Strasbourg, 30 September 2011
EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR THE EFFICIENCY OF JUSTICE
NETWORK OF PILOT COURTS
6th plenary meeting
Strasbourg, 22 September 2011
1. The members of the CEPEJ Network of Pilot courts met in Strasbourg on 22 September 2011 for their sixth plenary meeting. The meeting was chaired by Mr John STACEY (United Kingdom), President of the CEPEJ.
1. The activity of the CEPEJ: main achievements and priorities
2. The Secretariat informed the network on the on-going work of the CEPEJ, in particular as regards the new process for evaluating European judicial systems. This process is due to result in a new report in September 2012.
3. All the information on the on-going work of the CEPEJ are on line: www.coe.int/cepej and in the CEPEJ's Newsletter.
2. Court coaching programme for implementing user satisfaction surveys
4. François PAYCHÈRE, Chairman of the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL, introduced the on-going work of CEPEJ as regards the quality of justice, and in particular the Handbook for conducting satisfaction surveys aimed at court users (CEPEJ(2010)1).
5. The implementation of this Handbook was tested with several courts:
§ Giacomo OBERTO (judge at the court of Turin, Italy) introduced the results of the satisfaction surveys carried out in Torino and Catane (Italy) - see Appendix III;
§ Nicolas JAQUET (prosecutor at the court of Angoulême, France) indicated that the test was done within the framework of a court project for improving the quality and the reception of users (being implemented since June 2010) and a wider process at national level for improving the quality of public services (Charte Marianne). The project was focused on 13 commitments "quali-justice" with an official certification, regarding in particular indications within the court premises, reception of the users, reception of disabled persons, the way of addressing the users' requests, etc. This project was a local initiative, implemented with local resources only. The CEPEJ's tools were directly used. The users answering to the survey were supported by the interviewers in order to go more in depth in the answers.
The survey (based on 245 answers) showed a high rate of satisfaction. However it highlighted that the users found, as regards justice in general, the system too slow and too expensive, with a weakness as regards communication. It enabled to identify the priorities for the users: fairness and positive behaviours of the court staff (judges and clerks) and security. A limited satisfaction was identified on some issues and resulted in concrete actions:
- as regards the punctuality of hearings, concrete actions were taken for improving the users' information, when arriving to the court, on the foreseeable timeframe of the hearings;
- as regards the information on the support to victims, the prosecution office decided to meet systematically with the victims before prosecuting
6. The representative of the District Court of Linz (Austria) indicated that his court launched a questionnaire, based on the CEPEJ's tool, aimed at lawyers and notaries. He insisted on the need for analysing, in assessing the answers to the questionnaire, the articulation between the level of quality perceived by the users and the level of importance attached to this issue by the same users: a "low quality" perceived for an issue of "low importance" has not the same meaning that a "low quality" attached to an issued considered of "high importance".
7. The experts insisted on the relevance of organising the interviews according to appropriate modalities taking into consideration the local situation.
In Catane and Turin, Italy, the interviews were done by law students specially trained through five meetings. They were then free to organise the interviews in the court when they wished – most of the time the users were interviewed while waiting for their hearing. The answers were put orally by the students who wrote themselves the answers.
In Angoulême, the interviews were done in the hearing rooms by a two person team (a public official and a temporary staff).
8. François PAYCHÈRE informed the Network that CEPEJ had launched a Court Coaching Programme for supporting the volunteer courts wishing to organise court satisfaction surveys: expert and administrative support (including namely translation and interpretation) can be provided to the courts by the CEPEJ (on the CEPEJ's expenses). The courts were called to indicate their candidature to the Secretariat and to inform other courts in their country on this opportunity.
3. Discussion in clusters: which indicators for measuring the quality in courts?
9. François PAYCHÈRE introduced the main conclusions of the survey carried out among the pilot courts on the existence of programmes for the quality in courts, their scope and the existence of an evaluation of the implementation of these programmes (see Appendix IV to this report).
10. The members of the Network were invited to work in clusters so as to identify common indicators which could be used to assess the quality of the courts' work on a homogeneous basis. The conclusions of this exchange of views would be used by the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL for working towards the definition of such CEPEJ's indicators of quality.
11. The results of these discussions appear in Appendix V to this report.
4. Judicial Time Management: towards a European Observatory of judicial timeframes
12. Jacques BÜHLER, Chair of the Steering Group of the SATURN Centre, introduced the on-going work of the Group as regards the quantitative and qualitative approaches of judicial time management.
13. Jon JOHNSEN (Norway), member of the Steering Group, introduced the Protocol aimed at individual courts for implementing a selection of CEPEJ's provisions taken from the "SATURN tool box" (set of tools and documents adopted by CEPEJ for improving judicial time management). This Protocol has been detailed in a specific Handbook for courts (CEPEJ-SATURN(2011)9).
14. Jacques BÜHLER informed the Network that CEPEJ had launched a Court Coaching Programme for supporting the volunteer courts wishing to implement concretely the SATURN tools for improving judicial time management, on the basis of the Handbook: expert and administrative support (including namely translation and interpretation) can be provided to the courts by the CEPEJ (on the CEPEJ's expenses). The courts were called to indicate their candidature to the Secretariat and to inform other courts in their country on this opportunity.
15. Marco FABRI (Italy), scientific expert, introduced the on-going work, based on previous cooperation with the pilot courts, aimed at defining common case categories and standard concrete situations for assessing lengths of proceedings and case flow management in various courts of the member states on a homogeneous basis.
