Strasbourg, 22 December 2007

CEPEJ(2007)29

European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ)

10th plenary meeting - Strasbourg, 5 - 6 December 2007 - Meeting report

Report prepared by the Secretariat

Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs

MAIN DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE CEPEJ

§ warmly thanked the President of the European Court of Human Rights, the ministers, high level judges, parliamentarians and ambassadors who had kindly accepted to participate in its special session for its 5th anniversary and instructed its Bureau to duly take into account the proposals made during this session when designing the next medium term activity programme;

§ warmly thanked the research teams for having prepared in-depth studies based on the 2006 Evaluation report and, subject to the amendments to be made by the drafters as requested by the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL, decided to publish on its website and in the “CEPEJ Studies” series the following studies:

- Access to justice in Europe,

- Monitoring and evaluation of the court system: a comparative study,

- Use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in judicial systems of European states,

- The execution of court decisions;

and decided to publish on its website the study Judicial training and education assessment tool – Meeting the changing training needs of judges in Europe” while inviting the Lisbon Network to use it in its own activities;

instructed the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL to analyse the suggestions included in these studies so that they can be taken into account in the framework of the CEPEJ's future work;

§ invited its members and the national correspondents to take appropriate measures so that the replies to the Evaluation Scheme are submitted to the Secretariat, through its electronic version, before 31 December 2007;

§ adopted the list of "Key data on justice in Europe" (CEPEJ (2007)27) and agreed that it could be used by the member states which wish to do so to update on a annual basis and between two evaluation exercises, as from the second half of 2008, some of the judicial data;

§ decided to set up a pilot peer review cooperation process on judicial statistics, approved to this end the objectives and methodology of this process (CEPEJ-GT-EVAL(2007)25) and entrusted the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL to implement it, to assess its results and to report on these results at its next plenary meeting, in view to extending this process;

§ instructed the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL to pursue the preparation of Guidelines on judicial statistics, in cooperation with the Network of national correspondents and taking namely into account the results of the peer review process;

§ reiterated its wish that this process for evaluating European judicial systems can be duly taken into account within the European Union;

§ adopted the Guidelines for a better implementation of the existing recommendations of the Council of Europe concerning penal mediation (CEPEJ(2007)13), family and civil mediation (CEPEJ(2007)14) and on alternatives to litigation between administrative authorities and private parties (CEPEJ (2007)15), decided to forward them to the Committee of Ministers, the CDCJ, the CDPC and other relevant committees of the Council of Europe, so that they can make good use of them, and invited its members to ensure their wide dissemination among the relevant national institutions and organisations;

entrusted its Bureau to prepare, as a result of the work prepared by the CEPEJ-GT-MED, proposals for consideration by the CDCJ and the CDPC;

§ took note of the on-going work of the Groupe de pilotage of the SATURN Centre, invited its Network of pilot courts to fully cooperate with the Groupe de pilotage in this framework and invited its members to contact the pilot courts in their countries to facilitate such cooperation;

§ took note of the draft "Checklist for promoting quality of justice" under preparation and instructed the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL to finalise it so that it can be submitted to the 11th plenary meeting with a view to its adoption;

§ agreed to cooperate with Bulgaria on the issues of execution of court decisions, criteria for the classification of courts and criteria for evaluating individual judges;

§ invited the member states which would like to benefit from the cooperation of the CEPEJ to forward their proposals to the Secretariat, so that they can be considered by the Bureau, subject to the budget available;

§ adopted its programme of activities for 2008 (CEPEJ(2007)19);

§ invited the member states, through the members of the CEPEJ, to propose to the Secretariat before 15 January 2008 relevant experts with a view to renewing the composition of the working groups on evaluation (CEPEJ-GT-EVAL) and quality (CEPEJ-GT-QUAL) and entrusted its Bureau to appoint the members of these working groups taking into account these proposals;

§ entrusted the Secretariat to inform the CEPEJ on the setting up of a working group on execution of court decisions if the budgetary resources allowed it;

§ recalled that it was available to cooperate with the relevant instances of the European Union, in particular as regards its process for evaluating judicial systems;

§ took note of the information given by Portugal and Slovenia, talking on behalf of the outgoing and incoming presidencies of the European Union, on the recent and foreseen developments within the Union in the field of justice;

§ thanked the German authorities for having organised the 2007 main event of the European Day of Justice in Aachen, in cooperation with the Belgian and Dutch authorities, as well as all the judicial authorities which took part in this event in the member states;

§ invited its members to encourage judicial institutions in their countries to organise specific events within the framework of the 2008 European Day of Justice and to submit candidatures for the 2008 "Crystal Scales of Justice" Prize;

§ elected Ms Ivana BORZOVA (Czech Republic) as member of the Bureau to replace Mr Margus SARAPUU (Estonia) until the end of the terms of office of the Bureau;

§ took note of the information given by its Observers, thanked them for their concrete contribution to its activities and invited them to further contribute to the implementation of its programme of activities;

§ decided, in line with Resolution (2005) 47 of the Committee of Ministers, to renew the observer status with the CEPEJ, without limitation of duration, of:

i. the Council of the Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE),

ii. the European Association of Judges (EAJ),

iii. Magistrats Européens pour la Démocratie et les Libertés (MEDEL),

iv. the European Federation of Administrative Judges,

iv. the European Union of Rechtspfleger (EUR),

vi. the International Union of Judicial Officers (UIHJ);

and to extend this measure to all the Observers;

§ decided to set up a network of academic and research institutions willing to cooperate more closely with the CEPEJ and entrusted its Bureau to propose the modalities for organising such a network, including through the possible setting up of an academic council of the CEPEJ.

***

1. The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) held its 10th plenary meeting at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on 5 and 6 December 2007. The meeting was chaired by Mr Fausto de SANTIS (Italy), President of the CEPEJ.

2. The agenda and the list of participants are set out in Appendices I and II respectively.

1. Opening of the meeting

3. The meeting was opened by Mr Philippe BOILLAT, Director General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs. His speech appears in Appendix III to this report. On behalf of the CEPEJ, President de SANTIS thanked Mr BOILLAT for the support he had given to the Commission’s work.

4. Ms Migléna TACHEVA, Minister of Justice of Bulgaria, congratulated the CEPEJ on its 5th anniversary and spoke of the important role played by the Commission in spreading good practice in the judicial field. She reported on the reforms under way in her native Bulgaria, including reform of the judicial system and action against corruption and organised crime.

2. Information from the President of the CEPEJ and the Secretariat

5. The President reported on the hearing which he had had before the Ministers’ Deputies at their 1005th meeting (26 September 2007). The CEPEJ activity report for 2006 (CEPEJ(2007)7) had been approved, as had the new scheme for evaluating judicial systems (CEPEJ(2007)10). During the discussion, all the delegations which took the floor had expressed strong support for the CEPEJ’s work.

6. Mr de SANTIS also reported on his participation in the 28th Conference of European Ministers of Justice (Lanzarote, Spain – 25 and 26 October) on “Emerging issues of access to justice for vulnerable groups, in particular: migrants and asylum seekers; and children, including children as perpetrators of crime”, at which he had reiterated the CEPEJ’s willingness to contribute, within its sphere of competence, to the implementation of the resolutions adopted.

7. He also said he had attended a colloquy held by Italian lawyers in Caltagirone (15 – 17 November 2007) on judicial remedies, at which he had presented the Commission’s activities in evaluating judicial systems. The participants had expressed a keen interest in this work.

8. The Secretariat informed the CEPEJ of a number of other events at which the Commission’s work had been presented since its 9th plenary meeting:

9. The Secretariat of the CEPEJ attends on a regular basis – as an observer – meetings of the Working Group on “E-Justice” of the Council of the European Union in Brussels.

10. The CEPEJ was represented at the Annual Conference (25-27 October) of the Hague Institute for Internationalisation of Law (HiiL). During this conference, a paper on “How to measure the rule of law: a comparison of three studies” was presented.

