Organisation of work
5. The calendar of meetings may be consulted on the CEPEJ website.
6. The full composition of the working groups for 2012 and 2013, as adopted by the Bureau, is shown in Appendix 2.
7. The Secretariat reviewed the replies to the Scheme for Evaluating Judicial Systems: a number of countries had still not replied despite the 31.12.11 deadline. Reminders were being sent out. It was pointed out that the report was due to be published in the context of the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers for Justice in Vienna on 20 September 2012.
8. A visit to Azerbaijan would take place at the end of April as part of the process of peer evaluation of the collection of judicial statistics. Other member states might be approached in the second half of the year depending on the quality of the replies received under the evaluation exercise.
9. The Secretariat informed the Bureau of the progress of the SATURN Centre’s work. The emphasis would be placed in particular on developing the court coaching programme on use of the SATURN tools with volunteer courts, and on devising timeframe indicators for different categories of cases.
10. The Bureau was also informed of developments in CEPEJ-GT-QUAL. In this field too, the emphasis would be on the court coaching programme for conducting satisfaction surveys and on the preparation of guidelines for reform of the judicial map. For this latter activity, the Secretariat had for the first time enlisted the services of the “junior enterprise” of the Institute of Political Studies in Strasbourg, which was tasked with carrying out research into recent reforms of judicial maps. The idea was to test the expertise and research capabilities offered and to strengthen links between CEPEJ and the academic world.
11. The Bureau confirmed the need to invite the Bureau of the Lisbon network to the next CEPEJ plenary meeting. The network should be able to be used as a resource for the implementation of co-operation activities for the training of judges and prosecutors, and in particular the development of training curricula for court management and the efficiency and quality of justice. It should also be possible to consult it on questions relating to the training of judges in the work of CEPEJ, in particular the 2010-2012 evaluation cycle on the functioning of judicial systems.
12. The Bureau was not against the idea of network members also addressing issues specific to judicial training bodies, even if there was no direct link with current CEPEJ activities, since the training of judges was in any case an integral part of the process of improving the efficiency and quality of the public justice service.
Study on the impact of the functioning of justice systems of member states of the European Union on the economic situation of these countries
13. Georg STAWA and the Secretariat informed the Bureau of the European Commission’s request to CEPEJ to prepare a study on the impact of the functioning of justice systems of member states of the European Union on the economic situation of these countries. This study would be based on the evaluation methodology devised by CEPEJ and the results of the 2010-2012 evaluation of judicial systems. The information gathered in this way would be supplemented by ad hoc data collection, in particular to assess the degree of “business-friendliness” of judicial systems. This would be based in particular on a “scoreboard” proposed by the European Commission and discussed with the CEPEJ Secretariat and experts.
14. The European Commission would sign a contract with the Council of Europe and would finance the study to the tune of 200 000 €. The study should be completed by summer 2012. It would be forwarded to the European Union, which would then be responsible for its use.
15. Jean-Paul JEAN and Georg STAWA, members of GT-EVAL and the Secretariat had met representatives of the European Commission’s DG Justice in Brussels to discuss in depth the study and the co-operation arrangements. They confirmed the study’s feasibility and the interest for CEPEJ in being entrusted by the European Commission with such a task, which showed that it was recognised as a first-rate reference for evaluation of the functioning of judicial systems in Europe. They pointed out, however, that the exercise would have to be clearly defined vis-à-vis the European Commission in order to respect CEPEJ’s scientific credibility, and also in view of the particularly short deadlines. The scoreboard proposed by the European Commission would have to be reworked in order to restrict it to supplementary data which it was reasonably possible to collect in this context.
16. In accordance with the decision taken by CEPEJ at its 18th plenary meeting, the Bureau decided to accede to the European Commission’s request and instructed the Secretariat to recruit three scientific experts to prepare the study under the authority of CEPEJ-GT-EVAL. It appointed Georg STAWA to monitor in particular the progress of this work, alongside Jean-Paul JEAN.
European Day of Justice and the Crystal Scales of Justice
17. A new edition of the Crystal Scales of Justice was to be organised jointly with the European Commission as part of the next European Day of Justice. Contacts were under way with Brussels to work out the details for the organisation of these events.
18. The Secretariat informed the Bureau that, under the Council of Europe’s neighbourhood policy, a joint programme with the European Union was currently being negotiated for two North African countries, Morocco and Tunisia, which might be joined by Jordan. CEPEJ was likely to be called upon to co-operate with these countries in this context, particularly in order to evaluate the functioning of judicial systems and make recommendations relating to the efficiency and quality of justice on the basis of the CEPEJ tools and methodology. The CEPEJ court coaching programmes might be implemented in those countries.
19. The Bureau welcomed these developments and agreed that CEPEJ could be closely involved in these initiatives, and stressed that it might be useful if the beneficiary countries requested observer status with CEPEJ.
CEPEJ representation at other meetings
20. CEPEJ was increasingly called upon to participate in different forums devoted to justice policies in Europe and beyond. The Bureau welcomed this growing reputation, which was the result of the practical work gradually developed by CEPEJ. It pointed out, however, that, in view of the number of requests, it was important to target participation.
21. The Bureau instructed the Secretariat to make arrangements for CEPEJ to be represented on other Council of Europe committees on a case by case basis, depending on meeting agendas, either by a CEPEJ member or by the Secretariat.