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Court Administration Reform
Presentation to No 2 Diplomatic Club
March 7, 2001
Center for the Study of Democracy

The Supreme Administrative Court

Presentation by Mr. Vladislav Slavov, Chair of the Supreme Administrative Court

It is for three years now since the reestablishment of the Supreme Administrative Court on December 1, 1996. Provided in the Constitution of 1991 as a guarantee for legality of the acts and actions of the administrative authorities, the Supreme Administrative Court with its activities has strengthen its significance for the development of Republic of Bulgaria as a democratic and rule of law based state.

The exercising of the assigned with the Supreme Administrative Court Act supreme oversight for precise and equal implementation of the administrative justice laws and the ruling on challenges to the legality of the acts of the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers, ministers, department heads directly reporting to the Council of Ministers, acts of the regional governors, as well as other acts specified by law, reflect in the fact that citizens and organizations more frequently seek this form of protection of their infringed rights and legitimate interests. This circumstance and the constantly increasing authority of the Supreme Administrative Court, built up since the Court renewed activities throughout the last three years, come to explain the continually increasing number of administrative disputes considered by it exceeding 33,000 solved first instance and cassation cases. Together with the judicial activities the Supreme Administrative Court judges are preparing statements on draft laws considered by the National Assembly and on cases proceeded before the Constitutional Court.

During the three years’ period of existence the Supreme Administrative Court has laid down the basis of modern information services. An information system has been introduced allowing the main activities related to the flow of cases to become automated: starting from the submission of a complaint, initiation of proceedings, preparation of subpoenas and session protocols to the announcement of the judicial act that closes the case. The information database offers various possibilities for searching by a given criterion – case number, complainant’s name, type of dispute by matter, etc. Through this information system the flow of cases can be easily traced down and complete information about them can be obtained. Automatic filling up of an information library “Supreme Administrative Court Case Law” including all decisions and resolutions on cases considered has also been introduced.

Together with the design and introduction of the Supreme Administrative Court information system, which is the side visible for the visitors and outer users, lots of efforts have been made for designing and building of the network environment in the building. Each judge or technical assistant has his own PC, a structural cable system has been built following modern standards ensuring high speed communication between the main machines and the separate work sites.

There is an opportunity for part of the data of the Supreme Administrative Court information system to be delivered to jurists countrywide through the Internet technologies as well as for presentation of the Supreme Administrative Court on its own web site. A project has been also discussed for computerization of the courtrooms.

With the reestablishment of the Supreme Administrative Court the library has also started to operate. During the last three years the library has accumulated about 1,100 titles of law literature, a number of specialized periodicals, dictionaries, reference books, and encyclopedias. Efforts are being made for its enlargement with valuable editions related to administrative justice and the Supreme Administrative Court jurisprudence in the period 1913 – 1948. Automatization of the library through Integrated Library Information System (ILIS) is currently going on. The following modules are being designed: titles electronic catalog, readers card-index, analytical processing of articles from periodicals.

In 1998 the Supreme Administrative Court has started the publishing of Administrative Justice periodical on a regular basis. It provides interpretive rulings of the general meeting, judicial acts of three-member and five-member panels, articles and comments on current problems in court case law and law theory. The foreign case law of the European Communities Court of Justice in Luxembourg and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, published in the periodical, provokes exclusive interest. Authors of the articles are Supreme Administrative Court judges, prominent scientists and university professors, experienced practicing lawyers of great authority.

During the last three years a Supreme Administrative Prosecution Office was developed to the Court. It was established on November 25, 1998, on the grounds of a Decision of the Supreme Judicial Council made in pursuance of Article 111 Paragraph 1 of the Law on Amendment of the Law on Judiciary (SG 133/1998). A Deputy Chief Prosecutor and two heads of departments are in charge of the Office.

The staff of the Prosecution Office consists of 22 prosecutors – 18 working in the Administrative Justice Department and 5 in General Legality Oversight Department. The prosecutors in the “Administrative Justice” department along with their routine responsibilities participate in the hearing of administrative cases when provided by law.

For the short three-year period since its reestablishment the Supreme Administrative Court has justified the hopes assigned to it with the adoption of the Constitution of Republic of Bulgaria by the Grand National Assembly in 1991. The increasing number of administrative cases is an indicator for the high level of confidence of the citizens and juridical persons in the functioning of the Court. The Supreme Administrative Court case law significantly contributes to the strengthening of the legality in the activities of administration for the issuance of administrative acts and their execution.

The text is a summary of the article: Three years since the Reestablishment of the Supreme Administrative Court, published in Administrative Justice Periodical, Issue 5-6/1999.

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