11. The special advisor of the CEPEJ attended the second meeting of “the Framework for Court Excellence”, hosted by the National Centre for State Courts and the Federal Judicial Centre (Washington DC) on 13-15 November.

12. On 21 November, the work of the CEPEJ was presented during a training course for Eastern European judges and officers of the Ministries of Justice and representatives of MEDA countries in The Hague (MTEC).

13. On 30-31 November, the special adviser participated in an expert meeting of a research project entitled: “Measuring the access to and the costs of justice”, organised by a research group of the University of Tilburg.

14. The CEPEJ members in respect of Croatia and Slovenia reported on developments in their countries with regard to European Law Day.

3. Celebration of the 5th anniversary of the CEPEJ: "What do you expect from the CEPEJ in the next 5 years "?

15. The special session held in the main court room of the European Court of Human Rights, at the invitation of the President of the Court, Mr Jean-Paul COSTA, was dealt with in CEPEJ(2007)30 and revolved around the question: "What do you expect from the CEPEJ in the next 5 years?"

16. The CEPEJ warmly thanked the President of the European Court of Human Rights, the Ministers of Justice of Georgia and Moldova, senior judges, parliamentarians and ambassadors for kindly agreeing to participate in this special session. It instructed its Bureau to take due account of the proposals made at this session when next deciding which activities to focus on.

4. Recent developments in the judicial field in Council of Europe member states

17. In a round-table discussion several delegations (Austria, Germany, Moldova, Spain) highlighted the main reforms and/or discussions under way in their respective countries in the judicial field. Details were available on the CEPEJ website1. CEPEJ members were asked to provide the Secretariat as soon as possible with written information and any useful references so that they could be posted on the website under “country profiles”. Any members which had not yet done so were also asked to send the Secretariat an organisational chart of their judicial system, for inclusion in the same section of the website.

5. Process for evaluating European judicial systems

Examination, with a view to their approval and publication, of the in-depth studies based on the report on “European judicial systems – Edition 2006"

18. The Chair of the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL, Mr Jean-Paul JEAN (France), presented a summary of the studies commissioned by the CEPEJ from teams of researchers, in order to make thorough use of the CEPEJ’s evaluation report on judicial systems. He said that five of the six studies selected by the CEPEJ at its 8th plenary meeting had been examined by the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL. It was agreed that the last study on "administration and management of judicial systems" would be examined at the beginning of 2008.

19. Generally speaking, the experts agreed to ask the authors of the studies to supplement them as follows:

§ a summary (abstract), approximately 20 lines in length, should be compiled,

§ a caveat should be inserted, stating that the study was based mainly on the CEPEJ’s 2006 report, which related to the 2004 data,

§ the study should indicate the date at which the material contained therein was finalised,

§ the study should have a conclusion, including prospects for future work,

§ the text of the questions from the CEPEJ evaluation scheme, as used in the study, should appear in an appendix.

It was further pointed out that the specific recommendations and conclusions concerning the CEPEJ procedure for evaluating judicial systems should be presented in a separate document, for the CEPEJ’s internal use, in order that the study itself should be accessible to a wider readership.

20. On behalf of the research team which he or she represented:

§ Ms Daria SOLENIK (Nancy Faculty of Law) presented the study: "Access to justice in Europe" (CEPEJ(2007)24Prov),

§ Mr Julien LHUILLIER (Nancy Faculty of Law) presented the study: "The execution of court decisions in Europe" (CEPEJ(2007)20Prov); the Secretariat pointed out that this study had been submitted on 13 November 2007 to the Committee of Ministers, under its procedure for monitoring member states in this area. The CEPEJ said that the experts’ recommendations and draft guidelines in this study would need to be examined in the course of the Commission’s future work,

§ Mr Marco VELICOGNA (Bologna Institute of Research on Judicial Systems) presented the studies: "Use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in judicial systems of European states" (CEPEJ (2007)22Prov) and “Monitoring and evaluation of the court system: a comparative study” (CEPEJ(2007)21Prov).

21. In line with the recommendations of the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL, the CEPEJ decided to publish these four studies on its website and in the “CEPEJ Studies” series, subject to certain amendments to be made by the drafters as requested by the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL (see document CEPEJ-GT-EVAL(2007)14). It instructed the Secretariat to make the necessary arrangements for publication.

22. The Chair of the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL said his group had also examined the study: “Judicial training and education assessment tool – Meeting the changing training needs of judges in Europe” (CEPEJ(2007)23Prov) prepared by the Faculty of Law of Birmingham University (United Kingdom), l’Institut des Hautes Études sur la Justice (France) and the universities of Bologna and Florence (Italy). As recommended by the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL, the CEPEJ decided to publish this study on its website. Given the nature of the document, which was more of a methodological exploration than an attempt to interpret the information contained in the CEPEJ’s 2006 report, the CEPEJ agreed to forward this study to the Lisbon Network, inviting it to use it in its own activities.

23. The CEPEJ expressed its sincere gratitude to the various teams of researchers and congratulated them on the calibre of their work, which they had had to complete in a very short timeframe.

24. The CEPEJ instructed the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL to examine the suggestions made in these studies so that they could be taken on board in the CEPEJ’s future work.

Implementation of the 2006 – 2008 evaluation cycle

25. Mr Georg STAWA (Austria) reported on progress made in implementing the 2006-2008 evaluation cycle. In particular, he spoke of the benefits of the electronic evaluation scheme, which should make it easier to collect and process data.

26. Members were reminded that replies to the evaluation scheme were to be submitted to the Secretariat, via the electronic version, by 31 December 2007.

27. To process the data and prepare the report, the Secretariat said that the French authorities were going to assign it a Chief Clerk, Mr Guy MAGNIER, for nine months. It was also pointed out that Mr Pim ALBERS had been seconded to the Secretariat by the Netherlands authorities as special adviser, mainly to help prepare the report. The Secretariat also said that a consultant’s contract was due to be signed by the beginning of 2008 with a statistician, Ms Marata ZIMOLAG (Poland), who would be specifically responsible for statistical processing and for presenting the data, in consultation with the Secretariat staff, under the supervision of the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL.

28. It was agreed that a meeting of the national correspondents would be held in Strasbourg on 5 May 2008.

29. The draft report, prepared by the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL, would be submitted at the 11th plenary meeting of the CEPEJ, with a view to its adoption.

30. The CEPEJ member in respect of Portugal said that at a recent meeting of the Latin American States in Madrid, a questionnaire inquiring about the functioning of the justice system in these countries had been adopted. The CEPEJ’s evaluation scheme had served as a basis for compiling this questionnaire.

Implementation of a pilot peer review co-operation process

31. Mr Jean-Paul SUDRE (France) gave details of the French authority’s proposal to introduce a pilot peer review co-operation process on judicial statistics.

32. The Chair of the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL said in particular that this process would make it possible to address the matter of the confidence intervals with which data were presented in the CEPEJ report.

33. The CEPEJ decided to introduce this process on a trial basis. It adopted the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL document (CEPEJ(2007)25) setting out the aims of the process and the methods whereby it was to be implemented. It was pointed out that the Group had taken account, inter alia, of the statistical evaluation exercises carried out by EUROSTAT and the relevant European Union documents.

34. It was agreed that three evaluation visits would take place in the first half of 2008 to France and, subject to confirmation by the competent authorities, to Bosnia and Herzegovina and to Poland. The CEPEJ instructed the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL to implement this process. The CEPEJ-GT-EVAL would be expected to evaluate the results and to present them at the 11th plenary meeting, with a view to extending the process.

35. The representative of the Council of the European Union said that a similar joint initiative had been conducted between EU states in 1997. She stressed the importance of identifying good practice in this context.

Establishing a list of key data

36. The Chair of the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL presented the draft list of key data prepared by his Group on the instructions of the CEPEJ. Participants discussed, amended and adopted document CEPEJ(2007)27.

