A World Bank report has called on governments in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia to improve the efficiency of their judicial systems by improving the enforcement of decisions and making judges more accountable. It also calls for a reduction in case backlogs and judicial corruption.
The bank is concerned that reforms to the region's court systems have not shadowed its adoption of economic market reforms.
Report co-author Cheryl Gray said: "Less progress has been made in judicial reform and strengthening than in almost any other area of policy or institutional reform."
The report includes surveys of the regions' lawyers and companies, with just 25 per cent considering their courts fair or honest (and less in Albania, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Russia).
Less than 40 per cent thought courts could enforce their decisions; most said courts were slow and expensive and were performing worse than in the mid-1990s.
Problems even extended to new members of the EU, said the bank, with Slovakia's courts too slow, those of Poland and the Baltic States unable to properly enforce decisions and Hungary being insufficiently fair and honest.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development also recently launched an initiative to increase the technical knowledge of commercial law judges in Georgia and Kyrgyzstan.