Strasbourg, 15 October 2010
EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR THE EFFICENCY OF JUSTICE
Steering Group of the SATURN Centre for judicial time management
Strasbourg, 5 and 6 October 2010
Report prepared by the Secretariat
Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs
1. The Steering Group of the SATURN Centre for the study and analysis of judicial time management held its 8th meeting in Strasbourg on 5 and 6 October 2010, with Mr Jacques BÜHLER (Switzerland) in the Chair.
2. The agenda and the list of participants appear respectively in Appendices I and II to this report.
1. Information by the Secretariat and the experts
3. The Secretariat reported on the preparation of the CEPEJ’s evaluation report on European judicial systems.
Coaching programme for courts regarding management of timeframes
4. The protocol for implementing the SATURN tools on the management of timeframes proposed by Mr Jon JOHNSEN at the group’s previous meeting had been tried out in five courts (Czech Republic, Georgia, Italy, Switzerland and United Kingdom). Details were set out in reports. The first trial had been successful: the pilot courts had shown interest and were keen on becoming more closely involved in developing the project.
5. It was agreed that the Steering Group would proceed as follows:
· suggestions for implementation projects of certain items of the Guidelines for judicial time management, suggestions based on a thorough review of the reports of the five courts, will be addressed by Mr Jon JOHNSEN before November 7, 2010; suggestions as well as further comments on the reports will be sent to members of the Group;
· The group members will complete their reports by contacting Mr Jon JOHNSEN by 21 November 2010;
· Group members will initiate the projects selected by the end of the year before the concerned courts;
· The group members would then monitor the application of the implemention projects of certain items of the Guidelines for judicial time management in the pilot courts between December 2010 and March 2011;
· The group members would draw up reports on implementation of the project by 8 April 2011; the reports would be sent to Mr Jon JOHNSEN;
· Mr Jon JOHNSEN would analyse the reports and prepare an overall report by mid-May 2011, in time for the Steering Group’s next meeting.
6. In the light of Mr JONHSEN’s analysis, the group may revise the relevant documents, in particular the guidelines.
Better understanding of the operation of judicial systems
7. The Steering Group underlined the need for better understanding of how member states’ judicial systems operated so that the issues of judicial time management could be analysed in that light. The group therefore instructed the Secretariat to draw up a description of judicial systems, drawing, if need be, on the pilot courts and justice ministries, as well as the report by Mr Marco FABRI on the qualitative approach to judicial time management (cf. the structure model for the description of the judicial systems)
3. Quantitative approach
8. The Group instructed the Secretariat to appoint a scientific expert to look in greater depth at lengths of proceedings and times taken to process backlogs in courts on the basis of the information gathered in the course of the evaluation of judicial systems by the CEPEJ. The report on European judicial systems 2010 (data 2008) has used the answers to Question 90 (1st instance). The same should be done for answers to questions 92 and 93 (second instance and Supreme Courts) The work would have to be completed by the end of March 2011.
9. Moreover, with a view to agreeing standards for lengths of proceedings, the Secretariat was instructed to contact Ms Françoise CALVEZ and propose that she update her report: “Length of court proceedings in the member states of the Council of Europe based on the case law of the European Court of Human Rights” (CEPEJ Studies No. 3) by April 2011. The updating could take account of recent case-law and significant developments in the member states and indicate systemic difficulties reflected in the Court’s rulings.
10. Lastly, in order to raise awareness of the difficulties encountered by member states in terms of judicial time management, the Steering Group agreed to step up exchanges with the services of the European Court of Human Rights on the basis of the statistics available regarding violation of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The group underlined the need to study the statistics over a sufficiently long period so as to gain insight into the actual difficulties in individual states (at least five years). The Secretariat was instructed to make contact with the Court Registry so that an exchange of views could be held on the matter during the group’s next meeting in May 2011.
11. The group agreed to instruct the scientific expert, Mr Marco FABRI, to check the comparability of the different data available on management of length of proceedings by the end of April 2011. This work will be build on the results delivered by the scientific expert appointed in paragraph 8 above and would have to take account of the need to standardise the calculation of the length of proceedings (definition of starting and ending points for calculation purposes) so that the situations in member states could be compared.
