Strasbourg, 25 October 2011

CEPEJ-GT-QUAL(2011)7

EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR THE EFFICIENCY OF JUSTICE

(CEPEJ)

WORKING GROUP ON QUALITY OF JUSTICE

(CEPEJ-GT-QUAL)

10th meeting, 6 – 7 October 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 10th meeting at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, on 6 and 7 October 2011 with François PAYCHERE (Switzerland) in the chair.

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

  1. Information by the Chair, the experts and the secretariat

3.     The secretariat briefed the Bureau on the restructuring of the Council of Europe Secretariat: from 1 October 2011, the secretariat of the CEPEJ would be located within the Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law, Justice and Human Dignity Directorate, Justice and Legal Co-operation Department, Division for the Independence and Efficiency of Justice, Committees for Justice Unit. This Division would also include the Justice Reform Unit, responsible for targeted co-operation activities.  That should help to generate the necessary synergies between intergovernmental activities and co-operation activities.

4.     The secretariat introduced Maria ORESHKINA, who had recently joined the division as a lawyer.

5.     The secretariat said that the Vice-Chair of the CEPEJ, Georg STAWA, had had an exchange of views with the Committee of Ministers on 28 September 2011.  The 2010 activity report had been approved and several delegations had commended the CEPEJ on the innovative and creative nature of its work.

6.     The Chair of the CEPEJ, John STACEY, announced that he had represented the CEPEJ at the General Assembly of the European Union of Rechtspfleger in Bucharest from 14 to 18 September 2011.

7.     François PAYCHERE said he had attended several events that had provided an opportunity to speak about the work of the CEPEJ:

-       conference on the execution of decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (Trieste, Italy)

-       conference on the quality of justice (Tbilisi, Georgia)

-       meeting with a Chinese delegation (Lausanne)

-       round table held by the OSCE on the right to a fair trial with a special focus on the length of proceedings (Podgorica, Montenegro, 4 July 2011)

8.     The Group agreed that the CEPEJ’s reputation and interest in its work now extended beyond Europe’s borders (with invitations to visit Brazil and the United Arab Emirates, for example).

  1. Court user satisfaction surveys :  implementation of the Handbook

9.     Following the introduction of the Handbook on a trial basis in the Catania, Turin and Angoulême courts, the court coaching programme for conducting user satisfaction surveys was launched.  The court of Vrancea (Romania) had already volunteered.

10.  CEPEJ experts could be made available to the volunteer courts in order to advise them on organising surveys and making use of the results.  Fabio BARTOLOMEO and Giacomo OBERTO, who had taken part in the pilot schemes, could be asked to assist in this task, as could representatives of the Court of First Instance of Angoulême.  In addition, Yinka TEMPELMAN would suggest experts who had been involved in exercises of this kind in the Netherlands.

11.  The Group agreed that, for the time being, efforts should focus on implementing this programme with individual courts, with a view to helping them to improve their internal organisation.  Introducing the scheme in other settings, at national level or in an academic setting, was not deemed to be a priority at present.

12.  Nikolina MISKOVIC said that satisfaction surveys had been conducted in Croatia recently in three pilot courts.  

13.  The representative of the European Commission, Peter CSONKA, said that the Commission was increasingly interested in the quality of justice, as a key factor in mutual trust between Member States.  The work of the CEPEJ could help to build this mutual trust.  In this particular instance, it was important to see whether there were any national lessons to be learnt from this exercise based on local experiences.

  1. Court organisation and quality of justice

14.  On the basis of the framework document on judicial maps, the Group proposed terms of reference for a scientific expert who would be tasked with preparing a report that would allow the CEPEJ to establish a few key principles in this area.

15.  A roundtable discussion provided a reminder of the lessons learnt from recent national experience:  Serge Petit described the French reform of the judicial map and said that the impact of this reform had yet to be gauged.  Nikolina MISKOVIC said that in Croatia, the reform had led to a 40% reduction in the number of courts while Joao ARSENIO de OLIVEIRA said that, in Portugal, the number of courts had fallen from 231 to 39.

16.  The Group agreed that a scientific expert should be appointed to prepare a report containing guidelines for reform of the judicial map.  Draft terms of reference for this expert were drawn up accordingly (see Appendix III).

