On Friday 12 November the opening conference of the new Macedonia Jurisprudence project took place in Skopje. The conference served as the official kick-off and scene setter for a new 3-year project that is to strengthen the rule of law in Macedonia by focusing on the role and use of jurisprudence in the Macedonian judicial system. The main objectives of this project are increasing awareness among legal professionals about the role of jurisprudence, improving access to domestic and international case law for legal professionals and civil society, and enhancing the use of jurisprudence by legal professionals and Macedonian civil society. A better understanding and a better use of case law is very important for the development of the rule of law: it provides for a discussion of the interpretation of legislation and thus the upgrading of the quality of the legal system. It is expected that the Macedonian judicial system will profit from the CILC/MATRA input in becoming more uniform and consistent, which will benefit not only the actors in the Macedonian judicial process, but also Macedonian society at large.
At the opening conference representatives of various Macedonian courts, the Macedonian Bar Association and several NGOs in the legal sphere were addressed by the Macedonian Minister of Justice, Mihajlo Manevski, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Republic of Macedonia, Ms. Filippini, and the vice-president of the Macedonian Supreme Court, Mr. Safet Aliu. After the opening ceremony two of the involved experts from the Netherlands spoke on the importance of jurisprudence for the development of a modern legal system and the focus on jurisprudence in legal education and training programmes for judges, prosecutors and lawyers. A Czech legal expert who has been involved in a similar, quite successful project in the Czech Republic also shared his experiences.
The next steps in the project will include familiarization with the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the introduction of jurisprudence into university curricula, and the design of a strengthened web-based jurisprudence database for domestic and international case law.