GREECE: Grant Agreement Technical Assistance on the Reform of the Greek Judicial SystemIn connection with the European rescue operations Greece has agreed vis-à-vis the European Institutions to carry out comprehensive reforms (also) in the area of the judicial system. Primarily, the reforms are aimed at implementing IT systems for an extensive automation of the processing of cases, developing reliable statistics and reducing the backlog of cases. Substantial improvements are also aimed at the areas of mediation (which, so far, has hardly been made use of in Greece) and prison administration.
As early as in 2014 the Greek justice system chose Austria as its reform partner and asked for support regarding technical assistance. The Federal Ministry of Justice (BMJ), which willingly agreed, instructed CLC to implement the project.
The project was financed by the European Commission under the “National Strategic Reference Framework” (NSRF) and the implementation of the project was controlled by the “Structural Reform Support Service” (SRSS).
The Federal Ministry of Justice (BMJ) and CLC cooperated closely to develop a customised work schedule in close coordination with the Greek Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights and the competent bodies of the European Commission with the following main contents:
- use of IT and automation of the processing of cases handled by the courts of law
- advice on and support in implementing such systems on site
- preparing a concept for the introduction of an automated order for payment procedure to reduce the workload of the courts of law
- developing reliable judicial statistics by adapting the reporting structure to international standards, harmonisation and centralisation
- reorganisation of the training for mediators and introduction of an incentive system for using alternative dispute resolution methods (e.g. mandatory mediation attempts for specific fields of law)
- training initiatives for prison officers and probation officers in view of stronger cooperation for a better reintegration of released prisoners.
The project was mostly run by humand resources of the Austrian justice system (who were employed by CLC). An Austrian long-term expert (who took leave from his job for this purpose) coordinated all project activities on site. Specific tasks were delegated to Greek experts.
The project started in September 2015; Phase I was successfully concluded in March 2017, Phase II in October 2018. In close and friendly cooperation with the cabinet of the Greek Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights noticeable improvements were made in the areas listed above. Georg Stawa (BMVRDJ) was the project leader and Günther Walchshofer was the long-term expert on site.
The cooperation, which all participating parties considered fruitful, was continued with Phase III at the request of the Greek partners. The project term ended in February 2020.