37. It was agreed that the volunteer countries could use this document to update, in the autumn 2008, their key data on the basis of the statistics for 2007. These updates would be posted on the CEPEJ website. They were not meant to be processed or specifically commented on.

38. It was agreed that at this stage, each state should indicate the calculation method used to produce statistics relating to length of proceedings at first instance, as they were currently asked to do in the evaluation scheme. A common calculation method could be agreed later, based on the future work of the Groupe de pilotage of the SATURN Centre.

Draft CEPEJ guidelines on judicial statistics

39. Mr Frans Van der DOELN (Netherlands) told participants that the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL was continuing to prepare CEPEJ guidelines on judicial statistics, in keeping with Articles 2 and 3 of the CEPEJ Statute. These guidelines took account of the work carried out within the framework of the European Union. They would also draw on the trial peer review process. An item on this subject would be placed on the agenda for the meeting of national correspondents in May 2008. Once finalised, the draft would be submitted at the CEPEJ plenary meeting.

Co-operation with the European Union

40. The Secretariat said that at their 1005th meeting, Ministers’ Deputies "in line with the Memorandum of Understanding between the Council of Europe and the European Union signed on 17 May 2007, reiterated the availability of the Council of Europe to co-operate with the relevant bodies of the European Union so that the process of the CEPEJ for evaluating European judicial systems can be duly taken into account within the European Union and instructed the Secretary General to inform these bodies”. A letter to this effect had been sent by the Secretary General, Mr Terry DAVIS, to the Vice-President of the European Commission, Mr Franco FRATTINI. The CEPEJ reiterated its willingness to co-operate with the relevant EU bodies as part of its judicial system evaluation process.

6. Measure of the impact of the Council of Europe Recommendations on mediation: guidelines for a better implementation of the Recommendations on mediation

41. Ms Ivana BORZOVA (Czech Republic), member of the CEPEJ-GT-MED, presented the draft guidelines for a better implementation of the Recommendations concerning mediation in civil, family and penal matters, as amended by the Group in the light of the comments submitted by a number of delegations after the 9th plenary meeting of the CEPEJ.

42. The CEPEJ member in respect of Greece said it could be difficult to recommend mediation in a dispute between a private party and a public authority in cases where the latter had limited discretion, which did not allow mediation. Various delegations pointed out, however, that the Recommendation had been adopted by the Committee of Ministers and that the role of the CEPEJ in this exercise was to facilitate its implementation.

43. On a proposal from the Observer from the European Federation of Administrative Judges, it was agreed that paragraph 6 of the introduction to the draft guidelines on alternatives to litigation between administrative authorities and private parties should be qualified.

44. The CEPEJ adopted the Guidelines for a better implementation of the Council of Europe Recommendations concerning mediation in penal matters (CEPEJ(2007)13), family and civil mediation (CEPEJ(2007)14) and, subject to the amendment referred to in the previous paragraph, on alternatives to litigation between administrative authorities and private parties (CEPEJ(2007)15).

45. It instructed the Secretariat to forward these documents to the Committee of Ministers, the CDCJ, the CDPC and the other competent committees, in order that they might make good use of them. It further invited its members to ensure that they were widely disseminated to the relevant national institutions and organisations.

46. The CEPEJ instructed its Bureau to prepare, in the light of the work done by the CEPEJ-GT-MED, proposals to be forwarded to the CDCJ and the CDPC.

7. Groupe de pilotage of the SATURN Centre for Judicial Time Management

47. The Chair of the SATURN Centre’s Groupe de pilotage, Mr Jacques BÜHLER (Switzerland), said that a questionnaire had been compiled for the pilot courts with a view to gathering relevant information about judicial timeframes and preparing guidelines on judicial time management. The questionnaire had been tested on six pilot courts and amended in the light of their replies. It had then been sent to all members of the Network at the end of November 2007, asking them to reply by 15 February 2008. A summary of the replies would be compiled by a consultant for the next meeting of the Groupe de pilotage.

48. The CEPEJ invited the Network of Pilot Courts to co-operate fully with the Groupe de pilotage. CEPEJ members were also asked to contact the pilot courts in their respective countries in order to facilitate this co-operation.

8. Quality of justice

49. Mr Ladislav DUDITS (Slovakia) presented the draft Checklist for promoting the quality of justice (CEPEJ-QT-QUAL(2007)9Prov) which the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL was currently working on. He emphasised the value of the work being carried out and urged the Working Group to complete its work as soon as possible.

50. The CEPEJ member in respect of Austria said his authorities were very interested in this work, which could be taken on board in internal projects relating to the quality of justice.

51. The Secretariat said that as well as preparing the Checklist, the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL had decided to focus on the following in 2008:

§ based on an inventory of existing systems for evaluating the quality of justice, a report would be drawn up by a consultant, which would comprise a structured summary of the machinery employed, the chosen policies and the main results achieved;

§ at a later stage, practical measures would be taken on specific issues. The conclusion of contracts between the court and the parties to the proceedings or user satisfaction surveys had been cited as possible areas for discussion here.

9. Targeted co-operation with member states

52. For information, the CEPEJ member in respect of Switzerland said that Mr François PAYCHERE (member of the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL and of the Network of Pilot Courts) and himself had been contacted in their capacity as CEPEJ experts by the Department of Justice of Neuchâtel Canton to look at the issue of the cost and efficiency of justice.

53. The CEPEJ member in respect of Bulgaria requested the CEPEJ’s co-operation on the execution of court decisions, with regard to criteria for the classification of courts and criteria for assessing individual judges. A more detailed request would be submitted to the Secretariat in writing. The CEPEJ agreed to pursue such co-operation in 2008, under terms to be agreed by its Bureau.

54. The CEPEJ invited any other member states wishing to benefit from targeted co-operation to submit their proposals to the Secretariat, so that they could be considered by the Bureau, within the limits of the budgetary resources available.

10. CEPEJ activities programme for 2008

55. Ms Galina TONEVA-DONCHEVA (Bulgaria) presented the CEPEJ’s draft activities programme for 2008, as prepared by the Bureau.

56. The CEPEJ was in favour of the idea of setting up a specific Working Group on issues relating to the execution of court decisions, to consider inter alia what follow-up should be given to the study on this subject (CEPEJ(2007)20). It noted, however, that any such move was impossible at present owing to lack of funds and instructed the Secretariat to notify it if the situation improved in the course of the year.

57. The CEPEJ adopted its activities programme for 2008 (CEPEJ(2007)19). It invited the member states, through the CEPEJ members, to provide the Secretariat by 15 January 2008 with the names of relevant experts with a view to reappointing the working groups on evaluation (CEPEJ-GT-EVAL) and quality (CEPEJ-GT-QUAL) and instructed its Bureau to appoint the members of these working groups, bearing in mind these nominations.

11. Relations between the CEPEJ and the other Council of Europe bodies

58. The representative of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE), Ms Julia LAFFRANQUE (the new Chair of the CCJE), informed the CEPEJ of the adoption of CCJE Opinion No. 10 on “The Council for the Judiciary at the service of society”. She also said that the CCJE had proposed focusing on the quality of court decisions in 2008. This work was to be tied in with that being carried out by the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL. The need for complementarity between these activities was emphasised by several delegations. Ms LAFFRANQUE also said that the CCJE had finalised comments on the CEPEJ’s 2006 report on the evaluation of judicial systems with regard to the conditions of appointment and status of judges and training for judges. These comments would be forwarded to the CEPEJ through its Bureau.

59. The Secretariat of the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE) said that the latter had adopted its Opinion No. 1 on "Ways of improving international co-operation in the criminal justice field”. As part of its future priorities, the CCPE would continue its current work on the role of prosecutors outside the criminal justice field and alternatives to litigation. It was also looking at the issue of relations between prosecutors and the executive. The CCJE and the CCPE had further agreed to work together in 2009 on relations between judges and prosecutors. The CEPEJ’s work, especially in evaluating judicial systems, could be of use here.

