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China: Circular on Suggestions for Improving Grassroots Courts Issued by Apex Court

(Mar. 9, 2011) China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) issued a circular on February 15, 2011, calling upon courts at the grassroots level to handle cases more efficiently to reduce the number of appeals, given the increasing number of lawsuits in the country. At a press conference, SPC spokesman Sun Jungong pointed out that the basic […]

Turkey: Controversial Bill on High Court Reform Adopted

(Mar. 1, 2011) Turkey's Parliament passed a controversial judicial reform bill on February 9, 2011. Under the Law on the Amendment of Certain Laws, the highest level of the judiciary will be restructured. The Court of Appeals (Court of Cassation, Yargıtay, the highest court for civil and criminal cases) will have the number of its […]

Netherlands: New Preliminary Procedure Proposed for Timelier Case Handling

(Feb. 25, 2011) On February 2, 2011, the Minister of Security and Justice of the Netherlands, Ivo Willem Opstelten, submitted a legislative proposal on a preliminary procedure regulation for the timelier handling of cases, in particular those involving major societal interests. According to a Ministry of Security and Justice press release, the aim of the […]

Portugal: Improvement of the Justice System

(Feb. 25, 2011) On February 17, 2010, the Portuguese Council of Ministers approved a Resolution designed to improve the efficiency of the judicial system. The Resolution is the result of a project developed by the Ministry of Justice through the Commission on the Operational Efficiency of Justice. The Ministries of Justice and Finance, along with […]

Israel: Increased Authority for Execution of Judgments and Other Adjustments

(Feb. 17, 2011) On January 31, 2011, the Knesset (Israel's Parliament) passed an amendment to the Execution Law, 5727-1967. The amendment law gives the Registrar of Execution of Judgments the authority to subpoena persons for an inquiry on their payment ability (an affordability inquiry). According to the bill's explanatory notes, the increased authority is designed […]

Mozambique: UN Human Rights Expert Calls for Independent Judiciary

(Dec. 15, 2010) According to a report being prepared by United Nations human rights expert Gabriela Knaul that will be submitted to the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council in June of 2011, Mozambique needs to intensify its efforts to guarantee a genuinely independent and impartial judiciary. (UN Expert Calls for Independent Mozambique Judiciary, India Blooms […]

Russia: Chief Justice Insists on Limited Application of International Court Rulings

(Dec. 8, 2010) The Thirteenth International Constitutional Justice Forum was held in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on November 18-20, 2010. More than 90 justices, clerks of constitutional courts, and scholars from 14, mostly European, countries discussed modern theory and practice of constitutional law and analyzed the development of constitutional control (Press Release, Institute of Legislative and […]

Lebanon: Chief Judge Makes Controversial Statement on Legality of Special Tribunal for Lebanon

(Nov. 8, 2010) The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is a mixed international/domestic tribunal whose jurisdiction is limited to investigating and prosecuting one specific domestic crime – the bombing of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri – and related offenses. The STL was created by an agreement between the United Nations and the Lebanese government and […]

Russia: Reform of the Constitutional Court Proposed

(Oct. 14, 2010) On October 7, 2010, the State Duma (the lower house of the legislature) of the Russian Federation considered and approved on the first reading a bill aimed at reforming the Russian constitutional justice system. The bill was introduced by the administration of the Russian Federation President and aims at amending the Federal […]

Kenya; Zambia: Judiciaries Turn to Technology to Improve Efficiency

(Oct. 7, 2010) It was recently reported that as part of a project to modernize the judiciary and automate certain court activities in Zambia, 30,000 court records have been digitized and certain court staff received training in managing court cases using computerized systems (Judiciary Goes Digital, TIMES OF ZAMBIA (Oct. 5, 2010), Terry Musonda, […]