16. The members of the Network were invited to work in clusters so as to identify common case categories in civil, criminal and administrative law fields. The conclusions of this exchange of views would be used by the Steering group of the SATURN Centre for working towards the definition of such categories. Draft definitions of the categories chosen would be submitted by the Steering Group to the pilot courts to check their relevance vis-à-vis national situations.
17. The results of these discussions appear in Appendix VI to this report.
Chairperson: John STACEY, President of the CEPEJ
5. Opening of the meeting
6. The activity of the CEPEJ: main achievements and priorities
Introduction by Stéphane LEYENBERGER, Secretary of the CEPEJ
7. Information by the Pilot courts
Pilot court are invited to inform the group on any relevant reform or initiative undertaken by the court (best practice, for instance) and which might be of interest for the other pilot courts.
8. Court coaching programme for implementing user satisfaction surveys
Rapporteur: François PAYCHÈRE, Chairman of the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL
§ Concrete use of the Handbook in courts: presentation of the experiences in
- the courts of Torino and Catane (Italy) by Giacomo OBERTO
- the court of Angoulême (France) by Nicolas JAQUET
§ Launching of court coaching programmes in volunteer courts
9. Discussion in clusters: which indicators for measuring the quality in courts?
§ Introduction by François PAYCHÈRE, Chair of CEPEJ-GT-QUAL
§ Discussion in clusters
§ Presentation of the results in plenary
10. Judicial Time Management: towards a European Observatory of judicial timeframes
Rapporteur: Jacques BÜHLER, Chair of the Steering Group of the SATURN Centre of the CEPEJ
§ Qualitative approach: launching of a court coaching programme on SATURN tools for judicial time management
Jon JOHNSEN (Norway), member of the Steering Group of the SATURN Centre
§ Quantitative approach : a strategy to develop the EUGMONT data quality
- presentation of the Study on CoE member states appeal and supreme court's lengths of proceedings by Jacques Bühler
- definition of common case categories and standard concrete situations
o presentation by Marco FABRI, Research Institute on Judicial Systems, Bologna (Italy)
o discussion in clusters (criminal courts, civil courts, administrative courts, second instance courts): which additional case categories and standard concrete situation?
o presentation of the results of the discussions in the plenary meeting
11. Any other business
12. Conclusions of the meeting
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS / LISTE DES PARTICIPANTS
NETWORK OF THE PILOT COURTS / RESEAU DES TRIBUNAUX-REFERENTS
Jean-Louis VUILLEMIN, Président, Haute Cour de Justice, ANDORRE LA VIEILLE, Apologised / Excusé
Stepan MIKAELYAN, Juge de Première Instance, Cour d’Appel civile d’Arménie, YEREVAN
Walter ENGELBERGER, Judge and Head of the District Court, LINZ
Aladdin JAFAROV, President, Baku City Yasamal District Court, President of the Association of Azerbaijan General Court’s Judges, BAKU,
Tofiq PASHAYEV, President, Khatai region, BAKU
Ramin GURBANOV, Chief of reforms division, General department of Organization and Supervision, Ministry of Justice, BAKU
Orxan MUSAYEV, Deputy Chief of the Department of Analysis and systematisation of Legislation of the Supreme Court, Ministry of Justice, BAKU
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA/BOSNIE-HERZÉGOVINE
Katica JOZAK-MAđAR, President, Cantonal Court, NOVI TRAVNIK
Alan PRETKOVIć, President, Municipal Court, VARAžDIN
CZECH REPUBLIC/REPUBLIQUE TCHEQUE
Martin PAšEK, Regional Court, ÚSTÍ NAD LABEM
Andrea PESLOVA, Judge, District Court of Prague 1, PRAGUE; Apologised / Excusée
Margit LAUB, Court President, District Court, ESBJERG; Apologised / Excusée
Villem LAPIMAA, Judge and President, Administrative Court, TALLINN
Marjukka HULKKONEN, District Court, VARSINAIS-SUOMI
Tapio KATAJAMAKI, Judge, District Court, TURKU; Apologised / Excusé
Ritva SUPPONEN, Judge, Court of Appeal; ROVANIEMI
Nicolas JACQUET, Procureur de la République près le Tribunal de Grande Instance, ANGOULEME
François PION, Président, Tribunal de Grande Instance, MARSEILLE
Peter SCHOLZ, Vice-President, Court Tiergarten, BERLIN
Rainer ZIEGLER, Judge, Oberlandesgericht, STUTTGART
Andreas NEFF, Président, Landgericht, FREIBURG
Giacomo OBERTO, Magistrat, Tribunal de Grande Instance, TURIN
Skaidrite BUIVIDE, Head of Civil Case Colleguem, Regional Court, RIGA
Nijole SIDAGIENE, Judge, Regional Administrative Court, VILNIUS
Zita SMIRNOVIENE, Chief judge, Regional Court, VILNIUS
Rūta TRIMAILOVIENė, Third District Court, VILNIUS
Ion DRUTA, President, Court Botanica, CHISINAU
Stelian TELEUCA, Interpreter
Bruno NARDI, Assistant judiciaire, Palais de Justice, 5, PRINCIPAUTE DE MONACO
Radule PIPER, President, Basic court, BIJELO POLJE
Sanja KALEZIC, Head of Cabinet of the President, Interpreter, PODGORICA
THE NETHERLANDS / PAYS-BAS
Otto NIJHUIS, Judge, Manager Administration, District Court, ARNHEM
Dag BRATHOLE, Court of Appeal of Frostating, TRONDHEIM, Apologised / Excusé
Heidi BRUVOLL, Administrative Head, Nedre Romerike District Court, LILLESTRØM
