The core idea for creating the platform judicialethicsplatform.nij.bg belongs to the team from the National Institute of Justice /NIJ/, that took part in the competition of the European Judicial Training Network /EJTN/ THEMIS, semi-final D “Ethics and Professional Conduct”, which took place in the city of Barcelona, Spain, in the period from 13th to 16th of July, 2022. The team consists of junior judge Kalina Stancheva – Sofia City Court, junior judge Radoslav Angelov – District Court of Lovech and junior prosecutor Georgi Kodzhanikolov – Regional Prosecutor’s office – Plovdiv, guided by judge Angelina Lazarova – judge in Appellate Court of Varna. As an explanatory mechanism for their defended thesis, the team created a digital space for all magistrates in the European Union where the latter excel their competence and have a mutual network for discussions about current ethical challenges, reflections and suggestions for solving particular ethical dilemmas from both the mundane magistrates’ work and their personal life. The presentation of the platform during the contest was tremendously approved not only by the participants who were also competitors to the team, but also from the honorable jury of the event by awarding the team with a special prize for innovations, for creating the https://judicialethicsplatform.eu/.
The NIJ developed the idea and created a community called “Judicial ethics” within the framework of the Human Rights Forum by the project “Contemporary educational environment for judges, prosecutors, investigators and other representatives of the professional community”, implemented through the support from the program “Justice” by The Norwegian Financial Mechanism /NFM/ 2014-2021. The community is targeted to boost the planning and the fulfillment of the educational activity of NIJ in the field of the rule of law, judicial ethics and professional conduct, including by establishing and maintaining an online platform for exchange of professional experience and good practices. The platform itself is built as a multiprofessional one and aims to answer the expectations of not only magistrates, but also representatives of different professional organizations and experts so as their joint effort can assist for applying coherent and coordinated approach when identifying and addressing the tuition needs as far as the commented topic is concerned.
The platform “Judicial ethics” – https://judicialethicsplatform.nij.bg is being developed in both Bulgarian and English languages, in two accessible zones – a free on and another one that requires registrataion beforehand.
An impetus for its existence gives the need of concrete and transparent outlines of the “admissible” and “inadmissible” in terms of ethical behavior for magistrates in accordance to the changed socio-economic relations, the new reality of today’s society and the natural rapidly changing concomitants.
The platform is accessible for everyone, who has the desire to get to know the ethical standards, assigned for compliance in the process of administration of justice and binding the entire life of the representatives of all judicial systems. Its practical trend and resources promote practitioners for reaching individual decisions and choices of demeanor throughout complicated situations. The reverberations of the organized by the “Judicial ethics” community trainings, the opportunities for direct dialogue with experts in the area of psychology, philosophy, sociology, journalism, legal technologies, artificial intelligence, etc., enhance the competence of magistrates and the affirmation of ethical standards.
The content of the digital territory is divided in a quiescent part regarding the provided sources for rules, comments, (self)educational resources, Atlas for ethical codes, basic challenges and materials that concern them; and a dynamic part regarding the reflection of the news in the area of judicial ethics both on national and international level, podcasts, interviews, video materials, tests, surveys, etc.
After registration, users would have also additional extra options such as: free open discussions about ethical issues that excite them, access to materials from special tuitions, deliberation of case studies in an online forum space, self-evaluation of their knowledge and views, consultations with prominent experts.
We perceive the mission of the platform, as follows:
An informative portal for the topics of rule of law, judicial ethics and professional conduct on a national and international level;
Constantly updating array of electronic instruments, encompassing the mutual resources of judicial ethics, ethical codes of various countries, relevant case law, terminology dictionary, etc.;
A free space for sharing, discussing and coming to an agreement by classical and interactive way of ethical issues, with the golden opportunity for specialized consultation with experts;
A zone for increasing the competence, exchange of good practices and creation of new sources over contemporary challenges arising in front of the representatives of the judicial systems in the field of rule of law, judicial ethics and professional conduct;
Environment for initiating, organizing and conducting national and international trainings in the area of rule of law, judicial ethics and professional conduct.