Strasbourg, 24 January 2007

CCJE REP(2007)24
English only

Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)

Questionnaire for 2007 CCJE opinion concerning the councils for the judiciary : Reply submitted by the delegation of the Netherlands


questionnaire for 2007 Opinion concerning the Councils for the Judiciary

Introduction

In 2007, the CCJE is called to investigate the institutional roles of Councils for the Judiciary or analogous bodies that have been or are being created – sometimes at a constitutional level – in several European countries with the tasks of protecting judicial independence, taking measures concerning courts’ administration and judges’ careers, and ensuring in general a smooth functioning of the principle of separation of powers, which is a cornerstone of modern democratic States based on the rule of law.1

The composition and functions of such bodies vary from country to country2, as do their relationships with governments (especially with the Ministry of Justice), but the concept is essentially the same.

Responding delegations, whose countries institutional frameworks do not include a Council for the Judiciary as such should not hesitate to reply to the questionnaire making reference to the body or the bodies performing similar functions, in the judiciary or outside of it, in order for the CCJE to obtain as far as possible the clearest description of the situation in these countries. In any case, at the end of the present document, there is a specific part for countries without Council for the judiciary.

For the purpose of this questionnaire, and at this stage of the discussion, the expression “Councils for the Judiciary or other analogous body” (in French “Conseil Supérieur de la Magistrature ou autre organe équivalent”) has been chosen. The work of the CCJE on the Opinion on this subject will be the occasion to justify this choice. In the questions below the terms “Councils for the Judiciary” or “Council” will be used: if it is not the term used in your country, please just indicate it but reply as far as possible to the questionnaire.

Part I - General context concerning the judiciary

1. Is there possible interference of the legislative power concerning judges? If yes, please specify.

    The Dutch Constitution provides in article 116, par. 2, that the organisation, composition and jurisdiction of the judiciary has to be regulated by an act of Parliament. This act, the Wet op de rechterlijke organisatie (Judicial Organisation Act), regulates a.o. the functioning of the chambers of the courts and the handling of complaints about the functioning of members of the judiciary.
    Article 117, par. 1, of the Constitution provides that the members of the judiciary are appointed for life by Royal Decree; the appointment is proposed by the courts to the Minister of Justice. The appointment of members of the Supreme Court is made on recommendation by the Parliament which makes a list consisting of three persons. In practice this list is prepared by the Supreme Court itself and so far did not give rise to remarks by members of Parliament.
    Article 117, par. 4, of the Constitution provides that the legal position of the members of the judiciary has to be regulated by an act of Parliament. This act, the Wet rechtspositie rechterlijke ambtenaren (Act on the legal position of members of the judiciary) contains a chapter on rights and duties of judges. For example article 44 of the act provides that notice of all additional functions must be given to the president of the court and that these functions are mentioned in a register.

2. Is it possible for the legislative power or the Parliament to order investigations or to establish commissions?

    Parliament can order investigations or establish commissions with regard to the functioning of the judiciary and its performance in general. Although no explicit provision precludes investigation by Parliament concerning the personal functioning or conduct of judges, it is generally held that such investigation will be contrary to the separation of powers and therefore inadmissible.
    No such investigation regarding facts already submitted to courts will be held admissible.
    As to procedure such investigations are possible. In fact a few years ago a parliamentary commission investigated a.o. tapping methods and their use in criminal proceedings; this lead to an adaptation of the law and of the use of certain methods in practice.

3. Is there possible interference of the executive power concerning judges?

    As said above, members of the judiciary are appointed for life by Royal Decree; such appointment is made under the responsibility of the Minister of Justice. In theory, it is possible that a proposal for appointment is refused, but in practice the proposals have always been approved.

4. If yes, is it possible for the executive power to interfere: in selection, training, career, disciplinary procedures of judges? (if yes, please specify which authority from the executive power)?

    The executive power has no possibilities to interfere in selection, training or disciplinary procedures.