Paweł WRZASZCZ, Judge's assistant, District Court, Commercial Court for Bankruptcy Cases, LUBLIN
Ewa FIEDOROWICZ, Judge, District Court for the Capital City of Warsaw, Commercial Division for Bankruptcy Cases and Restructuring, WARSAW
Andreea Monica PRUNARU, Judge, Vice-President, Arges Tribunal, PITETI; Apologised / Excusée
Andreea Silvia VOICAN, Judge, Arges Court, ARGES
Mitja KOZAR, District Court (Okrožno sodišče v Mariboru), MARIBOR
Maria Aranzazu ALAMEDA LÓPEZ , Commercial court nº 3, BARCELONA
Britt BJÖRNEKE, Judge, Court of Södertorn, HUDDINGE
Carina JENSLÖV, Court of Appeal of Western, Division 3, GOTHENBURG
Philippe THÉLIN, Juge, Chambre administrative de la Cour de justice, GENEVE
Zofia SWINARSKI HUBER, Contrôle de gestion, Secrétariat Général du pouvoir judiciaire du Canton de Genève, GENEVE
Markus CHRIST, Präsident , Richteramt Dorneck-Thierstein, DORNACH
Remo MORAND, Amtsgerichtsschreiber, Richteramt Dorneck-Thierstein, DORNACH
"THE FORMER YOUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA"/"L'EX-RÉPUBLIQUE YOUGOSLAVE DE MACÉDOINE"
Kadrije SALMANI, Judge, Basic Court Skopje 1, SKOPJE
Nina SKOMOROWSKI, Court Manager, London Group of County Courts and Senior Resident Judge at Central London Civil Justice Centre, Central London Civil Justice Centre, LONDON
Master Steven WHITAKER, Senior Master of the Senior Courts, Queen's Bench Division, The Queen's Remembrancer, Royal Courts of Justice, LONDON
CHAIR OF THE CEPEJ / PRESIDENT DE LA CEPEJ
John STACEY, Head of International Development for Court Administration, International Directorate, Ministry of Justice, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
CHAIRS OF THE CEPEJ-WORKING GROUPS /
PRESIDENTS DES GROUPES DE TRAVAIL DE LA CEPEJ
Jean-Paul JEAN, Avocat général près la Cour d’Appel de Paris, Professeur associé à l’Université de Poitiers, PARIS, FRANCE (Chair of the Working Group on Evaluation of Judicial Systems / Président du Groupe de travail sur l’évaluation des systèmes judiciaires (CEPEJ-GT-EVAL))
François PAYCHÈRE, Juge à la Cour de justice, GENEVE, SUISSE (Chair of the Working Group on Quality of Justice / Président du Groupe de travail sur la qualité de la justice (CEPEJ-GT-QUAL))
Jacques BÜHLER, Secrétaire Général suppléant, Tribunal Fédéral suisse, LAUSANNE, SUISSE (Chair of the Group de Pilotage of the SATURN Centre for Judicial Time Management / Président du Groupe de Pilotage du Centre SATURN pour la gestion du temps judiciaire)
MEMBERS OF THE STEERING GROUP OF THE SATURN CENTRE FOR JUDICIAL TIME MANAGEMENT /
MEMBRES DU GROUPE DE PILOTAGE DU CENTRE SATURN POUR LA GESTION DU TEMPS JUDICIAIRE
Irakli ADEISHVILI, Chair, Civil Chamber of Tbilisi District Court, Ketevan TBILISI, GEORGIA
Francesco DEPASQUALE, Ministry representative, Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs, VALLETTA, MALTA
Jon T. JOHNSEN, Professor in Law, Faculty of law, University of Oslo, OSLO, NORWAY
Giacomo OBERTO, Magistrat, Tribunal de Grande Instance, TURIN, ITALIE
Jana WURSTOVA, Lawyer, Adviser, Czech Bar Association, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
OBSERVER / OBSERVATEUR
EUROPEAN UNION OF RECHTSPFLEGER AND COURT CLERKS/UNION EUROPEENNE DES GREFFIERS DE JUSTICE (EUR)
Michel CRAMET, Directeur Délégué à l’Administration Régionale Judiciaire, Cour d'appel, LYON, FRANCE
SCIENTIFIC EXPERT / EXPERT SCIENTIFIQUE
Marco FABRI, Research Institute on Judicial Systems, National Research Council, BOLOGNA, ITALY
OTHER PARTICIPANT / AUTRE PARTICIPANT
Alessandro BOLLETTINARI, Etudiant, Faculté de droit, Université de Turin, ITALIE
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
Fax: +33 3 88 41 37 43
Stéphane LEYENBERGER, Secretary of the CEPEJ / Secrétaire de la CEPEJ, Tel : +33 3 88 41 34 12, e-mail: email@example.com
Muriel DECOT, Co-Secretary of the CEPEJ / Co-secrétaire de la CEPEJ, Tél: +33 3 90 21 44 55, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria ORESHKINA, Principal Administrative assistant / Assistante administrative principale, Tel: +33 3 90 21 40 26, e-mail: email@example.com
Jean-Pierre GEILLER, Documentation, Tél : +33 3 88 41 22 27, e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Annette SATTEL, Communication, Tél : +33 3 03 88 41 39 04, e-mail : email@example.com
Elisabeth HEURTEBISE, Assistant/Assistante, Tel : +33 3 88 41 35 54, Fax : +33 3 88 41 37 43, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
TRAINEE / STAGIAIRE
IINTERPRETERS / INTERPRETES
Enquiry into the
“Customer Satisfaction Survey in Turin Courts”
Judge – First Instance Court of Turin (Italy)
Member of the Steering Group of the CEPEJ SATURN Centre of the Council of Europe
table of contents: 1. Introductory Remarks. The Turin Survey in the Framework of the Initiatives of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) of the Council of Europe. – 2. Working Group and Timeframes. – 3. Methodology, Object and Target of Turin Survey. – 4. The Overall Impact and the Importance Given by Users to Various Items of Provided Services. – 5. Outcome of the Survey: Staff, Judges, Timeframes and Costs of Justice. – 6. Overall Outcome of the Survey: Satisfaction and Importance.
