Albania – annual report 2022

Study trip for judges of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Albania to the Federal Administrative Court and the Constitutional Court of the State of Berlin, 28 to 29 June 2022.
Study trip for judges of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Albania to the Federal Administrative Court and the Constitutional Court of the State of Berlin, 28 to 29 June 2022.

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

Albania placed an application for EU membership as far back as 2009 and has been an official accession candidate since 2014. The first accession conference was not held until 19 July 2022, marking the start of the accession negotiations. The screening process by the European Commission began directly after the conference. A decision will be reached on opening the first negotiation cluster with relevant topic areas on the basis of the screening report at the end of the process.

As a NATO member and EU accession candidate, Albania has adopted a stance of full alignment with the sanctions measures imposed against Russia due to the war in Ukraine, in line with the European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).

The challenges for the judicial system remain high due to the ongoing vetting process. As part of the accession negotiations with the European Union, Albania committed to an intensive review of the judiciary and public prosecutor’s office and passed Law No. 84/2016 “On the Transitional Re-evaluation of Judges and Prosecutors in the Republic of Albania” (the Vetting Law for short) in August 2016. The thorough screening is used to review the professional suitability, financial circumstances and integrity of judges and public prosecutors. Around 64 percent of the judges and public prosecutors reviewed did not successfully complete the procedure and were therefore required to step down from their positions. This created a gap, which has led to significant problems in all areas of the judicial field. Albania was, however, able to make progress in 2022. At the Supreme Court, 16 out of a total of 17 positions are now filled by recently appointed judges, which has reduced the backlog of cases for the first time in six years. Furthermore, the full complement of judges was appointed to the Constitutional Court in 2022.

The School of Magistrates plays a pivotal role in the education of new judges and public prosecutors. Its capacities have now been increased, although they remain insufficient.

Overall Concept

The project work conducted by IRZ in Albania is financed by funds provided by the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Federal Foreign Office and the European Union. These financial resources complement each other and enable processing of a wide range of topics in cooperation with a large number of partners.

As in previous years, the area of court organisation was one of the priorities within the bilateral cooperation in 2022, with the Supreme Court as cooperation partner. This involved installation of the technical facilities (software and hardware) in the Documentation Department for an effective and efficient management of judgements. Employees at the Supreme Court received training in use of the software at the same time.

In addition, IRZ – together with various partner institutions – addressed important topics such as disciplinary law of judges and administrative law.

Bilateral cooperation continued, in some cases with new partners, after the end of the EU-funded EURALIUS V project under the leadership of IRZ.

IRZ also intensified cooperation with the Albanian School of ­Magistrates, which, within the framework of the vetting process, plays a key role in the initial and continuous training of young legal professional. This ­cooperation involved a large number of further training events on a ­variety of topics.

At the same time, the constitutional complaint, which was introduced in Albania in 2016 based on the German model, was a thematic focus of IRZ’s project work in Albania. IRZ worked with the Albanian Chamber of Advocacy to hold a number of further training courses on this topic for legal professionals in the various regions of Albania. In future, the Constitutional Court will again be involved more strongly in the consultations.

Focuses of Activity in 2022

Constitutional Law, Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • Regional conference on “The interaction between ordinary and constitutional jurisdiction to uphold the rule of law” in cooperation with the Constitutional Courts and Supreme Courts of Kosovo and Albania
  • Three seminars (one face-to-face event, two online seminars) on the topic of “Constitutional complaints” in cooperation with the Albanian Chamber of Advocacy

Public Law

  • Study trip to Leipzig and Berlin on the topic of on the topic of “Administrative court jurisdiction” for judges at the Albanian Supreme Court
  • Online expert exchange on the topic of “Optimisation of workflows at Albanian administrative courts” in cooperation with the High Judicial Council of Albania
  • Study trip for administrative judges and representatives of the High Judicial Council of Albania on the topic of “Effective and efficient administrative court jurisdiction”
  • Conference on “Judicial ethics and disciplinary proceedings against judges” in cooperation with the Albanian Special Appeal Chamber

Administration of Justice

  • Conference on “The role of the notary’s office in combating money laundering” in cooperation with the Federal Chamber of Notaries and the Albanian National Chamber of Notaries

Criminal and Penitentiary Law

  • Conference for judges at the Albanian Supreme Court on “International mutual legal assistance in criminal matters”

Basic and Further Training

  • Hybrid seminar on the topic of the “Judiciary and media” in cooperation with the Albanian School of Magistrates
  • Hybrid seminar on the topic of the “Distinction between administrative court jurisdiction and constitutional court jurisdiction” in cooperation with the Albanian School of Magistrates
  • Two hybrid seminars on the topic of “Cyber-crime” in cooperation with the Albanian School of Magistrates
  • Study trip to Germany for staff of the Documentation Department at the Supreme Court of Albania
  • Three online working and expert talks in cooperation with the Documentation Department at the Supreme Court of Albania

Other Support Measures

  • Installation of documentation software at the Supreme Court
  • Provision of the Supreme Court library with English-language ­commentaries on the German Civil Code

European Union-funded project “Technical Assistance to Support the Implementation of the Crosscutting Justice Strategy in ­Albania” (JUSTAL project)

Key data in the JUSTAL project:

  • Lead partner: IRZ
  • Junior partner: DAI (Austria/Belgium/USA)
  • Type of contract: Service contract
  • Project budget: €1.66 million
  • Term: two years, from June 2022
  • Human resources: Three key experts (Dr Agnes Bernhard, Anita ­Mihailova, Sascha Rusch) plus 1,120 days for short-term experts

The work priorities of the JUSTAL project are partly linked to the EURALIUS V project, which IRZ implemented as lead partner from 2014 until the end of 2021. The central focus of the advisory services is firstly to strengthen coordination mechanisms at the Ministry of Justice for the ongoing reform of the judiciary within the framework of the “Crosscutting Justice Strategy”, including the associated action plan. The Ministry of Justice plays a lead role in implementing the contents of the aforementioned strategy, as well as in coordinating the independent judicial institutions involved in the process. The project involves close cooperation with the Codification Department at the Ministry of Justice, which adapts relevant laws of the EU acquis in regard to the ongoing EU accession negotiations. The Ministry of Justice has also requested support in the comprehensive revision or rewriting of the Albanian Civil Code; however, only initial methodological support can be provided, as this is not included in the project contract and project resources are limited. With regard to the screening process, the project team, in coordination with the responsible local EU Delegation, will provide significant advisory services beyond the scope of the project contract and, in particular, support preparation of the complex tables of concordance that compare national Albanian law with EU law and enable Brussels to monitor harmonisation with EU law on an ongoing basis. The project’s public relations component focuses on strategies and implementation measures that communicate the continuing judicial reform process.


In 2023 as well, IRZ will actively support legal and judicial reforms and the consolidation of rule of law structures in Albania within the framework of bilateral cooperation and the aforementioned JUSTAL project. Moreover, IRZ plans to deepen and significantly expand its cooperation with the Supreme Court in the year ahead. Advisory services will focus on cooperation with the High Judicial Council, the Special Appeal Chamber and the Constitutional Court. IRZ will also continue its successful cooperation with the School of Magistrates in the area of initial and continuous training for legal professionals. Furthermore, there are plans to expand cooperation with the Albanian Chamber of Advocacy and the Chamber of Notaries to include other priority areas. IRZ is playing an important role within the framework of the JUSTAL project to prepare Albania for EU accession.

Please find the Annual Report 2022 here: Media centre – Annual reports.