Participants represent a number of European as well as non-European Courts. The first day of the conference will be dedicated to the organization of work of law clerks in support of decision-making by constitutional court judges. On the second day, two topics will be discussed, namely information technology supporting and improving constitutional court operations and issues concerning public relations. Opening addresses were delivered by Jadranka Sovdat, LL. M., the Secretary General of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr. Giovanni Buquicchio, the Secretary of the Venice Commission, and Prof. Dr. Janez Čebulj, the President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia.

The first day of the conference

The first day of the conference was dedicated to the discussion of work of legal advisors as a support to decision-making by the constitutional court judges. This was the topic of ten papers, in which the Secretary General of the Slovenian Constitutional Court and her colleagues from France, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Ireland, the European Court of Human Rights, Albania, Austria, Belarus, and Korea presented the experience of their courts.
 
The nineties of the last century saw an outright evolution of constitutional judiciary.  Democracies with a rich tradition in constitutional review have been joined by new ones in which constitutional courts still had to prove their legitimacy. In order that human rights and fundamental freedoms were ensured to the broadest extent of protection possible, in a majority of new democracies they decided to introduce the institution of the constitutional complaint. This, however, resulted in a drastic increase in the workload of constitutional courts, and consequently in more work. The constitutional judges were unable to deal with the cases alone, which is why they needed aid and support to be provided by legal advisors. The presentations of papers and a lively discussion showed that the organization of the work of legal advisors of the constitutional courts of the participating countries and both European courts is at the same time similar and different. 
 
The tasks performed by legal advisors are not very different in terms of substance. At the majority of courts they do research and analyses, prepare opinions and reports, and often draft decisions, whereby they closely cooperate with reporting judges. The participants agreed that personal dynamics between the judge and the legal advisor importantly contributes to the quality of the preparation of a case prepared for the subsequent decision-making. However, their experience concerning the organization of legal advisors’ work differs. In general there are two models. In the first one, legal advisors are assigned to a particular judge, while in the second they are part of the service supporting all judges. The discussion revealed that both models have their advantages and disadvantages. The participants are aware of such and agreed that the key to an efficient work of legal advisors, and thereby to efficient constitutional adjudication, is not the selection of a model, but of the proper manner of organization.
 
In the discussion certain important questions have been raised. The reflection of the representative of the Israeli Supreme Court significantly echoed in the audience. He pointed to the potential threat of a too great influence of legal advisors on judges’ decisions, considering the fact that in the majority of the systems legal advisors research the factual and legal aspects of a case prior to decision-making.  By means of good expert knowledge and powerful arguments they can convince the judge as to the correctness of their conclusions. Concerning such two problems arise, i.e. the problem of unethical legal advisors and the problem of mutilated transparency of procedure as legal advisors remain hidden to the public. The participants have concluded that due to this fact a transparent system of preparing the work of legal advisors prior to decision-making must be ensured. What is also very important, in their opinion, is the selection of the best qualified and motivated candidates. Certainly, it is judges who must remain decision-makers.
 
In the entire procedure of deciding the work of all involved is facilitated by appropriate organization. This can be much improved by information technologies, which are the topic of presentations of the second day of the conference. However, according to Jadranka Sovdat, the Secretary General of the Slovenian Constitutional Court, every organization can contribute to efficiency only to a certain extent – then it is necessary to consider changes regarding the system and the powers of the constitutional court.
Today, 29th September 2005, the III Conference of Secretaries General of Constitutional Courts and Courts of Equivalent Jurisdictions held at Bled and organized by the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia was opened.