2021 - Serbia Judical Functional Review
2021 - Serbia Judical Functional Review

ICT Management

Main Findings ↩︎

  1. There have been some notably positive trends in ICT Management, particularly in data sharing, transparent reporting, and ICT security, since the 2014 Serbia Judicial Functional Review. A 100 percent increase in the ICT budget over the period 2015-2020, training for external compliance with ISO standards, and enhanced data security and backup procedures have contributed to this progress. Several modern web-based tools have been adopted, contributing to the overall better dissemination of judicial information, both internally and externally. Access to justice information – both generally about the system and related to specific cases – and quality of judicial decision-making have thus both been enhanced. These improvements have increased the accountability, transparency, and efficiency of the judiciary.
  2. Internally, the implementation of the Enterprise BUS has allowed for data exchange across judicial systems and with allied entities outside of the justice sector. There are now common registries for internal justice systems users. The Judicial Information System (JIS) system speeds proceedings in court cases and enforcement procedures, with time and cost savings for the citizens and the justice system, and allows automated data sharing with the National Statistics Agency, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, the National Bank of Serbia, and others. Uniformity of the AVP application installed at the courts ensured that the courts operate the same version of the software, with the same features and operational characteristics, although AVP does not allow all necessary functions and is scheduled for updating. Business intelligence software was fully implemented in 2019 with predefined reports from court registers and customized reports, enriched with a high variability of graphic data visualization. CEPEJ found that Serbia now exceeds the experience of most states in introducing tools to measure performance, a significant change from 2013.
  3. Externally, the portal for calendars and decisions of most court types, representing a significant advance in the access to justice, has enhanced legal certainty and increased transparency. A regulatory structure to allow e-filing of all case types, an e-filing pilot in three courts, and an e-Auction platform for the electronic sale of property in enforcement proceedings have been implemented. A central application for court fees allows users to see all payments made by and due from court users, flagging unpaid court fees and automatically distributing fees. Basic and higher courts currently use the application; the commercial courts will be added in the near future. There is also an e-Board that provides citizens with quick and modern insight into the contents of bulletin boards in one place.
  4. Nonetheless, despite significant progress in some areas, Serbia’s overall judicial ICT development remains uneven and lags behind other European countries. CEPEJ’s most recent report650 on the Use of Information Technology in European Courts (including prosecutorial systems) focused on three key aspects – ICT governance, ICT equipment, and infrastructure, and the legal framework surrounding ICT development. On a scale from 3 to 9, Serbia (as in the earlier evaluation) earned an overall score of 4, with only ICT governance arrangements earning the score of 2. This placed Serbia’s judicial ICT well below the European average; within the region, only Albania has a lower development level (i.e., a score of 3).
  5. In governance, CEPEJ found that Serbia continues to lack a system for identifying and optimizing IT innovation. Since 2013, Serbia has experimented with creating an e-Justice Department at the Ministry of Justice as well as a Sectoral ICT Council. The e-Justice Department’s broader planning mandate has been disbanded in favor of ICT planning rooted in individual systems. The Council has not met in almost four years.
  6. ICT has not been used to bring about improvements in efficiency. The Judicial Development Strategy 2020-2025 and the revised Action Plan for Chapter 23 within the EU Negotiation process recognize ICT as one of the key areas of development. For example, CEPEJ found that Serbia continues to have relatively low use of IT equipment in criminal matters while the pending criminal caseload continues to grow. It is among seven states whose low IT equipment deployment contributed to “greater difficulty in reducing the number of pending cases,” according to CEPEJ.
  7. In February 2022, Serbia adopted IT Strategy in Judiciary for the period 2022-2027 to ensure the preparation of the judicial system for new challenges and increase the application of the ICT in the judiciary. The accompanying Action plan includes the estimated cost of the Strategy to ensure financing and implementation of the Strategy.
  8. While national ICT funding has increased substantially, the bulk of the budget is spent on salaries and outsourced maintenance services, leaving funding insufficient to cover investment needs and to improve the judicial infrastructure. While the justice sector reports that it has an adequate number of computers and other devices, a sizeable percentage of these are more than 10 years old and operate on outdated operating systems.
  9. ICT investment decisions continue to be a donor- and supplier-driven. The justice sector is over-reliant on donors for ICT funding. The sector lacks a strategy for the self-sustainability of its ICT systems. There is a lack of planning for ongoing maintenance and support costs of ICT equipment provided by donors. Of the needed 8,000 replacement PCs, 5,700 will be provided by an IPA project, but no funding has been allocated for replacement. Inevitably, equipment will become obsolete once again.
  10. Consistent rules and routines for data entry are not in place, rendering the statistical information collected incomplete. The AVP system, in particular, lacks automated routines ensuring data quality, and there are an inadequate number of mandatory data fields, inadequate field validation, and no ‘lock down’ of statistics once submitted. Information is thus missing or is not collected in a uniform manner. This is covered in more depth below.
  11. Institutional and resource barriers have impeded automated data sharing between the courts and PPOs, legal professionals, and the general public. The absence of protocols for electronic signatures, limited promotion of electronic exchange by the MoJ, inadequate scanning, printing, and audio-visual capacity, a continued lack of capacity in electronic communications, and a lack of public trust in such communications have hindered the wider use of electronic data exchange and sharing, e-filing and use of remote hearings.
  12. Case information continues to be disconnected from resource management information. When cases are registered in the case management system, they are not automatically registered in the accounting system; courts are required to give multiple supervisory bodies (the Councils, the SCC, and the MOJ) regular reports that overlap but never provide the whole picture on performance and are not shared among the supervising organizations; and the systems used for the preparation and execution of court budgets are not linked
  13. While the use of websites is widespread today within the justice system, many still offer only basic functionality. There are a few notable exceptions offering higher functionality in the form of proactive, automated service delivery.
  14. The conclusions of the 2014 Functional Review about ICT staffing are still valid: the percentage of court staff devoted to ICT falls well below the benchmark of 3.6 set by the Gartner Group and varies widely between courts, even at the same jurisdictional level (from 0.8 to 3.5 percent of total staffing).
  15. ICT training for judges and staff is woefully inadequate and generally occurs only when a new system is implemented (and is usually funded by the donor that funded the system).