1. Introductory Remarks. The Turin Survey in the Framework of the Initiatives of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) of the Council of Europe.
The “Customer Satisfaction Survey in Turin Courts” belongs to the cooperative activities that the Turin First Instance Court (Tribunale di Torino) carries out in its capacity as a member of the Pilot Courts Network of the CEPEJ. The initiative draws its origin from the activities of the Working Group on the quality of justice of the CEPEJ (CEPEJ-GT-QUAL). This panel (also on the basis of previous experiences realized at the Court of Geneva) has recently edited a Report on “Conducting Satisfaction Surveys of Court Users in Council of Europe Member States.” This handbook, available on the Council of Europe’s web site, together with other documents which have been drafted by the same organ, contains as well a “Model Questionnaire for Court Users,” which can be used, with the appropriate adjustments, in each and every Judicial Office willing to test the level of satisfaction of people who, for any possible reason, contact such bodies.
Setting up criteria and directives for the realization of surveys of this kind lies within the fundamental scope of the CEPEJ, that are the improvement of the efficiency and functioning of justice in member States, and the development of the implementation of the instruments adopted by the Council of Europe to this end. In order to carry out these different tasks, the CEPEJ prepares benchmarks, collects and analyses data, defines instruments of measure and means of evaluation, adopts documents (reports, advices, guidelines, action plans, etc.), develops contacts with qualified personalities, non-governmental organisations, research institutes and information centres, organises hearings, promotes networks of legal professionals.
Amongst the working groups of CEPEJ, besides the already mentioned panel on the themes of the quality of justice, we can also mention the Steering Group of the “Centre for judicial time management (SATURN Centre – Study and Analysis of judicial Time Use Research Network).” The SATURN Centre is instructed to collect information necessary for the knowledge of judicial timeframes in the member States and detailed enough to enable member states to implement policies aiming to prevent violations of the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time protected by Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It should also be added that CEPEJ set up a Network of Pilot-courts from European States to support its activities through a better understanding of the day to day functioning of courts and to highlight best practices which could be presented to policy makers in European States in order to improve the efficiency of judicial systems.
2. Working Group and Timeframes.
The idea of running a satisfaction survey in Italy aimed at Court users is founded upon the above mentioned guidelines prepared by the Quality Working Group of the CEPEJ. The concrete input came at the end of 2010 by the Director-General of Statistics of the Italian Department of Justice, who invited the two Italian members of the Network of Pilot Courts, which to say the First Instance Court of Turin and the Appeals Court of Catania, to run a survey on the degree of customer satisfaction; the initiative has also been extended to the Appeal Court of Turin, whose President, former President of the local First Instance Court, Dr. Mario Barbuto, is the author of the “Strasbourg Programme,” which, in the year 2001, constituted the first concrete experiment of case management in Italy. Actually, it is due to this programme that in 2006 the Turin First Instance Court was awarded by the Council of Europe and the European Union a special mention in the framework of the “The Crystal Scales of Justice Award.”
A working group was therefore set up, under the coordination of the Director-General of Statistics of the Italian Ministry of Justice (DGStat), Dr. Fabio Bartolomeo. The panel comprised also, as far as the Turinese section was concerned, the President of the Appeals Court of Turin, Dr. Mario Barbuto, the President of the First Instance Court of Turin, Dr. Luciano Panzani, as well as Dr. Brunella Rosso, President of a Section of the Appeals Court of Turin, Dr. Giacomo Oberto, Judge of the First Instance Court of Turin, Dr. Roberto Calabrese, statistical expert of the Appeals Court of Turin and Dr. Luigi Cipollini, statistical expert of the DGStat. The working group was also comprised of the President of the Turin Bar, Avv. Mario Napoli, as well as by the representatives of the Observatory on Civil Justice of Turin, Avv. Raffaella Garimanno and Avv. Angelica Scozia, by Prof. Eugenio Dalmotto, of the Law Faculty of the University of Turin, and by the person in charge of organisation of decentralised training for judges in the Turin District of the Appeals Court, Dr. Ombretta Salvetti, Judge of the First Instance Court of Turin. The group was charged with defining the aims of the survey, to single out the targets and to draft the questionnaire. Moreover it has monitored the correct implementation of the survey and is currently ensuring the distribution of its results.
