Since its establishment in the early spring of 1991 the Law Program has substantially contributed to the development of legislative and judicial reform in Bulgaria with its efforts focused on three main areas of activities: drafting new legislation, concepts development and provision of comments and recommendations to proposed laws and regulations.
• Law drafting track record
For more than ten years now the Law Program has been at the forefront of the development and promotion of a reformed, modern and comprehensive legislation, as well as permanent assistance to the development of the secondary legislation. Among the major achievements of the Program was the work on developing and implementing the Draft Law on Not-for-Profit Legal Persons, the Law on Registered Pledges (in force since April 1, 1997), the Law on Electronic Document and Electronic Signature (in force since October 7, 2001) together with the respective secondary legislation for its implementation, the Draft Law on the Civic Defender and the Local Civic Mediators (part of its provisions were incorporated in the Law on the Ombudsman adopted in 2003 and in force since January 1, 2004).
• Introduction of ombudsman institution
Since early 1998 the Law Program is carrying out various advocacy and awareness activities for promoting the ombudsman institution, including international and local public policy events with the participation of representatives of all state institutions concerned, foreign ombudsmen and Bulgarian and foreign experts, and a series of publications on the ombudsman institution. As an innovative awareness tool the Program launched the Internet based Ombudsman Information Network to serve as a permanent and dynamic “virtual workshop” producing, exchanging, managing and disseminating knowledge, data and experience on different issues and trends related to the ombudsman institution. The Law Program is also actively supporting the establishment of local ombudsman institutions in a number of Bulgarian municipalities.
• Judicial reform
The Law Program is actively contributing to the ongoing judicial reform in Bulgaria as the initiator and a Secretariat to the Judicial Reform Initiative for Bulgaria (JRI). The Initiative was launched in early 1999 and consolidated the efforts of leading non-governmental organizations, representatives of government institutions and experts. The main output of JRI was the development of a Program for Judicial Reform in Bulgaria (PJR). Most of the reform measures proposed in the Program were subsequently incorporated in the Strategy for Reforming the Judiciary in Bulgaria adopted by the Government in October 2002.
As a continuation of the judicial reform efforts the Law Program initiated the development of a Judicial Anti-Corruption Program (JACP). The main objective of the JACP is to serve as a consensus document regarding actions that have to be undertaken for encouragement and development of anti-corruption judicial reform, to identify the most important reform areas and to formulate a set of recommendations and mechanisms for achieving legal stability and confidence in the Judiciary.
• Registration reform
Recently the Law Program focused its efforts on reforming the system of official registries in Bulgaria (including legal entities and property registries) in order to overcome the shortcoming of the existing registration system. The developed feasibility study, based on a comprehensive research and analysis of the situation in Bulgaria and the best practices implemented in other countries, outlines the necessary steps to be undertaken for reforming the registration system, including legislative amendments, and is aimed at encouraging a wide public and expert debate for developing the overall concept of the registration reform in Bulgaria.