ROLL: The first workshop on judicial independence

Forum for Human Rights together with its partners the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ, Brussels), Human Rights in Practice (Hague) and Free Courts (Poland), Aditus (Malta) held a two-days intensive workshop on Institutional independence of the judiciary and autonomy of the prosecution service, on 13-14 June 2023 in Brussels. 

Judicial independence serves as a gateway to protecting access to justice and human rights. However, it is currently under attack or under pressure in many EU countries. The workshop brought together experts and practitioners from eight EU Member States (Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Malta and Spain). The discussion revolved around their experience, challenges and opportunities associated with strategic litigation on these issues, the international legal framework and ways forward to better protect judicial independence and the related autonomy of the prosecution service.

Participants explored practical obstacles and challenges to strategic litigation on judicial independence and the autonomy of the prosecution, including issues arising from legal standing for civil society or individual lawyers to bring a case, or the requirement to exhaust domestic remedies – despite the lack of independence of these courts. Innovative legal arguments were explored, including the right of a judge to independence from the Inter-American Court system.

Collective actions (class action/actio popularis) were examined as potential ways forward as opposed to individual complaints. In addition, strategic litigation, other important tools to protect the rule of law and judicial independence were discussed. These include communication, advocacy at national and international levels, alliances and partnerships building.

This workshop was the first one of a series, each focusing on different aspects of judicial independence. These workshops are intended to contribute to the development of the Final mapping report with recommendations on strategic litigation for practitioners in the EU, as part of the ROLL (Rule of Law for Lawyers) project (for more information about the actual developments in the project, click here).

Please see the workshop agenda here.

Videos of brief introductory presentations will soon be made available.