Strasbourg, 6 December 2013

CEPEJ(2013)13

EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR THE EFFICIENCY OF JUSTICE (CEPEJ)
22nd plenary meeting (5 – 6 December 2013)

Abridged report

A. FOREWORD

The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) held its 22nd plenary meeting in Strasbourg on 5 – 6 December 2013. The meeting was chaired by Mr John STACEY (United Kingdom), President of the CEPEJ.

The agenda appears in the Appendix.

B. LIST OF ITEMS DISCUSSED AND DECISIONS TAKEN BY THE CEPEJ

    The CEPEJ:

    1. Information by the President of the CEPEJ, the CEPEJ members and the Secretariat

§ took note of the information provided by its President, its members and its Secretariat who had participated in various fora where the work of the CEPEJ was presented and discussed, and noted with satisfaction that this concerned 35 events in 13 members states and 4 non-European states in 2013, contributing to the promotion of public policies aimed at ensuring the efficiency and quality of judicial systems;

§ invited its members to volunteer to represent CEPEJ in such fora, in order to increase the possibilities for the CEPEJ to be represented in the debates on justice in Europe and beyond;

§ took note of the information provided by the representatives of Azerbaijan, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Georgia, Ireland, Malta, Ukraine and United Kingdom on recent domestic developments in the judicial field and invited its members to forward to the Secretariat written information and useful references which could be included in the area "country profiles" of its web site;

§ took note with particular interest of the introduction to the Roadmap to Justice website in the Netherlands by Peter van de Biggelaar, Director of the Legal Aid Board in the Netherlands;

    2. CEPEJ co-operation programmes

§ welcomed the success of the Joint Programme with the European Union on Court Management in Turkey which enabled in particular the promotion of the concrete implementation of the SATURN tools in several Turkish pilot courts and called for this programme to be extended to further courts in Turkey, possibly through a new cooperation programme funded by the government of Sweden (SIDA); indicated its readiness to further cooperate with Turkey on other judicial reform issues such as mediation;

§ welcomed the on-going implementation of the Joint Programme with the European Union for Morocco and Tunisia (“South Programme”) enabling support of ministries of justice and pilot courts in strengthening the day-to-day functioning of courts, relying on CEPEJ tools and methodologies, and welcomed the launch of a similar Joint Programme with the European Union aimed at judicial reforms in Jordan;

§ welcomed the new Joint Programme with the European Union on court management in Albania, due to start in the near future, and to extend the concrete implementation of CEPEJ tools to all courts throughout the country;

§ in general, thanked the European Union for its expression of confidence in the CEPEJ’s specific expertise in supporting the reforms of judicial systems towards more efficiency and quality through the practical implementation of the CEPEJ’s own methodology and tools, and reiterated its willingness to cooperate with its member states and other partner states to support, as part of its activity programme, the development of the public service of justice in Europe and beyond;

    3. Evaluation of the European judicial systems

§ urged the national correspondents who have not yet done so to respond to the electronic questionnaire for evaluating judicial systems before 31 December 2013 (it being understood that a more flexible timeframe was agreed only for federal states), in order for the data to be processed from January 2014 and the report to be adopted by the CEPEJ at its 23rd plenary meeting (3 – 4 July 2014);

§ entrusted the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL to prepare the draft report "European judicial systems – Edition 2014" and to submit it to the 23rd plenary meeting, so that it could be officially published in September 2014;

§ expressed however its deep concern that, in spite of previous discussions, including with the Committee of Ministers, it had not yet been possible to find a solution to appoint a permanent statistician within the CEPEJ Secretariat to ensure the continued role and status of the CEPEJ in evaluating the functioning of European judicial systems, a fact which might jeopardize the whole evaluation process and the publication of the report in due time; urged therefore the relevant bodies within the Council of Europe to identify a solution to appoint a statistician as soon as possible, failing which it would not be possible to process and analyse the data made available by the states;

    § took note of the report of the peer evaluation visit on judicial statistics which took place in Latvia on 14-15 November 2013, and agreed that new visits would take place at in Estonia and Lithuania (jointly), Switzerland and Ukraine in 2014;

    § discussed again the invitation to tender by the European Commission to establish with the Council of Europe / CEPEJ a “Multi-annual contract for services to support the EU Justice Scoreboard”, giving to the CEPEJ the task of providing statistical and numerical data on the functioning of the justice system in each EU member state and providing country specific information, analysis and trends on the functioning of the justice system for each EU member state, according to the CEPEJ methodology and in a spirit of partnership between the European Union and the Council of Europe;

    noted that there was no decision by the Committee of Ministers at that stage and confirmed its commitment to carry out this cooperation if the Committee of Ministers so decides;

    4. Quality of justice

    § invited its members to send their comments on the document "Measuring the quality of judicial services: CEPEJ practical guidance for quality measurement" (CEPEJ-GT-QUAL(2012)2Rev3) through the Secretariat before the end of February 2014 and instructed the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL and the Steering Committee of the SATURN Centre to further collaborate on this document in order to finalise it accordingly, with a view to adopting it at the 23rd plenary meeting;

    § approved the technical document “Customer satisfaction surveys among court users: checklist for court coaching” (CEPEJ(2013)15) proposed by the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL; reiterated its invitation to the volunteer courts in the member states to indicate to the Secretariat their candidature for organising a coaching programme aimed at organising user satisfaction surveys based on the CEPEJ Handbook and invited its members to signal this opportunity widely to the courts in their states;