In its first meetings the aforementioned working group had proceeded towards the drafting of the questionnaire, along the lines of CEPEJ guidelines, however introducing some adaptations to the Italian reality. Therefore it contacted the Law Faculty of the University of Turin and in particular Prof. Eugenio Dalmotto, Professor of Civil Procedural Law, who organized and made available a group of approximately 25 students. These people materially carried out the survey, spreading the questionnaire and gathering answers to it. In view of developing this activity, the working group held some preparatory meetings with the students, in order to train them to run the survey questionnaire and illustrate the scope and modality of surveying. It has also to be added that the rigorous timeframes set in the first meeting of the working group, which was held at the Ministry, in Dr. Bartolomeo’s office, on 12th October 2010, have been fully complied with. So the questionnaire was finalised by the end of November 2010; after this the initiative was explained to the aforementioned group of students, who were appropriately trained between December 2010 and January 2011. Interviews of customers were conducted with the delivering of 618 questionnaires in the period between January and March 2011. After each interview, conducted by a student on the basis of the questionnaire, answers provided were verified and inserted via the web in the appropriate data bases; final data was analysed and elaborated in the framework of a conclusive report.
3. Methodology, Object and Target of Turin Survey.
Coming now to illustrate the object of the Turin survey, it must be said that the working group decided in the first place to single out the judicial offices in which customer satisfaction should be measured. For this purpose the panel decided to choose the First Instance Court and the Appeals Court of Turin, having regard to both civil and penal sectors. Prosecution offices before said Courts were excluded, as well as, for logistical reasons, the Juvenile Court, the Offices of the Justice of the Peace and the four Detached Sections (i.e.: sections pertaining to other cities situated within the boundaries of Turin district) of the First Instance Court. This was expressed in question No. 1 of the questionnaire (Q.1); replies are condensed in Diagram 1.
Diagram 1 – Courts serving interviewees.
Diagram 1 shows that 93% of the interviewed people were served by the Court of First Instance (Tribunale), whereas the remaining 7% to the Appeals Court (Corte d’Appello). This percentage roughly reflects the existing ratio between the total number of cases lodged with the First Instance Courts of the District and cases pending before the Appeals Court.
As far as the target of the survey is concerned, the above mentioned panel decided, at least for this first experiment, not to involve practitioners. Therefore the questionnaire was not addressed to judges, lawyers, trainee lawyers, Court clerks and other employees of the justice administration system. It was decided instead to focus on parties, witnesses, jurors, relatives of parties or witnesses, Court’s or party’s experts, interpreters. The reason of such decision is that practitioners like judges, prosecutors, magistrates, lawyers and employees of the administration of justice already dispose of institutions (associations, bar and professional organisations, trade unions, etc.) which may bring to the outside world impressions, needs and “moods” of such professionals of justice.
Scope of the survey, in its various articulations, was to provide a general idea on following three fundamental aspects: a) expectations, b) importance of services and c) satisfaction and perception about rendered services. Diagram 2 shows overall data breakdown by various categories of users.
Diagram 2 – Data breakdown by various categories of users.
Diagram 2 shows that a high number of people visiting the Turin Palace of justice were in the category of parties in a lawsuit. In particular, the figure referred to the relatives of a party and to the spectators, whose two percentages reach a total figure of 20%, was surprisingly high.
Collected data shows that interviewed people were predominantly male, of almost all ages; such people were in their majority married; they had (at least) an advanced secondary school certificate and a full time job. The majority of full time employed people are civil servants and private enterprise employees, followed by freelancers, workers, entrepreneurs and independent workers. The majority of interviewed people have shown to be able to orient themselves in judicial offices, without previously collecting information by phone or in another way, as it is illustrated in Diagram 3.
Diagram 3 – Information gathered by customers prior to visiting a Court.
Data gathered from the answers to the survey shows that the overwhelming majority of customers either did not try to get information by phone, email or on the Web Site, or they said they did not need to gather information. However, it is important to point out that, out of the 14% of the customers who tried to get information, the vast majority (80%) succeeded in their quest.
Other meaningful information is supplied by the breakdown of categories of procedures, as illustrated by Diagram 4.
Diagram 4 – Breakdown categories of procedures involved.
Percentages referred to in Diagram 4 show, as expected, a preponderant involvement of interviewed people in penal procedures, whereas in civil procedures those areas of law prevailing are (in decreasing order) family law, torts, enforcement matters and labour cases.
A further element allowing a better knowledge of users’ needs concerns the number of times interviewed users have visited Turin judicial offices, as illustrated in Diagram 5.
Diagram 5 – Number of times interviewed users have been visiting Turin judicial offices.
Data shown in Diagram 5 turn out to be rather unexpected. Actually, the total number of those people who visited such offices more than once exceeds by far the figure of those people who were visiting Turin judicial offices for their first time. Quite remarkable are data concerning people who have been visiting the palace of justice five or more times (27%): this seems to show the existence of a category of “frequent visitors” of judicial offices.
4. The Overall Impact and the Importance Given by Users to Various Items of Provided Services.
Diagram 6 records what could be defined as “the overall impact:” the general impression customers get about services provided by Turin judicial offices.
Diagram 6 – General impression customers get about services provided by Turin judicial offices.
General data can be seen as rather reassuring, as it turns out that the sum of those who declared themselves very much satisfied and of those who declared themselves enough satisfied reaches the threshold of 50%, while the total number of people who declare themselves less than (or not at all) satisfied is less than one third of the total. It is obvious that a lot still remains to be done, as is made clear, in particular, by the empirical data portrayed in Diagram 8d.
Data summarised in Diagram 7 is of great interest, as it refers to the importance customers attach to various characteristics of services offered.
Diagram 7 – Importance given to various elements of services offered.
