Your Excellency Minister Cazanciuc, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for your invitation. The World Bank is glad to participate at the opening ceremony of Tulcea Tribunal and Tulcea Court of First Instance. This brand new building is the 11th premise finalized within the ongoing Judicial Reform project supported by the World Bank. We can say it is a very concrete result.
An upgraded and automated court is the body of work for this project. But there is also a “soul” of this work, and it has to do with improving the efficiency, transparency, capacity and accountability of the judiciary.
Years ago, the Romanian government embarked on an ambitious economic development program to enhance economic growth, reduce poverty, and integrate smoothly into the EU. It was evident then, and it is evident now that sustained progress in growth and investment also requires institutional reforms.
A strong judicial system, which is accountable and fair to those seeking justice, is part of the environment needed to foster business, private sector investment, and economic growth.
For these to actually lead to the expected results we need both the “body” and the “soul”.
Today we open this court not only for the 120 employees of the Tribunal and the First Instance Court in Tulcea, but also for citizens who need justice and court services. There are over 240,000 inhabitants under the jurisdiction of the Tulcea Tribunal and over 130,000 under the jurisdiction of the First Instance Court. In 2012 the two institutions handled a large number of files, approximately 100,000.
Hence, infrastructure is important, but it is not the only thing needed.
The Judicial Reform Project did not only support the rehabilitation of court houses in line with international standards.
Therefore, let me briefly touch on the less tangible results of this project, which contributed to the improvement of judicial efficiency in pilot courts, through a program of case delay reduction. Moreover, it is implementing a Resource Management System for the judiciary, to allow for effective management of the courts and the financial resources of the sector.
The World Bank supported Project also contributed to the capacity building for the main judicial governing bodies: Superior Council of Magistracy, High Court of Cassation and Justice, and Ministry of Justice.
The Project assisted with the adoption of all four new codes - civil, criminal, civil procedure, and criminal procedure - by the Parliament, and it provided technical assistance for an impact assessment for their effective implementation.
The Project also worked with the National Institute of Magistracy and the National School of Clerks to develop objective and merit-based tests for all new magistrate recruitments, as well as new teaching techniques, including e-learning and distance learning systems for the training of the magistrates and court clerks.
We would like to congratulate our Romanian counterparts for their progress so far, and to reassure them that the Bank remains committed to help with the work that remains for the future.