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Indonesia: Agreement Reached to Amend Constitutional Court Legislation

(June 20, 2011) On June 15, 2011, it was reported that the Indonesian government had reached an agreement with the country's House of Representatives to amend the legislation that governs the Constitutional Court. (Anita Rachman & Ulma Haryanto, Constitutional Court's Power to Be Limited, JAKARTA GLOBE (June 15, 2011).) According to the Minister of Justice […]

South Africa: Constitutionality of Extension of Chief Justice’s Tenure to Be Challenged

(June 17, 2011) Two South Africa-based rights groups are gearing up to challenge the legality of President Jacob Zuma's June 3, 2011, decision to unilaterally extend by five years the term of Sandile Ngcobo, Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court. Ngcobo's 12-year term is slated to expire on August 15, 2011. (Pierre De Vos, CASAC […]

Israel: Assistance Units for Religious Courts

(June 15, 2011) On May 16, 2011, the Knesset (Israel's Parliament) passed the Religious Courts (Assistance Units) Law, 5771-2011. The Law authorizes the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Welfare and Social Services to establish by decree “assistance units” adjacent to the rabbinical, Shari-a, Druze, and Christian communities' religious courts. Under the Israeli legal […]

European Union: Council Recommends Introduction of the European Case Law Identifier and a Minimum Set of Uniform Metadata for Case Law

(May 17, 2011) On April 29, 2011, the Council of the European Union, within the framework of its multi-annual European e-Justice Action Plan of 2009-2012, adopted its conclusions on the introduction of the European Case Law Identifier (ECLI) and stressed the significance of cross-border access to national case law and the need to standardize such […]

Pakistan: Chief Justice Castigates Judiciary for Faults and Failings

(Apr. 26, 2011) In an effort to remove misconceptions about the judiciary, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, speaking at the Fourth National Judicial Conference, criticized the district judiciary for dealing with serious offenses in a cursory and casual manner, but defended it against undue criticism for acting against executive measures by stating that it has […]

England and Wales: 400-Year-Old Expert Witness Immunity Abolished

(Mar. 31, 2011) The Supreme Court, sitting as a panel of seven judges, has abolished a 400-year-old law that grants expert witnesses testifying in court immunity from charges of breach of duty in contract or negligence. This law was based upon public policy over concern that expert witnesses should be able to provide “testimony freely […]

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 […]