60. The representative of the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ), Mr Eberhard DESCH, together with the CEPEJ member in respect of France (appointed by the Bureau to represent the CEPEJ on the CJ-S-JUST) said that the CJ-S-JUST had finalised the draft revision of Recommendation R(94)12 on the independence, efficiency and role of judges, as recommended by the CEPEJ in its Action Plan for the CDCJ (CEPEJ(2005)11). This draft would be discussed by the CDCJ in 2008. Mr DESCH also said that the CDCJ had adopted the revision of the Convention on adoption, and the recommendations on good administration, managing debt and the status of NGOs.

61. The representative of the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH), Mr Vitaliano ESPOSITO, emphasised the urgent importance of working to protect the most vulnerable members of society.

62. The Secretariat of the Lisbon Network said the Network had held its last plenary meeting on the subject “How to train judges in Council of Europe instruments and in their implementation?”. The next plenary meeting was expected to look at training judges to interact with the media. The Lisbon Network had been invited by the CCPE to develop specific training for prosecutors in order to make them more informed about mutual assistance.

11. Co-operation with the European Union

63. On behalf of the outgoing and incoming presidencies of the European Union, the CEPEJ members in respect of Portugal, Mr Joao ARSENIO de OLIVEIRA and Slovenia, Mr Marko SÖRLI, conducted a review and outlined future prospects in the judicial sphere within the European Union (see Appendix IV).

64. Mr Matthias HEGER (Germany) reported on the highly successful main event of the European Day of Justice, which had been held in Aix-la-Chapelle on 8 November 2007, in association with the Belgian and Dutch authorities. Over 500 people had taken part in the event which had included simulated trials open to high school and university students and workshops for members of the legal community, focusing on the transfrontier aspects of child custody rights and visiting rights and on the execution of court decisions.

65. The Secretariat noted a decline in the number of initiatives reported by member states in connection with the European Day of Justice. The CEPEJ drew attention to the role played by each and every member in promoting this Day, and the need to involve the pilot courts in organising specific events. An appeal was issued to member states, asking for volunteers to host the main event in 2008.

66. The Secretariat also reminded members that the next edition of the “Crystal Scales of Justice” award was to be organised in conjunction with the European Day of Justice in October 2008. CEPEJ members were asked to encourage judicial institutions in their countries to submit entries to the Secretariat, via the website.

12. Election of a member of the Bureau

67. The CEPEJ elected Ms Ivana BORZOVA (Czech Republic) as member of the Bureau to replace Mr Margus SARAPUU (Estonia) until the end of the terms of office of the Bureau. It thanked Mr SARAPUU (who had to leave the CEPEJ to take up new duties) for the invaluable contribution which he had made to its work.

13. Observers to the CEPEJ

68. The CEPEJ decided, in line with Resolution (2005) 47 of the Committee of Ministers, to renew the observer status with the CEPEJ, without limitation of duration, of:

i. the Council of the Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE),

ii. the European Association of Judges (EAJ),

iii. Magistrats Européens pour la Démocratie et les Libertés (MEDEL),

iv. the European Federation of Administrative Judges,

v. the European Union of Rechtspfleger (EUR),

vi. the International Union of Judicial Officers (UIHJ).

It also decided to extend this measure to all the observers.

69. The representative of the International Union of Judicial Officers (UIHJ) reiterated his organisation’s willingness to co-operate with the CEPEJ on the execution of court decisions. He gave a presentation on the system put in place by the UIHJ which used four questionnaires to gather statistics from 62 countries on the execution of court decisions, statistics which were constantly updated via an electronic system. It was agreed that the CEPEJ could have access to this system, under terms to be agreed with the Secretariat.

He also said that the UIHJ had carried out over 50 missions in 2007 in an effort to work with states to improve their system of executing court decisions. The UIHJ was also pressing ahead with its efforts to draw up a standardised statute for judicial officers.

70. The European Union of Rechtspfleger (EUR) was a regular participant in meetings of the CEPEJ Working Groups and was interested in continuing this co-operation. It had disseminated information on the CEPEJ’s work at a colloquy held by the PHARE programme in Bucharest on the changing face of the profession of court clerk and training for court clerks. At this colloquy, the idea of setting up, within the Council of Europe, a network of national institutes responsible for such training had been mooted.

71. The representative of the European Association of Judges said his organisation had introduced a newsletter.

72. The representative of Magistrats Européens pour la Démocratie et les Libertés (MEDEL) reported on his organisation’s plan to gather information on the functioning of the justice system in all MEDEL member states. He also said that MEDEL had written to the CCJE and the CCPE about allegations of illegal intelligence activities vis-à-vis judges and prosecutors in Italy. The Secretariat said that both the CCJE and the CCPE had addressed this matter at their recent plenary meetings and that the chairs of the two bodies had sent a joint letter to MEDEL.

73. The European Federation of Administrative Judges said it had helped to prepare the CEPEJ’s guidelines on alternatives to litigation between administrative authorities and private parties.

74. The Secretary General of the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN) reported on the three main strands of his organisation’s work in training judges: human rights training, linguistic training and basic training, where an exploratory process was currently under way. He also said that the exchange programme for judicial authorities was in progress.

75. The representative of the American Bar Association – Rule of Law Initiative reiterated his organisation’s interest in the CEPEJ’s work, in particular where evaluating judicial systems was concerned. He suggested that the sectoral tools developed by the ABA-RoLI for evaluating various aspects of the legal and judicial spheres in central and eastern Europe might be useful here.

76. The representative of the Council of the Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) stressed the importance of in-service training for lawyers and urged the CEPEJ to continue examining this subject as part of its process of evaluating judicial systems.

14. Any other business

77. Mr Eberhard DESCH said he had met with representatives of the German Association of Judges in Berlin, who had expressed a keen interest in the CEPEJ’s work.

78. The Secretariat said that the previous September, it had attended the launch of the research projects funded by the European Union and conducted by Aix-Marseille Faculty of Law (France) on the development, and problems, of a common judicial culture in the European judicial area.

79. On a proposal from its Bureau, the CEPEJ decided to create a network of universities and research bodies interested in working more closely with it. Such a network could notably include institutes and universities that had contributed to the scientific exploitation of the 2006 evaluation report on judicial systems, the bodies which employed the scientific experts who worked with the CEPEJ and research bodies which had asked the CEPEJ for specific contributions. To this end, it was proposed that a scientific council of the CEPEJ be set up. The CEPEJ instructed its Bureau to determine how such a network might be organised.

80. Mr Alan UZELAC (Croatia) said that the proceedings of the last training session run by the Inter-university Centre of Dubrovnik on "Private and public justice – Dispute resolution in modern societies” would be published and presented at the next session, which would be held in Dubrovnik from 19 to 23 May 2008.

81. Having been informed that Mr Loukis SAVVIDES (Cyprus) had stepped down as member of the CEPEJ in favour of Mr Takis ELIADES, the CEPEJ thanked Mr SAVVIDES for his invaluable assistance in setting up and developing the Commission. Through his successor, it gave Mr ELIADES a gift as a token of its appreciation.

