Following the Judgment Enforcement Conference held by USAID SEAD Program this summer, this October SEAD launched the Backlog Reduction Initiative to begin reducing the enormous amount of unenforced judgments in the Kosovo courts. The Conference, which brought together the leadership of the Kosovo judiciary along with international experts to examine the problem, concluded with a call for concrete measures to systematically reduce the scale of the backlog and to ensure more efficient judgment enforcement in the future.
The Backlog Reduction Initiative (BRI) answers this call by bringing together the resources of the Kosovo Judicial Council (KJC), the courts and the USAID SEAD Program to categorize and efficiently dispose of the large number of unenforced civil judgments. This activity is ongoing in parallel with other SEAD efforts to improve the overall processes of judgment enforcement.
The first stage of the BRI has been to support the KJC to hire a team of ten recent law graduates to work with pilot courts on the categorization of backlogged judgments. The categorization process provides empirical data that will guide approaches to reform, such as changes in filing procedures, dismissals, and methods of finding and seizing assets. Categorization serves as a platform for more efficiently processing and executing backlog judgments. Following the completion of categorization the SEAD BRI Team supported the Lipjan Municipal Court and the KJC interns to begin executing those backlogged judgments.
This join endeavor by the KJC, the courts and the USAID SEAD Program has resulted in Lipjan Municipal Court in a more then fivefold increase in the number of judgments enforced.
The final stage of the Backlog Reduction Initiative, developed by KJC and the USAID SEAD Program will be the hiring of 30 additional agents to further supplement the resources committed to resolving backlog. The 30 new KJC enforcement agents, who will continue to work closely with the USAID SEAD team are expected to start in January of 2011. These new agents will be organized in special task forces and dispatched to the courts with the largest needs.