Governance, Funding, and Management of ICT ↩︎

Governance Structures ↩︎

  1. The justice sector has completed several critical strategic analyses of sectoral ICT, but these strategies have not been incorporated by the Government. In 2013, under the leadership of the MOJ, the justice sector evaluated its ICT systems, operations, and management structures and created the ICT Strategy Report and Annex. The Strategy, completed by the Multi-Donor Trust Fund, recognizes the strategic role of automation in the long-term success of the judiciary, assesses how the judiciary’s IT and business strategies can be aligned, prioritizes areas most in need of reform, and identifies specific action steps and funding for making ICT improvements. However, the draft ICT strategy has not been adopted by the Government. A comprehensive ICT infrastructure assessment was also carried out in the last quarter of 2017 by the EUD. The assessment contains a detailed map of future investment actions required to complete the development of the proposed ICT agenda, split into phases along with corresponding cost estimates. In addition, a guiding document, “Justice System ICT Systems Development Directions”, was adopted in April 2016. Nonetheless, these investment priorities have not been incorporated into the budget proposed by MoJ.
  2. The Serbian judicial system does not yet embrace ICT as a tool for transformation even though ICT is acknowledged in relevant strategic documents, including the strategies above, the Judicial Development Strategy (JDS), and the revised Action Plan for Chapter 23 within the EU Negotiation process, as one of the key development needs in the areas of impartiality, accountability, competence, and efficiency. However, while many of the other activities laid out in the JDS and Action Plan have been successfully completed, the key ICT infrastructure development implementation is still on hold.
  3. ICT systems remain unable to meet the overall business needs of the judicial system at either a policy or the operational level, despite the number of initiatives aimed at improving the functionality of management information systems.
  4. In the absence of strong governance structures, the judiciary is struggling with the scope and depth of recommendations to improve ICT processes. Planning for the implementation of improvements cannot begin in earnest until governance structures are strengthened and roles clearly defined. ICT investment decisions continue to be a donor- and supplier-driven.
  5. The Serbian judicial system began to make strides in improving the governance of ICT but has reversed those initiatives and continues to lack strong, strategic leadership. In 2014, an e-Justice Department at MoJ and the new Judicial ICT Sectoral Council were created. However, the E-justice department is not reflected in MoJ’s most recent systematization and has been replaced by staff groups related to specific areas of law rather than strategic ICT planning. The ICT Sectoral Council has not met since 2017. MOJ continues to lack people with enough in-depth knowledge of either court operations or programming, limiting its ability to develop systems to enhance court efficiency or quality. Instead, the MOJ’s efforts in ICT continue to be centered on donor contributions and contract management rather than the development of new or existing systems. A dedicated Chief Information Officer (CIO) function at the ministry level would greatly enhance the visibility of ICT issues and their contribution to overall justice sector efficiency.
  6. There is little cooperation and few points of contact between MOJ and the Government office in charge of the design and functioning of eGovernment and information systems. The Office for IT and eGovernment has established a State Data Center, which is one of the most modern in the region and stores the key information and communication infrastructure of the Republic of Serbia and provides support in the application of information and communication technologies and procurement in state administration bodies and Government services.

ICT Funding ↩︎

  1. The ICT part of the MoJ budget has increased by over 100percent since 2015, with significant investments in infrastructure in 2019 and 2020.

Table 47: ICT part of the MoJ budget

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
RSD 433,000,000 396,000,000 252,000,000 481,000,000 780,700,000 894,200,000
Euro (M) 3.59 M 3.22 2.08 4.1 6.64 EUR 7.61
Annual percent Change 9percent 37percent 91percent 64percent 14percent

Source: Ministry of Justice, Annual public procurement plans

  1. There is no long-range ICT budget planning or funding to sustain automation initiatives on an ongoing basis. Capital budgeting remains on an annual cycle.
  2. The Serbian judiciary does not perform business case analyses for proposed projects or analyze their likely total cost of ownership (TCO). The TCO approach would require closer coordination between the MOJ, the HJC, and the SPC decision-makers and strategic advisors. This is especially important for assessing current conditions, providing a framework for further sustainability of case management systems in the Serbian judiciary, and addressing the overall IT infrastructure and IT systems within the judiciary.
  3. The maintenance of software, internet connections, and equipment replacement absorb a significant share of judicial ICT resources, much of it outsourced to private companies. The total ICT justice sector expenditures were estimated at 894.2 million RSD in 2020, of which 463 million RSD was spent on maintenance.
  4. Ongoing maintenance and support costs of ICT equipment provided by donors are not foreseen. The courts still do not have any kind of strategy for the self-sustainability of their ICT systems. MoJ invested in ICT infrastructure renovation at commercial courts and a new CMS (SIPRIS), but there is no indication of how these systems will be sustained and maintained by the courts in the future.
  5. Significant arrears for amounts owed to vendors for system development in prior years have been resolved, with no significant arrears remaining.
  6. A complete inventory of ICT hardware and software was completed in 2017. This represents significant progress since 2014, when there was no unified inventory of justice system ICT hardware or software assets to be used as a basis for planning future ICT funding needs. However, since 2017, no inventory of ICT hardware and software has been taken.
  7. The courts report that they have an adequate number of computers, at a ratio of almost one desktop or laptop per authorized position (see Table 48). This ratio has improved since 2013, especially for desktops/laptops in the Basic and Commercial Courts.

Table 48: Available Court Hardware by Court Type, 2021

Court Level Total desktops/ percent Change Since 2016 Desktops/ per position # Courts Scanners Scanners/ court
Basic Courts 5,969 -17percent 0.92 66 308 4.67
Higher Courts 1,830 +8percent 0.95 25 127 5.0
Appellate Courts 965 +30percent 1.29 4 26 6.5
Commercial Courts 1,501 +30.2percent 1.68 16 86 3.5
Misdemeanor Courts 1,450 -7.5percent 0.6 45 44 1.0
Total 11,750 -5percent 0.9 (+12.5percent)





4.3 (no change)

Source: Ministry of Justice, Active directory numbers

  1. However, the use of many older, slower computers impedes the effective use of systems and efficient service delivery. In many courts, a sizable number of PCs (30-50percent of the desktops from the list above) are more than 10 years old and use Windows XP, a key obstacle to the use of modern software tools and applications. Many printers, local servers, and scanners are also obsolete. The necessary and large refurbishment of justice ICT systems infrastructure (hardware) is not underway due to prohibitive costs in comparison with the overall sectorial budget and funds within it that can be used for this purpose. The Ministry has taken steps over the last couple of years to provide smaller deliveries of PCs to most critical areas (e.g., servers, the central domain at appellate courts in 2017) as has some donors, usually within the delivery of new systems (e.g., SIPRIS).
  2. It is estimated that some 8,000 replacement PCs are needed. This represents a substantial investment in itself. Adding in other necessary pieces of outdated hardware that need to be replaced (servers, printers, switches, storage, etc.), very high levels of required investment in hardware, probably at the level of 15-20 million Euro, are needed. The IPA EuropeAid Supply of IT equipment and software for improvement of CCMS in courts plans to procure 5,700 PCs for the courts of general jurisdiction (basic, higher, commercial, and appellate courts).