Appendix I

AGENDA

1. Opening of the meeting by Mr Philippe BOILLAT, Director General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs

2. Adoption of the agenda

3. Information by the President of the CEPEJ and the Secretariat

4. Celebration of the 5th anniversary of the CEPEJ: "What do you expect from the CEPEJ in the five coming years"? (see the specific programme)

5. Recent developments in the judicial field in the Council of Europe member states

6. Process for evaluating European judicial systems

    § Examination, with a view to their approval and publication, of the in-depth studies based on the report on "European judicial systems – Edition 2006"

      - Access to justice in Europe

    Rapporteur: Daria SOLENIK, Law Faculty of Nancy

      - The execution of court decisions in Europe

    Rapporteur: Julien LHUILLER, Law Faculty of Nancy

      - Use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in judicial systems of European states

      Rapporteur: Marco VELICOGNA, Research Institute on Judicial Systems, Bologna

      - Monitoring and evaluation of Court System: A comparative Study

      Rapporteur: Marco VELICOGNA, Research Institute on Judicial Systems, Bologna

      - Judicial training and education assessment tool - Meeting the changing training needs of judges in Europe

    § Implementation of the 2006 – 2008 evaluation cycle

Rapporteur: Georg STAWA (Austria)

    § Implementation of a pilot peer review cooperation process

Rapporteur: Jean-Paul SUDRE (France)

    § Setting up of a list of key data, in view to its adoption

    Rapporteur: Jean-Paul JEAN, Chair of the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL

    § Discussion of draft CEPEJ guidelines on judicial statistics

Rapporteur: Frans van der DOELEN (Netherlands)

7. Measure of the impact of the Council of Europe Recommendations on mediation: examination of guidelines for a better implementation of the Recommendations in force concerning mediation, in view of their adoption

Rapporteur Ivana BORZOVÁ, Member of the CEPEJ-GT-MED

8. SATURN Centre for judicial time management

Rapporteur: Mr Jacques BÜHLER (Switzerland)

9. Quality of justice: discussion of the draft "Checklist for promoting quality of justice"

Rapporteur: Ladislav DUDITS (Slovak Republic)

10. Assistance activities of the CEPEJ to member states

11. Discussion of the draft programme of CEPEJ activities for 2008 in view of its adoption

Rapporteur: Galina TONEVA-DACHEVA (Bulgaria)

12. Relations between the CEPEJ and the other bodies of the Council of Europe

    § Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)

    § Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE)

    § European Committee on Legal Cooperation (CDCJ)

    § Steering Committee on Human Rights (CDDH)

    § Lisbon Network

13. Co-operation with the European Union

    § Last developments within the European Union in the judicial field

    Rapporteurs: Mr Joao ARSENIO de OLIVEIRA (Portugal) and Mr Marko ŠORLI (Slovenia) on behalf of the outgoing and incoming presidencies of the European Union

    § 5th edition of the European day of Civil justice

    Rapporteur: Mr Matthias HEGER (Germany)

14. Election of one member of the Bureau

15. Observers to the CEPEJ (including the renewal of the observer status of some observers)

16. Any other business

Appendix II

LIST OF PARTICIPANTS / LISTE DES PARTICIPANTS

CEPEJ Members / Membres de la CEPEJ

ALBANIA / ALBANIE 

Ivi KAZO, Chief of the Inspection and Coordination Sector with IPRO and PRCA, Ministry of Justice, TIRANA

ANDORRA / ANDORRE

Carme OBIOLS, Secrétaire Générale, Conseil supérieur de la Justice, ANDORRE LA VIEILLE

ARMENIA / ARMENIE

Armen SANOYAN, Chief Specialist, Department of international Legal Affairs, Ministry of Justice, YEREVAN

AUSTRIA / AUTRICHE

Georg STAWA, Public Prosecutor, Directorate for Central Administration and Coordination, Federal Ministry of Justice, VIENNA

AZERBAIJAN / AZERBAÏDJAN

Ramin GURBANOV, Senior Adviser, Department of Organisation and Analysis, Ministry of Justice, BAKU

Sabina ISKENDEROVA, Consultant, Human Rights and Fair Trial Organisation, BAKU

BELGIUM / BELGIQUE 

Dietger GEERAERT, Attaché Service Juridique, Direction Générale de l'Organisation Judiciaire, SPF Justice, BRUXELLES

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA / BOSNIE-HERZÉGOVINE

Ljiljana FILIPOVIĆ, Judge, Supreme Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council BiH, SARAJEVO

Mersudin PRUZAN, Deputy Disciplinary Prosecutor, Office of the Disciplinary Prosecutor, High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of BiH, SARAJEVO

Adis HODZIC, Head of the Budget and Statistics Department, Secretariat High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of BiH, SARAJEVO

BULGARIA / BULGARIE

Migléna TACHEVA, Minister of Justice of Bulgaria / Ministre de la Justice de Bulgarie

Galina TONEVA-DACHEVA, Judge at the Sofia Appellate Court, SOFIA

CROATIA / CROATIE

Alan UZELAC, Ph.D. Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, ZAGREB

CYPRUS / CHYPRE

Takis ELIADES, Member of the Supreme Court, LIMASSOL

CZECH REPUBLIC / REPUBLIQUE TCHEQUE

Ivana BORZOVÁ, Head, Department of Civil Supervision, Ministry of Justice, PRAGUE

DENMARK / DANEMARK

Klaus RUGAARD, Chief Adviser, Documentation and analyses, Danish Court Administration, COPENHAGEN (Apologised / Excusé)

ESTONIA / ESTONIE

Marko AAVIK, Deputy Secretary General, Ministry of Justice, TALLINN

FINLAND / FINLANDE

Kari Samuli KIESILĀINEN, Head of Department, Directorate General, Ministry of Justice, HELSINKI

FRANCE

Jean-Paul SUDRE, Avocat Général près la Cour d’Appel de Paris, PARIS

Guy MAGNIER, Greffier en Chef, Cour d'Appel de Colmar, FRANCE

GEORGIA / GÉORGIE

Ekaterine TKESHELASHVILI, Minister of Justice of Georgia / Ministre de la Justice de Géorgie

Irakli ADEISHVILI, Chair of Civil Chamber of Tbilisi District Court, TBILISI

GERMANY / ALLEMAGNE

Matthias HEGER, Chef du Service de Procédure civile internationale, Ministère fédéral de la justice, BERLIN

GREECE / GRÈCE 

Michael VRONTAKIS, Vice-Président du Conseil d’Etat, ATHENES

HUNGARY / HONGRIE

Gabor SZEPLAKI-NAGY, Conseiller Référendaire à la Cour Suprême de Hongrie, Directeur de Cabinet de la Présidence, BUDAPEST

ICELAND / ISLANDE

Simon SIGVALDASON, Judge, Chairman of the Court Administration, Heradsdomur Reykjavikur, Domhusi v/Laekjartorg, REYKJAVIK (Apologised / Excusé)

IRELAND / IRLANDE

David FENNELL, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, DUBLIN

Noel RUBOTHAM, Director of Reform and Development, Courts Service, Green Street Courthouse, DUBLIN

ITALY / ITALIE

Fausto DE SANTIS, Directeur Général au sein du Bureau de l’organisation judiciaire, Ministère de la Justice, ROME (Chair of the CEPEJ / Président de la CEPEJ)

Giovanni DIOTALLEVI, Vice-Chef du Bureau de l’Organisation judiciaire, Ministère de la Justice, ROME

LATVIA / LETTONIE 

Aija BRANTA, Judge of the Constitutional Court, RIGA

Agnija KARLSONE, Head of Public Relations Division, Court Administration, RIGA

Baiba GARINA, Head of Office, Court administration, RIGA

LITHUANIA / LITUANIE

Laima GARNELIENE, Head of Criminal Cases Division of the Lithuanian Court Appeal, Lietuvos Apeliacinis teismas, VILNIUS

LUXEMBOURG 

Yves HUBERTY, Attaché de Gouvernement, Ministère de la justice, LUXEMBOURG-KIRCHBERG

MALTA / MALTE

Francesco DEPASQUALE, Ministry representative, Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs, VALLETTA

MOLDOVA

Vitalie PIRLOG, Minister of Justice of Moldova / Ministre de la Justice de Moldova

Diana SCOBIOALA, Head of Directorate General International Relations and European Integration of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Moldova, CHISINAU

MONACO 

Jean Antoine CURRAU, Assistant référendaire près de la Cour d’Appel, Direction des Services judiciaires, Palais de Justice, MONACO

MONTENEGRO / MONTÉNÉGRO

Lidija MASANOVIC, Legal Advisor, Ministry of Justice, PODGORICA (Apologised / Excusée)

