Strasbourg, 20 February 2011

CEPEJ-GT-QUAL(2011)3

EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR THE EFFICIENCY OF JUSTICE

(CEPEJ)

WORKING GROUP ON QUALITY OF JUSTICE

(CEPEJ-GT-QUAL)

9th meeting, 16 – 18 February 2011

MEETING REPORT

Report prepared by the Secretariat

Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs


1.     The Working Group on the quality of justice (CEPEJ-GT-QUAL) of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) held its 9th meeting in Strasbourg from 16 to 18 February 2011. François PAYCHÈRE (Switzerland) was re-elected in the chair.

2.     The group welcomed in particular Nikolina MISKOVIC (Croatia), as new member of GT-QUAL.

3.     The agenda appears in Appendix I and the list of participants in Appendix II to this report.

  1. Information by the Chairman, the experts and the Secretariat

4.     John STACEY, CEPEJ President, informed the Group on meetings he attended and at which he mentioned the works of the CEPEJ:

§    Port-of-Spain (Trinidad and Tobago), on 1-3 November 2010, for the Western Hemisphere Regional Conference on “Access to Justice in Criminal, Commercial and International Courts” organised by the International Association for Court Administration (IACA), where he introduced CEPEJ’s works and discussed possible partnerships with the World Bank.

John STACEY had previously made a contribution on the CEPEJ activities to the IACA Winter 2010 newsletter which may be found at the following link: http://data.memberclicks.com/site/iaca/IACA.newsletter.Jan.2010.pdf;

§    Budapest (Hungary), on 11 February 2011, for the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) steering committee meeting, where he presented several works carried out by CEPEJ and expressed hopes to work more closely in the future with this organisation.

5.     François PAYCHERE informed the group of the following meetings he had attended or would be attending:

§    He represented CEPEJ in the International Summit of High Courts, in Istanbul, on 1-3 November 2010 (organised conjointly by the Presidency of the Court of Cassation in Turkey and UNDP Turkey) and presented a paper on the objectives of CEPEJ and its activity programme:

http://www.summitofhighcourts.com/docs/papers/what_are_the_objectives_of_the_CEPEJ.pdf

§    He has been invited by the ENCJ to participate in a conference on quality of justice.

§    He has been invited by the Swiss Academy for the Judiciary to participate in a conference on quality of justice.

6.     Jean-Paul JEAN (France) informed of his presentation, together with Jacques BÜHLER (Switzerland), on the “Members of the judiciary serving justice: a European approach” at the Ecole Nationale de la Magistrature in Bordeaux (France), on 29 October 2010 before the Auditeurs de Justice. He presented the 2010 CEPEJ Report on the Evaluation of European Judicial Systems which has been frequently mentioned in parliamentary reports. Jean-Paul JEAN has also carried out a case-study on judicial timeframes with the legal trainees.

He also reminded the working group of the importance of the CEPEJ newsletter on budgetary restrictions.

7.     Joao ARSENIO DE OLIVEIRA (Portugal) informed that the 2010 Evaluation report had been disseminated throughout Portugal. The quality of justice is being discussed at the highest political level. Moreover, Jean-Paul JEAN was interviewed by Portuguese TV channels and news. 

8.     Klaus DECKER (World Bank) informed of a learning event during which the 2010 Evaluation Report was presented.

9.     The Secretariat informed that it represented CEPEJ in a meeting in Brussels, on 3 February 2011, following an invitation by the Council of the European Union, with the participation of JLS counsellors of EU member states, representatives of the Council of the EU, the European Commission and the Secretariat of the European Parliament. Together with Jean-Paul JEAN, it called for the EU bodies to use the 2010 Evaluation Report. It mentioned point 1.2.5 of the Stockholm Programme which states that “duplication with other evaluation mechanisms should be avoided, but synergies and cooperation should be sought, in particular with the work of the Council of Europe”.

10.  The Secretariat informed that the CEPEJ had adopted the new working programme and had made new proposals:

§    The “CEPEJ Road Show”: a series of learning events during which the main stakeholders of CEPEJ would be brought together. This would give the opportunity to advertise CEPEJ’s tools and give further understanding on how these tools may be used in practice.

