Higher criteria for selection of expert witnesses and respectively higher remuneration for their work, are some of the main changes envisioned in the draft Ordinance for amending and supplementing Ordinance No 2 for entry, qualification and remuneration of expert witnesses. The draft bill was published today for public discussion, after a long debate and the entering of proposals of the participants in the extraordinary meeting of the Council on the implementation of the updated strategy to continue the reform of the judicial system, held on 21 November.

One of the conditions, which the experts approved for expert witnesses must meet in order to be entered into the list of expert witnesses, is to hold a Master’s or Bachelor’s educational qualification degree. The high educational degree is a prerequisite for an in-depth knowledge at the area of science, arts or technology. Experts that have acquired only secondary education are not deprived of the opportunity to be expert witnesses as the requirement for them is bound to longer professional practice, which is a guarantee for professionalism at the specific area.

In order to improve the speed of the process and the quality of the prepared expert reports, a specific criterion for the swiftness of expert reports is introduced for the first time, according to which the expert witnesses will be stricken off the lists of they hinder the process.

The amount of the hourly rate of remuneration of expert witnesses is increased, as the same is set at 3% of the minimum wage for the country as of the date of assigning the expert report. The expert witnesses will now receive additional remuneration for working during the non-working days, but only if the assigning authority has explicitly stated that the expert report needs to be prepared in overtime conditions.

The complete draft can be found here: http://www.justice.government.bg/15/

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