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Judicial Professional Associations: Fostering Judicial Reform Through Civil Society Development

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This article documents the history of judicial professional associations (the Judges' Association of Serbia, Prosecutors' Association of Serbia, and Magistrates' Association of Serbia) in Serbia from their early development in the mid-1990s through the present day. With a close focus on the associations' relationship with USAID implementing partner American Bar Association/Central Europe and Eurasian Law Initiative (ABA/CEELI), the article identifies the challenges to establishing sustainable judicial professional associations. These challenges include a lack of secure funding, low organizational and administrative capacity, a high turnover rate of volunteers and employees, reliance on foreign-generated 'copy-and-paste' activities that do not take local needs into account, and uneasy relationships with the local and central governments. Successes of the fledgling judicial professional associations are also noted, including the implementation of continuing legal education (CLE) seminars.


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