The Inspectorate to the Supreme Judicial Council
General inspector – Teodora Tochkova
The Inspectorate to the Supreme Judicial Council /ISJC/ is a body of the judicial system of the Republic of Bulgaria. It was created under Art. 132a of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria / promulgated in SG No. 12 of February 6, 2007 /
The Inspectorate to the SJC is an independent body. Its main function is to inspect the activities of the judiciary without affecting their independence. Art. 54, para. 1 of the Judiciary System Act assigns to the Inspectorate to the Supreme Judicial Council the following powers
(1) The Inspectorate shall:
1. check the organisation of administrative operation of the courts, prosecution offices and investigating authorities;
2. check the arrangements made for the institution and progress of court, prosecutorial and investigative cases, as well as the disposal thereof within the established time limits;
3. analyse and summarise the cases that have been disposed of by virtue of an enforceable judicial instrument, as well as the case files and cases disposed of by prosecutors and investigating magistrates;
4. in the presence of conflicting case-law, the existence of which has been found in carrying out the activity under Paragraph (3), it shall alert the competent authorities of the need to request the rendition of interpretative judgements or interpretative decrees;
5. (supplemented, SG No. 28/2016) upon breaches identified in the implementation of the activities under Items 1 to 3, it shall alert the administrative head of the judicial authority concerned and the respective chamber of the Supreme Judicial Council;
6. make proposals for the imposition of disciplinary sanctions on judges, prosecutors and investigating magistrates and on the administrative heads of judicial authorities;
7. address alerts, proposals and reports to other state bodies, including the competent judicial authorities;
8. (amended, SG No. 62/2016, effective 9.08.2016) carry out integrity testing and examinations for conflict of interest of judges, prosecutors and investigating magistrates, verifications of the financial interests disclosure declarations, as well as checks for identifying actions damaging the prestige of the Judiciary and such related to impairment of the independence of judges, prosecutors and investigating magistrates;
9. (new, SG No. 62/2016, effective 9.08.2016) examine applications against an infringement of the right to have a case examined and disposed of within a reasonable time;
10. (amended, SG No. 62/2016, effective 9.08.2016) adopt internal rules for carrying out the testing and examinations under Items 1 to 3 and Item 8 in the judicial authorities;
11. (new, SG No. 62/2016, effective 9.08.2016) adopt internal rules for conduct of the integrity testing of experts with the Inspectorate and organise the conduct of such testing;
12. (new, SG No. 62/2016, effective 9.08.2016) draw up an annual programme for scheduled inspections and an annual report on the activity thereof, which it shall submit to the Plenum of the Supreme Judicial Council;
13. (amended, SG No. 15/2013, effective 1.01.2014, renumbered from Item 9, SG No. 62/2016, effective 9.08.2016) discuss the draft budget for the Judiciary proposed by the Minister of Justice with regard to the budget of the Inspectorate and submit it to the Supreme Judicial Council;
14. (new, SG No. 62/2016, effective 9.08.2016) make publicly available information on the activity thereof and publish the annual report on the activity thereof on the website thereof;
15. (new, SG No. 17/2019) exercise supervision over the processing of personal data in the cases specified in Article 17(1) of the Personal Data Protection Act.
(2) (New, SG No. 17/2019) When carrying out the supervision referred to in item 15 of Paragraph (1), the Inspectorate shall perform the tasks and exercise the powers specified in the Personal Data Protection Act.
(3) (Renumbered from Paragraph (2), SG No. 17/2019) The Inspectorate shall adopt decisions by a majority of more than one-half of its members.
With the Law for amendment and supplement of the Judiciary System Act, promulgated SG, iss. 50 of 2012, a new Chapter Three “a” was adopted, entitled ” Eamining applications against infringement of right to have case examined and disposed within reasonable time.” It provides additional powers of the Inspectorate to the Supreme Judicial Council to conduct inspections on applications of citizens and legal entities against acts, actions and omissions of the judiciary, which violates their right to hear and resolve the case within a reasonable time. After the completion of the inspection, the statement of findings, objectifying the results thereof, together with the application and all documents received by it, shall be sent to the Minister of Justice.
