Safeguarding the Rule of Law in Challenging Times a Podcast Series from CEELI talks

The CEELI Institute is delighted to announce the release of our first podcast series Safeguarding the Rule of Law, in Challenging Times. This series encapsulates the unique legal challenges of the day and will feature interviews, conversations, and reports with leading judges, civil society actors, and representatives of European institutions that advance the rule of law. 

Episode One – Safeguarding the Rule of Law

Our inaugural episode — Safeguarding the Rule of Law — focuses on the role of judiciaries and the complications presented by the COVID-19 crisis. This episode features a conversation with Judge José Igreja Matos, President of the European Association of Judges, about his observations, concerns, and insights on the role of the judiciary under lockdown. Dr. Jan Grinc of Charles University in Prague also joins the episode and shares some of the challenges presented to the Czech courts by COVID-19. Dr. Grinc is followed by Judge Katica Artuković, from Bosnia Herzegovina, who reports from the frontline about change in courtroom procedures and practices, to ensure access to justice and that the rule of law is maintained. Finally, Freda Grealy, CEELI Program Director, shines a spotlight on the work of regional judges with a look at the Brijuni Statement on Judicial Independence.

This episode is available on Apple Podcasts and can be downloaded on our website here

Episode Two – Maintaining Access to Justice Part 1: Criminal Courts

Our second episode in the series, Maintaining Access to Justice Part 1: Criminal Courts explores how the wheels of justice can continue to operate during the current global health crisis, particularly in the context of criminal trials. What are the core functions that the judiciary needs to deliver to deal with urgent issues despite the pandemic?  What critical decisions and urgent matters must be addressed? We talk to the Right Honourable Justice Bernard McCloskey of Northern Ireland about his view of these matters, including the limitations of videoconferencing to replace in-person trials during pandemic restrictions.  Ilze Tralmaka of Fair Trials also provides an overview of her organization’s concerns surrounding access to justice during the pandemic, and our spotlight series looks at the bi-weekly Webinar Roundtable Discussion Series CEELI is presenting with the Central & Eastern European Judicial Exchange Network.

This episode is available on Apple Podcasts and can be downloaded on our website here.

Episode Three – Maintaining Access to Justice Part 2; Administrative and Civil Courts

Because the stakes are so high, access to justice is often considered within the context of criminal law.  However, many people come into contact with the justice system to resolve non-criminal disputes.  This episode considers the role of administrative and civil courts in the pandemic crisis. What is the role of the administrative courts in holding governments to account? How can civil and administrative courts ensure their functions continue during a state of emergency? How can they support people who may be disproportionately affected by the emergency?  What critical decisions and urgent matters must be addressed? Are caseloads being delayed, and if so, to what long term effect?  We talk to administrative judge Edith Zeller of Austria and civil and labour judge Domagoj Frntić of Croatia to get their perspective on these matters.  Matt Pollard from the International Commission of Jurists also provides a report on what the European Court of Human Rights has said about fairness in the context of remote video trials, and we shine a spotlight on the Judicial Manual on Independence, Impartiality, and Integrity of Justice – a project of the Central and Eastern European Judicial Exchange Network.

This episode is available on Apple Podcasts and can be downloaded on our website.

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Episode Four – Moving Forward after the Crisis; Lessons for the Judiciary

This episode explores how the courts should be preparing for life after pandemic conditions. What will be the effect of the unprecedented rate of suspended and delayed cases? What new cases can the courts expect to emerge as a result of the pandemic and the measures taken to control it? Many courts were already struggling with delivering justice in a timely fashion – how should they be preparing for an even worse backlog?  Should some of the measures that have been taken during the pandemic, such as the use of remote trials, be continued as a tool to expedite proceedings?  What lessons have we learned? What is the exit strategy? In this episode, we talk to Judge Vera Doborjginidze from Georgia about some of these questions, as well as Andrea Huber from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, who has been supporting post-pandemic planning for European judiciaries. Bilyana Gyaurova-Wegertseder of the Bulgarian Institute for Legal Initiatives also shares how her civil society organization supports the judiciary and, in our on-going spotlight series on judicial tools, we look at the Social Media Guidelines developed by our own Judicial Network.

This episode is available on Apple Podcasts and can be downloaded on our website.

Our new podcast channel, ‘CEELI Talks’ was created as a part of CEELI Institute’s Central and Eastern European Judicial Exchange Network. The Network, established in 2012, is comprised of some of the best and brightest young judges from eighteen countries who gather regularly to share best practices on issues of judicial independence, integrity, accountability, and court management. As international in-person meetings are likely to be limited for some time to come, this podcast series and the corresponding webinar series will ensure that the Network can continue to meet its mandate to improve judicial integrity and court efficiency in Central and Eastern Europe, despite the global lockdowns resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

For further inquiries, contact 

This project has been made possible through the generous support of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) at the U.S. Department of State.​