Amongst all the elements which appear essential for the customers’ judgment, one of the most relevant is the competence of judges (35%). Users declared to prefer such item, although slightly, to the fairness of judgment (31%). We find rather distanced, notably, data on the duration of procedures (18%); finally, the weight accorded to kindness/politeness of judges and of the staff was almost insignificant (12%), as well as the comfort of judicial premises (5%). Such information allows us to adequately assess and “calibrate” data emerging from Diagrams 8b, 8c and 8d.
Some other elements allowing us to assess general impact concern the logistics of judicial services: particularly premises (location, comfort, cleanness, clarity of signage within the courthouse) and working hours, as illustrated in Diagram 8a.
Diagram 8a – Assessing the logistics: premises and working hours.
The overall judgment on the above mentioned results on evidence concerning logistical aspects of Turin’s Justice Palace, and to the services supplied there, appears more than gratifying. The sum of the percentages of those who declared themselves fully or rather in agreement with the appraisal in positive terms on feasibility, cleanliness and comfort of the premises, clarity of signage within the courthouse and convenience of working times, reaches a total number of people who almost always exceed two thirds of the total of interviewed people, while the relative “level of dissatisfaction” (which is comprised of the percentages of those who declared themselves partially or not at all in agreement) is always between 5% and 18%.
5. Outcome of the Survey: Staff, Judges, Timeframes and Costs of Justice.
The most important and interesting part of the questionnaire relates to a series of elements that, in the process of drawing up the questionnaire, the working group thought indispensable for an accurate assessment of services offered to users. Therefore the panel decided to put the focus, in the first place, on such elements as: easy recognisability, competence, availability and clarity of the staff, as it is shown in Diagram 8b.
Diagram 8b – Assessing the staff.
Apart from the item of staff’s easy recognisability and the availability of information on the Internet and other sources of information, other questions related to the clerical staff indicate a high level of satisfaction. Therefore, the number of those people who declared themselves as rather or fully agreeing on items such as the competence of the staff, their availability to help customers and to provide clear information, exceeds half of the interviewed people, while the degree of dissatisfaction is around 10%.
Coming now to the judges, the idea has been to focus attention on elements such as their capability to inspire trust and confidence, their competence, impartiality, politeness and the ability to express themselves with clarity, as it is shown in Diagram 8c.
Diagram 8c – Assessing the judges.
Data relating to the assessment of the judges is decidedly comforting. The overall level of satisfaction (that is the sum of data of those who declared themselves rather in agreement and of those who said they fully agreed with the assertion that judges inspire trust and confidence, that they are competent, impartial, polite, and that they are able to express themselves with clarity) is always higher than 50%. Relative percentages of dissatisfaction oscillate instead between 14 and 22%. Such results seem rather surprising, especially when we think of the campaign of systematic denigration and de-legitimating of the judiciary, which is currently present in Italy. The data appears all the more comforting, if we note that the level of importance attributed to the above mentioned items is the highest which has been registered (see above, Diagram 7 and relative comments).
Coming, finally, to the assessment of time and cost, the working group decided to ask questions concerning: fairness of costs for litigation, reasonableness of timeframes, punctuality of hearings, overall organization of the judicial office and the possibility to obtain information easily, as it is shown in Diagram 8d.
Diagram 8d – Assessing timeframes and costs of justice.
Diagram 8d is unique in providing alarming evidence on the current situation of the system. Customers’ assessment about reasonableness of judicial timeframes is merciless: actually, the level of dissatisfaction reaches 75%, against 13% of those who declared themselves rather or fully in agreement with the assertion that the reasonable duration of the procedures is concretely assured. Such an outcome is astonishing, in the light of the positive results of the “Strasbourg Programme” (that allowed the Turin First Instance Court to achieve far better results than those of the other Italian courts). However, such a shortcoming can be at least in part mitigated by the fact that the level of importance that customers attach to the reasonable duration of process appears remarkably inferior to the one attributed to the competence of judges (see above, Diagram 8c). Data mentioned above can perhaps be explained in the light of the fact that the survey also comprises criminal trials and that, whereas the whole civil process is managed by the Court, the criminal trial is managed by two different offices: the Public Prosecutor’s Office in the first place and the Court in the second place. Therefore we have also to take into account possible delays in the Public Prosecution Office. A surprising weak spot, at least as far as Turin is concerned, is constituted also by data concerning punctuality of hearings (46% of people declared themselves unsatisfied, against 39% who declared themselves satisfied); this outcome can be explained with regard to the fact that the majority of interviewed people were involved in penal proceedings, and for such hearings (unlike civil hearings) no system of staggering is in use.
No surprise comes from data on the assessment of judicial costs, which are deemed as not fair by 53% and fair by 25% of interviewed people. On the contrary, data on the overall organisation of judicial office appears comforting (61% of interviewed people declared themselves satisfied, against 19%, who declared themselves unsatisfied); the same is true for data concerning availability of information (61% satisfied, against 21% unsatisfied).
6. Overall Outcome of the Survey: Satisfaction and Importance.
The empirical data gathered by the survey can be represented graphically by cross-referencing the replies of interviewed people on issues pertaining to satisfaction about services rendered by Turin judicial institutions with replies on the various characteristics (items) considered as regards their importance. In this graph (see Figure 1) it is possible to determine four distinct areas. Such areas are defined by drawing two lines across, on the points of the two axes (abscissa and ordinates) matching respective average values. Data concerning “importance” was statistically derived using the Spearman correlation index between each specific item and the overall satisfaction. Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient is a non-parametric measure of statistical dependence between two variables. It assesses how well the relationship between two variables can be described using a monotonic function, either always increasing or always decreasing.
