The presentation of the findings from court users survey

Democracy Plus (D +) and the Advocacy Center for Democratic Culture (ACDC) with the USAID Justice System Strengthening Program (USAID / JSSP) held a roundtable to share survey results with Basic Court Users. This survey has gathered information on citizens’ and lawyers’ experience with the Basic Courts services in regards to access to information, efficiency, the languages used in the services required and the extent of corruption.

Christina Davis – Director of DGO, USAID Kosovo said that the results of the surveys on court users’ experience show that the Basic Courts are continuously working towards improving the services they offer to their citizens. The largest issue continues to be the difference between the citizens’ perception of the justice system versus the experience of court users.

“As we know, the foundation of the rule of law is the public’s trust in courts, but that trust must be earned and cultivated. The courts must not only be fair and open, but they must be perceived as such by the public. Most of the news we hear, be that in the media or in simple conversations in cafes, are not positive, and people tend to focus on unjust rulings, because as human beings we tend to pay more attention to the negative news; this is proven through psychological studies as well. However, the surveys’ results will shed a light on the existing gap in public’s perception of courts in Kosovo. The results point out that the courts are improving and that they are making progress in responding to court users’ requirements”, she stated.  Skender Çoçaj, Chairman of the Kosovo Judicial Council, said that civil society reports are helpful as they offer assistance for this institution to undertake the right actions for the improvement of the judicial system.

“The KJC welcomes the recommendations of the civil society and will continue to work closely with them with the aim of increasing courts’ transparency. KJC will continue  its committment to improving court services, transparency and accountability”, he added.

Bashkim Hyseni, president of the Basic Court of Ferizaj, said that this survey proves that the Basic Court in Ferizaj is the most efficient Basic Court in Kosovo, and they will continue to push for court cases to be solved, in addition to ensuring that all required information will be accessible to citizens.

Osman Havolli, president of the Kosovo Bar Association, requested for courts in Kosovo to be more open and transparent with lawyers.

Besnik Prekazi from D + presented the findings of the survay and its recommendations:

“The research was conducted with 1681 court users, through two separate surveys: one with 1307 citizens who had open cases and the other with 374 lawyers.”

Prekazi added that “in general, according to citizens and lawyers, courts have shown a positive trend in improving their services therefore D+ will continue to monitor the progress of the Basic Courts in implementing the report’s recommendations, and the findings will be published on the online platform that D+ has designed specifically for this issue”.