The district court in the city of Kaluga (Central Russia) is leading the country's judicial system in terms of considering cases. In 1998, more than half hearings of criminal cases in that court exceeded the term stipulated by the law, stated chairman of the Kaluga district court Viktor Rakcheyev. But by the end of 2000, the number of the overdue cases accounted for only eight percent, and in the first quarter of this year - for only 0.3 percent. The secret of such a successful work of the Kaluga court lies in the fact that half a year ago this and two other courts, one in Voronezh and the other one in Kursk (central Russia), started to work in accordance with the "Canadian method" of legal proceedings. The Canadian method is used there within the framework of the Russian-Canadian four-year programme for partnership in the sphere of the judicial system. Last autumn, Viktor Rakcheyev, as a member of the delegation of judges from the district courts of Kaluga, Kursk and Voronezh, visited Canada where he familiarised himself with the activity of the Supreme Court and provincial courts of Canada. On returning home, Viktor Rakcheyev started introducing the Canadian "progressive experience." To begin with, the Kaluga judges stopped receiving law suits themselves. Today this work is being done by the judges' aides and consultants. The novelty of this procedure is that now the equality of the sides, obligatory for justice, has been ensured. Earlier, a judge, in explaining to a plaintiff how to write a law suit, actually helped one of the sides in the trial. In the future, tape recording, instead of writing protocols, customary for Russia, will be used in the Kaluga court. Computer systems will also be introduced, which will make it possible for the judges to turn any time to the experience in clerical work in other countries through the Internet.
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