STOJANOVIC: FOR CHEATING ON THE JUDICAL EXAM ALLOW LIFETIME DISQUALIFICATION
Dean of Faculty of Law, University of Donja Gorica (UDG) prof. dr. Zoran Stojanovic expressed his utter negative feelings towards the case of a candidate cheating on the judicial exam, explaining that he did not want to go into detail on whether the examination commission or the Judicial Council acted correctly when they allowed re-taking the exam to those who used illicit means, but what is crucial is the question of how this could have happened at all.
"For me, it is much more important and, I would say devastating, that it is possible for something like that to happen at all. It is a bad sign of the state the society is in. It was not an isolated incident where only one candidate did it, "said Stojanovic.
Stojanovic pointed out that the case that happened recently has a special weight because it concerns the people which are candidates for the judge’s position.
He pointed out possible solutions so that such cases would not happen again in the future.
"In some US states, someone who is caught cheating (at least in elementary school) will never be able to be enrolled in a bar association, that is, will not be able to practice law. Therefore, for such a thing, a lifelong disqualification for the call of a judge, a prosecutor or a lawyer should be envisaged, "Stojanovic pointed out.
In relation to that situation, he commented upon the great importance that that the teaching staff has in solving this problem.
"Although we at the Faculty of Law at UDG have a subject called Law Ethics and although we try to show students in all other subjects how important it is to be professionally or personally honest in the legal profession, and especially in the work of the judiciary, I am afraid that we have limited success in that ", said Stojanovic and explained that the teaching staff is fighting against such cases at the very root.
Nevertheless, we try to influence students as much as possible at the faculty to adhere to moral norms and to adopt the attitude that it is as important for the legal profession as knowledge. I believe that all engaged teachers, together with their moral integrity that they have shown in their work so far, can positively influence students and develop certain moral qualities in them, "Stojanovic pointed out.
In spite all of the problems that have been surfacing, he assessed that there has been progress in the development of legal education in Montenegro in the last decade.
There have been certain improvements in a more positive direction. We should not, however, be completely satisfied with what has been achieved. It is still necessary to do much more in order to gain the legal staff that could respond to modern challenges, said Stojanovic, also pointing our why that progress is not significant.
"The main reason why we don't have even more successful young lawyers is the insufficient work of students. This does not mean that little is done with them, but that that work is not enough if we look at some common standards in the field of law studies, and that is where I see the problem. Those standards are too low. "Montenegro inherited a bad tradition from the former SFRY, in which law studies were considered one of the easier studies," Stojanovic explained.
"At the Faculty of Law at UDG, special attention is paid to the fact that students can use the knowledge they acquire later in practice. The faculty achieves successful cooperation with courts and other bodies in which students conduct internships, and in addition to regular classes at all levels, we also organize optional classes to prepare them for the bar exam, "said Stojanovic.
In relation to the situation regarding the Covid 19 virus, Stojanovic assessed the response of education to the challenges as a positive one.
"In a relatively short time, online classes were organized and a connection with students was maintained together with consultations" said Stojanovic, but added that this was not a long-term solution.
"Although online lectures are useful and were a solution in a situation caused by the corona virus, it is not advisable for legal education to rely exclusively on teaching this way for a long time. Mutual communication between lecturers and students and interaction is necessary, and it cannot be sufficiently provided by online lectures. In addition, this year, we had to give up some activities that are part of the teaching in a broader sense and in which our students have been active more often so far, such as the School of EU Law, which has been held in Bar for more than a decade. And this year it was not possible to organize it, "Stojanovic explained.
He pointed out that legal education brings with it many advantages and benefits, but also many responsibilities.
"The advantage is that after graduating from the faculty someone can decide on a profession: will they be a judge, a lawyer, a prosecutor, a police inspector, a notary, etc." These are all professions that, as a rule, bring a high social reputation. For someone who is an idealist, it can be an aspiration and contribution to the realization of the ideals of truth and justice, and for someone who is more inclined to practical aspects, it is the fact that you can live quite well from honest and professional work in one of the legal professions. It will largely depend on young lawyers who will put knowledge, personal and professional integrity in the first place ", said Stojanovic.