cepej_10

Strasbourg, 26 November 2012

CEPEJ-GT-QUAL(2012)6

EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR THE EFFICIENCY OF JUSTICE

(CEPEJ)

WORKING GROUP ON THE QUALITY OF JUSTICE

(CEPEJ-GT-QUAL)

12th meeting, 18-19 October 2012

MEETING REPORT

Document prepared by the Secretariat

Directorate General I – Human Rights and Rule of Law


 

I.          INTRODUCTION

1.     The Working Group on the quality of justice (CEPEJ-GT-QUAL) of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) held its 12th meeting at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, on 18 and 19 October 2012.

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

II.         INFORMATION BY THE CHAIR, THE EXPERTS AND THE SECRETARIAT

3.     At the beginning of the meeting the Secretariat presented the excuses on behalf of João Arsenio DE OLIVEIRA, Klaus DECKER and Jean-Jacques KUSTER who could not take part in the meeting.

4.     The Secretariat informed that the German government had proposed including in the Working Group a judge from this country as an expert, in addition to its current members. The cost of the participation of this new member would be covered by Germany.

5.     The Secretariat further informed about the publication of the CEPEJ report “European judicial systems – Edition 2012 (data 2010)” in September 2012. It indicated that the deadlines set for the report were met, despite a series of difficulties, including the late delivery of the required data by some member states. It mentioned that the report received a very good coverage in the media[1], and that this coverage suggested that a number of issues were of special interest to the public; these issues could be taken up by CEPEJ-GT-QUAL as appropriate. The Secretariat also pointed out that Chapters 4 – “Users of the courts: rights and public confidence”, and 15 – “Judicial experts” are directly connected with the work of the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL.

6.     The Secretariat informed the members of the Working Group of the outcomes of the 7th plenary meeting of the Network of Pilot Courts that took place in Gozo, Malta on 27 September 2012. Two topics discussed at the meeting, namely the role of judicial experts in the quality of justice and the possibility of defining guidelines on the organisation and accessibility of court premises, are of relevance for the work of the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL. The two topics were discussed in groups, and the Secretariat indicated that this working method (i.e. seeking information and opinions from practitioners) has proven very useful.

7.     The Chairman of the CEPEJ John STACEY gave an account of his exchange with the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe that took place on 10 October 2012, and expressed his satisfaction with the overwhelming support given by the Ministers’ Deputies regarding the recruitment or appointment of a staff statistician to the CEPEJ secretariat. In his view, this support indicated that the work of the CEPEJ was seen by the Committee of Ministers as a priority. At the same time no decision has been taken yet, and there was no specific timeframe foreseen.

8.     The Secretariat reminded in this connection that information about events where the CEPEJ was represented and its work promoted was regularly published on its website.

9.     The Secretariat further provided information on the on-going programmes within the framework of the Council of Europe Neighbourhood Policy in the field of justice, and in particular on the assistance programme elaborated jointly with the European Union for Morocco and Tunisia. It is planned that Jordan will also be concerned later on by cooperation programmes. (Similar programmes run also in the countries of Central Asia; however, the CEPEJ is not yet involved in this region.)

10.  The Secretariat indicated that the activities in this context foresee putting at the disposal of the non-member states concerned the CEPEJ evaluation mechanisms for assessing their judicial systems. The programme also aims at formulating specific recommendations following an evaluation, and providing assistance in implementing these recommendations. In particular, after the evaluation visit to Morocco (29 October – 1 November 2012) a draft report had been transmitted to the country’s authorities, and the latter expressed their satisfaction with the cooperation. A follow-up visit will be planned on the basis of their comments.

11.  The Secretariat further informed that Moroccan authorities have nominated three pilot courts in their country (Agadir, Casablanca and Sidi Kacem) and that the presidents of these courts were invited to the last meeting of the Network of Pilot Courts (in Malta) and actively contributed to it.

12.  A similar programme is being elaborated for Tunisia. The activities started later due to the current political turbulences, the first visit to this country was being planned for 19-21 November 2012. In September a first visit to Jordan was also undertaken in order to establish contact with the relevant authorities.

III.        COURT COACHING ON SATISFACTION SURVEYS

13.  The Chairman and Fabio BARTOLOMEO presented information on the court coaching activity in Georgia (Tbilisi, 10 February 2012) aimed at assisting the authorities of this country to implement satisfaction surveys among court users.

14.  The Chairman expressed his concern regarding the lack of information from the Georgian authorities regarding the practical implementation of the survey. Its results appear to be inconsistent with the findings of the report “European judicial systems – Edition 2012 (data 2010)”. It appears also that the CEPEJ methodology for conducting court user satisfaction surveys was not implemented in full (e.g. some questions considered by the experts as important were omitted), and that the current issues on the political agenda in Georgia played too important a role.