§    Proposal to hire a consultant at the disposal of courts to assist them during the implementation of court satisfaction surveys.

§    Court coaching programme by the SATURN Centre: proposal to send an expert to train courts on the proper use of SATURN tools.

  1. Court user satisfaction surveys

2.1  Implementation of the Handbook

11.  The Working Group agreed that one of CEPEJ’s aims is to provide operational tools to the legal professionals in the member states. Implementing the Handbook on Court user satisfaction surveys (adopted by the CEPEJ plenary meeting in September 2010) had proven to achieve this goal. It is both a stable tool which fits the courts’ needs for improvement (i.e. it is an inexpensive tool) and a flexible tool depending on the particular needs and the countries’ diversity. The Working Group noted that reforms had been introduced subsequent to national customer service surveys. It is not just an academic exercise.

12.  The Group discussed the practical ways to implement the Handbook.

o    At the pilot court level

13.  Fabio BARTOLOMEO (Italy) gave a presentation on the experience in the courts of Torino and Catania (Italy) where surveys were organised (February-March 2011), under the authority of one judge appointed to follow the work in each court and with the support of a statistician to analyse the information collected. Please see:

http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/cooperation/cepej/source/Satisfaction_Survey_Italy_2011.ppt.

14.  The GT-QUAL entrusted Fabio BARTOLOMEO to send a list of the technical modalities concerning satisfaction surveys, in Italy, to the Secretariat.

15.  Jean-Paul JEAN gave a presentation on the experiment of the model questionnaire in the Court of Angoulême (France), which received a certificate of quality for receiving court users (assistance to disabled persons, to victims, etc.). 245 court users were interviewed during the month of June 2010. A distinction was made between the general perception of the justice system and personal experiences. The results show that court users are particularly satisfied with the security system, the sense of judge impartiality and the personnel’s courtesy. However, surprisingly, the victims’ assistance and the punctuality of the hearings received very low results. The study concluded that many improvements could be done thanks to better organisation, information and optimisation of existing means and resources, without the need for additional budgets.

16.  The GT-QUAL agreed that one must make the most of all existing experiences. Public awareness of the satisfaction surveys should be increased (CEPEJ newsletter, etc.).

o    At the level of judicial training institutions (support of the Lisbon Network)

17.  The Lisbon Network has been entrusted to provide advice, expertise and support to the CEPEJ members in the field of judicial training.

18.  Several members of the Network stated, during the plenary meeting on 17 February 2011, that practical exercise such as the Handbook would be difficult to include within the works of the training institutes. The CEPEJ reminded them that it is open to assist member states in implementing the documents in the training academies’ curricula, by assigning expert members of the group.

o    Within the framework of the European Union of Rechtspfleger

19.  The representative of the EUR, Jean-Jacques KUSTER, confirmed that his association was willing to carry out a study on the court user surveys, in close collaboration with the courts. 

o    At the academic level

20.  The GT-QUAL agreed that conducting research on the implementation of the Handbook would be particularly useful. Such research projects though should only be conducted with the sponsorship of a court. Yinka TEMPLEMAN (The Netherlands) and Klaus DECKER (World Bank) volunteered to participate in writing a research proposal. 

2.2  Setting up a regular CEPEJ survey at the European level

21.  The GT-QUAL proposed to create a software to process mechanically the data and centralise the information from all member states. The working methods proposed by such system should be interactive and ensure a maximum response rate. Results should be submitted back to the CEPEJ. Issues regarding confidentiality of the data remain to be clarified. 

22.  The GT-QUAL agreed that a scientific expert should be appointed by the Secretariat to help those courts who wish to use the Handbook to process and analyse the information collected through the survey. This expert could also be requested to advise the CEPEJ on how the information collected could be interpreted to highlight relevant trends and benchmarks at a European level. Such studies should be the starting point for a future enquiry at the European level.

