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Background

Gender and the Judiciary: Selected findings and recommendations on the implications of gender within the judiciary of Bosnia and Herzegovina

authors

Majda Halilović, Heather Huhtanen

Cover

Abstract

It is sometimes assumed that the law is objective, neutral, and impartial and therefore gender has little or no influence on its implementation. And yet, the question remains: How can the implementation and practice of law by legal practitioners who are influenced by social norms be delivered impartially?

The research conducted for this publication did not attempt to identify whether the law in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is objective and impartial nor does it contest the legal diligence and expertise of practitioners of the law or members of the judiciary. Rather, this report - based on primary research (online surveys and interviews) in BiH and supported by existing international research on the topic- attempts to shed light on the importance of recognizing both real and perceived influences of gender in the social and professional relationships of court professionals, and on judicial practice and decision making; in other words, its impact on both judicial professionals and court users.

This research represents the first of its kind in BiH and Southeast Europe, and makes an important contribution to the body of existing international research on gender, gender equality, and the implications of gender in the judiciary. In the present publication selected findings of this research are presented in three categories:

  • Gender and collegial relationships
  • Gender and judicial decision making
  • Gender and court-user services

The report emphasizes the judiciary’s responsibility to identify and address factors that may call its impartiality into question. Indeed, this report argues that identifying and addressing the influence of gender can improve the administration of justice and increase impartiality.