Previous successes during an impactful project at the Zagreb Commercial Court led to the Supreme Court of Croatia requesting Agencia’s support surrounding a wider range of issues. Backed by the UK a two-year Court Administration Project (CAP), Agencia were called upon to assist Croatia’s EU accession application, especially the closure of Chapter 23 (Judicial Chapter) of the Acquis Communitaire.
- Implement institutional buildings.
- Development of competence frameworks.
- Recruitment of staff, including development of job and person specifications.
- Training of the Judiciary and Administrative staff.
- Stakeholder management.
- Supervision and mentoring of staff.
- Diagnostic interviews.
- Analytical report writing.
During the initial stages, four ‘Centres of Excellence’ were established in four of the largest Municipal Courts in Croatia (Zagreb, Split, Zadar, Dubrovnik). Following this, Agencia helped to introduce a range of comprehensive skills to improve management and best practice delivery methods through a range of management, business planning and leadership workshops. The improved capacity of the Judicial Academy further enhanced the delivery of practical skills and management across the court structure.
2009 – 2010
The good work undertaken in the CAP continued through the distillation of experiences and materials from earlier CAP into a comprehensive management toolkit for use by all Court Presidents and administrators. Additionally, the provision of specific advice and oversight of implementation in areas of separation of judicial and management powers in court, including the piloting of such a separation in one of the country’s larger Municipal Courts were introduced. Alongside this, the provision of specific advice and oversight of implementation in areas of court inspection standardisation were also included.
The President of the Supreme Court of Croatia commissioned Agencia to design and deliver a two-day course of management training to all 60 Municipal Court Presidents. One of the key areas of focus was to support the Croatian Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Court of Croatia in meeting EU criteria for the Opening and Closing of Chapter 23 through improved court administration efficiency, by introducing role of a court manager in the three largest courts in the country.
Next, Agencia provided supervision and advice to the three court managers, as well as encouraging the co-ordination of all relevant judicial stakeholders. The following objectives were outlined for implementation:
- Competence framework for judicial and administrative management taken on as part of the systematisation document.
- Agreement achieved among the Supreme Court (SC) and Ministry of Justice (MOJ) on the court manager person specification, job description and budgetary implications.
- An agreement reached in the MOJ around the devolution of the court budget and reporting procedures to the courts where the scheme is going to be piloted.
- MOJ assisted to recruit the three court managers through an open and transparent recruitment process.
- Court Managers supported through supervision and mentoring throughout the first year of piloting.
- A Unit in MOJ takes on a responsibility to monitor, support and take further the roll-out of the scheme further after 2012.
- A strategic document which contains the roll-out plan written and adopted by all of the relevant stakeholders.
- Three new court managers recruited and take up their new roles and responsibilities in Zagreb, Split and Rijeka Municipal Courts.
After over 5 years of cooperation and commitment from all parties, the transformation of Croatia’s court restructure and reform was evident.
- Improved facilities for major courts
- Additional skills, methods and toolkits to benefit all
- Advanced recruitment and training structures
- Increased performance of staff
- Accurate and analytical reporting
- Improved management and mentoring
- Shared good practice
“You not only deliver what you said you would, but you deliver so much more”
Chris Frean, Head of Political Section, British Embassy Zagreb, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office