17.          Several names of experts were mentioned in connection with a call for expertise:  Pierre GUIBENTIF (Portugal), Andreas LIENHARD (Switzerland), Gilles TOUTIN, Pascale REITZEL (France) and Jesper WITRUP (Norway).  The Group instructed the secretariat to offer a contract to a scientific expert.  

  1. Indicators for measuring the quality of justice

18.  Yinka TEMPELMAN and Klaus DECKER outlined the document: "Measuring the quality of judicial services for better management" which they had prepared as an aid to discussion:  this document was based on replies to questionnaires about the quality of courts.  It provided examples of indicators that could be used to measure the quality of justice.

19.  Also presented were the concepts chosen as possible quality indicators in the workshop discussions with pilot courts at their recent plenary meeting (Strasbourg, 22 September 2011).

20.  Various concepts were discussed:

-       correlation between the measurement of timeframes of proceedings and quality of justice;

-       appeals rate, or percentage of decisions challenged in the context of an appeal, as a quality criterion;

-       ratio of judgments rendered collectively to judgments rendered by a single judge; concept of rapporteur judge; it was pointed out that this criterion based on the ratio of collective judgments to judgments rendered by a single judge must not contradict CEPEJ documents promoting single-judge formations;

-       training for judges; participants were reminded here that the abolition of exequatur in the European Union and training for judges were connected, as the European Commission was anxious that the requirement to provide training for judges should pave the way for progress in abolishing exequatur; it was also pointed out that the quality of justice depended not only on training for judges but also on training for all judicial staff (including lawyers and administrative staff); with regard to training, the Group felt that the role of the CEPEJ was not to determine a certain number of training hours but rather to ask each state whether it required training to be provided and, if so, how many hours were devoted to it;

-       shared re-reading of judgments;

-       measurement of satisfaction through peer review or from the standpoint of users of the justice system;

-       possibility for individuals to apply to an institution such as the Council for the Judiciary; it was pointed out that the absolute number of complaints lodged was not a relevant indicator and that a more appropriate choice would be the number of recognised miscarriages of justice (justice system found to be at fault).

21.  The Group agreed that its task was not to create a new list duplicating the "Checklist for  promoting the quality of justice and the courts" but rather to try to pick out the key elements of this list and to compare precise, measurable indicators.  The idea was to set minimum standards that states would be free to exceed.

22.  The Group stressed the need to proceed cautiously here so as to avoid giving courts the impression that the CEPEJ wanted to introduce monitoring of judges’ decision-making activities.   

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

23.  The Group agreed to resume its discussion at a later date on the basis of the working document prepared by François PAYCHERE. Klaus DECKER said he would work with Mr PAYCHERE in this regard.  


Annexe I

Ordre du jour

1.         Adoption of the agenda / Adoption de l’ordre du jour

2.         Information by the Chairman and the Secretariat

Information du Président et du Secrétariat

3.         Court user satisfaction surveys: implementation of the Handbook  / Enquêtes de satisfaction auprès des usagers des tribunaux : utilisation du Manuel

o    Implementation of the coaching programme at the pilot court level / Mise en œuvre du programme de formation au niveau des tribunaux-référents

o    Use in other cases / utilisation dans d'autres cadres

4.             Court organisation and quality of justice / Organisation judiciaire et qualité de la justice

o    Framework document on judicial maps and terms of reference for a scientific expert, with a view to elaborating a report / Document-cadre sur les cartes judiciaires et mandat pour un expert scientifique, en vue de l'élaboration d'un rapport

 

5.             Indicators for measuring the quality of justice / Indicateurs pour mesurer la qualité de la Justice

6.             The role of judicial experts in the quality of justice systems / Le rôle des experts dans la

qualité du système judiciaire

7.             Other business / Divers


Annexe 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, Lisbon, PORTUGAL

Fabio BARTOLOMEO,  Directeur Général du Bureau des Statistiques, Ministère de la Justice, Via Arenula 70, 00100 Rome, ITALIE, Apologised / Excusé

Nikolina MIŠKOVIĆ, Judge, Commercial Court in Rijeka, CROATIA

François PAYCHÈRE, Juge à la Cour de justice, Genève, SUISSE (Chair of the GT-QUAL / Président du GT-QUAL)

