25 January 2021                                                                                     








Document prepared by Joan Miquel Rascagneres and Philippe Thélin

Section 1

A.    General questions

1.     Country of pilot court

2.     Name of pilot court

3.     Your email address

4.     It is a Court of

                        (1)   First instance

                        (2)   Appeal

                        (3)   Supreme Court

5.     Area(s) of law covered by the pilot court

                        (1)   Civil law

                        (2)   Criminal law

                        (3)   Administrative law

6.     Number of persons working in pilot court

Section 2

B.    Questions about the first wave of the pandemic

1.     Start of the period concerned by measures adopted in court

(Please provide the date when the first pandemic-related measures were put in place.)

2.     End of the period concerned by measures adopted in court

3.     Summary of the measures taken by higher authorities
(Please outline the general instructions issued by higher authorities [ministry, supreme court, council for the judiciary or other authority].)

4.     Changes to procedural rules
(Please specify if these changes only applied during the pandemic wave or if they are permanent.)

5.     Measures implemented by the court
(Please outline the measures implemented by your court. If some of the categories below do not apply to you, leave them blank. However, if other measures were implemented, please state which under “Other measures”. Lastly, please specify the desired effect of these measures.)

a)   Measures concerning the holding of hearings

b)   Measures concerning deliberation sessions

c)   Procedural or other measures concerning time limits

(e.g. suspension or extension of mandatory time limits etc.)

d)   Measures concerning general information (public, court users).

e)   Measures concerning relations between judges (i.e. with fellow judges)

f)    Measures concerning relations between judges and lawyers

g)   Measures concerning relations between judges and court users

h)   Measures concerning relations between judges and administrative staff

i)    Provisions for urgent proceedings
(Please state how and by whom urgent proceedings were identified and how they were dealt with.)

j)    Duties of judges and staff members
(Please state whether judges and members of the scientific and administrative staff have performed their usual duties during this period, or whether they were given other tasks, worked part-time or not at all.)

k)   Other measures.
(If you took any other measures and arrangements than those indicated above, please specify them here.)

6.     Judicial time management
This section aims to obtain information on the effects of the measures on the case flows and the length of proceedings. The requested information can either be taken from readily available data or be based on the impressions of the judges and staff members who are familiar with and supervise this aspect of court management, without any need to produce statistics.

a)      How did the INCOMING case flow change during this period?
(Did the court receive more or fewer proceedings during this period? How did this change in the first few weeks back?)

b)      How did the OUTGOING case flow change during this period?
(Did the court complete more or fewer proceedings during this period? How did this change in the first few weeks back?)

c)      How would you describe any changes to the future number of cases to be processed during and after this period?

(Did the measures taken increase or reduce the backlog of cases? Was there any impact on the age of pending cases? etc.)

d)      Were you given or did you draw up a plan to catch up any delays? If yes, please briefly describe the plan.   

Section 3

C.    Further pandemic waves
This part of the questionnaire aims to learn about the differences of measures put in place during the first, second – or even third – pandemic wave, the reason behind the differences in measures taken as well as their impact, particularly with regard to judicial time management.

1.     Start of the subsequent period concerned by measures taken in pilot court

2.     End of the subsequent period concerned by measures taken in pilot court

3.     Differences between measures put in place

(Please outline the changes made in relation to the measures implemented during the first wave, as well as - if possible – the reason for these changes and their effects in practice, both anticipated and observed.)

Section 4

D.    Tools used during lockdown

1.     Use of videoconferencing

a.     Did the court use videoconferencing?

                                          i.    Yes

                                         ii.    No

b.    If not, why not?

c.     If yes, was videoconferencing used for:

                                          i.    Internal dealings

                                         ii.    External dealings (for example with lawyers, court users and other courts)

                                        iii.    Hearings

d.    Who were the users?

e.     Feedback on videoconferencing
(Please state the benefits of videoconferencing and any issues encountered in either internal or external calls.
If hearings were held, please comment on their quality and compliance with procedural rules [for example, ensuring confidentiality between the parties to proceedings and their representatives, etc.].)

2.     Teleworking

a.     Did members of the court work remotely?

                                          i.    Yes

                                         ii.    No

b.    If not, why was this?

c.     If yes, what tools were used? Who used them?

d.     Feedback on remote working
(Please give your opinion of the teleworking tools.)

3.     Buildings

a.     Were any changes to the buildings (for example, partitioning, organisation of the flow of people by using physical barriers or contact tracing) planned or made?

                                       (1)    Yes

                                       (2)    No

b.    What changes were made to the buildings?
(Please state the reason for the modifications and whether the expected result was achieved.)

4.     Alternative dispute resolution

a.     To your knowledge, have court users made greater use of alternative means of dispute resolution (e.g. mediation, arbitration or other means)?

                                       (1)    No

                                       (2)    Yes
(The aim is to see whether, in view of the difficulties linked to the pandemic wave, an increase in the use of alternative means of dispute resolution has been reported or observed.)

                                       (3)    If yes, which alternative means of dispute resolution were used?

b.    Any comments

Section 5

E.    Final questions

1.     Have court users (parties to proceedings, lawyers, witnesses or others) complained about measures put in place? What were their main complaints?

2.     What elements, measures or means did you lack during the pandemic waves? How did you compensate for these shortfalls?

3.     In your view, what kinds of crises could strike in the future?

4.     Did your court have a crisis management plan in place?

1)     Yes

2)     No

If not, did it draw one up during the crisis? Or after the crisis, for possible crises in future?

5.     Have you considered what you would do if a future crisis affected your means of communication?

6.     Do you have any other remarks, elements or ideas to add?