Bratislava Appeal

The judges, law experts and representatives of non-governmental organizations participating in the international conference Judiciary Reforms – Past and the Future, are aware of the fact that the level of public trust to judiciary in the V4 countries, including other countries in transition, is not satisfactory. In spite of developments and different existing legal frameworks regulating the judiciary, we share many specific problems.


With a view to improve functioning of independent judiciary and increase the public trust to the system of justice in the above mentioned  countries and in line with international documents (UN, Council of Europe), the participants of the conference:


1. Support mutual exchange of experience and information about the problems of judiciary functioning in  V4 countries and other EU countries with a view to look for efficient solutions);

2. Emphasize the need of long term developmental strategies of the judiciary in V4 countries that will not be changed and revised due to political will (in line with the basic principles resulting from the accession process to the EU);

3. Remind the representatives of all powers in the state (executive, legislative, judiciary), that the checks and balances, the existence of which results from the three-pillar separation of power in the state, should be used with a view to increase the independence  and credibility of judiciary;

4. Call all representatives of constitutional bodies of the state

a. To provide for institutional guarantees of independence to judiciary, also through the highest representative bodies of judiciary power (judicial councils);
b. To eliminate all potential external and internal misuses of power jeopardizing the independence of judiciary, including the misuse of the disciplinary proceedings against judges and the institute of temporary suspensions of judges from their functions;
c. To provide for openness and transparency of the actions of all judiciary authorities and courts, publishing their decisions along with their reasoning. The civil society shall be involved in the process of control of judicial power and shall be invited to a dialogue with the view to solve the problems of judiciary;
d. To facilitate periodic assessment of all judges based on the clear and controllable objective assessment criteria, in line with international standards. These criteria must be public and assessment of judges shall be open to objections before an independent body or a law court, without jeopardy of judges´ independence.

5. The participants are convinced that institutional reforms of judiciary must go hand in hand with clear positive definition of ethical standards of judges´conduct.

6. Judges appreciate open and honest criticism and are open to public discussion on finding solutions to the problems in judiciary.

Bratislava, January 22, 2011

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