USAID and the High Judicial Council (KLGj) have hired 12 clerks to handle the over 35,000 cases waiting at the High Court before judges start resolving them.
They were hired through the USAID’s “Justice For All” program and are called Backlog Reduction Officers (BROs).
BROs are conducting an inventory of cases, which will be later categorized into batches, which will be then handled by the court’s legal advisors and judges, according to the USAID announcement.
The memorandum of understanding between the KLGj and USAID has been criticized on the grounds of avoiding constitutional and legal requirements for hiring these clerks.
According to Albanian law, the work of these clerks should be carried out by legal aides, who must have completed the School of Magistrates, must undergo the vetting process, and must meet the same professional, ethical and conflict of interest standards applied to members of the High Court.
None of this criteria was applied to the 12 clerks contracted by a private company, East West Management Institute, Inc. (EWMI), which was hired by USAID.
The memorandum was strongly opposed by EURALIUS and the EU delegation in Albania, though they were not able to prevent its signing.
An Exit News analysis has concluded that the memorandum de facto privatizes a part of the justice system, establishing a legal body practically independent of the Court and unaccountable to any constitutional body.