15.  In the light of the above, the Working Group has discussed the possible evolution of this programme. They proposed, among other, to establish a peer review mechanism that would allow assessing the quality of the surveys. This might involve sending 3-4 experts for a fact-finding mission to the countries having conducted the surveys. The members of the group underlined, however, that such review should only concern the process of surveying itself, and not the results of the surveys. Findings of such missions would provide feedback on the usefulness of the methodology and suggest ways of developing it further; at the same time they can help measuring the overall success of the CEPEJ and its work.

16.  The Group therefore charged the Secretariat with cataloguing all surveys organised in the member states on the basis of the CEPEJ methodology; it also invited the Secretariat to contemplate on the possible ways and available resources for assessing the implementation of this CEPEJ tool. The proposals could be debated during the first meeting of the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL in 2013.

IV.       PREPARATION OF GUIDELINES ON THE ORGANISATION OF JUDICIAL MAPS

17.  Fabio BARTOLOMEO provided the members of the Working Group with an update on the on-going reform of the judicial map of Italy. He pointed out, however, that at the current stage it was not possible to assess the result of the reform. This exercise has no precedent in the history of the country, and a number of very specific circumstances (the fact that all court staff hold contracts of indefinite duration and cannot be laid off – the only way to reduce their numbers is by retirement; the need to maintain judicial presence in the regions where organised crime is widely spread etc.) do not allow a useful comparison with other countries. Several years must pass before it will be possible to draw conclusions as to whether the reform has attained its goals.

18.  The Working Group took note of a detailed presentation by the researchers of Sciences Po Consulting Strasbourg carrying out a background comparative study on the reforms of the judicial map in a number of Council of Europe member states at the request of the Group. The Chairman thanked them and noted that they provided a useful overview across the countries concerned, including the origins of the reforms or the technical means introduced as a result.

19.  In the course of a subsequent discussion regarding the sources of information used by the researchers, the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL members pointed to a number of additional sources to explore, such as the report “European judicial systems – Edition 2012 (data 2010)”, websites of the Department of Legislation of the Croatian parliament and the Ministry of Justice and some other.

20.  In addition, the Chairman encouraged the researchers to explore in detail the experimental stage of the reform of judicial map carried out in Portugal. He further indicated that their final paper should clearly point to the origins of the reforms in the different countries and the reasons behind them, so as to provide food for thought to the drafters of the future guidelines.

21.  With respect to the guidelines Fabio BARTOLOMEO accepted the task of drafting a structure for a discussion at the first meeting of CEPEJ-GT-QUAL in 2013. Draft guidelines themselves should be presented to the Bureau of the CEPEJ in time for its second plenary meeting of 2013 at the latest, andpossibly even earlier, i.e. in time for the first plenary meeting.

V.         INDICATORS FOR MEASURING THE QUALITY OF JUSTICE

22.  John STACEY presented the updated version of the draft CEPEJ Guidelines for measuring the quality of judicial services (CEPEJ-GT-QUAL(2012)2Rev), pointing that it gave more weight to statistical indicators and followed a different structure that the previous version.

23.  In the subsequent discussion (see a detailed account of this discussion in Appendix III to this report) the Working Group focused on the scope of indicators to be retained for the final version, pointing out that it would be important to delimit these clearly from the aspects measured by SATURN. In addition, if different sets of criteria are proposed (or different levels of detail), they should not lead to a quasi-automatic ranking of the countries applying them. In any event the emerging guidelines should be as practical and easy to implement as possible to ensure that they are used.

24.  Taking into account the difference of approaches to the document existing between the group members, François PAYCHERE undertook to prepare a new structure of the document and propose a definitive list of indicators to John STACEY and Yinka TEMPELMAN who will subsequently redraft it.

VI.       THE ROLE OF JUDICIAL EXPERTS IN THE QUALITY OF JUSTICE

25.  The Secretariat suggested using information on judicial experts from the current report “European judicial systems – Edition 2012 (data 2010)” as food for thought.

26.  The Group accepted the proposal of its Chairman François PAYCHERE to draft and submit to its approval terms of reference for a scientific expert who would work on this issue, until the end of December 2012.

VII.      ORGANISATION AND ACCESSIBILITY OF COURT PREMISES

27.  The Secretariat informed of the main findings of the group discussion with respect to possible guidelines on the organisation and accessibility of court premises, held during the meeting of the Network of Pilot Courts in September in Malta. It outlined a list of the issues considered useful by the representatives of the Pilot Courts; these issues could serve as an input for a questionnaire for collecting the relevant information. This questionnaire could be sent to all CEPEJ members asking them to evaluate the issues listed in terms of their importance.