Operational Management ↩︎

  1. The MOJ has not historically provided ICT staff support to the courts. Operations are fragmented and reliant on vendors, donor organizations, or internal court resources. Currently, the following services are fully or partially outsourced to private vendors:

    1. application system development and implementation;
    2. application system support;
    3. provision of a wide-area network, WAN/LAN development, and maintenance;
    4. provision of e-mail services;
    5. end-user hardware; and
    6. anti-virus software.
  2. Reliance on outside vendors to provide IT services is greater than in most countries. The Gartner Group, the leader in assessing technology planning, states that governments spend slightly over 40 percent of IT expenditures on average on personnel and only 22 percent on outsourcing.
  3. ICT vendor agreements, largely developed by individual institutions, were often not written to the benefit of the judiciary, resulting in varying degrees of effectiveness. Vendors are responsible for critical tasks throughout the judiciary, including system development. Because of the heavy reliance on vendors, contracts’ details are critically important. Some current contracts do not consistently describe the development services to be provided. They also do not ensure adequate and accessible technical support, detail preventative and corrective maintenance, or provide a clear description and state ownership of source code, specifics of release management, or maintenance of trouble logs. Some system users indicate there was little consultation with users before systems went live, or that feedback was provided but was not incorporated. Similarly, while some contracts specify the precise hours and form of helpdesk assistance, the Commercial Courts lack access to helpdesk services, and SAPS users report only modest helpdesk assistance.
  4. Reliance on disparate vendors by individual institutions may be reduced through the planned use of a centralized Helpdesk. However, plans for a full-scale help desk and support organization and a centralized public tender for software maintenance with a multi-level Help Desk and Support organization, have not moved forward.
  5. MoJ considered centralized outsourcing and maintenance of local ICT equipment for a number of courts but has not moved forward with those plans. Individual courts enter into contracts on their own. This follows on efforts to improve contracts for maintenance and support of ICT equipment by the first Basic Court in Belgrade contracted with a specialized external supplier of printers and scanners; this company is solely responsible for proper functioning, including servicing, parts, and support, with specific Service Level Agreement (SLA) details. This arrangement has relieved the court of the mundane and repeated need for printer servicing and replacement and still proved to be around 30 percent less expensive.
  6. The MoJ needs to significantly expand its ICT staffing and its mission to ensure the correct deployment of ICT resources. The ICT Strategy Report recommends considering a public-private partnership to develop and maintain ICT systems, but the sector does not appear ready for this. The governments of many countries – in the European Union and elsewhere – are increasingly using public-private partnerships as a means of innovative tools, financing, and providing public infrastructure services. Effective public-private partnerships require significant government capacity and engagement in system preparation, design, implementation, and monitoring. Even if such partnerships were created, a robust judiciary governance structure would be needed to ensure that the cost savings from the partnerships do not come at the expense of public-interest objectives. Ownership of intellectual property must be considered as well. Finally, in the pandemic era and in the midst of budget cuts, developing a public-private partnership in justice presents a significant hurdle.

Effectiveness of Electronic Data Exchange and Back-Up ↩︎

  1. The judiciary relies on a variety of unlinked ICT systems for case processing, case management, and document management, and automated information exchange remains limited across the sector. There have been steps forward in the electronic exchange of documents between courts and PPOs, courts and external institutions, and legal professionals as well through the PIS (Judicial Information) system and several other platforms. However, the exchange of documents between lower and higher courts, between courts and PPOs, and between courts and external institutions (such as police and prisons) is still primary manual resulting in significant inefficiencies, delays, and errors.

Figure 166: Overview of different IT systems used in the judiciary sector in Republic of Serbia

A picture containing diagram Description automatically generated

  1. However, positive changes include the introduction of a system for integrated data collection and storage for all justice institutions, which leads to more uniform data collection, clearer data definitions and more transparent linkage between data. Nonetheless, the Rulebook on data entry remains unfinished; information is missing, is not collected in a uniform manner, and data entry rules are not standardized. Each of these would further lead to more accurate and relevant statistics. Existing fragmentation in the data necessarily leads to the establishment of different methodologies in the process of decision-making, which leads to inconsistent decisions. A comprehensive model would ensure system-wide uniformity in the data collected, clear data definitions, and the transparent linkage between data.
  2. MoJ is pursuing enhancing efficiency, access, quality, and the introduction of information exchange protocols through the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB). MoJ has developed justice interoperability standards and selected architecture to allow integration between various applications. The advantages are numerous: easy plugged-out or plugged-in applications, ease of protocol conversion, and the ability to establish a network to cluster services together to achieve scalability. However, the ESB’s central role in orchestrating all systems on the network and more than 6,000 users makes it vulnerable as a single point of failure, and MoJ needs to assure proper maintenance to preserve efficiency and data availability.
  3. Another current effort to allow information exchange, by expanding the on-line availability of common registries to justice systems users (see: Justice Information System - PIS, in the Appendix), is being fully used throughout the judiciary. JIS speeds proceedings in court cases and enforcement procedures, resulting in both time and cost savings for the citizens as well as the judicial system. The courts have quickly adapted to the advantages that PIS offers for quick and reliable access to data and reduced duration in parts of the court procedure. This will increase efficiency and allow justice system users to conform to all legal requirements when performing their daily tasks (e.g., checking a person’s previous criminal history when a prosecutor is asked to arraign them by police).
  4. Manual record-sharing between general first instance courts and the Appellate Courts is accompanied by some scanned court pleadings. However, since documents of a given type are not consistently scanned, paper files are still provided to the Appellate Courts. Some courts are more successful than others – in the Basic and Higher Courts in Novi Sad, around 60-70 percent of documents are scanned. Scanning is generally a task for administrative clerks, trainees, and interns.
  5. A number of factors inhibit the optimal use of scanning technology; at this time, only Commercial Courts are fully scanning entry documents. In other courts, indexing of scanned documents is seriously hampered by insufficient server capacity. Lower quality scanners also limit the number of pages that can be scanned at a time. Serbian law requires that electronic records that are made available to the public must be made anonymous by removing names, addresses, and any other personal information, requiring significant staff resources.

Electronic Exchanges between Courts and Prosecutors and between Prosecutors’ Offices ↩︎

  1. The systems in place in courts and PPOs are not interoperable. Most information is mailed or hand-delivered by prosecutors to the courts. This process causes delays in case processing and significant duplicate data entry by court staff. This interoperability is provided by the functionalities of the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB).
  2. Only 15 PPOs are currently using the SAPO application; others continue to work manually. Information is currently exchanged in writing, which causes delays. When the rollout of SAPO is complete, all PPOs will operate on the same system, and exchange should be available. This should result in great efficiency in internal dealings between PPOs.

Electronic Exchanges with Other Institutions ↩︎

  1. Currently, the use of email (with crypto protection) still dominates the electronic exchange, but increasing direct access to various registries, i.e., data kept within other state institutions and other organizations of interest (banks, APR, etc.) will greatly reduce use of paper and increase efficiency and data accuracy in upcoming years. The expanded use of Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) contributes to directly linking various systems currently running within the justice sector.
  2. The Misdemeanor Courts are well-positioned to exchange information with law enforcement and local government authorities through their registries of sanctions and unpaid fines.651 The registries are housed in the MOJ Data Center, to which all Misdemeanor Courts are connected and where they can upload data. Data exchange protocols between the Misdemeanor Courts and the traffic police, the Business Registers’ Agency, the Department of Payments within the Treasury, and the Central Register of Compulsory Social Insurance are particularly important to the effectiveness and efficiency of misdemeanor procedures.
  3. The PIS (Justice Information) system discussed above allows justice institutions' staff to access registries from outside the judiciary, such as those of the National Statistics Agency, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, and others. The list of registries is constantly being expanded. The number of PIS active users is more than 6,000, and MoJ had, by the end of March 2021, recorded over 8,000,000 electronic queries to other state bodies using this system.