  1. Report on “Contractualisation (Consensus oriented approach) and judicial process in Europe”

23.  The last version of the report on “Contractualisation (Consensus oriented approach) and judicial process in Europe” by Julien LHUILLIER, scientific expert (France), was adopted and submitted by the GT-QUAL to the final approval of the CEPEJ Plenary Assembly. The report would then be published under the “CEPEJ studies”, available in print version, in French and English.

  1. Court organisation and quality of justice

24.  The members of the GT-QUAL each gave comments on their national situation regarding judicial maps. France’s reform on the subject was finalised on 1st January 2011. Croatia, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal are in a work in progress situation.

25.  The GT-QUAL entrusted Fabio BARTOLOMEO, Joao ARSENIO DE OLIVEIRA and John STACEY to finalise the framework document “Does size and location matter?” before the next working group meeting. The authors will take into account any proposals sent by GT-QUAL members before the end of March 2011.

26.  The framework document would then be the basis for terms of reference given by the Secretariat to a scientific expert to prepare a report with guidelines.The GT-QUAL stated that they would prefer to appoint an expert with a professional background rather than academic.

  1. Indicators for measuring the quality of justice

27.  Yinka TEMPLEMAN made a presentation on the development of quality indicators using as a reference the experience in the Netherlands following the recent establishment of quality norms for the courts (register secondary occupation, client surveys, complaint procedures, etc.) This requires investment on a permanent basis (training of existing judges/prosecutors, etc.). A 3-year period was given to implement these norms. Contractualisation between Court boards and the Judicial Council has been at the heart of such implementation (they consult with each other at least three times a year). An annual report intended for the Ministry of Justice and Society is currently being drafted. The main interest is to understand and share with all member states how the quality indicators were implemented (i.e. funding incentives).

28.  Georg STAWA (Austria) informed that the Ministry of Justice in Austria would try to set up a quality measurement system and encourage benchmarking.

29.  Fabio BARTOLOMEO warned that these quality indicators may be perceived negatively by judges who may feel their productivity is being measured. Georg STAWA also reminded the GT-QUAL of the danger of performance indicators’ that are not balanced by other topics (quality, independence of judges, etc.).

30.  The GT-QUAL entrusted John STACEY, Yinka TEMPLEMAN and Klaus DECKER to draft a questionnaire and organise a report on the basis of the answers. This report could also include research articles from academics and a list of possible indicators. 

  1. The role of judicial experts in the quality of justice systems

31. The GT-QUAL discussed the proposal for a report on “the role of judicial experts in the quality of the justice systems” presented by François PAYCHERE. It was reminded that Q182 onwards of the 2010 CEPEJ Evaluation Report are questions on judicial experts.

32. Klaus DECKER notes that he has recently organised 2 workshops in Ankara (Turkey) and commented on the (quasi-judicial) role of court experts in the Turkish court system and the quality of the justice system.

33. The GT-QUAL had a brainstorming on issues involved by the subject:

§  Technical aspects (remuneration, etc.), the legally binding nature and the quality (time-limits, the role of the parties, etc.) of the expert reports were mentioned and debated.

§  The independence of judges as regards experts (appointment, decision-making, etc.) is a common concern. Yinka TEMPLEMAN mentioned the existence in the Netherlands of an expert register which sets criteria and standards, as well as the fact judges are now trained on issues regarding judicial experts.

§  According to Jean-Paul JEAN, the two essential issues are the notion of ethics in relation to conflicts of interest and the ideological approaches. 

§  John STACEY reminded the working group that choosing an appropriate expert remains a question of proportionality.

34.  The GT-QUAL agreed that this study should evolve towards best practice guidelines aimed at administrations, policy makers and the judiciary.