· in designation of presidents of courts? (if yes, please specify which authority from
the executive power)

    Appointment - upon recommendation of the Council for the Judiciary after extensive consultation of members of the Judiciary - is by Royal Decree (i.e. Minister of Justice). There has not been a case in which the recommendation was not followed.

· in management of courts? (if yes, please specify which authority from the executive power)


    Practically: no. The Minister of Justice can give guidance to the Council, but it is the sole responsibility of the Council to deal with the management of the courts.

5. Is the judicial staff working under the authority of the president of the court?

    Judges work under the authority of the president of the court, but remain fully independent in the delivery of justice and the passing of judgements.
    The other court employees (legal support staff) work under the authority of the board of the court, but as far as they assist individual judges in the handling of cases they work under the responsibility of these individual judges.

6. What are the competences of the president of the court:

· to evaluate the work of the judges of the court?


    The functioning of an individual judge is evaluated on a regular basis by the board of the court (with the exception of the non-judicial member of this board). Such evaluation may not relate to the judgement in individual cases. The evaluation is discussed with the judge in question. The evaluation and the comments of the judge are laid down in a written report.

· to distribute the work between judges?

    The board of the Court (which is formed by the president of the court, the director of operations and the heads of the sectors) distributes the work between judges. In practice, it is the managing judge who is responsible for the distribution.

· to act as a disciplinary authority vis-à-vis judges?

    The president of the court has been designated as the disciplinary authority vis-à-vis judges. The Supreme Court can dismiss a judge in special proceedings instigated by the procurator-general with the Supreme Court.

· to intervene in the career of judges?


    Promotions of judges within their courts are proposed by the board of the courts.

· other? If yes, please specify.

Part II – General concerning Councils for the Judiciary

7. Is there a Council for the Judiciary in your judicial system?


    Yes.

8. What is the exact title/denomination of this body?


    Raad voor de rechtspraak
    (Netherlands Council for the Judiciary).

9. What is the legal basis for the Council for the Judiciary?

The Council is established by law. There is no constitutional basis.

10. Please, give a brief historical overview (when was it created, what were the reasons for setting up the Council, etc.) (in the case there is no such body, why there is no such Council and why do the tasks lay within for example the Ministry of Justice?)


    The Council was created on January 1st, 2002 as a consequence of a far-reaching reform of the judiciary system, which was laid down in a review of the Judicial Organisation Act. This reform introduced the so-called integral management by the courts and a better organisation of the judiciary. The Council was set up to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of the judicial organisation in these respects and to strengthen the independence of the judiciary vis-à-vis the executive and legislative powers.
    Before 2002, the Minister of Justice decided on the funding of the courts; each court negotiated its own budget.

Part III - Composition

11. What is the composition of the Council for the Judiciary: Number of members?

Five.

· Qualification of the members?


    Three members (including the Chairman) are judges and two are not.

· For the “judges” members, do they need specific qualifications or experiences?

The “judges” members are often selected among the presidents of the Courts.

· Can non-judges be members of the Council? Please specify (number, qualification/specific functions)


    Two members are non-judges. Though not prescribed by the law, one member is selected especially with regard to his financial experience.

12. Please describe the whole procedure of appointment:

§ Who designates the members (judges or other institutions or authorities – please specify)?

§ What is the appointment system (voting, individual candidates, designation, etc.)?

    Appointment is by Royal Decree; it is a Cabinet decision based on a list of recommendations by the Minister of Justice. This list is made up by the Minister of Justice in agreement with the Council and after consultations within the judiciary.

13. How is appointed the President and/or Vice-President of the Council?


    Appointment is by Royal Decree; it is a Cabinet decision based on a list of recommendations by the Minister of Justice. This list is made up by the Minister of Justice in agreement with the Council and after consultations within the judiciary.

14. What is the term of office for a member of the Council?


    Members are appointed for six years; one extra term of three years is possible.