The Inspectorate consists of a Inspector General and ten inspectors, who are elected by the National Assembly by a two-thirds majority of the Members of Parliament. The term of office of the Inspector General is five years, and of the inspectors – four years. The conditions and the procedure for election and dismissal of the Inspector General and the inspectors, as well as the organization and the activity of the Inspectorate are regulated in Chapter Three, Art. 40 – art. 60 of the Judiciary System Act.
The Inspector General and the inspectors shall be independent in the performance of their functions and shall be subject only to the law. The Inspectorate acts ex officio, at the initiative of citizens, legal entities or state bodies, including judges, prosecutors and investigators.
The Inspectorate sends signals, proposals and reports to other state bodies and to the competent bodies of the judiciary.
The Inspectorate provides public information about its activities.
Articles in English
1. “Independent Supervision for Protection Personal Data Processed by the Courts in the Republic of Bulgaria for the Purposes of Discharging Their Judicial Functions” author Teodora Tochkova – General inspector of the ISJC for The Yearbook of Estonian Courts 2020;
2. “Powers of the ISJC for proposing initiation on disciplinary proceedings for imposition of disciplinary sanctions to judges, prosecutors and investigators. Proportionality to the disciplinary powers of the heads of the bodies of the judiciary.” Author Alexander Elenkov – Judge at the Supreme Administrative Court;
3. “Prevention of corruption within the bodies of the judiciary and the role of the ISJC” author Daniel Valchev – professor at the Faculty of Law of Sofia University, Head of Theory and history of the State and the legal Systems Department;
4. “The conflict of interest in the activity of judges, prosecutors and investigators according to the new legal framework of the JSA” author Marina Mihaylova – Judge at the Supreme Administrative Court;
5. “The new powers of the ISJC” author Retar Raymundov, PhD – inspector from the second term of ISJC (2012-2016);
6. “The independent Judicial Inspectorate in Bulgaria – constitutional balance and relation” author Prof. Pencho Penev, PhD, Minister of Justice 1190-1991 and Minister of Interior 1990, MP at the Grand National Assembly, Constitutional Judge (1991-1997), Director of the National Institute of Justice (2004-2011);
List of documents in English
1. Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria;
2. Judiciary System Act;
3. Information about the work of the Inspectorate to the Supreme Judicial Council;
4. Code of Ethics for the behavior of the Bulgarian magistrates;
5. Standards for conducting disciplinary proceedings under Chapter Sixteen of the Judiciary System Act;
6. Appendix No. 1 to Order No. 3-108/23.11.2016 of the Chief inspector to ISJC – INTERNAL RULES OF THE PROCEDURE FOR PROPOSALS FOR INSTIGATING DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS MADE BY THE INSPECTORATE TO THE SUPREME JUDICIAL COUNCIL;
7. INTERNAL RULES On protection of the identity of persons who have submitted an alert for conducting of inspection under the procedure of Chapter Nine, Section I b of the Judiciary System Act
List of documents in Bulgarian
1. RULES on the organization of the activity of the Inspectorate to the Supreme Judicial Council and on the activity of the administration and of the experts, Issued by the Inspectorate to the Supreme Judicial Council;
2.Methodology for conducting inspections of the Judiciary by teams of the Inspectorate to the Supreme Judicial Council;
3. Methodology for carrying out inspections under the Personal Data Protection Act by teams of the Inspectorate to the Supreme Judicial Council in the bodies of the Judiciary;
4. Methodology for the activity of the Inspectorate to the Supreme Judicial Council under Chapter Three “a” of the JSA;
5. INTERNAL RULES for verifications of the finansial interesrts disclosure declarations of the judges, prosecutors and investigating magistrates by teams of the ISJC;
6. INTERNAL RULES for conducting out checks for integrity and conflict of interests and checks for identifying actions damaging the prestige of the Judiciary, and such related to impairment of the independence of judges, prosecutors and investigating magistrates, by teams of the Inspectorate at the Supreme Judicial Council;