Analysis of the Justice System in Albania-2015
Stephen Hickling of the British Embassy took part in the public consultation of the "Analysis of the Justice System in Albania-2015" document
Stephen Hickling, charge d’affaires a.i. of the British Embassy took part in the public consultation of the “Analysis of the Justice System in Albania-2015” document in Pogradec, one of many public meetings organized in the framework of the judicial reform process, dedicated to free legal professions.
In his speech, Mr. Hickling highlighted some of the reasons why this reform is important. He recalled Albania’s EU membership and foreign investments as the two main areas that are obstructed more by an unreformed judiciary.
But sadly, it is clear to us that because of the corruption that exists in the justice system, the foreign investors are canceling projects that would create jobs. Investors simply do not want to risk. Legislation against corruption and bribery in developed countries makes it almost impossible to invest in Albania, said Hickling.
He also stressed that the steps towards Albania’s EU membership depend on this reform. Charge d ‘Affaires, Hickling said that reforms should not happen for the good of the European Union, the international community, embassies or the Venice Commission:
You don’t have to do it for our benefit; Albania needs to undertake this reform for itself regardless of other factors.
Mr. Hickling also talked about corruption in the judiciary, “at the heart of which a corrupt judges clique is grown”. Corruption that is also supported by lawyers and other persons involved in the legal services that serve as intermediation between clients and judges.
But bribes don’t go only on into the judges pockets. Lawyers and others in the legal services are complicit, and benefit from this corrupt system, he said.
At the conclusion of his speech, Mr. Hickling said he hoped that the opposition parties can bring their legal expertise in this process, since judicial reform is a major issue facing Albania and all parties have a responsibility to play their role.