Items falling within the square situated in the upper-right part of the map are those which are considered as important by users and that at the same time received a high satisfaction score. This explains why we could define this area as an “Area of Excellence,” (“High Importance-High Satisfaction”), to be constantly monitored and valued in the interest of a better service to the citizens. A high importance (above the average), associated to a low degree of satisfaction (under the average), characterizes the area situated in the lower-right part of the diagram, that is the area of the “needs which are not adequately satisfied,” or “Area for Improvement” (“High Importance-Low Satisfaction”). The items of this part of the map require a great deal of attention.
A low degree of importance associated to an elevated degree of satisfaction characterizes those items which, in spite of a positive assessment by the customers, are not perceived as essential. Therefore, for these items keeping the same level of quality can be deemed sufficient (see the upper-left area of the diagram, which could be called “Area for Maintenance”: “Low Importance-High Satisfaction”). Finally, relatively negligible are those items which, although characterised by a low level of satisfaction, are considered by customers as less important than others (see the lower-left area of the diagram, which could be called our “Area of Indifference”: “Low Importance-Low Satisfaction”).
It must be noted that in the “Area of Excellence” we can find nearly all the items related to politeness, competence, clarity and impartiality of the judges, a couple of items pertaining to the staff (competence and availability), as well as the good organization of the offices and to the easiness to gather information.
Figure 1 – Satisfaction vs. Importance Diagram.
NETWORK OF PILOT COURTS
ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONNAIRE
"WHICH INDICATORS FOR MEASURING THE QUALITY OF JUSTICE ?"
This short briefing note reflects the answers provided to the Secretariat by 32 pilot courts from 21 member states.
It seems that the programmes on the quality of justice are applied to a great majority of the courts concerned.
In eighteen member states that have responded, there is a programme regarding the quality of justice at the national level: Austria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Spain.
On the other hand, in seven countries, this type of programme has been developed at the regional level: Azerbaijan, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Sweden.
At the level of individual courts, the only ones who indicated they do not have a programme on the quality of justice are the District Courts of Linz (Austria), Lublin (Poland), Freiburg (Germany), the Court of Civil Appeals of Armenia, the Commercial court of Barcelona (Spain) and the Regional court of Usti nad Labem (Czech Republic).
In Estonia and UK-England and Wales, it appears from the answers that there is no programme regarding the quality of justice at national or regional level or at the court level.
On areas where these programmes apply, access to justice and communication with litigants and the public is a priority for the majority (twenty seven courts) of courts that responded to the questionnaire.
Among the measures taken to improve this aspect of justice is included the computerization of justice: in the Czech Republic (District Court of Prague), the procedures are put online, the payment orders are computerized. At the Higher Regional Court of Stuttgart (Germany), for example, a programme has been implemented since 2005 to improve communications for users and mediation training is provided.
In almost as recurring, the court interviewed said that process job and operations processes are part of the scope of the action programmes on the quality of justice.
In the District Court of Prague (Czech Republic), a voluntary quality management has been established and the court expresses its willingness to increase the number of qualified administrative staff to ease the work of Justice.
Twenty two courts underline human resources and the status of judges and prosecutors as a field concerned with the quality programmes. Twenty one courts have answered "yes" to the field "Strategy and Policy", where the question of length of judicial proceedings is often stressed; only eighteen indicate the area: means of justice.
Most countries have a programme for assessing the quality of justice, with the exception of Ireland (according to the Commercial Court), Poland (according to the District Court of Warsaw), Azerbaijan and UK-England and Wales (Central London Civil Justice Centre).
The tools used are mostly satisfaction surveys and inspections, and finally, on the twenty-seven courts that responded, only nine report using the peer review: the Court of Berlin (Germany), the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court (Lithuania), the 3rd District Court of Vilnius (Lithuania), the Court of Appeal of Rovaniemi (Finland), the District Court of Nedre Romerike (Norway), the Court of Justice of the Republic and Canton of Geneva (Switzerland), the Court of Esbjerg (Denmark), the First instance Court of Bijelo Polje (Montenegro) and the Court of Arnhem (Netherlands).
Regarding other tools that can be used, are included evaluations of judges by the court presidents, as specified by the Administrative Court of Tallinn (Estonia). Sweden (Court of Appeal) has set up "internal and external" dialogues (questionnaires and interviews with staff but also with court users), provided by a justice mediator At the Court of First Instance of Turin (Italy), evaluations are held every four years by the Local Councils for the Judiciary and the High Judicial Council. At the Court of Berlin (Germany), there is a system of internal audit and a control system based on court statistics (for the duration of proceedings). In France too, at First instance courts of Angoulême and Marseille, the development of single desks within the court clerk offices and of the quality of the users' information (Quali-Mariane) can be mentioned.
As regards question IV: "Do you have indicators to measure quality?", only the Commercial court of Ireland and the Higher Regional Court of Stuttgart (Germany) and the Central London Civil Justice Centre (UK-England and Wales) answered no. According to the other courts surveyed, the rate of cancellation / modification of judgments by superior courts and continuous training are used more or less equally (by 19 and 22 courts respectively.
The District Court of Linz (Austria) indicated that it uses many statistics (decisions on time, link between the judge's workload and pending cases). As the Court of Appeal in Sweden, it indicated using questionnaires and interviews at local and regional level in order to implement the necessary measures in the areas concerned. In addition, each year in Sweden is organised "The employee satisfaction index" which is a national study involving all employees in the Swedish judicial system.