15. May a member be removed from office against his/her will and, if so, under what circumstances?


    Yes, the Minister of Justice can nominate a member for suspension or dismissal against his or her will in case of a serious presumption of inadequacy (other than due to illness) in the exercise of his or her functions. Suspension and dismissal is a Cabinet decision. There is a recourse by the Supreme Court.

Part IV - Resources

16. Where does the Council receive its financial resources?


    The Council receives its financial resources from the Minister of Justice as part of the annual budget for the judiciary. In case of a disagreement about the annual budget between the Council and the Minister it is up to the Parliament to take a decision.

17. Does the Council have its own staff?

Yes.

18. If not, is the personnel provided by:

§ the Ministry of Justice?

Not applicable (see answer to question 17).

§ the Supreme Court?

Not applicable (see answer to question 17).

§ other institution? Please specify

Not applicable (see answer to question 17).

19. What is the staff number?


    The Bureau of the Council has approximately 135 employees.

20. What are the qualifications of the staff?

    The staff of the Bureau has diverse backgrounds. Many members of the staff have a legal background and a (previous) link with the judiciary, but the staff includes for instance also financial experts, economists and sociologists.

21. Must the staff be composed, albeit only in part, by judges?

    There is no obligation to have judges as members of the staff. However, a number of judges are posted with the Bureau on a temporary basis, because of their legal expertise and their experience within the judicial organisation. Their presence in the Bureau also guarantees a better contact with the courts and promotes the credibility and support for the work of the Council within the judiciary.

22. What are the tasks of the staff of the Council:

· preparing materials for the Council members?

    The staff assists the Council in preparing reports, statistics and further administration regarding all statutory tasks of the Council.

· providing them with analysis and evaluation of the courts’ practice?

    The staff also deals with providing the Council with the analysis and evaluation of the financial and practical functioning of the courts.

· other? Please specify.

In general, the staff of the Council supports the Council in all its statutory tasks.

Part V - Tasks

23. Please describe the different tasks of the Council for the Judiciary (in the case there is
no such body, please specify which bodies are responsible for the below listed tasks
– see also part VIII of this questionnaire
):

· in area of personnel policy (appointment and promotion of judges, appointment of the Presidents or the Administrative Directors of the courts, determining the number and location of judges or courthouses, transfer of judges, etc)?

    The Council develops policy for the recruitment, selection and training of judicial and court officials. It carries out its tasks in these arenas in close consultation with the governing boards of the courts. The Council has a significant say in appointing the members of the governing boards of the courts. As to the procedures for appointment of members of the judiciary also see the answers above under 1, 3 and 6.

· in area of initial and/or continuous training for judges and/or courts’ staff3?


    The Council develops policies for the recruitment, selection and training of judicial and court officials. It carries out its tasks in these areas in close co-operation with the boards of the courts. However, most of the selection of judges is left to a separate body, set up by the Minister of Justice, the Commissie aantrekken leden rechterlijke macht (Commission for the selection of members of the judiciary). The training of judges is organised by a separate institution, SSR (the Netherlands Judicial Training Centre).

· in area of courts’ performance in general (assessment of quality of court performance4, setting policy and performance standards and targets for courts, imposing penalties for the misuse of funds)?

    The Council has a pivotal role in terms of preparing, implementing and accounting for the judicial system’s budget, which is based on a workload-measurement system maintained by the Council. If a court fails to meet certain (quantitative or qualitative) standards, this may have negative consequences for the budget allocated by the Council.

· in area of the individual work of a judge (evaluation of his/her work, setting up evaluation criteria as quality and/or quantity of judgements5)?


    The Council has no task as concerns the evaluation of the work of an individual judge.
    The Council’s task as concerns the quality of the judiciary system involves promoting the uniform application of the law and enhancing the quality of the management of the court.

· in area of disciplinary procedure against judge (has the Council power of initiative or sanction, is appeal or another legal remedy available against sanctions, when the Council has power in disciplinary matters does it respect the provisions of Article 6 of the ECHR)?

