USAID and the Supreme Cassation Court Present National Backlog Reduction Plan

BELGRADE - On January 27, 2014, USAID and the Supreme Cassation Court of the Republic of Serbia met with the presidents of all Serbian courts at the Palace of Justice.  Chief Justice Dragomir Milojevic presented the National Backlog Reduction Plan, which calls for an 80 percent reduction within the next five years of the nearly 1.75 million old cases that have been plaguing the Serbian court system. “This goal may be ambitious but it is attainable with a lot of hard work by judges,” he said, encouraging court presidents to use the methods that have already proven to be successful by ten USAID pilot courts. 

The National Backlog Reduction Plan, prepared by the Supreme Court of Cassation, with support of USAID’s Separation of Powers Program, identifies four measures for achieving the backlog reduction targets: enhanced cooperation with external partners, internal organization measures, procedural measures, and increased public trust.  All of these have been used in USAID’s work with pilot courts, and have contributed to improved disposition rates. The Working Group established by the Supreme Court of Cassation will supervise the implementation of the Plan.

“The Plan envisions a 20 percent annual reduction of old cases, to be monitored by a special working group. These are the standards that the courts should aspire to. Shorter judicial procedures of high quality will enhance public trust and confidence in the judiciary, and will also contribute to a better investment climate in Serbia” said the Chief of Party of USAID’s Separation of Powers Program, Brian LeDuc.  

The strategic goal is to reduce the backlog in all Serbian courts by 80 percent, from 1.750.000cases in 2013 to 350.000 cases by 2018, in line with the National Judicial Reform Strategy.  USAID’s Separation of Powers Program assists the Serbian judiciary in making the administration of justice more efficient and responsive to the needs of the users, especially by helping train the judges on effective case management that reduces case backlogs and case delays.