of the judges’ and prosecutors’ time, better utilization of the assistants’ capacities, and provide more consistent decision-making.
  4. Courts and PPOs generally need more staff in analytical functions as analysis needs are increasing in scale and complexity. Very few courts611 and PPOs612 employ analytical staff outside finance and ICT functions. Considering the specialized skills required for these functions, these staff will likely have to be recruited from outside the judiciary.
  5. Court Presidents and Heads of PPOs take direct responsibility for human resource management and labor relations without sufficient staff support. Court secretaries and human resource specialists, where they exist, can assist them in the performance of these tasks. Where they do not exist in larger institutions613, they should be created to allow Court Presidents and Heads of PPOs to focus on strategic management.
  6. Courts and PPOs rarely employ specialist staff in a human resource management function. Where they are in place, they focus on clerical duties rather than substantive human resource management issues. Moreover, a majority of institutions did not even envisage a need for these positions614.

Table 41: Human Resources Staff by Court Type, 2013 and 2019

Court Type Number of HR Staff Average HR Staff per Court HR as a percent of Judges & Staff
2013 2019 2013 2019 2013 2019
Basic Courts 18 21 0.3 0.3 0.2percent 0.3percent
Higher Courts 3 5 0.1 0.2 0.1percent 0.3percent
Appellate Courts 5 5 0.8 1.3 0.6percent 0.7percent
Commercial Courts 1 2 0.1 0.1 0.1percent 0.2percent
Misdemeanor Courts 4 5 0.1 0.1 0.2percent 0.2percent

Source: MoJ and HJC data and WB calculation

Deployment and Use of Court Managers ↩︎

  1. Court Managers are civil servants with the highest salary in the judiciary; the deployment of court managers is considered an international best practice.
  2. Using Court Managers for strategic planning, analytical, and general administration functions would assist the courts in becoming more efficient and free Court Presidents to focus on strategic management. However, the Court Book of Rules specifies their tasks to be primarily financial management, procurement, and management of facilities.
  3. There is limited use of Court Managers, and their number decreased from 2014 to 2019. Of the 23 courts authorized to employ Court Managers, only eight budgeted for this position and seven filled the position. There was no discernible pattern in the size of courts or locations that have decided to budget for or hire a Court Manager. All of the current Court Manager positions are classified as senior or independent advisors, requiring five to seven years of prior experience. Some stakeholders noted that finding qualified people in certain geographical areas has proven difficult.

Table 42: Courts with Court Managers, 2014615 and 2019

Court Type Existing Court Manager Positions Additional Eligible Courts
2014* 2019** 2014* 2019**
Basic 2 (Belgrade First, Novi Sad) 2 (Belgrade First, Novi Sad) 11 8
Higher 2 (Belgrade, Nis) 1 (Belgrade)   1
Appellate 4 (all) 1 (Novi Sad)   3
Appellate Commercial   1 1
Commercial 1 (Nis) 2 (Belgrade, Nis) 1 -1
Appellate Misdemeanor   1    
Misdemeanor 1 (Belgrade) 1 (Belgrade)   1
Administrative     1 1
Supreme Court of Cassation     1 1

*All courts with more than 30 judges or which manage a facility.
**All courts with more than 30 judges, appellate and courts with state level jurisdictions

Planning for the Future ↩︎

  1. The Serbian judiciary is now facing an ‘aging’ problem. By 2024, some 17percent of judges will meet age requirements for retirement. To deal with these aging workforce challenges, it is necessary to conduct an analysis of the likely judge turnover and design an age management policy. Precise data on the age structure of the prosecutors and of court presidents was not available to the FR team.