    The Council has no authority in the area of disciplinary procedures against judges. See also above under 6.

· in area of the budget for the judiciary (does the Council take part in the budget negotiations with the Government or Parliament, does the Council have competences for the subdivision of financial resources allocated to the courts, for the deployment of funds by individual courts, which courts)?


    Yes, the Council is the counterpart of the Government (the Minister of Justice) as concerns the negotiations for the budget and is responsible for the allocation of financial resources to the courts.

· in other areas not already mentioned above (e.g. participation in the law-drafting process, reporting to the Government/Parliament about substantial problems in the court system)? Please specify.

    Article 95 of the Judicial Organisation Act provides that the Council advises the Government and Parliament on new bills and policies regarding the administration of the courts; consultation of the courts is required.

24. Does the Council have investigation powers? If yes, please specify.

No. As concerns management, see answer to question 26.

25. How can the members of the Council have information on the concrete functioning of
courts? (where do they receive information from, is the information analysed) Please
describe.


The Council receives its information directly from the courts.

26. What are the types of norms that the Council can issue:

The Council has a range of statutory powers, which enable it to carry out its tasks.
Article 92 par. 1 of the Judicial Organisation Act provides that the Council may issue binding general
instructions regarding operational policy and recommendations on business operations and quality
standards; in practice the Council has not yet exercised this power.

27. Are the functions or responsibilities of the Council described in law or other norms?
Please specify.

    The functions and responsibilities of the Council are prescribed by law in the Judicial Organisation Act.

28. If yes, is the formulation of these tasks by legislation general, even declarative, or
rather concrete and specific?


The law mentions seven general tasks of the Council for the Judiciary.

Apart from the advisory task, mentioned above under the last bullet of the answer to question 23,
article 91 of the Judicial Organisation Act provides the following tasks for the Council:
a. preparation of the common budget for the Council and the courts;
b. allocation of budgets to the courts;
c. assisting the management of the courts;
d. supervising the financial administration of the courts;
e. supervising the management of the courts;
f. assisting nation-wide activities regarding recruitment, selection, appointment and education of the
personnel of the courts (including judges).
Article 94 of the Judicial Organisation Act provides that the Council assists the activities of the courts
with regard to a uniform distribution of justice and the promotion of judicial quality.

29. Does your country have a code of ethics for judges and is it one of the tasks of the Council to guarantee its observance?

    There are Impartiality Guidelines for judges, that have been formulated by the national Judges association (NVvR) and are endorsed by all presidents of the Courts). The Council is not responsible for its observance, but plays a role in the discussion.
    Article 1g of the Act on the legal position of the members of the judiciary provides that before employment an oath is taken, which stipulates allegiance to the King (or Queen), the Constitution and the laws. Furthermore it is promised a.o. not to accept any gifts and to fulfil the office in honesty, diligence and impartiality.
    At present a draft for a Code of Ethics is being prepared by a committee which consists of two court presidents, a representative of the Dutch Association of Judges and two representatives from court personnel. This committee is facilitated by the Council. This draft elaborates on guidelines for impartiality for the judiciary which already have been established in 2004.
    The Council will have no role to guarantee the observance of this future code of ethics.

30. Does the Council handle external relationships of the courts?

    Yes. As far as regarding nation-wide (and international) communication the Council handles the external relationships of the courts. Besides every court handles its own communication which may be facilitated by the Council.

· has it a public relations department?


    Yes.

· how does it ensure the transparency of its functioning and organisation?

The Council ensures the transparency of its functioning and organisation by:

    - the active provision of publications on the internet and other media;
    - the organisation of so-called ‘open doors days’ every three years, on which all courts are open to the public and visitors can attend re-enacted court hearings, have the opportunity to ask questions to the court president and visit the cells of suspects in the court buildings;
    - the creation of a web-site feature that enables the public to ask questions about the judiciary;
    - the establishment of public information departments in each court;
    - the promotion of the appointment of ‘press-judges’ by the courts;
    - the co-ordination of special training courses for these judges, including on-camera training.