35.  The GT-QUAL renewed François PAYCHERE’s appointment as a referent expert on this issue.


Appendix I

Agenda

1.         Adoption of the agenda

2.         Appointment of the Chairperson

3.         Information by the Chairman and the Secretariat

4.         Court user satisfaction surveys

Rapporteur: Jean-Paul JEAN, scientific expert (France)

4.1  Implementation of the Handbook

o    at the pilot court level

i.          Information on the experience of the Court of Angoulême (France)

            Rapporteur: Jean-Paul JEAN

ii.          Information on the experience in Torino and Catania (Italy)

Rapporteur: Fabio BARTOLOMEO

o    at the level of judicial training institutions (support of the Lisbon Network)

i.              Preparation of the meeting of the Lisbon Network (17 February)

ii.             Follow up to the meeting with the Lisbon Network

o    within the framework of the European Union of Rechtspfleger

o    at the academic level

Rapporteur: Klaus DECKER

4.2  Setting up a regular CEPEJ survey at the European level

o    Implementation of "court coaching sessions" by a scientific expert to understand the results of the surveys

o    How to analyse the information available at the CEPEJ level?

5.                                                     Report on "Contractualisation and judicial processes " in Europe

6.                                                     Court organisation and quality of justice

o    Drafting a framework document on judicial maps with a view to elaborating a report

 

Indicators for measuring the quality of justice

Rapporteur: Yianka TEMPELMAN

The role of judicial experts in the quality of justice systems

Rapporteur: François PAYCHÈRE

7.                                                     Other business


Appendix II

List of participants / Liste des participants

EXPERTS

Joao ARSENIO DE OLIVEIRA, Head of Division of the Unit of Civil Justice, Legal, Legal Policy and Planning Office, Ministry of Justice, PORTUGAL

Fabio BARTOLOMEO, Directeur Général du Bureau des Statistiques, Ministère de la Justice, ITALIE

Nikolina MIŠKOVIĆ, Judge, Commercial Court in Rijeka, CROATIA

François PAYCHÈRE, Juge à la Cour de justice du Canton et de la République de Genève, SUISSE

Serge PETIT, Avocat Général, Cour de Cassation, FRANCE

John STACEY, Head of International Development for Court Administration, International Directorate, Ministry of Justice, UNITED KINGDOM (Chair of the CEPEJ / Président de la CEPEJ)

Yinka TEMPELMAN, Quality Manager of the Dutch Council for the judiciary, THE NETHERLANDS

SCIENTIFIC EXPERTS / EXPERTS SCIENTIFIQUES

Nicolas JACQUET, Procureur de la République, Tribunal de Grande Instance d’Angoulême, FRANCE Apologised / Excusé

Jean-Paul JEAN, Avocat général près la Cour d’Appel de Paris, Professeur associé à l’Université de Poitiers, Parquet Général, FRANCE

OBSERVERS / OBSERVATEURS

EUROPEAN COMMISSION / COMMISSSION EUROPEENNE

Pascal SCHONARD, Administrator, Directorate General Justice Unit B.2 – Criminal Law European Commission, BELGIQUE Apologised / Excusé

European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) / RESEAU EUROPEEN DES CONSEILS DE LA JUSTICE (RECJ)

Jean-Marie SISCOT, Administrator of the Belgian High Council for Justice, Member of the Working Group on Quality Management, BELGIUM

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, FRANCE

World Bank / Banque mondiale:

Klaus DECKER, Public Sector Specialist, Public Sector and Institutional Reform, Europe and Central Asia, Vice-Presidency, World Bank, USA

***

SECRETARIAT

Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs (DG-HL) - Justice Division /

Direction générale des droits de l’Homme et des affaires juridiques (DG-HL) -

Division de la Justice

Fax: +33 3 88 41 37 43 - E-mail: cepej@coe.int

Stéphane LEYENBERGER, Acting Head of the Justice Division, Secretary of the CEPEJ / Chef a.i de la Division de la Justice, Secrétaire de la CEPEJ

Muriel DECOT, Co-Secretary of the CEPEJ / Co-secrétaire de la CEPEJ

Barbara SCHERER, Special Advisor to the Secretariat of the CEPEJ / Conseillère spéciale auprès du Secrétariat de la CEPEJ

Jean-Pierre GEILLER, Documentation

Annette SATTEL, Communication

Kelly SIPP, Administrative assistant/Assistante administrative

Marie-José SCHUTZ, Assistant / Assistante

Interpreters / Interprètes

Grégoire DEVICTOR

Chloé CHENETIER

Katia DI STEFANO