Graphical user interface, application Description automatically generated

Table 49: Electronic queries from the Justice Information System

Registry Number of queries
Business Registers Agency 58,071
CROSO 1,528.549
Misdemenour records 28,215
Register of persons deprived of liberty 82,602
Birth registry 1,883.316
MoI-residence 1,939.340
Business Registers Agency - Persons 26,055
Republic geodetic authority 1,973.579
Participants in proceedings 0
Pension and disability Insurance Fund 88,912
Opportunity 48,011
Register of natural persons 16,498
National Bank of Serbia 218,591
Criminal records 107,066
Register of legal entities 788
Tax administration 2,436
  1. Communications between courts and financial institutions have been automated through the use of PIS. In 2018, a protocol between the National Bank of Serbia and MoJ defining the electronic exchange of data was established, and systems to do so were implemented.
  2. Electronic communication between prosecutors and law enforcement is also rare. These groups collect and maintain data differently, and there is no electronic linkage in their common data. For example, the information from the National Criminal Sanction database maintained by the MOI is only available to prosecutors upon written request, slowing the work of prosecutors. Stakeholders report that this causes delays at the investigation stage during initial interviews and when considering deferred prosecution. This is also the case for the Directorate for Penal Sanctions (UIKS) and Commissioner for Alternative Sanctions.
  3. The EU E-CODEX project has created common technical standards to improve interoperability between legal authorities within the EU and cross-border access of citizens and businesses throughout Europe. The Serbian judiciary needs to document its technical standards and compare them with those under development by the EU so the newly-developed Serbian standards will comply with E-CODEX requirements.
  1. The flow of documents between both the courts and PPO’s and legal professionals has been automated, but the absence of an organized campaign to promote its use by MoJ and barriers related to electronic signatures have impeded it from being widely adopted and used. Electronic submission of filings to the court or a PPO allows a significant reduction in data entry by court staff, enhances access for lawyers to court documents with 24-7 availability of e-filing, and eliminates postal costs for attorneys and printing costs for the courts. The e-Sud application for the Administrative Court (https://esud.sud.rs/home/#/login), should facilitate the creation, administration, and monitoring of the case flow to end-users. e-Sud is a web-based application where organizations or individuals in possession of a valid and verifiable electronic signature can directly send their applications to the court and later track the flow of the case. Current practice shows only a small number of active users and electronic submissions by the general public: 122 users electronically exchange files with Administrative Court, and initial acts prevail. However, court costs have been notably reduced and access to justice enhanced. An awareness campaign from the MoJ needs to be conducted to expand its use. In addition, towards the end of 2017, an Active Directory was established for the basic, higher, and commercial courts, containing over 12,000 potential users.
  2. E-filing is at the pilot stage in three courts, and a regulatory structure to allow e-filing for all case types is established. USAID created a protocol, a user’s manual, and workflow diagrams created secure signature protections in excess of legal requirements and purchased a limited amount of equipment needed by the courts for e-filing. The selected court and a few private lawyers have agreed to file and receive documents electronically, using a special court e-mail address and electronic signature cards from the post office.
  3. Potential impediments to expanding e-filing include the absence of:

    1. qualified electronic signatures and time stamps on electronic documents.
    2. comfort by courts even though hardcopy PDFs of documents will continue to be provided by attorneys.
    3. adequate printing capacity in the courts, which limits the size of attachments sent electronically
    4. ICT literacy among attorneys. However, familiarity and comfort with the system is likely to increase once the benefits are understood and internet penetration continues to rise.
    5. an effective promotion campaign from the MoJ.
    6. trust, concerns about the security of information submitted online.
    7. user infrastructure and skills (e.g., computers, internet).
    8. a complete legal framework (especially for nonresident persons).
  4. There is also a preference among some filers for direct Interaction with court staff.

Audiovisual Recordings ↩︎

  1. The audiovisual recording (A/V) feature has the potential to save significant amounts of time for judges, prosecutors, and staff, allowing more hearings to be held each day and reducing backlogs. A/V systems also aid judges and prosecutors in recalling the facts of the case at the next hearing and improve transparency, efficiency, and quality of the courts while ensuring a more complete and accurate record for appeals courts to review. The new CPC allows the use of audiovisual technology. However, those benefits need to be balanced against the cost and the operational changes required
  2. Implementing the A/V recording feature would also facilitate mutual legal assistance across Europe by way of video-conferencing. The CCJE further recommends that member States develop A/V capability to facilitate holding secured hearings and remote appearances of witnesses or experts.
  3. A/V equipment would be particularly useful in criminal cases. In cases where the defendant is a flight risk, the costs and security concerns of prison transfers are already high, and investment in the equipment may therefore be warranted. In sensitive cases, including those involving children or vulnerable groups, security concerns may also be mitigated by the use of audiovisual equipment. The judicious allocation of A/V equipment to large courts and large prisons, such as Sremska Mitrovica and Zabela, might therefore be cost-effective while helping improve quality and access. At the moment, only two courts in Belgrade have the necessary equipment for audio-visual recording,652 which substantially increases the costs of any required A/V hearing, for example, with foreign institutions. Transporting criminal defendants from different prisons to Belgrade for hearings also represents a serious risk to the public.
  4. Costs for a mid-range system span from 10,000 to 20,000 EUR per courtroom, a cost likely to be reduced if several systems are purchased simultaneously. These costs represent the initial investment in A/V recording equipment and the proprietary operating software only. In the interim, it is recommended that at least simple audio recording systems be purchased and used in all courts through gradual acquisition of hardware and training so that all court hearings are available and delivered to interested parties on reliable audio media, thus replacing court stenographers, whose notes are notoriously unreliable. “Skype for Business” was recently tested as the A/V link at Sremska Mitrovica court and PO, as a simple and non-expensive A/V tool, thus demonstrating that more affordable solutions are available in ICT.

Security and Disaster Recovery ↩︎

  1. Adopted in 2019, the Act on the Security of the Information and Communication System aims to ensure an adequate level of system security. It delineates security powers and responsibilities and provides that resources for the information and communication system reside under the authority of the Ministry of Justice.
  2. Backup procedures have been strengthened. MoJ recently issued instructions for standardized AVP local backup procedures at each institution using distributed AVP CMS systems. Other CMS systems are installed and managed centrally within MoJ data centers, where the regular backup is a standard process.
  3. Significant progress in a remote backup of systems and data has been made. In 2017, a central Disaster Recovery site was established in the city of Nis, some 200 km from Belgrade. Regular systems backups are stored on a seven-day schedule. AVP, the most heavily-used CMS system, is still a locally installed application, complicating the backup process, but steps are being taken to further expand the backup and disaster recovery systems.
  4. The judiciary continues to lack business continuity planning – a thorough system of prevention and recovery from potential threats. This type of plan ensures that personnel and assets are protected and are able to function quickly in the event of a disaster.
  5. Security of manual files remains a concern. Some courts are holding files in insecure locations. In some exceptional instances, large piles of files line corridors of public access areas of courts and PPOs.

