National Institute of Justice

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is a public institution, which provides learning opportunities for the Judiciary.

The National Institute of Justice became operational on January 1, 2004. It was built upon the achievements of the Magistrate Training Center, a nongovernmental organization established in 1999. Chapter 11 of the Judiciary System Act (promulgated, SG N 64/07.08.2007) and the Regulation on the Organization of the Activities of the National Institute of Justice, adopted by the Supreme Judicial Council (promulgated, SG N 76/21.09.2007, effective since September 21, 2007), provide the legal basis for the functioning of the NIJ.

The main goal of the National Institute of Justice is to improve the efficiency of jurisdiction through quality professional training and enhancement of qualification of Bulgarian magistrates and court clerks as well as to gather, process and disseminate information on training needs and to carry out the activities of a Documentation Center in EU Law for the Judiciary.

The NIJ is an independent legal entity but there is a functional relationship between the Institute, on one hand, and the Supreme Judicial Council and the Ministry of Justice, on the other. The Institute obtains its funding from the budget of the Judiciary as well as from various programs and projects.

The National Institute of Justice is headed by a Managing Board. Members of the Managing Board are elected by the Supreme Judicial Council (five members) and by the Ministry of Justice (two members). These members have a five years seat. The chairperson of the Supreme Court of Cassation is an ex lege Managing Board’s Chair.

The National Institute of Justice is managed by a Director. The Director is appointed by the NIJ Managing Board for a term of five years with the right to reappointment after evaluation of his operations by the Managing Board.

The Director is responsible for the implementation of the NIJ Managing Board’s resolutions; the organization of NIJ activities as well as for its management; the development of the Institute’s training curriculum, its annual budget, interior regulations, NIJ strategic development plan, etc. as well as for their approval by the NIJ Managing Board.

Since November 1st, 2004 the NIJ Director’s post has been held by Assoc.Prof. PhD Pencho Penev. Assoc.Prof. PhD P.Penev is a Bulgarian jurist and politician – before his appointment to the NIJ Director the latter has occupied the positions of a National Representative at the Seventh Grand National Assembly, Minister of Justice (1990, 1990-1991), Minister of Interior Affairs (1990) of Republic of Bulgaria and a Constitutional Court judge (1991-1997). In September 2007 Assoc.Prof. PhD P.Penev was reappointed for another three years term by the NIJ Managing Board.

Mr Dragomir Yordanov is director of NIJ in the period from April 1st 2011 until July 5th 2016. Mr.Yordanov has a magistrate’s background – he has worked as judge as at the EU Rule of Law Mission EULEX in Kosovo as well as at the Regional Court of Sofia. In the period 1999 – 2004 he was Managing Director of the Magistrate’s Training Centre (which successor is the NIJ). The newly-appointed Director entered on his duties on April 1st, 2011.

At its sitting, held on June 29th, 2016 the NIJ Managing Board elected Mrs. Miglena Tacheva to the Director of the National Institute of Justice. The newly-appointed Director entered on her duties on July 5th, 2016.

The NIJ activities are supported by a Program Council. It is an advisory body, which contributes to the preparation and updating of training programs and to lecturers’ selection process. Program Council members are elected by the Managing Board. It consists of judiciary and academic members.

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