Strasbourg, 14 September 2012
BUREAU OF THE CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL
OF EUROPEAN JUDGES
12th meeting report
Strasbourg, 18 June 2012
Document prepared by the Secretariat
Directorate General I – Human Rights and Rule of Law
1. The Bureau of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE) held its 12th meeting in Strasbourg on 18 June 2012, under the chairmanship of Mr Gerhard REISSNER (Austria).
2. The following members of the Bureau were also present:
- Mr Paul MAFFEI (Belgium), Vice-Chairman of the CCJE,
- Mr Raffaele SABATO (Italy),
- Mr Bart VAN LIEROP (the Netherlands).
3. The agenda is set out in Appendix I to this Report.
II. PREPARATION OF OPINION No. 15
4. The Bureau examined the pre-draft Opinion No. 15 on the specialisation of judges (Document CCJE-GT(2012)4Rev2), prepared by the drafting group designated by the CCJE-GT at its previous, 22nd meeting of 26-28 March 2012.
5. The Bureau further decided on the procedure to be followed during the meeting of the Working Party of the CCJE (CCJE-GT) on 18-20 June as regards the draft Opinion. In particular, it was agreed that Mr Paul MAFFEI would present the text on behalf of the drafting group and that the scientific expert Mrs Maria Giuliana CIVININI would be asked to give her comment on it. After that a general discussion will take place, and then the text will be reviewed by the members of the Working Party in detail, paragraph by paragraph.
III. OTHER ACTIVITIES OF THE CCJE
a) Preparation of the Conference of European Judges (7 November 2012) and Opinion No. 16 (to be adopted in 2013)
6. Pending the final confirmation from the Paris Bar Association on the possibility of co-organising the Conference in Paris, the Bureau discussed the ways to approach the common topic of the next year’s Opinion (as foreseen by the Terms of Reference of the CCJE) and the Conference, namely relations between judges and lawyers. The purpose of the conference is thus to serve as a source of inspiration and provide food for thought to the drafters of the future Opinion.
7. The Bureau members agreed that a questionnaire should be distributed to the member states while preparing the Opinion No. 16 on order to collect detailed information. The replies to the questionnaire could then be analysed by a scientific expert, if possible from a member state where the passage between the profession of a judge and that of a lawyer is facilitated and where this is a usual practice.
8. The Bureau also decided that, once the Paris Bar Association confirms its availability to host the conference, a meeting with its representatives will be organised soonest in order to prepare the event.
b) Co-operation with member states
9. The members of the Bureau confirmed that they would hold an extraordinary meeting on 14 September in Lisbon in order to review the information to be collected in the member states with regard to the recent developments of the status of national judges and possible infringements of their independence. It was equally decided to request information from the two major European associations of judges1. In addition to this information the Bureau decided to use the reports of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) as a source of information as appropriate. An updated report would then be presented to the CCJE plenary at its next meeting on 5-6 November.
10. The Bureau held a brief discussion by way of preparing the meeting with representatives of the German national commission tasked with carrying preparatory work with the view to establishing a national association of judges in this member state (20-21 June, Strasbourg). Several members of the CCJE-GT having made themselves available for this exchange of views and experience with their German colleagues, it was decided to inform on the setup and role of the councils for the judiciary in the respective countries and present arguments that lead to the establishment of these councils.
IV. OTHER BUSINESS
11. The Bureau returned to the issue of the role and place of the European Court of Human Rights (the Court) and its judgments in the national judicial systems and their importance for national judges. Mr Raffaele SABATO informed the other Bureau members in this connection that a special report covering these matters would be presented to the Italian parliament before the end of June. The Bureau members reiterated their interest in and the usefulness of the CCJE holding an exchange of views with the Court regarding its relations with national judges. However, it was decided that, due to the forthcoming change of the Court President in October this year, this exchange could not take place before November.
12. Mr MAFFEI also suggested considering the relations between the Court and the national judges as a topic for one of the future CCJE Opinions.
13. Mr SABATO mentioned the possibility of organising one of the CCJE-GT meetings of 2013 in Rome. However, this information was given subject to further confirmation after the November plenary.
14. The next Bureau meeting shall take place in advance of the 13th plenary meeting of the CCJE scheduled for 5 and 6 November in Paris.
1. Opening of the meeting
2. Adoption of the agenda
3. Communication by the President, members of the Bureau and the Secretariat
4. Preparation of the 23rd CCJE-GT meeting and the draft Opinion No. 15 on the specialisation of judges
5. Other work of the CCJE
· Preparation of the meeting to review and update the “Situation report on the judiciary and judges in the different member states”
6. Any other business
1 European Association of Judges, Magistrats européens pour la Démocratie et les Libertés (MEDEL).