Twenty-four trainees of the Judicial Academy attended a two days course on Individual Case Management, developed and conducted by the EWMI’s Separation of Powers Program together with the JA. Judge Zorica Smircic from the Belgrade Higher Court and Judge Djordje Ristic from the Higher Court in Kragujevac introduced soon to be judges to management in civil and criminal cases, holding preparatory hearings in both types of cases. These cases have just recently been introduced in the Serbian judiciary, but SPP partner courts had already been implementing them.
Trainees also learned about mediation, settlement and plea bargaining. Judge Smircic taught session on how to manage civil cases and write verdicts, while Judge Ristic covered management and drafting verdicts in crimial cases. During the second part of the course, young lawyers learned how to develop judge’s tools in both criminal and civil cases. The two judges separated them into groups to better absorb and experience the methodology covered in the course, and led trial simulations to give the trainees an opportunity to practice what they learned.
“Practical examples are most useful. Suggestions by judge Smircic are very helpful, especially about different tools that a judge can use,” Irina Semenov, one of the trainees explained. “Our goal is to ease the path for the future judges, to point out the ways which will help them resolve cases more efficiently. We are sharing with them our experience, to make sure they avoid mistakes in drafting decisions or in case management. We are also teaching them how to behave and act as judges,” Judge Smircic said.