NETHERLANDS / PAYS-BAS

Frans van der DOELEN, Programme Manager of the Department of the Justice System, Ministry of Justice, EH THE HAGUE

NORWAY / NORVÈGE

Audun BERG, Senior adviser, The National Courts Administration, TRONDHEIM

Iwar ARNSTAD, Senior Adviser, The National Courts Administration,Department for Public Relations, TRONDHEIM

POLAND / POLOGNE 

Tadeusz ERECINSKI, Professor of Law, President of the Supreme Court of Poland (Civil Chamber), WARSAW

PORTUGAL 

João ARSENIO DE OLIVEIRA, Conseiller juridique, Bureau de la Politique législative et du Plan, Ministère de la Justice, LISBONNE

ROMANIA / ROUMANIE 

Iulia SCÂNTEI, Secrétaire Générale adjointe, Ministère de la Justice, BUCAREST

Corina CORBU, Judge, Secretary General of the Superior Council of Magistracy, BUCHAREST

Elena Daniela NICA, Counselor for European Affairs, BUCHAREST

Ana Cristina LABUS, Judge, Representative of the board of CSM, BUCHAREST

Aurora-Emanuela TOMA, Expert of the National Administration of Penitenciary, BUCHAREST

THE RUSSISAN FEDERATION / FÉDÉRATION DE RUSSIE

Veronika Vladimirovna MILINCHUK, Deputy Minister of Justice, Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights, MOSCOW

SERBIA /SERBIE

Slobodan HOMEN, Senior Adviser, Ministry of Justice, BELGRADE

SLOVAK REPUBLIC / RÉPUBLIQUE SLOVAQUE

Ladislav DUDITS, Judge, Kosice Regional Court, in charge as the Director General of the Civil Law Division, Ministry of Justice, KOSICE

SLOVENIA / SLOVÉNIE 

Marko SORLI, Vice President of the Supreme Court, LJUBLJANA

SPAIN / ESPAGNE 

Elsa GARCÍA-MALTRÁS DE BLAS, Public Prosecutor, Legal Advisor, Ministry of Justice, DG International Legal Cooperation, MADRID (Member of the CEPEJ-Bureau / Membre du Bureau de la CEPEJ)

Eduardo Angel PERDIGUERO BAUTISTA, Magistrat, Chef du Service de l’Organisation et de la Modernisation Judiciaire, MADRID

SWEDEN / SUÈDE

Olof WETTERQVIST, Legal Adviser, Division of Procedural Law and Court Issues, Ministry of Justice, STOCKHOLM

SWITZERLAND / SUISSE 

Jacques BÜHLER, Secrétaire Général suppléant, Tribunal fédéral suisse, LAUSANNE

"THE FORMER YOUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA" / "L'EX-RÉPUBLIQUE YOUGOSLAVE DE MACÉDOINE"

Nikola PROKOPENKO, Head of Unit of Courts and Public Prosecution Office, Miinistry of Jusice, Street, SKOPJE (Apologised / Excusé)

Danica STANOJEVIC, Ministry of Justice, SKOPJE

TURKEY / TURQUIE

Harun MERT, Judge, Ministry of Justice, General Directorate of International Law and Foreign Relations, Bakanlıklar, ANKARA

UNITED KINGDOM / ROYAUME-UNI

Michael WALKER, District Judge, Royal Courts of Justice, LONDON

John STACEY, Head of Civil & Family Rules and Jurisdiction Branch, Her Majesty's Courts Service, LONDON (Vice-Chair of the CEPEJ / Vice-Président de la CEPEJ)

Cara MITCHELL-LANGFORD

Head of Fee Programme, Civil Law and Justice Division, Her Majesty's Courts Service, LONDON

***

OBSERVER STATES / ÉTATS OBSERVATEURS

HOLY SEE/SAINT-SIÈGE

(Apologised / Excusé)

JAPAN/JAPON 

Akira TAKANO, Consul, Consulate-General of Japan, STRASBOURG, FRANCE

Keiichi HIRABAYASHI, Judge of Osaka District Court, OSAKA

Tsutomu YAMAZAKI, Judge of Tokyo District Court, TOKYO

MEXICO/MEXIQUE 

Angel Ernesto DE LA GUARDIA CUETO, Legal Advisor for the European Union and Switzerland, MADRID, SPAIN

***

OBSERVERS / OBSERVATEURS

COUNCIL OF THE BARS AND LAW SOCIETIES OF THE EUROPEAN UNION / CONSEIL DES BARREAUX DE l’UNION EUROPÉENNE (CCBE)
Birgitt BEGER, Legal Advisor, BRUSSELS, BELGIUM

Jana WURSTOVA, Lawyer of the International Department, Czech Bar Association, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF JUDGES / ASSOCIATION EUROPÉENNE DES MAGISTRATS (EAJ)

Virgilijus VALANČIUS, President of the EAJ, President of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, VILNIUS, LITHUANIA

EUROPEAN UNION OF RECHTSPFLEGER AND COURT CLERKS / UNION EUROPÉENNE DES GREFFIERS DE JUSTICE (EUR)

Jean-Jacques KUSTER, Greffier en chef, tribunal d'instance, représentant de l'EUR auprès du Conseil de l'Europe, STRASBOURG, FRANCE

INTERNATIONAL UNION OF BAILIFFS / UNION INTERNATIONALE DES HUISSIERS DE JUSTICE ET OFFICIERS JUDICIAIRES (UIHJ)

Mathieu CHARDON, Premier secrétaire de l'UIHJ, Huissier de Justcie, VERSAILLES, FRANCE

EUROPEAN FEDERATION OF ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGES / FÉDÉRATION EUROPÉENNE DES JUGES ADMINISTRATIFS

Pierre VINCENT, Cour Administrative d’Appel, NANCY, FRANCE

Bernard EVEN, Vice-Président du Tribunal Administratif, STRASBOURG, FRANCE

MAGISTRATS EUROPÉENS POUR LES DÉMOCRATIES ET LES LIBERTÉS (MEDEL)

Laurence MOLLARET, Substitut du Procureur de la République à Bobigny, Syndicat de la Magistrature, PARIS, FRANCE

EUROPEAN JUDICIAL TRAINING NETWORK / RÉSEAU EUROPÉEN DE FORMATION JUDICIAIRE (REFJ)

Gilles CHARBONNIER, Secrétaire Général, BRUXELLES, BELGIQUE

EUROPEAN NETWORK OF COUNCILS FOR THE JUDICIARY (ENCJ)/RESEAU EUROPEEN DES CONSEILS DE LA JUSTICE (RECJ)

Michael WALKER, District Judge, The Royal Courts Justice, LONDON

AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION - RULE OF LAW INITIATIVE (ABA-RULE OF LAW)

Blazo NEDIC, ABA-RoLI, BELGRADE, SERBIA

***

EUROPEAN UNION / UNION EUROPÉENNE

EUROPEAN COMMISION / COMMISSION EUROPÉENNE

Luisella PAVAN-WOOLFE, Ambassadeur, Représentante de la Commission Européenne auprès du Conseil de l'Europe

COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION / CONSEIL DE L’UNION EUROPÉENNE

Anna LIPSKA, DG H 2B (Coopération en matière pénale), BRUXELLES

***

WORLDBANK / BANQUE MONDIALE

(Apologised / Excusée)

***

EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS / COUR EUROPENNE DES DROITS DE L’HOMME

Jean-Paul COSTA, Chair of the European Court of Human Rights / Président de la Cour européenne des droits de l’Homme

Patrick TITIUN, Head of Private Office of the Chair of the European Court of Human Rights / Chef de Cabinet du Président de la Cour européenne des droits de l’Homme

Paola TONARELLI-LACORE, Registry, European Court of Human Rights / Greffe de la Cour européenne des droits de l’Homme

COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS / COMITE DES MINISTRES

Emil KUCHÁR, Permanent Representative of Slovakia to the Council of Europe, Chairman of the Ministers' Deputies / Représentant Permanent de la République slovaque auprès du Conseil de l'Europe, Président des Délégués des Ministres

Bruno GAIN, Permanent Representative of France to the Council of Europe, Chairman of the Rapporteur group of the Ministers' Deputies on legal affairs / Représentant Permanent de la France auprès du Conseil de l'Europe, Président du Groupe de Rapporteur des Délégués des Ministres pour les questions juridiques

PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE / ASSEMBLÉE PARLEMENTAIRE DU CONSEIL DE L’EUROPE 

Michel HUNAULT, Member of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights / Membre de Commission des questions juridiques et des Droits de l’Homme

EUROPEAN COMMITTEE ON LEGAL CO-OPERATION / COMITE EUROPÉEN DE COOPÉRATION JURIDIQUE (CDCJ) 

Eberhard DESCH, Head of Division of International Law, Federal Ministry of Justice, BERLIN, GERMANY

CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL OF EUROPEAN JUGES / CONSEIL CONSULTATIF DE JUGES EUROPÉENS (CCJE)

Julia LAFFRANQUE, Judge, Supreme Court, Tartu, ESTONIA (Chair of the CCJE / Présidente du CCJE)

EUROPEAN COMMITTEE FOR CRIME PROBLEMS /COMITE EUROPEEN POUR LES PROBLÈMES CRIMINELS (CDPC)

(Apologised / Excusé)

CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN PROSECUTORS / CONSEIL CONSULTATIF DE PROCUREURS EUROPÉENS (CCPE)

Vito MONETTI, Substitut du Procureur de la République près la Cour de Cassation, ROME, ITALIE (Apologised / Excusé)

STEERING COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS / COMITE DIRECTEUR POUR LES DROITS DE L’HOMME (CDDH)

Vitaliano ESPOSITO, Premier Avocat Général, Cour de Cassation, ROME, ITALIE

***

WORKING GROUP ON EVALUATION OF JUDICIAL SYSTEMS (CEPEJ-GT-EVAL) / GROUPE DE TRAVAIL DE LA CEPEJ SUR L’EVALUATION DES SYSTEMES JUDICIAIRES (CEPEJ-GT-EVAL)

Jean-Paul JEAN, Avocat général Cour près la Cour d’Appel de Paris, Professeur associé à l’Université de Poitiers, Parquet Général, PARIS, FRANCE

***

SCIENTIFIC EXPERTS / EXPERTS SCIENTIFIQUES

Julien LHUILLIER, ATER, Faculté de droit de Nancy, FRANCE

Daria SOLENIK, Chercheur à la Faculté de Droit de Nancy-Université, FRANCE

Marco VELICOGNA, IRSIG-CNR, Bologne, ITALIE

***

SECRETARIAT GENERAL / SECRÉTARIAT GÉNÉRAL

Terry DAVIS, Secretary General / Secrétaire Général

SECRETARIAT
Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs - Justice Division /

Direction Générale des droits de l’Homme et des affaires juridiques  - Divison de la Justice

Philippe BOILLAT, Director General / Directeur Général

Stéphane LEYENBERGER, Secretary of the CEPEJ / Secrétaire de la CEPEJ

Muriel DECOT, Co-Secretary of the CEPEJ / Co-secrétaire de la CEPEJ

Pim ALBERS, Special Advisor to the Secretariat of the CEPEJ/ Conseiller spécial auprès du Secrétariat de la CEPEJ

Jean-Pierre GEILLER, Documentation / Documentation

Sandrine MAROLLEAU, Communication / Communication

Elisabeth HEURTEBISE, Assistante / Assistant

Interpreters / Interprètes

Martine CARALY

Monique PALMIER

Annexe III

Ouverture de la 10ème réunion plénière de la CEPEJ

Intervention de M. Philippe BOILLAT

Directeur général des droits de l'Homme et des affaires juridiques

Madame le Ministre,

Monsieur le Président de la CEPEJ,

Monsieur l'Ambassadeur

Mesdames et Messieurs les membres et observateurs de la CEPEJ,

Laissez-moi vous souhaiter, nous souhaiter, à toutes et tous, un bon anniversaire.

La CEPEJ a cinq ans. Même s'il ne s'agit pas encore d'un âge vénérable pour une Commission du Conseil de l'Europe, nous pouvons néanmoins déjà prendre le temps de nous retourner pour mesurer le chemin accompli depuis que le Comité des Ministres a adopté sa Résolution (2002) 12 portant création de votre Commission, unique en son genre, dotée de son propre statut, tout en gardant un caractère intergouvernemental.

Dans son article retraçant l'histoire de la création de la CEPEJ, publié dans votre "Lettre d'information", votre premier Président, Eberhard Desch, explique de façon éloquente comment a été mis sur pied un comité chargé de travailler autrement, pour contribuer à répondre à un enjeu majeur pour le développement de l'Etat de droit en Europe: développer l'efficacité et la qualité d'un système de justice au service des usagers.

Lorsque l'on entend aujourd'hui parler de la CEPEJ, au sein du Comité des Ministres, dans les capitales ou lors des nombreux colloques ou séminaires consacrés à la justice en Europe, les qualificatifs "d'innovant", de "valeur ajoutée", voire de "référence", sont souvent mis en évidence.

Monsieur le Président, Mesdames et Messieurs les membres de la CEPEJ, vous avez su, en quelques années seulement, vous appuyer sur le statut propre dont vous a doté le Comité des Ministres pour développer de nouvelles mesures et inventer de nouveaux outils au bénéfice des décideurs publics et des praticiens de la justice.

La lecture de votre dernière Newsletter nous en donne la preuve:

§ tout d’abord, votre processus d'évaluation, sur une base comparative, du fonctionnement des systèmes judiciaires dans tous les Etats membres du Conseil de l'Europe compte aujourd'hui parmi les instruments essentiels du développement des politiques publiques de la justice.

C'est notamment ce que souligne le Ministre français de la justice, Mme Dati, qui apporte un appui très clair à votre méthode de travail, de même que vos collègues d'Autriche et d'Estonie, qui nous indiquent que les résultats de vos travaux sont directement utilisés pour orienter les décisions relatives aux politiques judiciaires.

§ ensuite, vos travaux en vue de mieux connaître, concrètement, les délais des procédures judiciaires, grâce au Centre SATURN, ainsi que ceux visant à apporter des solutions pragmatiques pour mieux gérer le temps dans les tribunaux (je songe ici notamment à la Checklist pour la gestion du temps judiciaire ou au Compendium de bonnes pratiques que vous avez mis en place), sont autant de précieuses contributions pour tenter de résoudre ce problème majeur rencontré par la grande partie des Etats européens que sont les délais excessifs des procédures judiciaires, première cause de recours devant la Cour européenne des droits de l'Homme.

Le Président de la Cour, Jean-Paul Costa, souligne dans la Newsletter l'étroitesse des relations entre la Cour et la CEPEJ, tout particulièrement pour tenter de résoudre cette question épineuse des délais de justice. Le fait que la Cour s'appuie explicitement sur les travaux de la CEPEJ dans ses arrêts en est la preuve.

Par ailleurs, l'article très intéressant publié par vous-même, Monsieur le Président, sur les réformes judiciaires en cours en Italie, illustre parfaitement l'utilité de vos travaux pour les décideurs nationaux.

§ enfin, la création, conjointement avec la Commission européenne de Bruxelles, de la Journée européenne de la justice et du Prix "la Balance de Cristal" permet sans aucun doute de rapprocher le citoyen de son système de justice et de mettre en lumière des bonnes pratiques, pour mieux les partager entre tribunaux européens, qui sont invités à travailler en partenaires.

