Works are in progress in Uzbekistan on the analysis of international practices and national experience in ensuring public access to justice. Comprehensive measures are taken to further improve the mechanisms for training and professional development of judges, court employees and candidates for judicial office. The British international expert on the rule of law and access to justice, Joanna Brooks, has been active in assisting the Uzbek specialists on this front.
Brooks specializes in training and re-training judges, court employees and candidates for judicial office. She has over 15 years of experience in the implementation of projects and research in education and training in the judicial systems of Serbia, Norway, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and other countries. In 2013, the expert participated in the elaboration of the project “Partnership in the field of rule of law in Uzbekistan”.
During her current visit to Tashkent, the British specialist met with representatives of organizations involved in the training and raising the proficiency of candidates for judicial office, judges and court personnel. Uzbekistan Today correspondent has talked with Joanna Brooks on the outcomes of her interactions and efforts in this country. Here is the text of the interview.
“How do you assess the existing system of training and upgrading the qualification of candidates for judicial office, judges and court officials in Uzbekistan?”
“In recent years, the system of training and professional development of judges, candidates for the post of judges, and court officials in Uzbekistan has significantly improved, while achievements in international expertise are being implemented. The practice existing in Uzbekistan today is one of the most successful in the region. For example, the criteria for selection of candidates for judicial office have been changed: now, applicants must be over 30 years old, and have at least 5 years of professional experience. Before 2012, it used to be 25 and 3, respectively. And the system of evaluation of judges has recommended itself from the positive perspective.
This mechanism can be further perfected. In particular, it is necessary to expand the criteria for the selection of judges by evaluating the existence of specific skills and competences. New training courses for judges appointed for the first time and those working as such could prove helpful to attain those skills and proficiency.”
“What can you say about the global trends in the field of training and professional growth in the judiciary?”
“Lately, I have noticed a few major global trends in training and improving the qualification of candidates for judicial office, judges and court staff, namely, the use of psychological tests in the selection and appointment of judges, high demands on writing skills for drafting judiciary documents, as well as availability of proficiency in the use of information and communication technologies.
In order to ensure transparency and integrity of the procedure, psychological testing should be carried out by professional, competent and independent experts. It is also essential to work out standards for the assessment of judges’ professionalism and the need for their training. As a result you will have quite tailored training courses. To perk up the training system of the judiciary one needs to provide regular and targeted schooling.”
“Three years ago you visited Uzbekistan. What, if any, changes in the system you have been studying have you noticed?”
“What is conspicuous is the significant progress and a whole range of reforms implemented in the judicial system. In particular, the system of training and professional development has been advanced through a series of measures taken to cement the independence and autonomy of judges. The requirements for the qualification of judges have been improved, inter-district courts been set up, the national information system of electronic proceedings, E-SUD, has been developed. Such achievements have been receiving positive feedback at the international level. I’m glad that I have had the opportunity to visit the country again and to take active part in perfecting the judicial system of Uzbekistan.”
“This year is special for us – our nation celebrates the 25th anniversary of independence. What can you wish the Uzbek people?”
“The hardworking and hospitable people of Uzbekistan cause a sense of admiration. I wish all the residents of the sunny land peace, wellbeing and prosperity!”