Table 43: Age of Judges, 2019

Up to 39 40-49 50-59 Over 60 Total
Judges 321 752 1164 466 2703

Source: HJC Annual Report for 2019

  1. For a cohort of judges in the younger and middle-age segments, the system should provide continuous training and career progression opportunities. Progression makes the most of the knowledge and skills already available within the system and can be an alternative to the costly and difficult task of hiring for key roles.
  2. In order for judges to be employed where there is the greatest need, it is necessary to develop and adopt a clear and transparent methodology to determine the needed number of judges. According to the data presented in the Annual Report on the Work of All Courts for the year 2019616, there were 319 vacant judge positions or approximately 11 percent of the total number of judge positions. Based on the methodology, it needs to be determined whether all vacancies need to be filled and whether there is a need for judges in some of the courts that do not have vacancies, in order to ensure an even workload for judges and courts.
  3. Unlike the courts, the number of prosecutors per 100,000 inhabitants reached the EU28 average in 2018 but was still far lower than the EU11 average. With the increased number of prosecutors in the system, the staff-to-prosecutor ratio dropped. However, a relatively high staff to prosecutor ratio indicates the need to impose a staff hiring freeze on non-prosecutors. This is also supported by findings of the analysis on how staffing did not assist the productivity of PPOs in the observed period – high total or case-related staff-to-prosecutor ratios did not guarantee high productivity617.
  4. Assessments of future needs for non-judge and non-prosecutor employees also need to be considered carefully as to ensure an appropriate staffing mix in courts and PPOs. Assistants are a particularly valuable resource, and these are the positions to be considered for filling as turnover occurs.
  5. Initial training for judges and prosecutors elected for the first time need not be prioritized. Besides, further investments should be made in intensive continuing training of the existing cadre, including the non-judge and non-prosecutor staff.
  6. Personnel tracking in courts and PPOs represents a challenge due to divided HRM responsibilities between authorities and the lack of an automated personnel tracking system. The HJC has developed such a system for judges and is focused now on ensuring the data are regularly updated. Conversely, the data on prosecutors and non-judge and non-prosecutor staff are still collected manually.
  7. The HR information system should assist implementation of a strategic approach to human resource management. Such a system should be used for planning and managing overall resource needs in the system and encompass the needs of all authorities involved in HR functions.

Gender Equity in Employment in the Serbian Judiciary ↩︎

  1. According to the CEPEJ, Serbia is in the group of countries that reported the highest percentage of women in the judiciary. According to the 2018 data submitted to the CEPEJ by Serbia (see Table 44 the proportion of women is greater than men among both court presidents and judges. Figures on gender distribution by court instance show more female than male professional judges at all levels and a nearly equal number of women and men in Court President positions at first and second instance courts. Compared with 2013618, the proportion of women in both court president and judge positions increased significantly in second-instance courts.

Table 44: Gender Distribution of Court Presidents and Judges, Serbia and EU28619

Serbia Court Presidents 55percent 17percent Court Presidents EU28
1st Instance 55percent 47percent 1st Instance
2nd Instance 50percent 50percent 2nd Instance
Supreme Courts 0percent 0percent Supreme Courts
Professional Judges 71percent 60percent Professional Judges
1st Instance 70percent 63percent 1st Instance
2nd Instance 78percent 59percent 2nd Instance
Supreme Courts 61percent 39percent Supreme Courts

Source: CEPEJ 2018 data and WB calculation

  1. Many more women than men are employed as non-judge court staff, comparable to the situation in the EU member states. According to the 2018 data submitted to CEPEJ (see Table 45), over 70 percent were women, and they represented a majority in almost all staff categories.

Table 45: Gender Distribution of Non-Judge Staff, Serbia and EU28620

Serbia Non-judge staff 71percent 78percent Non-judge staff EU28
Case related staff 81percent 81percent Case related staff
Other staff 33percent 70percent Other staff

Source: CEPEJ 2018 data and WB calculation

  1. Gender equity in the Serbian prosecutorial system compared well with European benchmarks. However, the percentage of women was somewhat lower at higher levels of the prosecutorial system.621
  2. In 2018, Serbia had more female than male prosecutors (56 to 44 percent), but significant variations occurred among prosecution offices. There were more female Deputy Public Prosecutors only at the first instance level, and women represented the minority in managerial positions at all levels.

Table 46: Percentage of Women in Leadership Positions in the Prosecution System, Serbia and EU28 (CEPEJ data for 2018)622

Serbia Heads of Prosecution Offices 41percent 40percent Heads of Prosecution Offices EU28
1st Instance 41percent 41percent 1st Instance
2nd Instance 25percent 37percent 2nd Instance
Highest instance 100percent 42percent Supreme Courts
Prosecutors 56percent 55percent Prosecutors
1st Instance 57percent 56percent 1st Instance
2nd Instance 40percent 47percent 2nd Instance
Supreme Courts 50percent 47percent Supreme Courts

Source: CEPEJ 2018 data and WB calculation

  1. The 2020 CEPEJ Report noted that only a few countries apply specific measures in favor of gender parity in recruiting and promotion of judges and prosecutors. In Serbia, as in most EU countries, there are only general provisions or mechanisms aimed at avoiding gender discrimination. Therefore, Serbia should develop a policy that would effectively take gender into account, such as to ensure gender equality in access to higher positions and encourage other judicial professions (such as public notaries and enforcement agents) to implement more favorable recruitment, and promotion, and working conditions for women, etc.

Recommendations and Next Steps ↩︎

The majority of the recommendations from the 2014 Functional Review Report are still valid. In a positive move, Serbia developed systems for performance evaluation and discipline of judges and prosecutors and judicial and prosecutor assistants that provided a framework for measuring performance. Both systems need strengthening.

Recommendation 1: Fully implement a human resources strategy for the justice sector.

