The e-Justice approach uses ICT to improve citizens' access to justice and to make legal action more effective, the latter being understood as any type of activity, involving the resolution of a dispute or the punishment of criminal behaviour. In general, each service that provides information in electronic form related to the judicial system, as well as the electronic exchange of judicial information through the communication networks, could be categorized as a service in the e-Justice area.
Since its establishment, Law and Internet Foundation has worked explicitly to enhance the professional standards of the Bulgarian juridical society as being part of the information society, and for an overall reform of the judicial system in the direction of e-Justice development.
The LEX Online Legal Guide’s concept originated in 2002 was aimed at setting up a working system for legal information online. The underlying purpose of the first stage was the development and maintenance of a comprehensive database, in English and Bulgarian, containing up-to-date and useful legal information such as a database of all attorneys, notaries, syndics, courts, courts of arbitration, investigation and prosecution offices, etc. Part of the project activities’ was also the publication of legislative acts dealing with the legal status, activities, and code of conduct of the legal professionals, as well as promotion of different research analysis and publications, related to the legal profession. The project was accomplished with the financial support of Open Society Foundation, Dimitrov, Petrov & Co law firm, and the American Bar Association Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (ABA/CEELI) through a USAID grant for Judicial Reform. The successful results of the project and the beneficiaries’ positive feedback motivated Law and Internet Foundation to continue and enrich the initiative by complementing the existing database with information about the industrial property representatives, penal institutions, law clinics, law departments, and professional bar associations in Bulgaria. In addition to the available ordinances, the project provided free access to all valid legislation. The second stage of the project was realized with the financial support of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and completed in 2004. Later on, the online project platform have been transformed and has started its own existence converting itself into the biggest Bulgarian legal platform.
In 2003 Law and Internet Foundation elaborated the very first pilot project “On-line Broadcasting of Lawsuits and Trails in Bulgaria”. Amongst the project’s objectives was enhancing the public trust and respect to the Bulgarian judicial system, increasing transparency in magistrates’ work and responsibilities, and preventing corruption in the justice administration by online live broadcasting of real legal proceedings on the Internet. The specific activities included the following: broadcasting of lawsuits and trials of public interest, initiating public debates online, and archiving the broadcasted proceedings in order to disseminate them with educational purposes. Additionally, the recorded proceedings could be used for illustrative examples or as learning materials in the introductory practical education of law students, as well as for advancing their professional qualification. The project “On-line Broadcasting of Lawsuits and Trails in Bulgaria” received the support and approval of the Ministry of Justice of Bulgaria, The Union of Bulgarian Jurists, American Bar Association – “Legal Initiative of Central Europe and Eurasia” (ABA/CEELI), and the Supreme Bar Council. The pilot project is implemented in partnership with Varna District Court and the Bulgarian legal portal LEX.BG. The initiative was self-financed, with the support of the Canadian International Development Agency.
From 2002 to 2005 Law and Internet Foundation team was supporting the development of web pages of the Supreme Bar Council’s attorney-at-law register and those of all the 28 bar associations in Bulgaria.
In 2009, upon assignation of the Supreme Judicial Council Law and Internet Foundation experts developed a package of normative acts for implementation of the electronic documents and electronic signatures in the judiciary.
Later on that year, Law and Internet Foundation experts produced an analysis on the legal issues stemming out of a Statement of the Personal Data Protection Commission to the Judiciary, regarding the implementation of Art. 64, Para. 1 of the Judiciary Act, based on thorough analysis of the Bulgarian legislation and its harmonization with the European legislation. The European supranational framework documents regulating the personal data protection on Community level are taken into account for the elaboration of the legal opinion.
- Drafting of a Handbook on European law relating to cybercrime and fundamental rights
- Improving the application of the presumption of iNNOCENce when applying elecTronic evidence (INNOCENT)
- From mobile phones to court – A complete FORensic investigation chain targeting MOBILE devices (FORMOBILE)
- Enhancing the Fair Trial for people suspected or accused of crimes (FAIR)
- e-MEDIATION: promoting ICT tools to cross-border disputes resolution