Strasbourg, 20 February 2008
Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)
Questionnaire for 2008 CCJE Opinion concerning the quality of judicial decisions: reply submitted by the delegation of Liechtenstein
The procedural law provides for certain content of a judicial judgement. In this scope the judge is free in drafting the decision.
Majority decisions are equally effective und binding. As abstention is not allowed in judicial voting the question of a casting vote does not arise because all panels have an uneven number of judges.
Decisions have to deal with all points which are raised by the parties. It can – even should – be done in a concise way.
The usual frame of a decision is as follows:
a) name of parties and lawyers
b) operative part of the judgement (tenor)
c) arguments of the parties and a numeration of the means of evidence
d) facts stated by the court
e) evaluation of the evidence
f) application of the legal principal based on the facts
Also decisions of the Court of Appeal and of the Supreme Court are drafted equally. The Court of Appeal has the right of rehearing the case. The Supreme Court only decides on the correct application of law (substantive or procedural).
The drafting of judgements in civil and criminal cases is similar. However the reasons of a criminal judgement do not contain the arguments of the parties (prosecution and defence counsel).
The written decision is served upon the parties. A decision (in almost all cases) is only binding the litigants. Exceptions are for example decisions about the status of a person. The law does not acknowledge a difference between decisions in personam or rem.
Decisions are enforced by rules of the code of execution. The law does not provide for separate contempt proceedings (with rare exceptions).
In criminal proceedings decisions have to be announced in open public court. Civil decisions can be announced but are usually served upon the parties in written form.
Personal data protection legislation has to be taken into account, when a decision is published e.g. in a journal.
For third parties judicial decisions are available when a legal interest is proved. The decision is taken by the judge.
Decisions are not published in the internet. It is envisaged to publish all decisions of the Supreme Court, the High Court of Administration and the Constitutional Court in the internet in future. Important decisions are nowadays officially published in the „Liechtensteinische Entscheidungssammlung” (LES), which is a part of the Liechtenstein Jurist Gazette by the association of judges in the mandate of the government (see: www.juristenzeitung.li).
The function of justice is systematically evaluated.
The evaluation does not deal with the quality of decisions as such (that is only the right and duty of the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court). It deals with the quantity and time of the judicial work. Experts, who have to evaluate not only the administration of the court but also the judicial work must be judges (even from neighbour countries).
Because of the computerised registers and files a fluent control of the workload is possible.
In the discussions for the draft of the new Court Organisation Act (which will be in force with July 1st) the evaluation of the quality of the work of judges was not taken into account. The main reason was, that it is not possible to define in a proper way this quality.
To achieve a high level of quality of decisions it is important to have enough possibilities for training of judges, enough judges and staff and to have a good selection of candidates for the profession of a judge. In Liechtenstein we have nowadays no essential deficiencies in this context.
All questions have to be answered with no.