On December 2nd, 2009 the Judicial Training Center in Belgrade hosted a workshop about "Justice Sector Performance Measurement" organized by the World Bank under the aegis of the Serbian Ministry of Justice. Its objective was to provide input for the Judiciary of Serbia to start thinking about how it is going to develop a more strategic approach to justice sector performance measurement.
40 representatives of Serbian Justice sector institutions and donors discussed the fact that while there is some data available about certain performance aspects, there is no systematic approach to measurement yet. At the same time three parallel developments discussed in the morning sessions are currently leading justice sector institutions in Serbia to discuss how to develop one. The first development is the anticipated move of the broader public sector in Serbia towards performance based budgeting, which will require the development of performance measures and targets in a number of sectors, including the justice system. Another one is the growing realization that there is a need for performance data for management purposes in justice sector institutions such as courts. The last one is the anticipated EU accession process. Rule of law has turned out to be a key factor in past and ongoing accession negotiations with other countries in the broader region. A systematic approach to justice sector performance measurement and the availability of commonly accepted data would allow Serbia to have a well-informed and fact-based dialogue with the EU.
The afternoon sessions focussed on examples of how other countries in the EU, mainly old member states, but also new ones, have developed systematic justice sector performance approaches. Two sessions looked in depth at the experience with Justice sector performance evaluation in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The systems generated by this process as well as the inter-linkages with the broader public sector budget approach were presented. A special focus was on practical aspects of their implementation. Lessons learned were discussed. They were complemented by examples and experiences from transition countries such as Latvia. The last session then focused on the relevance of these approaches to justice sector performance measurement in Serbia. The conclusion was that this workshop was an important step and that there will be follow-up events early next year.