The International Conference on Optimization of Court Performance and Resource Allocation gathered nearly 140 participants from across Romania, several European countries, and the United States on 11 March 2013 at the National Institute of Statistics in Bucharest, Romania. The conference celebrated the culmination of the World Bank-funded and East-West Management Institute-implemented Court Optimization Project by presenting findings and discussing a concrete roadmap for improving overall court performance across Romanian courts. As stated by Ms. Oana Andrea Schmidt-Haineala, President of the Superior Council of Magistracy (SCM), in her opening remarks:
“This conference does not represent at all an end, on the contrary, it is the beginning of a road – hopefully without obstacles – in implementing in Romania, by the Superior Council of Magistracy, of new instruments to ensure the quality of court activity and optimal work volume for judges and clerks...From now on, commencing with the official close of this project, it will be up to us, first of all, the SCM and the MOJ, but also the courts, to know how to properly capitalize the conclusions of this project.”
Following the statement by Ms. Schmidt-Hainela, EWMI Vice President, Mr. Mark Dietrich, expressed his profound appreciation of the EWMI team and the SCM partners, and recognized the remarkable success toward achieving the overarching project goals to modernize Romania’s judiciary, improve management, and increase efficiency by developing standards for court performance and introducing improved methods for resource management, including through training programs and pilot courts, within the 18 month project.
The one-day conference detailed the project deliverables and the collaboration between the project team and the local partners, including the SCM and pilot courts. Extensive materials, including 15 thematic reports, were presented in a comprehensive conference packet to accompany each session. These reports presented project findings, and also may be used as foundational documents for future court improvement plans.
Among many attendees from courts across the country, notable participants included Prosecutor Oana Andrea Schmidt-Haineala, President of the SCM; Judge Nicolae Hortius Dumbrava, Member of the SCM; Judge Lavinia Curelea, President of the Civil Section One of the High Court of Cassation and Justice; Judge Mihaela Cotora, President of the Court of Appeals in Craiova; Judge Amelia Farmathy, Vice President, Bucharest Court of Appeals; Judge Laura Andrei, President of the Bucharest Tribunal; and Judge Mariana Feldioreanu, President of the First Instance Court Sector Four of Bucharest. The conference was covered by the Romanian national press agency.
The goal of EWMI’s Court Optimization Project was to modernize Romania’s judiciary, improve management, and increase efficiency by developing standards for court performance and introducing improved methods for resource management. In particular, EWMI advised the SCM on establishing a comprehensive system for monitoring and benchmarking the efficiency of the courts, enabling it to better measure, monitor and improve performance and allocate resources. The project also implemented recommended reforms through training programs and piloting at individual courts.