Marina Matić Bošković, PhD
Research Fellow, Institute of Criminological and Sociological Research, Belgrade

The EU accession process is the main driver of judicial reforms in Western Balkan countries. The judicial reforms have been a continuous process for over 15 years, and each Western Balkan country adopted several strategies as a key policy document. As a result of reforms, all countries established new judicial bodies, transferred governance powers from executive to the judicial councils, introduced new judicial professions (notaries, bailiffs), adopted and strengthened rules and procedures for the appointment of judges and prosecutors, optimised court network, etc. Despite the fact that reforms were conducted with the aim to increase efficiency and integrity of judiciary, trust in the justice system across Western Balkans is still low, and position on international indices raises concerns on the impact of reforms. In the article, the author will analyse and compare the results of reforms in the Western Balkan countries in the key justice areas: efficiency, access and independence of the judiciary. The purpose of the analysis is to find out whether countries in the region are closer to the EU judicial standards and what has to be done to align the judiciary with EU standards.

Keywords: judiciary, independence, integrity, EU standards, judicial reform.

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