  • Harmonize standards and regulations for hiring, promotion, and disciplinary procedures across the agencies that provide judicial services. (HJC, SPC, SCC – medium term)
  • Develop clear and transparent methodology for determining the necessary number of judges/public prosecutors that will be applied to the future employment. (HJC, SPC – short-term)
  • Analyze the age structure of judiciary when determining staffing policy and use attrition for equal distribution of judges/public prosecutors and equal workload. (HJC – medium-term and ongoing)
  • Work within the budget process to reallocate funding for unfilled judicial positions to other priority expenditures, such as investments in a managerial capacity, training, ICT upgrades, and infrastructure improvements. (HJC, SPC, MOJ with approval of MOF – medium-term)
  • Request the consent of existing judges/prosecutors to be appointed as substitute judges/prosecutors in courts and PPOs of the same jurisdiction within the same appellate region. Transfer judges/prosecutors temporarily with their consent, where needs arise. (HJC, SPC – medium-term)
  • Establish a rigorous and transparent methodology at the central level to determine the number of judges/prosecutors needed, taking into account, inter alia, geography, demand for court services, demand by case type, population, domestic legal requirements, recent reforms to court and PPO mandates, and the experience of comparator EU Member States. (HJC, SPC – medium-term)

Recommendation 2: Determine non-judge/non-prosecutor staffing objectively and in line with European experience, and adjust staffing when circumstances change. Reduce temporary employees, volunteer, and contract (‘shadow’) staff.

  • Analyze non-judge/non-prosecutor staffing needs in the courts and PPOs based on caseload and economies of scale. Examine outliers to identify immediate staff reductions longer-term through attrition. (HJC, SPC, MOJ – short-term)
  • Develop a staff optimization program in the courts and PPOs, focusing on rationalizing staff in accordance with the changing mandates of courts and PPOs (i.e., targeting redundancies of bailiffs, verification staff, etc.) and reducing or outsourcing ancillary staff whose roles do not contribute to case processing (cleaners, drivers, maintenance staff, etc.). (HJC, SPC, MOJ – short-term)
  • Strictly limit reasons for hiring temporary or contract employees. Standardize qualifications and procedures for hiring temporary employees. Standardize reporting on numbers, roles, and costs of the contract or temporary workforce. (MOJ, PPOs, Courts – short-term)
  • Enforce legal requirements that temporary or contract labor be limited to 10 percent of an institution’s workforce and to six months (non-civil service) or one year of employment. (MOJ – short-term)
  • Reexamine all volunteer appointments in courts and PPOs. (HJC, SPC – short-term)
  • Create formulas for determining funds and the number of case processing staff per judge and administrative staff based on units of work (e.g., the standard number of ICT people per device supported). Establish transparent justifications for deviations from the staffing levels set in the standards. Address staffing levels of administration and public employees in the medium-term. (MOJ, HJC, and SPC – short to medium-term)
  • Create a more sophisticated staffing needs/norms model considering the impact of statutory, administrative, or technological changes on staff needs. Learn from the changing roles of other civil servants and public employees. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – long-term)
  • Engage court presidents and heads of PPOs in determining staffing needs. For example, amend the Rulebook on Determining the Number of Prosecution Assistant Trainees, Official Gazette no. 108 issued by MOJ, so that the staffing of assistants and trainees is determined in consultation with individual PPOs. (MOJ – medium-term).

Recommendation 3: Enhance systems to select, evaluate, and promote the most qualified judges/prosecutors to enhance quality, improve efficiency and increase public trust in the judiciary.

  • Use the evaluation and promotion system to recognize good performance and incentivize innovation. Develop and apply remedial actions for low-performing judges/prosecutors, including mandatory training. (HJC, SPC – short-term).
  • Limit appointments to higher instances to those already in the system. (HJC, SPC – short- term)
  • Give preference in promotions to judges/prosecutors who have served in multiple courts/PPOs or voluntarily worked on backlog reduction in their own or other courts/PPOs. (HJC, SPC – short- term)
  • Improve rules on the criteria, standards, and procedures for promotion and performance appraisal of judges/prosecutors. Clarify performance evaluation procedures, including how evaluation ratings will be used to make decisions about promotion, and discipline. This will entail changes to both statutes and evaluation rules. (HJC, SPC – short-term)
  • Provide evaluation panels with sufficient support staff to compile information against evaluation criteria to be used in the conduct of performance reviews. (HJC , SPC – short-term)
  • Establish more rigorous standards for the achievement of a satisfactory rating. (HJC, SPC – medium-term)
  • Include evaluation criteria that create incentives to improve system performance, including participation in training, mentoring of less-experienced judges, and participation in task forces and working groups; (HJC, SPC – medium-term)
  • Develop and apply remedial actions for low-performing judges/prosecutors, including mandatory retraining. Implement enhanced evaluation rules. (HJC, SPC – medium-term)Enhance criteria and rules for filling vacant judge/prosecutor/court president/head of PPO positions so that temporary appointments (e.g. acting functions, transfer), if necessary, are for only a short duration. (HJC, SPC – medium-term)
  • Conduct an educational campaign for judges and prosecutors about the skill enhancement and

promotional purposes of evaluations. (HJC, SPC – medium-term)

Recommendation 4: Enhance training for new and existing judges, prosecutors, and court and PPO staff, covering all aspects relevant to the transformation to a modern European judiciary.