N'est-il pas encourageant de lire, dans l'article du Président de la Cour régionale de Linz, lauréate de la "Balance de Cristal" l'an passé, qu’à la suite de ce prix, des collègues polonais, roumains et même de Corée du Sud ont souhaité s'inspirer de l'initiative développée en Autriche? Cela est vraiment réjouissant !

Et je suis convaincu que demain, les ministères de la justice et les institutions judiciaires en Europe sauront aussi s'appuyer sur les lignes directrices en matière de médiation qui, je l'espère, seront adoptées au cours de cette réunion plénière.

Monsieur le Président, Mesdames et Messieurs,

Il est parfois bon de se retourner et de se féliciter du travail accompli. Mais je ne voudrais pas ce matin tomber dans l'auto-satisfaction. Célébrer un anniversaire prend toute sa signification s'il nous permet de nous projeter dans l'avenir.

Vous avez ouvert des chantiers importants. Ces chantiers, il vous faut à présent les mener à bien:

§ premier chantier : le nouvel exercice d'évaluation des systèmes judiciaires devrait aboutir, au cours de l'année prochaine, à un rapport très attendu. Je souhaite vivement que tous les Etats membres puissent pleinement participer à ce nouvel exercice d’évaluation et j'invite instamment ceux qui auraient pu prendre du retard dans la collecte des données judiciaires nécessaire à l’élaboration de ce rapport à tout mettre en œuvre pour que les experts de votre Groupe de travail puissent, avec le soutien du Secrétariat, y travailler dés le mois de janvier.

§ deuxième chantier : vos travaux en cours dans le domaine de la qualité de la justice auront sans doute un impact important: quels sont les éléments constitutifs d'un service public de la justice de qualité? comment développer la justice vers davantage de qualité? il s'agit là de questions complexes, mais auxquelles la CEPEJ se doit de répondre.

§ troisième chantier, enfin : les études très fournies et très riches sur lesquelles vous vous pencherez ce matin, études qui exploitent les informations de votre rapport d'évaluation 2006, ouvrent également la voie à des travaux plus approfondis en matière d'accès à la justice, d'utilisation de l'e-justice ou d'exécution des décisions de justice. Sur ce dernier point, le Comité des Ministres, dans le cadre de sa procédure de monitoring, vous encourage d'ailleurs à étudier avec une attention particulière les recommandations proposées par les rédacteurs de l'étude.

Et je voudrais saisir cette occasion pour saluer le choix que vous avez fait d'ouvrir les travaux de la CEPEJ au monde universitaire. Je tiens ici à remercier vivement les chercheurs, issus de plusieurs Instituts et Universités en Europe, qui ont accepté avec beaucoup d'enthousiasme, dans des délais très serrés, de répondre à l'appel à projets que vous leur aviez lancé à la suite de la publication de votre dernier rapport. La qualité des travaux présentés indique bien la pertinence de votre initiative.

En vous appuyant d'une part sur les réseaux de praticiens (tribunaux-référents, correspondants nationaux) et, d'autre part, sur un réseau de chercheurs et d'universitaires (réseau que je vous encourage à formaliser), vous vous donnez les moyens de poursuivre vos travaux dans l'esprit qui a été le vôtre depuis la création de la CEPEJ: innover pour développer une réflexion et des mesures en phase avec la réalité du fonctionnement au quotidien de la justice dans nos Etats membres.

Je suis convaincu que vos invités, ministres, hauts magistrats, parlementaires, qui, demain après midi, nous ferons l'honneur de réfléchir, avec vous, sur les orientations à donner à la CEPEJ dans les cinq prochaines années, partagerons cette attente.

Et dès ce matin, Mme Tacheva, Ministre de la Justice de Bulgarie, nous fait l'honneur d'être parmi nous à l'occasion de ce 5ème anniversaire. C'est donc sans tarder et avec grand plaisir, que je lui cède la parole.

Appendix IV

Priorities of Slovenia’s Presidency in the Field of Justice

Slovenia will be the first among the countries that joined the EU during the last enlargement of 2004 and 2007 to assume the Presidency of the Council of the European nnion. We are also rounding up the first Presidency of the trio and the implementation of the 18-month programme during which we strengthened the collaboration with our partners Germany and Portugal. As the final member of the trio, the Slovenian Presidency will ensure the continuation of European policies in the area of justice as well; furthermore, we would like to emphasise the dossiers that will be handled as a priority. The underlying thread of the Slovenian Presidency will be those acts that benefit citizens of the EU directly, because we believe that the European union must make the lives of citizens easier and further develop the area of freedom, security and justice.

Creation of a single area of freedom, security and justice and elimination of borders between EU Member States require closer cooperation of judicial authorities in criminal matters. The basis for good and effective cooperation between EU Member States in criminal matters is the principle of mutual recognition of judgements. Because of the need for improvement of mutual recognition of judgements on the one hand and the need to strenghtening the protection of human rights on the other Slovenia drafted a legislative initiative with the intention of settling these issues, namely the proposal of a Framework Decision on the enforcement of in absentia judgements. The legislative acts adopted so far on the basis of the principle of mutual recognition of judgements address this issue in different manners, which causes problems with their practical implementation and obstructs effective cooperation. Their unification will contribute to better implementation of existing instruments and set the guidelines for the arrangement of this issue in subsequent instruments to be adopted in this area.

Further development in the area of freedom, security and justice is closely linked to the future of Eurojust, which was created in the year 2002 with the a view to reinforcing the fight against serious crime with an international element. Eurojust must retain its key role in the implementation of european judicial cooeration in criminal matters and influence the further formation of european criminal policy by way of practical operation. For this reason Slovenia will endeavour to upgrade the operative function of Eurojust and to align the competence of national members.

Due to the importance of the protection of the environment, Slovenia undertakes to adopt effective legislative solutions that will contribute to its preservation. Individual Member States contribute to the protection of the environment in different ways, and on the European Community level the environment is one of the areas in which a high level of protection should be provided, given that a successful fight against violations with cross-border impact is only possible on the level of the Community. The differing approaches of individual Member States allow violators of environmental legislation of those Member States to abuse the regulations to their benefit. In order to ensure effective implementation of environmental protection, we should therefore legislate criminal offences at the Community level, which would ensure equal penal protection anywhere in the Community. Within such a framework, individual Member States are left with the competence to prescribe penal sanctions for commonly defined criminal offences. For this reason, Slovenia supports quick adoption of the Directive on the protection of the environment through criminal law, because we believe that criminal offences defined for the entire Community will prevent the present abuse made possible by the disparity of penal legislation in the individual Member States in the area of environmental protection.

Within the scope of initiatives for cooperation in the area of justice in civil cases, we will pay particular attention to progress in the area of family law. The number of international families - families whose members are of different nationalities or live in different Member States, is boosting and family law regulations can directly benefit citizens of the EU. For this reason Slovenia thinks that on the European Community level judicial cooperation in family law matters must be enhanced and we will endeavor for the progress within our presidency especially in providing autonomy and legal predictability for spouses in the regulation of marriages (so called Regulation Rome III-three) and in the area of maintenance.

In addition, the Slovenian Presidency will strive to continue the work on e-justice, because the use of of modern information and communication technologies is one of the mechanisms, which will contribute EU citizens simple and inexpensive access to judicial protection in cross-border cases. In the context of the Presidency trio, Slovenia will carry on the activities initiated and conducted in this area by Germany and Portugal, in view of the fact that e-justice is an important joint priority of the entire trio. Our activities during the Presidency in the area of e-justice will support

    · the development of services such as the joint european portal,

    · interlinking in the area of registries,

    · final implementation of modern technologies in judicial practice such as the use of videoconferencing systems and electronic payment of the European payment order

    · and other initiatives arising in this area during Slovenia’s presidency.

In accordance with the joint vision of the Presidency trio, Slovenia will organise an IT conference at the beginning of June 2008 with an emphasis on e-justice under the title "E-justice and E-law 2008".

1 www.coe.int/CEPEJ, “country profiles”



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