Effectiveness of Primary Case Management Information Systems ↩︎

Case Management Functionality ↩︎

  1. Many of the judiciary’s case management systems provide strong functionality, adequate data quality controls, and rigorous security measures. However, AVP, the system used by a majority of courts, lacks some key features of modern systems, suffers from the use of inefficiently distributed architecture, has inadequate data entry and quality controls, and is not being used to its maximum effectiveness. Since its introduction in 2010, AVP has increased court efficiency by streamlining workload and reducing manual record keeping. The AVP system operates in Basic and Higher Courts:
  • allows the entry of all basic case processing information (e.g., filing dates, parties, judges assigned, history of actions, and court fees), streamlining work;
  • incorporates all Basic Court functions from initial filings through to archiving;
  • reflects the courts’ actual business processes (does not require extensive workarounds for daily operations);
  • uses pull-down menus/validation routines whenever possible, enhancing data accuracy;
  • allows individuals at the lowest appropriate level to enter data (instead of relying on judges, for example);
  • can produce notices, forms, or standardized orders;
  • links to the central application for court fees. This linkage will soon be made to the commercial court application as well.
  1. AVP lacks several critical features that would enhance both court and user efficiency and enhance case management by individual courts. Significant examples of these missing functionalities include:

a. user alerts of filing deadlines, identification of next steps, and notices on overdue events;

b. producing calendars: currently, calendars are produced manually after courts send regular mail to attorneys about proposed dates, and attorneys return objections and alternative dates by regular mail. This creates a significant delay and unnecessary work for court staff;

c. tracking the time between events and activities: while data to do so are in the system, report tracking durations between events/activities are not among the system’s standardized reports;

  1. tracking reasons for continuances and other system delays;
  2. Central registry of attorneys appearing in court to allow the analysis of the distribution of cases to attorneys.
  1. The failure to use take advantage of AVP’s functionality is due primarily to the absence of training on the AVP system since its rollout in 2010. Typists have not been trained in how to use standardized forms. Instead, many forms are produced in Microsoft Word templates or on typewriters. Also, interviewees indicate that standardized forms are not used due to significant variations in individual judge practice.
  2. The AVP system has not yet changed daily work in many courts, from reducing the use of paper to using online versions of documents. The AVP system lacks robust document management functions, particularly electronic document flow for open cases, which is not in place for either the general jurisdiction or the Commercial Courts. All documents are provided to those who need them in paper format, rather than electronically viewing and forwarding the documents to the next person in the queue. This is more of an operational than an ICT issue, related to discomfort among judges and other users to review documents online. However, even when this barrier is overcome, the functionality for automatically processing workflow would need to be built into the system.
  3. As of 2017, MoJ achieved a uniformity of all AVP systems installed at the courts, ensuring that the courts will operate the same version of the software with the same features and operational characteristics. Every update to AVP is agreed upon between all court users through the Sectoral Sub-committee on AVP, and installed across the board. This represents a significant advance since 2014 when new case management systems were being rolled out in individual courts in a deeply fragmented manner.
  4. Data management is thus becoming less fragmented, reducing the need to enter the same data or manually copy it multiple times. Recently introduced Oracle BI tools allow for collecting data from all courts to produce standard or customized reports. AVP provides local reports using data that is available in each court. It has implemented more than 200 specific reports, primarily in accordance with the Court Rules of Procedure. However, the quality of these reports is questionable and very often disputed since they are highly dependent on the quality of data entered in the system.
  5. AVP is at an exceptionally low level in terms of data integrity. Problems relate to inconsistent practices in data entry as well as failure to capture wholesale changes in the law. After the many upgrades, technical improvements, and development activities made to AVP, there is still an inadequate number of mandatory data fields, inadequate field validations, and little or no training in proper data entry. In addition, periodic audits are missing, directly targeting the quality and consistency of the data entered within the AVP system. AVP does not possess possibilities for direct communication and data exchange with any other IT system in the Serbian judiciary sector due to its distributed architecture and the outdated technology used for its implementation. The introduction of the Enterprise Bus does not overcome these deficits.
  6. AVP also uses and internally manages catalogs that are legally under the domain of other institutions in the country.653 In order to reduce human error and improve data integrity, AVP would need to be directly linked with other institutions that keep basic registers in order to increase the accuracy of data. This is not technically feasible given AVP’s architecture.
  7. The distributed architecture used by AVP is sorely out of date. Opportunities for interconnecting AVP with other systems are minimal. AVP also can run only on specific versions of the Internet Explorer (IE) browser and does not fully support newer browsers. This represents a serious limitation and security issue as well because of discontinued support from Microsoft regarding Internet Explorer in 2015.
  8. AVP’s distributed architecture also requires a large number of local servers and properly trained local staff to maintain and manage them.
  9. Replacing many small servers by a larger server (also known as virtualization) would result in significant improvements in efficiency and flexibility. Fewer and larger servers would provide more flexibility in expanding or rearranging court operations, reduce the need for local IT staff, lower operational and maintenance costs, and reduce energy consumption by up to 90 percent. This change in the number and size of servers would also support the integration of different databases through middleware, as the data will be coming from fewer places. The hardware costs of this solution are not high, estimated at between 20,000 and 100,000 EUR and requiring between 50 to 250 working days of effort. However, until applications are centralized, consolidating servers requires linking a number of disparate applications together.
  10. AVP lacks necessary measures for personal data protection and appropriate ISO standards. Personal data within the database is not encrypted and is easily readable by anyone who has access to the database. AVP does create a log file with a history of information on who accessed which data at what time but without information about the responsible person dealing with data logs and access. Measures need to be taken to prevent unauthorized persons from accessing, copying, disclosing, altering or erasing personal The system also needs to be amended to record which personal data have been processed or communicated, at what times, and from and to whom.
  11. Building on AVP, SIPRIS is the emerging case management system for the commercial courts and provides more flexibility, better statistics capability, and links to other internal and external systems (justice PIS system, courts practice database, National Post, etc). Other key functionalities above and beyond those of AVP, which commercial courts have been using since 2008, are barcode technology to register filings for court cases, which speeds the process of scanning and routing filings to court dockets. Decisions of the first instance courts are automatically linked to those of the appellate courts.
  12. SIPRES, a single, automated, central information system developed and implemented for the misdemeanor courts and the Appellate Misdemeanour Court, allows, among other things, a publicly accessible website with a registry of all unpaid fines that have been sanctioned by any one of these courts. Data entry is better than that in AVP since it is more highly regulated: SIPRES thus includes 95 percent of data for each case, compared to 70-80percent of data entered for the cases in SAPO and AVP. Implementing the electronic data exchange between SIPRES and other systems is a good example of how basic national registers can be used to prevent data duplication and improve data quality. However, there is still incomplete functionality, including automatic reporting on case status and statistics.
  13. SAPO has been implemented in 15 of 90 Public Prosecutors’ Offices (PPOs) through a pilot project of the European Delegation, with the remainder planned for mid-2021. SAPO is designed to be modular, is based on Enterprise Content Management, and provides full support for digitizing documents within the prosecutor's offices. The existing platform ensures easy compatibility and functional integration with the SAPS system but also with other systems within the Justice Sector.
  14. SAPO utilizes a centralized archive of all cases and documents of all prosecutor’s offices and digitalizes the case archive with all external and internal documents and acts. These functions provide more efficient reporting and improved transparency.
  15. However, as with the general jurisdiction courts and AVP, PPOs are not fully using all of SAPO’s capabilities. Further enhancements are recommended for this system, costing approximately EUR 3,9M over five years from the project plan through IPA 2017. It is recommended that the current approach of workflow hard-coded in forms be replaced with a workflow engine. Special modules within SAPO to are also needed in the new anti-corruption PO departments.
  16. SAPO suffers from functional deficiencies that affect data quality and statistical reporting:
  • Inability to designate more than one main criminal offense per one person.
  • Lack of recorded connection between data on money laundering and predicate criminal offenses.
  • Inadequate procedure for case integration in the e-record.
  • Inadequate procedure for recording the legal recharacterization of criminal offenses.
  • Inadequate recording of criminal information for transferred cases.
  • Lack of marking the concrete act of criminal offenses and linking it with the accomplices.
  1. Currently, there is no Rulebook (instruction) on data entry that regulates information and steps required to enter data into SAPO. This results in different and incompatible data and records being kept by Registry Offices in the PPOs.
  2. Data protection and data security in SAPO are at a very high level. Also, personal data in the database is encrypted, and even users who have direct access to the database cannot see it. These features ensure that only the appropriate users have access to specific data, either at an individual user, group, or role level.