In the District Court of Baku Yasamal (Azerbaijan), the number and content of complaints against the judge are considered. As the District Court of Freiburg (Germany), it counts the number of solved cases. At the Court of Justice of the Republic and Canton of Geneva (Switzerland), indicators such as rate of output procedures within 12 months and the proportion of proceedings whose duration exceeds 2 years per level of instance are used. Finally, at the First instance court of Angoulême (France), the rate of rejected criminal sentences established by the National Judicial Record is evaluated.
EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR THE EFFICIENCY OF JUSTICE
NETWORK OF PILOT COURTS
6th Plenary Meeting
22 September 2011
WHICH INDICATORS FOR MEASURING THE QUALITY IN COURTS?
From the discussion which took place in clusters during the meeting, the following elements deserve to be considered by the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL:
Several levels must be considered
a. Indicators applied at national level
b. Indicators applied at court level
c. Indicators applied for a working team (judges + court clerks) within the court
d. Indicators applied at the judge level
Possible issues to be considered
1. Case management
1.1 Optimisation and foreseeability of timeframes of judicial proceedings (performance indicators)
a. backlog of unfinished proceedings
b. percentage of cases pending fro more than 2 (or 3) years
c. percentage of cases settled
1.2 Existence and efficiency of systems to follow up the files
2. Quality of the decisions
2.1 Appeal rate (percentage of cases challenged in appeal)
2.2 Rate of unlawful final decisions (for instance in criminal matters, final decisions where the sentence is higher than provided by the law)
2.3 Existence and quality of the rules for formulating the decisions
- at court level? at the level of individual judges?
- how to protect judge's independence?
3. Functioning of the court
3.1 Concrete elements regarding the organisation of the premises: signs, organisation of waiting time, facilities for the professionals / users, access to disabled persons, security …
3.2 Ways of implementing and respecting the internal organisational rules (expl: regular fulfilment of statistics, possibility to follow a file, organisation of the waiting time at the court clerk office, …)
3.3 Analysis of the court annual report
3.4 Existence of internal auditing systems
4. Individual evaluation of judges
4.1 According to statistical targets
4.2 From individual auditing
5. Perception by the users
5.1 Complaints against a court / a judge
5.2 Number of judges challenged in a proceeding
5.3 Rate of satisfaction (measured through satisfaction surveys)
5.4 Search from Internet
6. Resource management
6.1 Budget management (execution of the court budget, reporting)
6.2 Analysis of the absenteeism
6.3 Existence of links between the achievement of targets and the budget allocated to the court
7. Access to the court
7.1 Functioning of the legal aid system
7.2 Access to the court case law
8. Communication / Information
8.1 Organisation of the reception of the users at the court
8.2 Relations with the media
8.3 Information of justice practitioners
8.4 Web site to inform the users
Steering Group of the SATURN Centre for judicial time management (CEPEJ-SATURN)
Strasbourg, 21 - 23 September 2011
Comparability of different data available, definition of common concrete situations
(Extract from the meeting report)
1. The Group prepared for the discussions in the pilot court workshops, which were asked to define categories of cases in civil, criminal and administrative matters which could be covered in in-depth studies on a uniform basis. The aim was to check the relevance of the categories already employed in the CEPEJ’s general evaluation exercise and supplement them with other categories which could be taken into account in the context of the observatory of judicial timeframes.
2. Following the pilot courts’ meeting, the group agreed to include the following categories:
a. Civil matters
For the time being:
Þ Cases involving marital breakdown (contested divorces or judicial separations, depending on national procedures, and disputes concerning the dissolution of matrimonial property regimes)
Þ Cases involving co-ownership
Þ Cases involving property leases
Þ Cases involving insolvency and bankruptcy
Þ Cases involving intellectual property
It was noted that data on dismissal cases (which were currently included in the CEPEJ’s general evaluation exercise) were not available in all member states. These data should be extended to all labour law cases.
Cases involving civil liability in road traffic accidents, medical liability and international sales of movable property, which the group had proposed initially, were not included.
b. Criminal matters
For the time being:
Consistent data could be collected for corruption and money-laundering cases, but the volume of cases concerned was not likely to be significant.
Cases involving drug trafficking were also mentioned, but the category was deemed too broad given the very many different situations involved.
c. Administrative matters
For the time being:
Þ Cases involving the granting of planning permission
Þ Cases involving the dismissal of public servants
Þ Cases involving the taxation of individuals
Þ Cases involving public procurement
Cases involving asylum law were also mentioned but were deemed to be too politically sensitive and too closely related to the economic situation to be dealt with properly through the observatory of judicial timeframes.
The experts agreed that referral to the courts should be taken as the start of the proceedings (rather than any prior applications to the authorities to reconsider their decisions).
3. The group instructed several of its members to propose operational definitions for each of the categories selected:
* Civil: Giacomo Oberto
* Criminal: Francesco Depasquale
* Administrative: Jacques Bühler
4. The Steering Group of the SATURN Centre would contact the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL to discuss the categories once they had been defined. It would then be necessary to validate the definitions and test the collection of data concerning the categories at the pilot courts.
5. The practical arrangements for collecting data concerning the flow and length of the relevant cases would then have to be agreed. The experts agreed that an observatory of judicial timeframes would have to be responsive and be able to operate on a long-term basis; methods which complemented the CEPEJ’s biennial evaluation exercise would therefore have to be found.
6. The group also agreed to study the glossary prepared by Marco FABRI at its next meeting.