31. Are decisions of the Council published and available to all?


    The Annual Plan and the Annual Report of the Council are available on the internet and are also distributed among the courts.

Part VI – Assessment of the self-governance and the independence of the judiciary

32. To what extent is the work of the Council influenced by:

· the executive power?


    The annual budget for the judiciary is allocated to the Council by the Minister of Justice. The Council is responsible for allocating the budget to the Courts. The Minister of Justice has the overall political responsibility for the Judiciary. He is furthermore responsible for the structure and the budget for the judiciary in general. His main instruments are legislation and the annual negotiations on the
    budget. The Council is part of the judiciary and the counterpart for the Minister of Justice. The Council is accountable to the Minister of Justice for the judiciary in general.

· the legislative power?

    There is no formal relationship between the Council and Parliament; the Minister of Justice is accountable to Parliament.
    The Council meets on a regular basis with the Parliamentary Committee for Justice.

33. Is the Council independent from other States entities, so that it is not subject to control liability in their respect?


    The Council is part of the judiciary. It is only accountable to the Minister of Justice as concerns the judiciary in general.

34. Which is the division of responsibilities and powers between the Council for the Judiciary and the Minister of Justice?


    See the answer to question 32, first bullet.

35. Which is the division of responsibilities and powers between the Council for the Judiciary, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court and the Presidents of the Courts?

    The Council does not deal with the Supreme Court and the Judicial Department of the Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State. Both courts have a separate budget and they are also independent in matters of organisation and policy.
    The scope of the Council for the Judiciary is limited to the first instance courts and courts of appeal. The Council meets with the plenary assembly of the presidents of the court (an informal but important body) on a regular basis; often also the president of the Supreme Court participates in these meetings.
    As to a uniform application of the law, of which the promotion is one of the tasks of the Council, the primary role in the Netherlands is with the Supreme Court.
    As mentioned above under 6 dismissal of judges can only take place after special proceedings before the Supreme Court.
    Recently an Evaluation Commission, appointed by the government to evaluate the functioning of the Council and the legislation of 2002 regarding the organisation of the judiciary, advised to strengthen the contacts between the Council and the president of the Supreme Court.

36. Is the Supreme Court or are the highest courts also subject to the exercise of the powers of the Council for the Judiciary, or do special rules apply to that respect?


    The Council does not deal with the Supreme Court or the highest courts (see answer to question 35).

37. Who decides which the priorities of actions of the Council are?


    The Council in close co-operation with the courts.

38. Is it possible for the individual courts or judges to appeal the decisions of the Council? How?

    As the Council has no competence in individual matters, this question has no relevance with regard to the Council.

39. Which instruments or practices are used by the Council:

· to guard the independence of judges?

    The Council supports computerised registers containing information about extra-judicial activities of judges. The Council encourages all judges and court staff to attend programmes on moral dilemmas and refrains from any interference with the content of the work of judges. The Council refrains from any interference in individual cases.

· to protect judges from undue interferences and/or attacks coming from the general public, the media and other powers of the State?

    The chairman of the Council for the Judiciary acts as a spokesperson on behalf of the judiciary in cases where the judiciary, as a whole, is at stake. See also the answer to question 30, bullet point 2.
    Besides, the chairman of the board of the Dutch Association of Judges often acts a spokesman.

· to intervene in case of attacks against its own interests6?

See answer to previous bullet point.

· to improve the working methods of judges?

    The Council has developed quality standards for the functioning of the courts. It has also stimulated the sections of the different courts to work together with a view to modernising and improving the administration of justice. Furthermore, the Council has developed a significant number of ICT-projects.

Part VII – Future trends of Councils for the Judiciary

40. Are there particular fundamental problems concerning the administrative management of the courts vis-à-vis the role of the Council? If yes, please describe.


