Bulgarian Cabinet Adopts Second Package of Changes to Judicial System Act
At its regular meeting on Wednesday, the Bulgarian government adopted the second package of amendments to the Judicial System Act.
The package regulates the principle of judicial self-governance, the new powers of the inspectorate to the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS), the career progress of magistrates, the reform of the prosecutor's office, the status of judicial and prosecutor aides as well as additional rules for the exam required for exercising judicial profession.
The new changes were discussed at four meetings of the Council for application of the updated strategy for judicial reform.
The council, which is under the authority of the justice ministry, brings together representatives of concerned institutions, NGOs from the sector, organisations of magistrates, representatives of political parties.
The package foresees enhancing the judicial self-government by regulating the opportunity of the general meetings of judges to propose and hear candidates for chairperson of the respective court as well as to express statements in relation to the nominations.
For the first time, deadlines for completion of the checks conducted or ordered by prosecutors are introduced in the Judicial System Act.
The so-called preliminary checks of prosecutors should be completed within two months with an option for one-off extension with a maximum of one month.
The inspectorate to VSS will be entrusted with the powers to conduct integrity tests, checks for conflict of interest as well as to inspect actions harming the prestige of the judiciary or violating the impartiality of judges, prosecutors and investigators.
Judges, prosecutors and inspectors will declare their property in the country and abroad by submitting declarations each year even if there is no change to their property status.
Experts in the inspectorate will be selected by undergoing a competition and integrity test and they will also state their property as well as the presence or absence of conflict of interests.
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