4. Strategy for the SATURN Centre
12. The group agreed that the SATURN Centre now needed to adopt a more proactive attitude towards member states and courts so as to increase awareness of the tools it developed and improve their actual implementation. This approach would have to contribute more generally to an overall approach by the CEPEJ geared to ensuring the effective use of the tools and measures it had developed. The group proposed that its new terms of reference for 2011 be expanded to this effect.
13. The group agreed that Mr Jon JONHSEN would present his study on a new strategy for SATURN to shape the debate about the know-how, tools and methods of the SATURN Group. The issues raised in this document have been discussed within the Group and Directorates General for future action by the Group. These will be incorporated into the strategy of the SATURN Centre
14. Mr Jacques BÜHLER agreed to prepare a new strategy for the SATURN Centre by the end of February 2011. The document will be made in consultation with the experts by email and then adopted by the members of the SATURN Steering Group at its next meeting.
15. The strategy would also have to take account of longer-term priorities concerning:
a. the way to extend the court coaching programme to a representative sample of courts,
b. the development of qualitative surveys based on the checklist for judicial time management,
c. the definition of standards for lengths of proceedings by types of case; the number of types of case could be gradually expanded, starting with the four types defined in the EUGMONT guidelines; the pilot courts should be involved in the process, if possible in the context of clusters of courts.
Ordre du jour
1. Opening of the meeting and administrative communications
Ouverture de la séance et communications administratives
2. Adoption of the agenda
Adoption de l’ordre du jour
3. Composition of the working group in 2011
Composition du groupe de travail en 2011
4. Qualitative approach of the management of the timeframes
Approche qualitative de la gestion des délais de procédure
a. In general / en général
b. Coaching of courts in view of the implementation of the guidelines concering timeframes / Coaching de tribunaux en vue de la mise en œuvre des lignes directrices en matière de délais de procédure
c. Discussion on the opportunity to adopt a questionnarie based on the Checklist (see project by Marco Fabri) / Discussion sur l’opportunité d’adopter un questionnaire fondé sur la Cheklist (cf. projet de Marco Fabri)
d. Follow-up to the on-going work / Suite des travaux
5. Quantitative approach
a. Examination and discussion of the collected data in the framework of the evaluation 2010 (2008) of the CEPEJ / Examen et discussion des données récoltées dans le cadre de l’évaluation 2010 (2008) de la CEPEJ
b. Follow-up on the on-going work / suivi des travaux
6. Brainstorming on the follow-up of a SATURN strategy with a view to implement an European observatory on the timeframes
Brainstorming sur le continu d’une stratégie de SATURN en vue de la mise en œuvre d’un observatoire européen des délais de procédure
7. Follow up to the work
Suivi des travaux
8. Other business
List of Participants / Liste des participants
Irakli ADEISHVILI, Chairman, Chamber of Civil Cases, Tbilisi City Court, TBILISI, GEORGIA
Jacques BÜHLER, Secrétaire Général suppléant, Tribunal fédéral suisse, SUISSE (Chair of the Group / Président du Groupe)
Francesco DEPASQUALE, Ministry representative, Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs, VALLETTA
Jon T. JOHNSEN, Professor in Law, Faculty of law, University of Oslo, NORWAY
Giacomo OBERTO, Magistrat, Tribunal de Grande Instance, TURIN, ITALIE (Apologised / Excusé)
Jana WURSTOVA, Lawyer, Adviser, Czech Bar Association, CZECH REPUBLIC
John STACEY, Deputy Head of Civil Law and Justice Division, Access to Justice Directorate, Ministry of Justice, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM (Vice-Chair of the CEPEJ / Vice-Président de la CEPEJ)
SCIENTIFIC EXPERT / EXPERT SCIENTIFIQUE
Marco FABRI, Research Institute on Judicial Systems, National Research Council, BOLOGNA, ITALY
OBSERVERS / OBSERVATEURS
EUROPEAN UNION OF RECHTSPFLEGER AND COURT CLERKS/UNION EUROPEENNE 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
Directorate Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs (DG-HL) -
Justice Division /