28.  The Group entrusted the Secretariat with preparing a draft questionnaire; the members will assist it in contacting architects in their respective countries who recently designed or built court buildings, in order to obtain their opinion. The draft questionnaire is to be sent to CEPEJ-GT-QUAL members before being transmitted to the Pilot Courts.

29.  The Group agreed to hold a first discussion on the future guidelines during its first meeting of 2013.

Appendix I

AGENDA

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 coaching on satisfaction surveys / Sessions de formation des tribunaux aux enquêtes de satisfaction

·         Cooperation with Georgia / Coopération avec la Géorgie

·         Other possible cooperation: how to foster the coaching programme? / Autres coopérations possibles: comment renforcer le programme de formation?

4.            Preparation of guidelines on the organisation of judicial maps / Préparation de lignes directrices pour l’organisation des cartes judiciaires

o    Situation of the reform in Italy, by Fabio BARTOLOMEO / Etat des lieux de la réforme en Italie, par Fabio BARTOLOMEO

o    Presentation of the work carried out by Sciences Po Strasbourg Consulting in view of finalising the report / Présentation des travaux conduits par Sciences Po Strasbourg Consulting en vue de la finalisation du rapport

o    Preparation of draft Guidelines / Préparation d’un projet de Lignes directrices

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 / Le rôle des experts dans la qualité du système judiciaire

·           Analysis of the information of the report “European judicial systems – Edition 2012 / Analyse des informations du rapport “Systèmes judiciaires européens – Edition 2012”

·           Information from the consultation with the pilot courts / information de la consultation des tribunaux-référents

7.            Organisation and accessibility of court premises / Organisation et accessibilité des bâtiments (tribunaux)

·           Information from the consultation with the pilot courts / Information de la consultation des tribunaux-référents

·           Preparation of draft Guidelines / Préparation d’un projet de Lignes directrices

8.            Other business / Divers


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, Avenida Oscar Monteiro Torres 39, 1000-216 Lisbon, PORTUGAL Apologised / Excusé

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

Nikolina MIŠKOVIĆ, Judge, Commercial Court in Rijeka, Antuna Brubnjaka 6 Ika, 51414, Ičići, CROATIA

François PAYCHÈRE, Juge à la Cour de justice, Case postale 3108, CH-1211 Genève 3, SUISSE (Chair of the GT-QUAL / Président du GT-QUAL)

Serge PETIT, Avocat Général, Cour de Cassation, 58 quai de l’horloge, 75001 Paris, France

John STACEY, Government Advisor for the Efficiency and Quality of Justice, 57 Lynford Way, Rushden, Northants, NN109LZ, UNITED KINGDOM

(Chair of the CEPEJ / Président de la CEPEJ)

Yinka TEMPELMAN, Quality Manager of the Dutch Council for the judiciary, Postbus 90613, 2509 LP The Hague, THE NETHERLANDS

SCIENTIFIC EXPERTS / EXPERTS SCIENTIFIQUES

Sciences Po Strasbourg Consulting

www.spsc.fr

Pierre GELMETTI

Marine MARX

Cyrielle MOSSER

Hélène SIBILEAU

Marie VIGNERON

Caroline PARQUET

                                                STAGIAIRE / TRAINEE

Camille BONNIN

OBSERVERS / OBSERVATEURS

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

EUROPEAN UNION OF RECHTSPFLEGER AND COURT CLERKS/UNION EUROPEENNE DES GREFFIERS DE JUSTICE (EUR)

Jean-Jacques KUSTER, Greffier en Chef, Tribunal d'Instance de Strasbourg, Représentant de l'EUR auprès du Conseil de l'Europe, BP 444, 67008, Strasbourg Cedex, FRANCE

Apologised / Excusé

Vivien WHYTE, Greffier au Tribunal de Grande Instance de Strasbourg, BP 1030, 67070, Strasbourg Cedex, France

World Bank / Banque mondiale

Klaus DECKER, Public Sector Specialist, Public Sector and Institutional Reform, Europe and Central Asia, Vice-Presidency, World Bank, Room H 4-411, Mail Stop H 4-407, 1818 H Street NW, Washington DC 20433, USA

Apologised / Excusé

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

Jonas GRIMHEDEN, Programme Manager Legal Research, Freedom and justice Dept., European Union, Fundamental Rights Agency, Schwarztenbergerplatz 11, VIENNA 1040, AUSTRIA

Apologised / Excusé

***

SECRETARIAT

DGI – Human Rights and Rule of Law

Division for the Independence and efficiency of Justice /

DGI – 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 a.i., Secrétaire de la CEPEJ, Tel: + 33 3 88 41 34 12, e-mail: stephane.leyenberger@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

Interpreters / Interprètes

Nicolas GUITTONNEAU

Didier JUNGLING

Bettina LUDEWIG


Appendix III

Measuring the quality of judicial services – Draft CEPEJ Guidelines for quality measurement

Minutes of the discussion

held at the 12th meeting of the Working Group on quality of justice

(CEPEJ-GT-QUAL)

1. General observations:

2. Paragraph by paragraph analysis:

Introduction (p.2)

·         “Objectives” (p.2)

o    Define the considered approach and the differences with the checklist.

