Final conference of the project “Reconstruction of the Municipal Court building in Split and promotion of e-services”

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At the final conference of the project, held at the Briig Boutique Hotel in Split on Tuesday 30 January 2024, the results of project activities, the video from #OurStories campaign and recommendations for the further development of the judiciary in Croatia were presented.

The project “Reconstruction of the Municipal Court building in Split and promotion of e-services” was implemented under the Justice and Home Affairs Programme of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014 - 2021 and was aimed at strengthening the efficiency and effectiveness of the justice system.

It was implemented by the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration in cooperation with the Norwegian Courts Administration and the Judicial Academy as partners.

The final conference was dedicated to presenting the results of the project, presenting the video about the Municipal Court in Split from the campaign #OurStories of the Financial Mechanism Office (FMO) as well as the recommendations of Norwegian experts on technological possibilities and socio-legal limitations of improving e-Justice in Croatia and the future of digitalisation and e-services in the judiciary.

State Secretary Juro Martinović delivered an opening address, pointing out that the new building of the Municipal Court in Split, reconstructed under the project, was officially opened on Monday 29 January 2024. With a third floor added to the building, it would provide sufficient capacity for all the needs of the court. “It is an investment worth EUR 12.4 million, but it is far more valuable because, thanks to the support of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism, after seventeen years, we have returned the court from Dračevac to the city centre to make it more accessible to citizens.” 

“In addition to investments in infrastructure, the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration has been investing in further digitalisation of the judiciary because it is necessary, in this digital age, to be involved in processes that will increase the quality of the judiciary, make it more efficient and more accessible to citizens”, said State Secretary Martinović.

In addition to State Secretary Jura Martinović, the conference was addressed by Helge Klouman Marstrander, Deputy Head of Mission at Royal Norwegian Embassy in Zagreb. He stressed that the partnership between Norway and Croatia in the judicial sector extended far beyond the renovated Municipal Court building in Split. The Norway Grants programme had facilitated the improvement of the judicial infrastructure in Croatia as well as the exchange of knowledge and skills. The project represented a valuable follow-up to a project implemented during the previous NFM period, involving the reconstruction of the Karlovac court building and improvement of expertise for the efficient handling of cases.

As to the motivation for Norway to invest in justice in other countries, Mr Marstrander explained that it was about the commitment to respect the fundamental rights of all people, which is the cornerstone of Norway’s international involvement. Norway firmly believes that democracy and human rights are prerequisites for lasting peace, stability and development. Human rights, equality and the rule of law act as safeguards against the abuse of power, forming the foundations of a democratic society.

Head of Judicial Infrastructure Sector and Project Manager Karla Dragica Lipej presented the project activities of the first component of the project - reconstruction of the Municipal Court building in Split, and Team Member Zrinka Oreb presented the project activities of the second component of the project, promotion of e-services, aimed at strengthening the use of e-services in the judiciary, raising awareness of available electronic services in the judiciary and increasing the efficiency and quality of the provision of judicial services while optimising costs. The project activities of this component included a market survey, a study visit to the Kingdom of Norway and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, drafting of recommendations by Norwegian experts and a media campaign on judicial e-services.

For the purpose of making recommendations on further development of the judiciary in Croatia, one of the project partners was the Norwegian Courts Administration. Norwegian expert, Professor Malcolm Langford from the Faculty of Law of the University of Oslo, delivered a presentation to the conference participants on the activity of drafting recommendations.

In addition to the Norwegian CourtsAdministration, the Judicial Academy was also a project partner, responsible for coordinating the third component of the project, namely the secondment of judges to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, and the activities carried out under this component were presented to the conference participants by Ms Tamara Pavičić from the Judicial Academy.

The conference premiered a video about the Municipal Court in Split from #OurStories campaign, which was introduced by Ms Raquel Torres Prol from the Financial Mechanism Office (FMO) in Brussels. More information about the campaign is available here

The future of digitalisation and e-services of the judiciary was presented by Ms Renata Diankov, Head of Independent Sector for Digitalisation of Justice and Public Administration.

At the end of the conference, Ms Olga Plazibat Novosel, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration and Project Owner thanked all those who participated in the implementation of the project for the praiseworthy cooperation and unselfish exchange of knowledge, as well as those who provided continuous support in the realisation of this project, thanks to which the Croatian judiciary will be more accessible, modern and more efficient.

“The EEA and Norway Grants have provided the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration with systematic assistance in implementing important changes in the judicial system and and enhancing legal certainty. Thanks to the support of the Norwegian Courts Administration, the Norwegian Probation Service and the Council of Europe, our partnership and the funds from Norway Grants, we have made significant advances in judicial infrastructure, improvement of e-justice services and increasing the competencies of judges", the Secretary-General concluded.