Serge PETIT, Avocat Général, Cour de Cassation, Paris

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

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

OBSERVERS / OBSERVATEURS

EUROPEAN COMMISSION / COMMISSSION EUROPEENNE

Peter CSONKA, Advisor, Directorate General Justice, European Commission, Brussels

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, Brussels

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, Apologised / Excusé

World Bank / Banque mondiale:

Klaus DECKER, Public Sector Specialist, Public Sector and Institutional Reform, Europe and Central Asia, Washington  DC

EUROPEAN UNION (Fundamental Rights Agency) / UNION EUROPEENNE (AGENCE DES DROITS FONDAMENTAUX)

Jonas GRIMHEDEN, Programme Manager Legal Research, Freedom and justice Dept., European Union, Vienna Apologised / Excusé

***

SECRETARIAT

Directorate General - Human Rights and Rule of Law -

Division for the independence and efficiency of Justice /

Direction Générale - Droits de l’Homme et Etat de droit -

Division pour l'indépendance et l'efficacité de la justice

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

Stéphane LEYENBERGER, Acting Head of the Division, Secretary of the CEPEJ / Chef de la Division.,Secrétaire de la CEPEJ, Tel: + 33 3 88 41 34 12, e-mail: stephane.leyenberger@coe.int

Muriel DECOT, Co-Secretary of the CEPEJ / Co-secrétaire de la CEPEJ, Tel: + 33 3 90 21 44 55, e-mail : muriel.decot@coe.int

Maria ORESHKINA, Principal Administrative Assistant / Assistante administrative principale, Tel: + 33 3 90 21 40 26,   maria.oreshkina@coe.int

 

Jean-Pierre GEILLER, Documentation, Tel : + 33 3 88 41 22 27, e-mail : jean-pierre.geiller@coe.int

Annette SATTEL, Communication, Tel: + 33 3 88 41 39 04, e-mail: annette.sattel@coe.int

Marie-José SCHUTZ, Assistant / Assistante, Tel : + 33 3 88 41 34 86, Fax : + 33 3 88 41 37 45, e-mail: marie-jose.schutz@coe.int

Bertille DORTHE, Trainee / Stagiaire, Tel : + 33 3 88 41 56 13, Fax : + 33 3 88 41 37 45, e-mail: bertille.dourthe@coe.int

Interpreters / Interprètes

Grégoire DEVICTOR

Nicolas GUITTONNEAU

Christopher TYZCKA

William VALK

 


Strasbourg, 7 octobre 2011

EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR THE EFFICIENCY OF JUSTICE

(CEPEJ)

WORKING GROUP ON QUALITY OF JUSTICE

CEPEJ-GT-QUAL)

TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR A SCIENTIFIC EXPERT

ENTRUSTED WITH PREPARING

DRAFT GUIDELINES ON JUDICIAL MAPS

Overall mission : elaborate a basis for drafting CEPEJ guidelines to member states wishing to carry out a reform of the judicial map

Specific missions:

a.     State of affairs in relevant states having experienced a reform (expl: Croatia, Denmark, France, Portugal, Netherlands, Slovakia)

       i.            Motivation for the reform (expl: economic and political situation, demographic situation, players)

      ii.            Objectives (expl: restoring public finances, cost effectiveness and efficiency, quality of justice, access to justice)

     iii.            Diagnostic (expl: empirical data available, problems identified, expectations from various players, impact assessment)

    iv.            Process for preparing the reform (expl: level of involvement of justice professionals, court users, elected persons, local communities)

     v.            Scope of the reform (expl: focused or global reform, human and financial resources, court facilities, IT use)

    vi.            Implementation of the reform (expl: timeframe, consensus seeking, centralised or decentralised decision making process, decision making authority, cost of the reform) 

   vii.            Impact measuring and evaluation made by the state concerned (expl: which evaluation? which results? Cost benefits)

  viii.            Setting up of specialised courts

b.    Evaluation by the scientific expert of these reforms

     i.              Common elements to the various reforms, main differences

    ii.              Achievement of the initial objectives

   iii.              Impact on the efficiency and quality of justice

  iv.              Lessons learnt: factors of success and failure

c.    Sources, documentation