The need to ensure the independence of the judiciary and the functioning of the judicial system in the interest of society continues to be an important source of activities for the Venice Commission. Two general reports adopted by the Commission in 2010 on the most important European standards applicable to the judiciary constitute a key reference for the Commission in the assessment of country-specific legislation regulating the judiciary and the guarantees put in place to ensure its independent functioning. The Commission also adopted, in 2007, a Report on judicial appointments.
Recurrent issues raised by the Commission in its recent opinions were related to the independence and immunity of judges, their appointment and discipline, the composition, mandate and the independence of judicial councils. Appraisal systems for judges, judicial ethics, are also a recurrent topic.
Specific problems of amnesty and miscarriages of justice as well as the general problem of corruption within in the judiciary have also been at the centre of the attention of the Commission.
The Commission has also provided assistance, in the light of the existing standards and the best practices in the field, with regard to the powers of the prosecutors and the legal framework for the organisation and operation of the public prosecutor’s service, and the organisation and powers of prosecutorial councils, as well as, more recently, of specialised anti-corruption prosecution bodies.
In 2012, the Commission gave an opinion on two sets of draft amendments to the constitutional provisions on the judiciary in Montenegro. The opinions on the judiciary in Hungary were of particular importance; different aspects of the organisation and operation of the judiciary and of the prosecution service in Bosnia and Herzegovina were also subject of the opinions.
In 2013, the Commission prepared a considerable number of opinions relating to the judiciary for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Serbia, Tajikistan and Ukraine.
In 2014, the Commission examined legal texts on the functioning of the judiciary (courts and prosecution offices, judicial and prosecutorial councils) in Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovakia, as well as to the Kyrgyz Republic.
In 2015, opinions were adopted in relation to the legislation on the judiciary and the status of judges and the judicial council of Ukraine, reforms of the public prosecution service in Georgia, Montenegro and the Republic of Moldova as well as to constitutional amendments aiming at implementing important judicial reforms in Albania, Bulgaria as well as in Ukraine.