Episode Four

Moving Forward after the Crisis; Lessons for the Judiciary

This episode explores how the courts should be preparing for life after pandemic conditions. What will be the effect of the unprecedented rate of suspended and delayed cases? What new cases can the courts expect to emerge as a result of the pandemic and the measures taken to control it? Many courts were already struggling with delivering justice in a timely fashion – how should they be preparing for an even worse backlog? Should some of the measures that have been taken during the pandemic, such as the use of remote trials, be continued as a tool to expedite proceedings? What lessons have we learned? What is the exit strategy? In this episode, we talk to Judge Vera Doborjginidze from Georgia about some of these questions, as well as Andrea Huber from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, who has been supporting post-pandemic planning for European judiciaries. Bilyana Gyaurova-Wegertseder of the Bulgarian Institute for Legal Initiatives also shares how her civil society organization supports the judiciary and, in our on-going spotlight series on judicial tools, we look at the Social Media Guidelines developed by our own Judicial Network.


[1:20] Interview with Judge Vera Doborjginidze, City court, Georgia

Vera Doborjginidze has served as a Judge at the Tbilisi City Court, Georgia since May 2017. Before her judicial career, Judge Doborjginidze was a member of the Georgian Bar Association and was practicing as an attorney-at-law, as well as founder and director of a legal company. Judge Doborjginidze studied at Tbilisi State University Law Department and at Law Department of Humboldt University to Berlin. At present, she is a Ph.D. student at Tbilisi State University Law Department.

[8:50] Interview with Andrea Huber, Deputy Chief, Rule of Law Unit, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, about her Organization’s Work to Support Judiciaries in Developing a Post-pandemic Exit Strategy

Andrea Huber took over the function of the Deputy Chief Rule of Law at the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in October 2017.

After graduating from ViennaLaw School Ms. Huberworked as a legal counselor headed the department for refugees and migration of a humanitarian organization in Austria from 2000 to 2003 and subsequentially worked at the Regional Higher Court Vienna as a legal assistant to judges. From 2005 to 2011 she held the positions of Legal Officer and Head of Department at international human rights organizations based in Vienna, Brussels, and London. Her most recent role was as Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

In 2011, Ms. Huber joined the international non-governmental organization Penal Reform International as Policy Director. Amongst other responsibilities, she was involved in the review process of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules).

[27:17] Report by Bilyana Gyaurova-Wegertseder, Director, Bulgarian Institute for Legal Initiatives, about the Importance of Trust in her Work Supporting Judges in Bulgaria

Bilyana Gyaurova-Wegertseder is one of the founders of the Bulgarian Institute for Legal Initiatives (BILI) and it’s Executive Director. Bilyana Gyaurova-Wegertseder holds a M.A. in law from Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridsky and has substantial experience in the field of Rule of Law and policy reforms. Prior to founding BILI, she was a Senior Staff Attorney at the American Bar Association CEELI (currently ROLI) project in Bulgaria. In her career as a legal reform specialist, Bilyana had drafted, managed, and participated in the implementation of complex technical assistance projects in various areas of law. Bilyana’s professional interests are related to ethics, ADR, CLE, international development, and strengthening the Rule of Law. She is also a trained mediator and a trainer in mediation, providing training in mediation skills both in Bulgaria and abroad.
Bilyana has several publications in legal magazines about ADR and is a co-author of a textbook on clinical education and ODR. She regularly writes articles related to rule of law, independence of the judiciary, and judicial reform in Bulgaria which are published in different media outlets.