    There are no major problems concerning the administrative management of the courts vis-à-vis the role of the Council.

41. Are reforms concerning the Council under discussion or envisaged in the near future? If yes, please describe.


    An evaluation of the reorganisation of the judiciary system (2002-2006) was published on the 11th of December 2006. This report might lead to discussion on minor adjustments. But this is - at this point - mere speculation.


42. Are there relations between the Council for the Judiciary and judges' professional organisations or associations?

    The members of the Council and the board of the Dutch Association of Judges meet on a regular basis, at least four times a year. Besides, there are many informal contacts between members of the staff of both organisations.

43. If your country is member of the European Network of Councils for the judiciary (ENCJ), what are the concrete added values of your membership:

· concerning the national actions of your Council?

· concerning international co-operation?

    The ENCJ came into being upon the initiative of the Netherlands Council for the Judiciary. Added value of membership of the ENCJ is that we now have a greater knowledge of other European Councils for the Judiciary and of the judicial systems of other European countries and are able to exchange information and expertise. In some cases collaboration in specific dossiers is also possible. Furthermore, the ENCJ enables the judiciary to be represented in Brussels and strengthens the position of the judiciary in Europe.

44. Are there some other features concerning the Council for the Judiciary which might be of special interest to others from a comparative point of view? If yes, please describe.

    The Council was set up to strengthen the independence of the judiciary vis-à-vis the legislative and executive power. A recent evaluation of the new structure of the judiciary and the Council has shown that the functional independence of the judiciary has indeed been strengthened.
    Moreover, it can be remarked that the evaluation commission noticed some concern within the judiciary that the new structure has increased bureaucracy.
    From a comparative point of view, it is interesting that under article 94 of the Judicial Organisation Act - as set out already under question 28 - the Council has an active role in the promotion of judicial quality. The Council has displayed many activities in this respect, e.g. research, publications and control systems.

Part VIII – Countries without a Council of the Judiciary

45. Are there mechanisms to ensure the functioning of the principle of separation of powers with respect to the judiciary?


    Not applicable, as the Netherlands has a Council for the Judiciary.

46. How and by whom are judges appointed and promoted?

Not applicable, as the Netherlands has a Council for the Judiciary.

47. Does any authority (body) independent7 of the government and the administration take part in the appointment and promotion process:

· If yes, how is this authority composed? Is a certain share of judges fixed?

Not applicable, as the Netherlands has a Council for the Judiciary.

· How are the members selected?

Not applicable, as the Netherlands has a Council for the Judiciary.

· what are the detailed competences of the authority with respect to the appointment and promotion of judges?

Not applicable, as the Netherlands has a Council for the Judiciary.

48. How are the courts’ activities funded? Do judges have any say whatsoever in decisions concerning funding or in managing the budget?


    Not applicable, as the Netherlands has a Council for the Judiciary.

49. Is the creation of a Council of the Judiciary contemplated? If yes, what will be its competences?

Not applicable, as the Netherlands has a Council for the Judiciary.

1 Restructuring of the organisation of courts and introduction of modern management techniques, as well as the balance that needs to be guaranteed as for independence of judges, have been discussed by the CCJE in some of its previous Opinions (See references of these Opinions below in footnotes – For the list and the exact titles of the CCJE’s Opinions, please consult the website: www.coe.int/ccje).

2 The Councils or analogous bodies can be roughly divided between a Northern and a Southern European model. In the Northern European (for example Sweden, Denmark, Norway) model the organisation of the administration of the courts dominates. In these countries, the bodies – whose relationship with the Ministries of Justice is quite close - have extensive powers also in determining the budgets and management of the courts. In Southern Europe (in countries such as Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Belgium) the Councils – that are separated from the Ministry of Justice - mostly deal with the recruitment of the judges, and their training, evaluation, transfers, promotion and discipline. Additionally, a Russian model is also identifiable, in which the highest courts of the country are vested also with the powers of their courts’ administration. As to Central and Eastern European countries, Lithuania and Hungary approach to the Northern European model, whereas Romania, Bulgaria and Poland are closer to the Southern European model. The common law countries have specific judicial commissions that perform tasks comparable with the one of the Councils.

