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Pakistan: Bills Introduced on Increased Representation of Women in the Supreme Court

(May 26, 2016) On May 16, 2016, a member of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and former law minister, Babar Awan, introduced a private member’s bill in the Senate, the upper house of Pakistan’s federal legislature, that would amend the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act, 1997, to provide greater “representation of women” in Pakistan’s […]

Poland: New Legislation May Hobble Constitutional Court

(Jan. 5, 2016) On December 22, 2015, the lower chamber of Poland’s Parliament, the Sejm, passed controversial legislation amending the Law on the Constitutional Court that critics fear will paralyze the functioning of the Court and harm governmental checks and balances.   It was passed by the upper chamber, the Senate, on the same day.  (Alexis […]

Bulgaria: Constitutional Amendment Provides for Judicial Reform

(Dec. 30, 2015) On December 16, 2015, the National Assembly (legislature) of Bulgaria adopted a law amending several provisions of the Constitution concerning the organization of the national judiciary and the law enforcement community. (Law on Amending the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, DERZHAVEN VESNIK [OFFICIAL GAZETTE] 2015, No. 100 (Dec. 18, 2015), at […]

Germany: Judge Texting During Trial Created Appearance of Bias

(Sept. 10, 2015) On June 17, 2015, the German Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) held that the private use of a cell phone by a judge during the questioning of a witness in the trial of a case created an appearance of impropriety and bias and thus constituted absolute grounds for appeal of the […]

International Criminal Court: New Judge Elected

(July 6, 2015) On June 24, 2015, during its 13th session, the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC), elected Dr. Raul Cano Pangalangan as a judge of the ICC. (Press Release, ICC, Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute Elects a Judge (June […]

Brazil: Constitutional Amendment Passed Increasing Justices

(May 12, 2015) On May 6, 2015, the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies approved a constitutional amendment that increases the age of compulsory retirement of the members of the Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal, STF), the Audit Tribunal of the Union (Tribunal de Contas da União, TCU), and all other superior tribunals. After the amendment, […]

Italy: Civil Liability of Judges

(Apr. 9, 2015) Italy has approved new legislation on the civil liability of judges. (Law No. 18 of February 27, 2015, on Civil Liability of Magistrates, GAZETTA UFFICIALE (G. U.) No. 52, NORMATTIVA, amending Law No. 117 of April 13, 1988, Indemnification of Damages Caused in the Exercise of Judicial Functions and Civil Liability of […]

Brazil: Lay Judges, a Quick Solution to Less Complex Disputes

(Feb. 25, 2015) Recently tribunals throughout Brazil have been enacting specific normative acts to regulate the activities of lay judges, who are recruited through a public selection process. These professionals already operate in states such as Espírito Santo, Rio Grande do Sul, and Rio de Janeiro and have played an important role in the rapid […]

Italy: Measures to Decrease Backlogs in Civil Proceedings

(Oct. 3, 2014) Recently adopted legislation in Italy seeks to clear the country’s considerable backlog of civil cases through a series of measures in the areas of attorney-client relationships, civil actions, family law proceedings, arbitration proceedings, summary proceedings, enforcement procedures, and the transfer of judges throughout the country. (Decree-Law No. 132, of September 12, 2014 […]