    § approved the revision of the Guidelines on the creation of judicial maps to support access to justice within a quality judicial system (CEPEJ(2013)7Rev1) and entrusted the Secretariat to modify the paper and electronic documents accordingly;

§ instructed the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL to further work on the role of judicial experts and the organisation of court premises and to consider the promotion of the existing CEPEJ guidelines on enforcement of court decisions;

    5. Judicial time management

    § approved the revised Guidelines on judicial time management (CEPEJ(2008)8Rev3) and entrusted the Secretariat to modify the paper and electronic documents accordingly;

    § took note of the work carried out by the Steering group of the SATURN Centre, in particular in order to facilitate the concrete use of the Guidelines on judicial time management and instructed it to pursue its work according to its strategic action plan;

    § reiterated its invitation to the volunteer courts in the member states to indicate to the Secretariat their candidature for organising within the court a coaching programme aimed at implementing the SATURN tools for judicial time management based on the CEPEJ Guide and invited its members to signal this opportunity widely to the courts in their states;

    6. Activity programme of the CEPEJ

    § adopted its Activity programme for 2014 and 2015 (CEPEJ(2013)12) and decided to forward it to the Committee of Ministers so that it may take note of it;

    § invited the member states, through the CEPEJ members, where appropriate, to propose to the Secretariat by 15 January 2014, qualified experts to participate in the working groups (CEPEJ-GT-EVAL, CEPEJ-GT-QUAL and Steering group of the SATURN Centre) and entrusted its Bureau to appoint members of these working groups, taking into account these proposals;

    § thanked the authorities of Azerbaijan for having offered to host on 3-4 July 2014 the 23rd plenary meeting of the CEPEJ within the framework of their Chairmanship of the Council of Europe;

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

§ took note of the information on the activities of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE), the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE) and the European Committee of Legal Cooperation (CDCJ);

    8. Other cooperation with the European Union

§ took note of the information provided by the representatives of Lithuania and Greece, speaking on behalf of the outgoing and incoming presidencies of the European Union, on the recent and planned developments within the Union in the field of justice;

§ took note of the decision by the European Commission not to pursue the joint organisation of the European Prize: “Crystal Scales of Justice”, decided to pursue on its own, in 2014 and in the coming years, the organisation of this event, and instructed the Secretariat to take the necessary steps so that the 2014 Prize can be awarded in the framework of the European Day of Justice;

§ agreed to draft jointly with the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union a Handbook on access to justice and instructed the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL to supervise this work;

    9. Observers with the CEPEJ

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

§ noted with interest the proposal of the International Union of Judicial Officers (UIHJ) to highlight the CEPEJ Guidelines on enforcement of court decisions on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of their adoption and entrusted the Secretariat to explore the possibility of jointly organising with UIHJ a one day colloquy on this subject next to the 24th plenary meeting (11-12 December 2014).

APPENDIX I

AGENDA

    1. Opening of the meeting

    2. Adoption of the agenda

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

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

    5. CEPEJ co-operation programmes

      i. Joint programme with the European Union for Court Management in Turkey – implementation of the SATURN tools

        Rapporteur: Ivana BORZOVA (Czech Republic)

      ii. Joint programme with the European Union for Morocco, Tunisia (“South programme”) and Jordan

        Rapporteurs: Jacques BÜHLER (Switzerland), Joao ARSENIO de OLIVEIRA (Portugal), Jean-Paul JEAN (France) and Secretariat

      iii. Joint programme with the European Union for Albania

        Rapporteur: Secretariat

      iv. Perspectives for further co-operation

    6. Introduction to the Roadmap to Justice website in the Netherlands

      Rapporteur: Peter van de BIGGELAAR, Director of the Legal Aid Board

    7. Evaluation of European judicial systems

      Rapporteur: Georg STAWA (Austria), Vice-President of the CEPEJ and member of the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL

      i. Implementation of the 2012 - 2014 evaluation cycle 

      ii. Cooperation with the European Union within the framework of the “Justice Scoreboard”

      iii. Implementation of the pilot peer evaluation co-operation process (activities passed and foreseen)

    8. Quality of justice (CEPEJ-GT-QUAL)

      Rapporteur: François PAYCHĖRE (Switzerland), Chair of the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL

      Examination, with a view to the adoption, of the drafts regarding the:

      i. indicators for measuring the quality of justice

      ii. customer satisfaction surveys among court users

      iii. amendments to the Guidelines on the organisation of judicial maps

    9. SATURN Centre on judicial time management: information on the on-going activities

    Rapporteur: Jacques BÜHLER (Switzerland), Chair of the Steering group of the SATURN Centre

      Examination, with a view to its adoption, of the draft revised guidelines on judicial time management

    10. Discussion of the draft activity programme of the CEPEJ for 2014 and 2015 in view of its adoption

Rapporteur: Irakli ADEISHVILI (Georgia)

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

      i. Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)

      ii. Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE)

      iii. European Committee on Legal Cooperation (CDCJ)

    12. Other co-operation with the European Union

      i. Last developments within the European Union in the judicial field

        Rapporteurs: Laima GARNELIENE (Lithuania) and Michalis PIKRAMENOS (Greece) on behalf of the outgoing and incoming presidencies of the European Union

      ii. European Day of Justice and Crystal Scales of Justice (Secretariat)

      iii. Cooperation with the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) on access to justice

    13. Observers to the CEPEJ

    Organisations who have been granted observer status with the CEPEJ are entitled, if they wish, to make an oral presentation of their current activities relevant to the CEPEJ and/or submit a written information to the Secretariat which could be distributed during the meeting.

    14. Any other business



 Top