·         “Background” (p.2)

o    It is a good place to mention the appendices which refer to examples.

·         “Measuring Quality of Justice : A question of Scope” (p.2)

o    Too short, could refer to the existing CEPEJ’s instruments.

o    Reference must be made to :

·         the Opinion n°11(2008) of the CCJE on the quality of judicial decisions[3]

·         the CEPEJ’s study n°4[4] (only in French)

·         “Quality of Justice as Quality of Judicial Decisions” (p.2)

o    The differentiation between the different levels (state, court, judge) used in the checklist should be conserved.

o    “Case file analysis” (p.4)

·         Particular attention should be directed towards the drafting of this paragraph. The CEPEJ does not encourage the control of all the files. This could interfere with the independence of justice. This paragraph must be clarified.

·         The examples should be precise. Non-European examples are not relevant (e.g.: Ethiopia).


o    “Additional sources of information” (p.4)

·         Problem of coherence: the first paragraph should be removed.

o    “Measurement areas and indicators” (p.4)

·         The 3rd area “correctness” is not clear. It is difficult to ask the users to make this judgment.

·         The 4th point “level of acceptance of the decisions” should be clarified.

The Secretariat mentioned a problem of coherence. These guidelines are meant to measure the quality of the public service of Justice not the quality of judicial decisions.

Ø  It is proposed to mention in the introduction that indicators related to the quality of judicial decisions already exist in other instruments.

Yinka TEMPELMAN presented the PROMIS initiative conducted in the Netherlands.

According to this example, the Chair recalled that a part of the definition of the criterion depends on the judges and it is then validated by the users.

Since the users are included in the standard, there is no problem of independence.

Ø  This point should be clarified in the guidelines.

In order to make the standards comprehensible for the users, they must be simplified. Only the judges are able to know if, after simplification, the standard is still legally consistent.

Ø  It must be interesting to mention in the footnotes the research about the redaction of decisions conducted in Belgium in civil and criminal matters (no validation of the users in this case).

·         “Quality of Justice as Quality of Service Delivery” (p.6)

Ø  Repetitions with precedent paragraphs.

Fabio Bartolommeo proposed that the sources could be mentioned at this point in the document.  The document should be reorganised with an emphasis on the objectives, the scope and the definition of the document. He proposed to send a proposition of structure.

Ø  It is decided to produce a unique list without indicating explicit priorities but the presentation must imply priorities between indicators. The standard should be defined.

Ø  The list should contain a limited number of indicators, representatives of the different topics.

For example, “Quality of the decisions” (p.13)

                                                              

Ø  Only 5 indicators could be considered:

·         1.9 The facts underlying the decision are stated in plain language.

·         1.10 The claims of the parties are presented in plain language.

·         1.11 The outcome is formulated in plain language.

·         1.17 The process was fair (the case-file analysis (data sources) should be removed in this case to avoid jeopardising the independence of justice.

·         Indicator about the right of appeal.

One solution could be to compare indicators in page 13 with the checklist in order to find solutions.

“Timeliness” (p 13)

Ø  The document must mention the work of the GT-SATURN and

Ø  Point 2.6 User satisfactions with duration, disaggregated by type of proceedings must be conserved.


“Courtesy and ease of use” (p.14)

Ø  2 indicators should be conserved

·         4.11 Number of procedures initiated by users to complain about court staff.

·         4.12 Number of procedures initiated by users to complain about judges

The efficiency of a disciplinary system could be a good indicator.

Ø  The question of integrity should be totally excluded.

The annexes should be maintained but they must be rebalanced in order to have a unity in the utilisation of the sources.

Ø  The format of the Annexe 10 should be used for all the annexes.



[1] See “Press Review” under “Report 2012 Edition – Special File” on the CEPEJ website (www.coe.int/cepej).

[2] See document CEPEJ-GT-QUAL(2012)2Rev.

[3] Opinion n°11 (2008) of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE) to the attention of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the Quality of judicial decisions available at https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?Ref=CCJE%282008%29OP11&Language=lanEnglish&Ver=original&BackColorInternet=DBDCF2&BackColorIntranet=FDC864&BackColorLogged=FDC864

[4]  La qualité des décisions de justice - CEPEJ Studies No. 4 (French only), Actes du colloque de Poitiers, 8-9 mars 2007 available at http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/cooperation/cepej/series/Etudes4Qualite_fr.pdf