User Satisfaction with Case Management Information Systems ↩︎

  1. Users indicate a general satisfaction with the speed, user-friendliness and responsiveness of these systems. Delays appear to be caused by hardware (e.g., slow servers) rather than application issues and do not generally rise to the level of interrupting operations. Less experienced users point to the need for more training.
  2. Since the last Functional Review, application-specific help desks have improved. The Ministry is considering creating a Help desk function in order to provide a central location for all ICT-related issues and inquiries. The case management system and related software, staffed by IT specialists and lawyers, provide telephone support during the court's working hours. Additionally, an online system for reporting errors and requests (ticketing system) is provided to users in court 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All requests are submitted through the ticketing system on the Internet site set up by the supplier for this purpose. The ticket contains a screenshot and a detailed explanation of how the problem is reproduced. As with other parts of ICT human resources, the absence of funding and adequate ICT positions remains a barrier.

Effectiveness of Systems for Management Purposes ↩︎

  1. Courts, PPOs, and the Councils have enhanced meaningful, accurate, and timely statistics generated by the case management system, allowing the judiciary to become more effective in managing cases. In recent years, significant improvements have been made, particularly to case management systems and operational rules654, and the Serbian judiciary is now a relatively data-rich environment.
  2. Through the use of several new ICT tools, such as Oracle BI, both councils are able to access reasonably accurate, standardized statistical reports concerning case management across the sector as well as some customized reports. Standard reports include those on:
  • The total workload of the court
  • Judge's workload report
  • Structure of unresolved cases by date of initial act and date of receipt
  • Structure of resolved cases by the date of the initial act and date of admission
  • Length of decision making,
  • Average duration of unresolved cases in court,
  • Average duration of resolved cases in court,
  • Unresolved cases at the end of the reporting period,
  • Unresolved old cases according to the date of the initial act and the date of receipt at the end of the reporting period.
  1. For example, a report on the total number of cases received and resolved by the court allows each court to capture a picture of its clearance rate and the relationship between received, resolved, and unresolved cases.
  2. The ongoing fragmentation of information flows is manifested by the following:
  • case information is not integrated with resource management information, e.g., when cases are registered in the case management system, they are not automatically registered in the accounting system;
  • courts are required to give multiple supervisory bodies (the Councils, the SCC, and the MOJ) regular reports that overlap but never provide the whole picture on performance and are not shared among the supervising organizations; and
  • the systems used for the preparation and execution of court budgets are not linked.
  1. In addition, there are an inadequate number of mandatory data fields, inadequate field validation, and no ‘lock down’ of statistics once submitted data submitted, in particular in AVP. Data submitted to the SCC from AVP are inconsistent, may be incorrect, and can be changed by courts after submission. Further, there is little training in proper data entry, and there are no periodic audits of the quality and consistency of the data entered. As a result, the data submitted to the SCC contain a number of missing or changed entries which can render certain reports meaningless.
  2. The organization of case types and classification of case information in AVP also impedes meaningful statistical data analysis. For example, there are currently 70 separate case types, and in an effort to revise the book of rules (see Management section), the MOJ is considering adding more. Further, AVP classifies criminal cases by the most severe offense for which a defendant is accused and by only one defendant, so other charges and defendants are masked. These shortcomings impede the analysis of criminal case processing.

Data to Support Decision Making by and Access to the Judicial System ↩︎

  1. A newly-designed version of the Web portal for the entire Serbian Judiciary currently contains the following key elements:
  • The map of all courts in Serbia
  • Courts Statistics and Hearing Schedules
  • The Registry of Unpaid Court Fines and other Monetary Sums
  • Court case flow
  • A Link to the Notary Public Site
  • International Legal Assistance / Judicial Atlas
  • A Link to the Ministry of Justice, and links to a few other relevant institutions (National Assembly, Serbian Government, Company Registry Agency, etc.)
  • Report Violence site

This initial look will be expanded by a number of other functional links over time.

  1. Electronic access to legal research tools and international law sites is open to all judges. All government sites are on the so-called unrestricted ‘white list.’ Judges’ access to the internet is otherwise limited because of bandwidth costs and security reasons. However, other sites can properly be accessed with prior approval from the Department for Joint Services.

Graphical user interface, website Description automatically generated

  1. A new database, “Court Decisions and Practice” to support judicial decision-making, has been established, with over 17,000 court decisions uploaded. All courts are able to contribute to this database. It has an “open” and internal component, where decisions can be searched using any criteria (https://sudskapraksa.sud.rs/sudska-praksa). The database includes s decisions, analyses, and bulletins of case law from the following courts: Supreme Court of Cassation; Supreme Court of Serbia (before judicial reform); Appellate Courts; Constitutional Court; Higher courts; Administrative Court; Appellate Commercial; Appellate Misdemeanor; European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg; European Court of Justice in Luxembourg; UN Court of Justice; Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Quality of e-Justice to Support Access to Court Users ↩︎

  1. The EC Directorate-General for Information, Society, and Media offers standards for evaluating the online availability of public services on a five-point scale:

