European Commission of the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ)

Terms of reference of the Steering group of the SATURN Centre for judicial time management

    renewed by the CEPEJ at its 12th plenary meeting

1. Tasks

The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice decides to act as a Centre for judicial time management (SATURN1 Centre) aimed at collecting specific information necessary to 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 fair trial within a reasonable time protected by Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Centre shall in particular:

      a. as a European observatory of judicial timeframes, analyse the situation of existing timeframes in the member States (timeframes per types of cases, waiting times in the proceedings, etc.);

      b. provide to the member States knowledge and analytical tools of judicial timeframes of proceedings;

      c. promote and assess the implementation in the member states and ensure the updating of the SATURN Guidelines for judicial time management.

The Centre is managed through a Steering group, established in accordance with article 7.2.b of Appendix 1 to Resolution Res(2002)12, under the authority of the CEPEJ.

In order to fulfil its tasks, the Steering group shall in particular:

· collect, process and analyse the relevant information on judicial timeframes in a representative sample of courts in the member states;

· define and improve measuring systems and common indicators on judicial timeframes in all member states and develop appropriate modalities and tools for collecting information through statistical analysis;

· rely on appropriate networks allowing the integration of the works and reflections of the judicial community, in particular on the network of pilot courts within the member states, to exploit innovative projects aimed at reducing and adjusting the timeframes operated by courts in member states.

2. Composition

The Steering group shall be composed of 6 members of the CEPEJ or experts proposed by member states and appointed by the CEPEJ Bureau who have an in-depth knowledge in the field of procedure timeframes. Their travel and subsistence expenses will be borne by the budget of the Council of Europe. Other experts appointed by the member States might participate in its work, at their own expenses.

The relevant Council of Europe and European Union bodies might be represented to the Steering group without the right to vote or defrayal expenses.

The non governmental organisations granted with the observer status to the CEPEJ might be invited by the Bureau to participate in the work of the Steering group, on a case-by-case basis, if the Bureau considers their attendance relevant for the quality of the work.

3. Working structures and methods

The Centre will hold 2 meetings in 2009 (subject to budgetary availability).

In carrying out its terms of reference, the Steering group shall cooperate with the CEPEJ Network of Pilot courts.

It may also seek the advice of external experts and have recourse to studies by consultants.

4. Duration

These terms of reference expire on 31 December 2010.

1 Study and Analysis of judicial Time Use Research Network.