  • Conduct a comprehensive training needs assessment for existing judges, prosecutors, and staff. (JA, HJC, SPC, MOJ – short to medium-term)
  • Raise the standards of the initial and continuing training curriculum and evaluation. (JA, HJC, SPC – medium-term)
  • Based on a needs assessment, implement a large-scale capacity-building initiative for judges, prosecutors, assistants, and other staff in courts and PPOs. (JA – medium-term)
  • Rebalance the Judicial Academy budget by reducing funding for initial training activities and increasing funding for continuing training activities. Shift the focus of staff towards preparing continuing training activities. (JA, MOJ – short-term)
  • Improve the Academy’s focus as a training center by developing rigorous, consistent, and effective training materials and methods, using lessons from the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN) as a guide. (JA, HJC, SPC, MOJ – short-term)
  • Adopt a skills-based training program for staff in courts and PPOs to enhance their performance. (JA, HJC, SPC – medium-term)
  • Create a training plan and provide budget-funded training to other employees (e.g., court managers, HR, registry staff). (JA, MOJ – medium-term)

Recommendation 5: Develop more effective, efficient, and transparent disciplinary measures to ensure the quality of justice and effective access to justice.

These inexpensive reforms will reduce the number of complaints and could result in the Disciplinary Prosecutor and Commission becoming more cost-effective.

  • Reduce delays in the application of disciplinary procedures. Provide training on disciplinary procedures to judges, prosecutors, and staff in courts and PPOs. (HJC, SPC, JA – medium-term)
  • Issue opinions with practical examples of permissible/impermissible conduct, including online FAQs about ethics. (HJC, SPC – short-term)
  • Analyze the outcomes of complaints at a systemic level, and use data to inform future reforms. (HJC, SPC – long-term)

Recommendation 6: Consolidate human resource policy development in the HJC/SPC and promote a professional, properly managed staff within Courts and PPOs, consistent with CCJE adjudication standards to promote efficiency623 in accordance with the Bangalore principles.624

  • Create a detailed position description, improve the evaluation rules, and design career paths for judicial/prosecutor assistants (from junior to senior assistant and on to advisor). Specify evaluation criteria for judicial/prosecutor assistants to recognize their contributions to system performance. (HJC, SPC – short-term)
  • Build capacity within the Councils to take responsibility for the use and number of civil servants and employees. Reduce the number of job positions while allowing flexible deployment. (HJC, SPC, MOJ – short-term)

Codify that the HJC and SPC (with dedicated HR units) will be responsible for non-fiscal aspects of court employee policy development. (HJC, SPC, MOJ – short-term)

  • Establish uniform civil servant and labor processes for non-judge employees (uniform judicial- sector job descriptions, position-specific recruitment and selection methods, performance evaluations with standardized rankings); identify training needs and candidates for succession. (HJC, SPC, MOJ– medium-term)
  • Invest in mid-level analytical staff in the courts and PPOs, with the additional benefit of creating an attractive career path in court and PPO administration for judicial and prosecutor assistants and other staff. Consider a regional approach for analytical tasks for smaller courts. (HJC, SPC – medium-term)
  • Identify the source of reluctance in certain courts to utilize court managers; raise awareness of how court managers are successfully utilized in some courts. Establish standard duties and qualifications for court managers. (HJC – medium-term)
  • Introduce periodic reviews of performance evaluations by a centralized authority to ensure that procedures are followed. (HJC, SPC, MOJ – long-term)

Recommendation 7: Reconsider the role of lay judges.

  • Reconsider whether lay judges are needed. (HJC – medium-term)
  • If needed, select lay judges in accordance with objective criteria. (HJC – medium-term)
  • Provide lay judges with initial and continuing training to meet the European Charter of Lay Judges standards. (HJC – medium-term)

Recommendation 8: Review and standardize the role of compensation for judges, prosecutors, and staff.

  • Develop uniform standards for, e.g., meal compensation. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – short-term)
  • Monitor the wide variations in non-salary compensation (as a percentage relative to salary) among courts and PPOs. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – short-term)

Recommendation 9: Make better use of non-judge, non-prosecutor staff so that judges and prosecutors can focus on tasks that require legal training.

  • Amend rulebooks to relieve judges and prosecutors of administrative tasks. (HJC, SPC – medium- term)
  • Establish preparatory departments in all of the larger courts and PPOs. (HJC, SPC – medium-term)

Recommendation 10: Develop policies to affirmatively take gender into account with regard to equality in access to higher positions.