    • Level 1: information – provides access to general information;
    • Level 2: one-way interaction – provides specific information; forms required for service requests can be downloaded;
    • Level 3: two-way interaction – electronic forms can be completed through the site;
    • Level 4: transaction – full electronic case handling of a procedure (e.g., payments);
    • Level 5: personalization – proactive, automated service delivery.
  2. A number of new, valuable initiatives have been implemented that improve the quality of e-justice and make information more readily available across the spectrum.
  3. A portal for calendars and decisions of the first instance courts, appellate courts, supreme court of cassation, an administrative court, commercial courts, misdemeanor courts, appellate misdemeanor court, and enforcement officers have been developed by the MOJ and allows parties to see the status of their cases. These portals represent a significant advance in access to justice, and have enhanced legal certainty and increased transparency.
  4. The use of websites is widespread today within the justice system; however, many still offer only basic functionality. There are a few notable exceptions offering higher functionality (e.g., Level 3: two-way interaction). There is still a lot to do to provide citizens with full electronic case handling of procedures or personalization – proactive, automated service delivery. In order to allow direct input of various acceptable documents into the judicial system by users, a solution to the problem of using qualified electronic signatures and time stamps on all documents, regardless of the type and level of judicial institution, is needed.
  5. The European e-justice strategy prescribes a European Justice Portal as a one-stop-shop for citizen access. Simpler procedures (payments, small claims) would be automated and accessible from anywhere within the EU. Serbia should prepare to participate in this venture. The e-government group at the Ministry of Justice is striving to create a new Justice portal as a one-stop-shop for all citizens’ needs.
  6. The Ministry of Justice has developed a central platform for developing judicial websites, a set of standards for all justice system websites (otherwise known as Common Look and Feel standards, CLF), and a process by which these sites are established and maintained. These efforts have reduced costs for web hosting, improved internet presentations by the judiciary, increased website security, insured internet presentations against system crashes and failures, and ensured that courts’ internet presentations are harmonized with applicable regulations and adjusted to current IT standards. To date, some 40 courts have applied, and it is expected that this process will expand to cover most of the institutions in the justice sector. The website of the biggest court in the country (First Basic Court) is available on this new platform: https://prvi.os.sud.rs.
  7. The Commissioner for Data Protection ruled that electronic portals should be searchable only by case number. The result is suboptimal, as the requirement prevents lawyers and enforcement agents from seeing all pending court cases at once, impeding efficiency and reducing the general public’s access to case information. Stakeholders could develop a practical solution to this problem that protects privacy while improving transparency, efficiency, and access, consistent with European practice. For example, in Croatia, the judiciary provides the case number and the initials of each party, allowing users to access information while protecting their privacy. This Croatian portal example could provide useful lessons for Serbia.

ICT Staffing and Training ↩︎

Adequacy of Staffing ↩︎

  1. Nearly 20 percent of Misdemeanor Courts and 10 percent of Basic Courts have no ICT support staff. When software questions or minor maintenance needs arise, courts rely on non-technical staff that gained some knowledge of the systems from their day-to-day activities. With no ICT training, the ad-hoc volunteers for these tasks will remain unfamiliar with many of the system features.
  2. The inadequacy of ICT staff affects service delivery. More significant issues are queued behind all other requests to vendors. In some courts, there is generally adequate local ICT court staff to handle immediate issues (e.g., fixing equipment problems, loading software) but not enough to ensure the effective use of systems or provide analytical support to the courts. This impedes the courts’ ability to use technology to its fullest, understand their operations, or reengineer their processes to ensure that judges and staff engage in productive activities.
  3. According to the Gartner Group, the leader in assessing technology planning, government agencies worldwide allocate an average of 3.6 percent of their employees to the ICT function. In comparison, the courts in Serbia fall far below that level at 1.8percent (see Table 50).
  4. Even after four years, the conclusions of the 2014 Functional Analysis are still valid, with both an uneven average ICT staff in various types of courts (between 0.8 and 3.5), as well as total percentage of ICT staff well below the benchmark of 3.6.

Table 50: 2020 Court Information Technology Staff (Benchmark = 3.6 percent)

Court Type # of Courts

# Authorized


# of ICT


Average # ICT

Staff Per Court

ICT Staff as Share of

Judges/Staff per


Basic Courts 66 6,513 84 1.3 1.3percent
Higher Courts 25 1,922 55 2.2 2.9percent
Appellate Courts 4 747 10 2.5 1.3percent
Commercial Courts 16 892 22 1.4 2.5percent



45 2,276 32 0.7 1.4percent
Total 156 12,350 203 1.3 1.64percent
  1. Prosecutor Office ICT support coverage is similarly unsatisfactory as only 38 (i.e., 44 percent) of offices across the system employ an ICT staff person. Assistance may be provided by basic or higher court IT personnel who are hosts of the building. This presents challenges to the independent functioning of the court and prosecutorial services. Other prosecutor’s offices receive remote assistance from the closest office, which employs a qualified person. The Republican Public Prosecution (RJT) itself has only two staff-related in any form to ICT.
  2. Another important benchmark is the ratio of the number of supported workstations per ICT technician; the number of workstations that are supported by a technician is much higher in Serbia than the widely accepted standard of 40 PCs per technician. This is especially true in larger institutions (e.g., the First Basic Court in Belgrade).

Table 51: Number of supported workstations in basic courts per ICT technician:

Basic court Number of PC Number of ICT staff # supported workstations to an ICT technician
First basic court 648 3 216
Third basic court 319 2 160
Valjevo 96 2 48
Kragujevac 196 4 49
Leskovac 140 2 70
Nis 200 3 67
Zrenjanin 97 2 49
Novi Sad 458 4 115
Subotica 123 3 41
Sabac 131 2 65
  1. Other courts lack specialized ICT-trained staff. An additional 28 percent of the Basic Courts and 53 percent of the Misdemeanor Court IT technicians only hold a high school diploma. Network administration, server administration, and website development is outsourced.
  2. There is an insufficient distinction in the tasks carried out by different IT positions; instead, ‘everyone does everything.’ The Belgrade First Basic Court began assigning distinct ICT responsibilities (e.g., network administrator, server administrator, end-user support, e-mail support, website development), but these distinctions are not reflected in systematization approved by the MOJ, and no other courts follow the First Basic Court’s model. This results in extreme limitations in career growth within the courts. It may also explain the reported high turnover of ICT staff. This situation has not changed since the 2014 Functional Review.

Adequacy of ICT Training ↩︎

  1. With basic training in computer literacy, the sector could significantly increase its efficient use of technology. Computer literacy helps enhance efficiency, workflow, and overall experience within the workplace. Employees can produce more in a shorter amount of time, freeing up resources to do more. Many judges, prosecutors, and court staff have not received the most basic computer literacy training to familiarize themselves with computer hardware or relevant software. Stakeholders report that many judges are unable to do basic word processing, send emails or run searches in the case management systems or legal research databases. As a result, notwithstanding the availability of computers, many judges continue to dictate their orders or correspondence to typists and then manually and repeatedly correct them before finally proofing and signing the document. Judges also rely heavily on judicial assistants and court staff – who similarly have received no such training but who may acquire such skills by virtue of younger age or previous employment.
  2. The website for Judicial Academy (http://www.pars.rs/en/ ), which was created to provide a systematic approach and choice training in various disciplines related to the justice system, does not contain any specific description or program for ICT training, either for the ICT professionals in the justice system or for end-users, which represent 90percent of all employees. With the ever-increasing centrality and use of ICT in the justice system, the Academy should actively pursue mass, basic ICT education of end-users and specific training for those managing Case Management Systems.
  3. There is no systematic, formal training or opportunity for ICT staff, especially in some of today’s most important ICT disciplines (network management, cloud architecture, etc.) ICT employees receive no application-specific training when first hired or any ongoing training. There have been several different efforts to train court staff in specialized topics related to ICT, such as ISO 2700 standards. There seems to be a widespread fear that ICT staff with such training would leave justice for better opportunities elsewhere, and this kind of training is generally expensive, exceeding budget capabilities. Interviews about training ICT staff confirmed that given the uncompetitive pay, trained ICT staff are likely to move to other employment.
  4. Instead, ICT staff is largely left to their own devices, relying on online fora for answers. A proposal to establish a sector-wide ICT Online Forum (IOF), where ICT staff from different institutions can freely exchange ideas and experience or ask for assistance, has been abandoned.
  5. Further, basic computer and software skills are not included as minimum requirements in job classifications for civil servants in the courts. Including this basic requirement, ECLD training and training in Windows server administration would reap benefits in terms of greater proficiency among new hires in the medium term. The Serbian judiciary should learn lessons from others in the region by making a concerted effort to specifically train civil servants in ICT (an example of mass training of all court employees has occurred in Bosnia-Herzegovina, using commonly known European Computer Driver’s License – ECDL curriculum).
  6. ICT training for judges and staff occurs when a new system is implemented (and is usually funded by the donor that funded the system), but it is not offered to new employees or available as refresher courses. For example, training on AVP, arguably the most commonly used and essential system, has not been conducted since its initial rollout in 2010. More frequent training and advanced follow-up training could yield efficiency dividends.
  7. A training assessment based on survey responses of court employees needs to be conducted by the Judicial Academy. Training needs to differentiate between IT specialists, super-users who can help other court employees with simpler ICT problems, and other employees.