3 Please consider the following statements contained in the CCJE’s Opinion No. 4:
- para. 17: "In order to ensure proper separation of roles, the same authority should not be directly responsible for both training and disciplining judges. The CCJE therefore recommends that, under the authority of the judiciary or other independent body, training should be entrusted to a special autonomous establishment with its own budget, which is thus able, in consultation with judges, to devise training programmes and ensure their implementation.";
- para. 18: "Those responsible for training should not also be directly responsible for appointing or promoting judges. If the body (i.e. a judicial service commission) referred to in the CCJE's Opinion N° 1, paragraphs 73 (3), 37, and 45, is competent for training and appointment or promotion, a clear separation should be provided between its branches responsible for these tasks.".

4 Please consider the following statements contained in the CCJE’s Opinion No. 6: - para 34: “The CCJE strongly emphasises, first of all, that the evaluation of "quality" of the justice system, i.e. of the performance of the court system as a whole or of each individual court or local group of courts, should not be confused with the evaluation of the professional ability of every single judge. Professional evaluation of judges, especially when aiming at decisions influencing their status or career, is a task that has other purposes and should be performed on the basis of objective criteria with all guarantees for judicial independence”.

- para 47: “The CCJE believes that it is in the interest of the judiciary that data collection and monitoring be performed on a regular basis, and that appropriate procedures allow a ready adjustment of the organisation of courts to changes in the caseloads. In order to reconcile the realisation of this need with the guarantees of independence of the judiciary (namely, with the principle of irremovability of the judge and the prohibition of removal of cases from a judge), it seems advisable to the CCJE that the authority competent for data collection and monitoring should be the independent body (…); if another body is competent for data collection and monitoring, the states should assure that such activities remain within the public sphere in order to preserve the relevant policy interests linked with the data treatment concerning justice; the independent body should however have power to take measures necessary to adjust the court organisation to the change in caseloads.”

5 Please consider the following statements contained in the CCJE’s Opinion No. 1:

- para 45: “Even in legal systems where good standards have been observed by force of tradition and informal self-discipline, customarily under the scrutiny of a free media, there has been increasing recognition in recent years of a need for more objective and formal safeguards. In other states, particularly those of former communist countries, the need is pressing. The CCJE considered that the European Charter - in so far as it advocated the intervention (in a sense wide enough to include an opinion, recommendation or proposal as well as an actual decision) of an independent authority with substantial judicial representation chosen democratically by other judges - pointed in a general direction which the CCJE wished to commend. This is particularly important for countries which do not have other long-entrenched and democratically proved systems.”

- and para 34 of CCJE’s Opinion No. 6 (see footnote 4 above). 6 Please consider the following statements contained in the CCJE’s Opinion No. 7:

- para 55: “When a judge or a court is challenged or attacked by the media (or by political or other social actors by way of the media) for reasons connected with the administration of justice, the CCJE considers that, in view of the duty of judicial self-restraint, the judge involved should refrain from reactions through the same channels. Bearing in mind the fact that the courts can rectify erroneous information diffused in the press, the CCJE believes it would be desirable that the national judiciaries benefit from the support of persons or a body (e.g. the Higher Council for the Judiciary or judges’ associations) able and ready to respond promptly and efficiently to such challenges or attacks in appropriate cases. “

7 One example is the Committees for the Selection of Judges in several German Länder (composed mainly of members of Parliament and judges) who may decline the Minister’s of Justice suggestion for the appointment or promotion of a candidate (veto right). Another example are the German Councils for Judicial Appointments which consist of the president of the court and of judges elected by their colleagues who deliver a written (not binding) opinion on a candidate’s personal and professional aptitude (as provided by Land law with respect to appointment and/or promotion).



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