A trial observer from the ICJ Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers will observe today the hearing of an appeal of disciplinary sanctions imposed on Bulgarian judge Miroslava Todorova.
The proceedings against Judge Todorova related to alleged faults associated with delays in delivering judgment in several cases. The alleged faults occured some nine years ago.
In an initial ruling in July 2012, the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) sought to dismiss Judge Todorova from judicial service. Following judicial reviews and appeals, this was reduced at first to demotion for a period of two years, and then subsequently was reduced further to demotion for a period of one year. Both Judge Todorova and the disciplinary authority are challenging the one-year sanction in today’s hearing at the Supreme Administrative Council (SAC).
Whereas she had previously served on the Sofia City Court, during this two-year period she is permitted to work only in the lower level Sofia District Court. According to Bulgarian law, demotion is the second-most serious disciplinary sanction for a judge, one step less serious than dismissal.
ICJ has previously expressed concerns that the proceedings and sanctions against Judge Todorova may not be compatible with international standards for independence of the judiciary.