CLEER paper 2017/1 - Preshova, Damjanovski, Nechev

The Effectiveness of the ‘European Model’ of Judicial Independence in the Western Balkans: Judicial Councils as a Solution or a New Cause of Concern for Judicial Reforms

Denis Preshova, Ivan Damjanovski and Zoran Nechev

This paper examines the extent to which EU-driven institutionalisation of the judicial councils has been successfully operationalised to deliver the anticipated results regarding judicial independence as well as the influence of intervening factors such as the determinacy of conditions, historic legacies and informal practices. By analysing the case of Macedonia, it argues that the establishment of judicial councils has not met the normative values and expectations that they were set to achieve through the judicial reforms. The paper detects four general negative effects of the ‘European model’ of judicial councils: (1) premature introduction without paying due consideration to the actual context in the respective countries, (2) increased exposure of the judiciary to both internal and external pressures induced by newly established institutional avenues, (3) further compromising of individual independence of judges, and (4) reduced transparency of judicial self-governance.


Denis Preshova is Research/teaching assistant, Faculty of Law, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, Doctoral student, Faculty of Law, University of Cologne. 
Ivan Damjanovski is Assistant Professor, Political Science Department, Faculty of Law, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje.
Zoran Nechev is Senior Researcher and Program coordinator, Center for European Integration, Institute for Democracy “Societas Civilis” - Skopje and Academic guest, Center for International and Comparative Studies, ETH Zurich.

Download more information