Recommendations and Next Steps ↩︎

Recommendation 1: Recommit the enhanced ICT governance.

  • Create a dedicated Chief Information Officer function at the Ministry level to enhance the visibility of ICT issues and their contribution to overall justice sector efficiency. (MOJ – short-term)
  • Strengthen relationships with the Government Office for ICT and contract for the use of existing government infrastructure – for example, utilize the data center in Kragujevac and wide area network connections. (MOJ, HJC, SPC, Court Presidents, Heads of PPOs – short-term)
  • Reinvigorate the e-Justice Department at MOJ and the Judicial ICT Sectoral Council by transforming their role from donor project coordination to key responsibility for ICT strategic planning and management. (MOJ – medium-term)
  • Create and commit funds to a multi-year strategic financial plan for sector-wide ICT support. (MOJ - long-term)

Recommendation 2: Plan for continuous improvement and replenishment in ICT hardware, software, and human resources.

  • Within six months, update the inventory of IT hardware, software, and human resources in the judiciary, utilizing data provided by courts to HJC through BPMIS. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – short-term)
  • Finalize and implement plans to tender a request to vendors for a full-scale help desk and software maintenance. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – short-term)
  • Assess the possibility of introducing speech to text programs in courts and PPOs. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – short-term)
  • Centralize ICT infrastructure support and maintenance through a justice sector-wide organization, which could contribute to lower overall costs, more rational distribution of equipment to those in most need, and the ability to realize quantity discounts. Outsource discrete aspects of infrastructure support, such as desktops, printers, and scanners. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – medium-term)
  • Follow the “evergreening process” – i.e., replace one-quarter of equipment every year, in order to spread the cost of replacement equally over the years, instead of one large budget expense every fourth or fifth year. (MOJ, Court Managers – medium-term)
  • Properly classify all ICT positions, clarifying the level of authority, seniority, and pay levels for all ICT specialist positions (telecommunication and database specialists, analysts, web specialists, etc.) across the technology spectrum. Ensure that compensation and career growth opportunities are commensurate with the private sector. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – medium-term)
  • Conduct a comprehensive training assessment for judicial system ICT staff and provide sustainable, regular ICT training. Pay special attention to the needs of the staff working on the maintenance of IT equipment. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – medium-term)
  • Expand the role of the Judicial Academy to include a complete, standard curriculum of ICT training with a mandatory annual component for certain justice system employees, including judges and prosecutors. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – medium-term)

Recommendation 3: Build capacity for improved data quality in case processing, statistical reporting, and judicial decision-making.

  • Adopt the Rulebook on Data Entry to ensure consistent data management across agencies. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – short-term)
  • Improve procedures for scanning paper documents, including confidentiality and searchability. Procure higher-quality scanners and increase server capacity. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – short-term)
  • Roll-out the e-Sud e-filing application to courts of general jurisdiction using SAPS and to misdemeanor courts using SIPRES. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – short-term)
  • Document technical standards under the EU E-CODEX project and compare them with those under development by the EU so the newly developed Serbian standards will comply with E- CODEX requirements. (PPOs – short-term)
  • Prioritize replacement of AVP, whose architecture prevents it from being updated in a satisfactory manner, with Super SAPS. Ensure that the replacement system is supported by features that AVP lacks, such as consistent use of drop-down menus, clear and consistent data definitions, mandatory fields, field validation, and lock-down of statistics once submitted. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – medium-term)
  • Add several data elements needed for analysis that are not currently tracked across case management systems – appeal rates, overall times to disposition across instances, and adjournments. Introduce automatic routines to eliminate double-counting of cases. (MOJ, HJC, SPC - medium-term)
  • Use existing case management systems to identify enforcement and substantive cases with the same debtor and multiple enforcement cases involving the same parties and causes of action to allow judges to determine if case consolidation would be appropriate. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – medium- term)
  • Develop an internal database of prosecutorial practice, accessible to all prosecutors’ offices and connected to the Judicial Academy’s database (e–Academy) and the case law database. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – medium-term)
  • Implement the central system for case management (SAPO II) in all prosecutors’ offices, enabling connectivity between prosecutors’ offices. Implement software-based automated case distribution in all prosecutors’ offices. (MOJ, SPC, Heads of PPOs – medium-term)
  • - Increase direct access to various registries, i.e., data kept within other state institutions and other organizations (banks, APR, etc.). (MOJ, HJC, SPC – medium-term)
  • Adopt data exchange protocols between the Misdemeanor Courts and the traffic police, the Business Registers’ Agency, the Department of Payments within the Treasury, and the Central Register of Compulsory Social Insurance. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – medium-term)
  • Adopt protocols to link data used by prosecutors, law enforcement institutions, etc. (MOJ, PPOs – medium- term)
  • Acquire more lower-cost audio-only technology to be used when access to in-person hearings is limited and when due process considerations do not require more costly audiovisual communication. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – short-term)
  • Determine where it is cost-effective to expand the use of costly audiovisual technology, such as for remote hearings internationally or in lieu of a prisoner transfer. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – medium- term)
  • Consider replacing many small servers with a larger server (virtualization). (MOJ, HJC, SPC – medium-term)

Recommendation 4: Create an ICT Security Standards Roadmap to support the security standardization work of the judiciary.

  • Identify existing published security standards, standards in development, and areas where a need for standards has been identified but where work has not yet been initiated. (MOJ – short-term)
  • Undertake measures to prevent unauthorized persons from accessing, copying, disclosing, altering, or erasing personal data. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – short-term)
  • Ensure proper maintenance of ESB due to its central role in connecting all systems and users (MOJ – short-term)- Improve the security of paper files by moving files from unsecured into secure areas. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – short-term)
  • Engage in business continuity planning to ensure that critical information and systems are backed up. (MOJ, HJC, SPC – medium-term)

Recommendation 5: Create an ICT Communication Plan (MOJ, HJC, SPC – medium-term) to include:

  • Identify stakeholder communication requirements, identifying key external and internal stakeholders and their different requirements and needs for communication;
  • Develop communication methods and technologies, including meetings, emails, newsletters, conferences, web presence, etc. Establish the most convenient and effective means of communication for each key stakeholder;
  • Develop a communication matrix, summarizing communication types, objectives, medium, frequency, owner, etc. for each audience and stakeholder type;
  • Develop communication standards to simplify the overall communication effort and apply standard templates and formats.