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27 May 2024

Judges and Lawyers Explore Improvements in Court Case Management

On May 25, 2024, 40 judges, lawyers, other legal professionals, and international experts participated in a Court Management Seminar held in Tbilisi.

Organized by the USAID Rule of Law Program in collaboration with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) in Georgia, the seminar served as a platform to discuss approaches and challenges in court case management. The seminar featured a series of presentations and discussions aimed at improving case management practices within Georgian courts, drawing on both local and international experience.

The seminar began with remarks by Rusudan Tabatadze, Rule of Law Program Manager at USAID/Caucasus, and Sarah Rupert INL Director for Georgia, who emphasized the importance of effective court management in upholding the rule of law and ensuring timely justice.

Sopho Sokhadze from the Georgian Bar Association (GBA) kicked off the first session with an in-depth look at case management in Georgia. She presented a report and “Recommendations Regarding the Management of Case Flows in the Court,” prepared by GBA experts and supported by the USAID Rule of Law Program. Ms. Sokhadze highlighted the need for timeliness and identified common causes of delays in the judicial process. She discussed the key aspects of case-flow management, and the allocation of court resources. She stressed the need for the parties to take a more active role in expediting case proceedings and reducing bottlenecks.

Dr. Tim Bunjevac, Community Engagement Advisor for the USAID Rule of Law Program, provided an overview of civil case management and case-flow management from an international perspective. His presentation included examples from various jurisdictions, illustrating effective strategies for managing civil cases and ensuring efficient court operations. The session concluded with a lively discussion, in which participants exchanged ideas on how to integrate international best practices into the Georgian courts.

USAID Rule of Law Program-invited Judge Timothy Baland shared his observations on civil and administrative case management in Georgian courts. He gave practical tips for improving case management and reducing delays, drawing on experiences from the U.S.

The afternoon session began with a focus on jury management in criminal trials, a relatively new process in Georgian courts. Judge Elene Goguadze of the Tbilisi City Court provided examples of jury management practices in Georgia and compared them with international practices. She spoke about many of the challenges and successes of implementing the jury system in Georgian courts.

Kerry W. Meyer, Chief Judge of the Fourth Judicial District Court of Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, led a session on advanced jury management techniques. Judge Meyer discussed the roles and responsibilities of jury management, its significance as a trial performance measure, and best practices for optimizing jury operations. The session included a discussion of how these practices could be tailored to fit the Georgian legal system and provided a robust framework for future improvements.

The seminar concluded with remarks that summarized the key takeaways from the day's sessions, emphasizing the importance of continued collaboration and knowledge exchange between Georgian and international legal experts.


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