Over 80% of lawyers do not believe in independence of judges
An opinion poll shows over 80% of the respondents do not think the judges in Moldova are independents and only 17% of those surveyed have an opposite opinion. As regards the solutions of Moldovan judges, 35% of the lawyers consider them equitable and adopted without influences from outside, while 64% do not agree with such an assertion. The poll was commissioned by the Legal Resources Center of Moldova to the Center for Sociological Investigations and Marketing “CBS-AXA”, IPN reports.
Sociologist Vasile Cantarji, project manager, in the presentation of the survey said this was carried out in November – December 2018 and covered 300 lawyers from all over Moldova, which is 14% of the practicing licensed lawyers. The goal was to find out lawyers’ opinions about the independence, efficiency and accountability of the justice system, including the impact of particular legislative changed adopted in 2011-2017 as part of the justice sector reform strategy. Some of the results of the current poll were compared with the results of similar surveys conducted at the end of 2015 among judges, prosecutors and lawyers.
The poll reveals that only 48% of the interviewed lawyers consider the justice sector reform launched in 2011 had a positive impact on the judicial system, while 52% do not agree with this. Figures show an insignificant improvement compared with 2015, when 43% of the respondent lawyers said the reform had a positive impact, while 57% disagreed. In 2018, 44% of the respondents said the quality of justice was better than in 2011, while 55% disagreed. The lawyers’ perception of the quality of justice was slightly better than in 2015, when 37% said the quality of justice was better, while 43% didn’t agree that the quality of justice improved.
Most of the surveyed lawyers said the judges are not independent and such answers are a reason for concern, stated Nadejda Hriptievschi, programs director at the Legal Resources Center. The poll shows 64% of those questioned consider the solutions of judges are not equitable and are not adopted without influence from outside. According to them, the solutions of judges are influenced by politicians (91%), prosecutors (83%), other judges (68%), the Superior Council of Magistracy (65%), parties involved in a trial (58%), police officers (38.5%) and the press (28%).
Asked about their perception of the level of corruption in the country, 73% of the interviewed lawyers said this is high, 14% said the level is low, 2% said there is no corruption, while 11% didn’t answer. As regards the development of corruption in justice from 2011 until now, 26% of the respondents said that the phenomenon diminished (15% in 2015), 35% that it is at the same level (28% in 2015), 34% that is rose (53% in 2015). Asked about the perception of corruption in the justice sector, 69% of the lawyers said this is spread at all the levels, while 19% noted this is spread mainly inside the administration of institutions.
The survey was confidential and the polled persons cannot be identified.