Summit of ministers of justice

 Minister of Justice Krzysztof Kwiatkowski: it is a real reactivation of the Visegrád Group

- It is a real reactivation of the Visegrád Group - said Minister of Justice of Poland, Krzysztof Kwiatkowski, during a press conference summarizing the summit of ministers of justice of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

Ministers met on the occasion of the XX Economic Forum in Krynica, which this year – for the first time – besides economics was also devoted to legal issues. The summit of ministers of justice of the Visegrád Group in Krynica – besides the Minister of Justice of Poland Krzysztof Kwiatkowski – was also attended by: Jiří Pospíšil – Minister of Justice of the Czech Republic, Lucia Žitňanská – Minister of Justice of the Slovak Republic and Róbert Répássy – Deputy Minister of Justice of the Republic of Hungary. Poland was represented also by Undersecretaries of State in the Ministry of Justice of Poland – Jacek Czaja and Piotr Kluz.

Ministers participated also in the discussion panel moderated by Prof. Zbigniew Ćwiąkalski, entitled „Dimension of justice in Europe  – how to meet challenges?"

- We live in the times of continuous geopolitical, social and technological changes. However, regardless of these changes, the authority of the judiciary, as one of the basic pillars of the democratic state of law, should always be based on the quality and effectiveness of its functioning – said during the discussion Minister Krzysztof Kwiatkowski. – Problems, which constitute currently the greatest challenge for the Polish judiciary can be perceived in two ways. From the point of view of the society, but also from the point of view of the personnel working in the administration of justice – he added.

During the discussion, participants talked about the projects prepared in the ministry of justice, related to fast on-line registration of limited liability companies (so called S-24) or further strengthening of e-court. Challenges facing the judiciary, not only in Poland, but also in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, were the topic of bilateral meetings held during the ministers' summit. Talks between the of Polish and Hungarian Ministers of Justice were devoted to priorities of the Presidency of both countries in the European Union. Hungary will assume it already on 1 January 2011, Poland – half a year later.

- I am very delighted with the fact that our countries initiated actions aimed at improvement of the process of preparation to the Presidency in the European Council. I am convinced that the agreement signed on the 24th of  March 2010 on cooperation in connection with the upcoming Hungarian and Polish presidencies in the European Council will contribute to consolidation of cooperation between our Ministries, and in consequence allow us to achieve the determined programme priorities of both our Presidencies – said during the meeting Minister Krzysztof Kwiatkowski. – We are very interested in detailed information not only about the priorities of the Hungarian Presidency, but also technical aspects of preparations. We will regard all information as very useful. We would like to use the knowledge and experience already gained by the Ministry of Justice of Hungary – he added.

Ministers talked also about a planned reform of the judiciary, and especially introduction of periodical evaluation of judges, which is the intention of the Ministry of Justice of Hungary. One of the effects of the meetings of Ministers will be appointment  of a special Polish-Hungarian working group, which has the purpose of preparing both countries to the Presidency in the European Union.

Talks with the Czech partners were devoted, among other things, to the reform of judiciary within the scope of the bankruptcy law. First of all they were related to the functioning in Poland of the Electronic Supervision System, whose introduction – based on the Polish solutions – is planned by the Czechs. Minister Krzysztof Kwiatkowski not only shared with the Czech Minister of Justice the experience from implementation of the system in Poland, but also handed over a set of materials related to this process.

Representatives of the Slovak Ministry of Justice asked the Polish Minister for information about the planned reform of the judiciary, and especially introduction of the periodical evaluation of judges combined with their individual development plan. Ministers shared also their experience connected with centres of legal aid for citizens functioning in Slovakia. They also discussed about the Polish solutions related to gratuitous aid and legal information.

The key element of the summit was signature of the Declaration on cooperation within the scope of increasing effectiveness of the judiciary.

The main element of the Declaration is to begin cooperation within the scope of ensuring appropriate quality and effectiveness in the work of the judiciary, establish open and constructive cooperation and prepare appropriate measures, bearing in mind the aspiration to increase effectiveness of the judiciary (especially within the scope of application of modern technologies).

- Currently, thanks to fast on-line connection, we consider among other things to create a common service centre, which would render services for the judiciary in all the states. We also take into account a possible common training centre or an experimental centre for providing IT services for the courts – said Minister Krzysztof Kwiatkowski. – In this way, we will all have access to modern solutions, reducing costs in the same time. That is why, I am very glad of the signature of the Declaration on cooperation within the scope of increasing effectiveness of the judiciary. Thanks to this agreement we will be able to reach faster the objectives specified here – he added.

Moreover, during the meeting of ministers of justice from the Visegrád Group, the Polish Ministry of Justice proposed a project of international cooperation in order to prepare common strategies and action plans to strengthen development of knowledge about adaptation of legal systems and judicial institutions to requirements connected with the European integration in the countries from our region.

This project will be based on analysis of the process of democratic transformation in the states of Central Europe and the impact of the EU on changes in the judicial institutions and it will define tasks for the future. It will combine the potential of the project's partners within the scope of preparing and implementing modern methods of public administration, oriented at improved functioning of the judicial administration and improvement in the quality of public services as well as creation of a network of direct contacts among the management of the administration of justice.

A result of the project will be preparation of a balance of transformation of judicial systems in Central Europe after twenty years of socio-economic transformation from the perspective of the judge and the user and analysis of the methods of management of human resources, infrastructure and information in the administration of justice in Central Europe. The goal of the project will be to prepare components of a joint strategy for development of institutions and organizations of the judiciary in Central Europe.

The object of our work will be to analyse comparatively the model of proceeding in economic cases against the background of obligations resulting from membership in the EU. The project will be financed from the European Operational Fund for Central. Europe Its costs are estimated initially at 2 million euros.