The formalistic approach in Serbian judgments

The nature of judicial impartiality and independence encourages critical reasoning and requires judges to argue alternative interpretations of often ambiguous cases and laws. However, Serbian judges do not apply these principles when it comes to human rights and gender equality. Instead, they take a very formalistic approach when they interpret the facts of the case and apply legal rules, also visible in their view of international norms and standards. Only a few judgments invoke provisions of the ECHR, and even fewer the judgments of the ECtHR, despite Serbia being bound by the Convention since 2004. Work overload and a quantitative approach to judicial promotion leads to judgments becoming routine, while legal education remains formalistic and does not incorporate human rights and gender equality. Moreover, human rights are dominantly perceived as a threat to national sovereignty, which seeps into some judgments.