Strasbourg, 8 October 2003

[cepej/cepej gt1/2ème réunion/28 2003 E]

                                                                                                                          CEPEJ (2003) 28

working party NO. 1

of the

european Commission for the efficiency of justice


2nd meeting

Strasbourg, 2-3 October 2003



The CEPEJ-GT1 has adopted by consensus a draft evaluation scheme for judicial systems, in accordance with the CEPEJ programme of activity for 2003.  This draft will be submitted to the CEPEJ for adoption at the plenary meeting on 3-5 December 2003.

Secretariat document

Prepared by Directorate General I – Legal Affairs


1.              Working Party No. 1 of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ-GT1) held its second meeting at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on 2 and 3 October 2003.  A brief exchange of views with Working Party No. 2 took place on the second day.  The meeting was chaired by Mr Jean-Paul Jean (France). The agenda and the list of participants appear in Appendices I and II respectively.

2.             At its previous meeting on 26-27 June 2003, the group had compiled a preliminary draft questionnaire, comprising 110 questions.  The six members of the group supplied answers to the questions, with the help of the relevant institutions in their respective countries.    They were thus able to test the relevance and/or phrasing of the questions posed.  In the light of this test, the questionnaire was amended and an improved draft adopted.

3.             Several delegations had forwarded comments to the group with a view to the present meeting.  These comments were carefully examined and likewise used to improve the content of the scheme. 

Content of the scheme

4.             The draft covered the main aspects of the functioning of judicial systems in the forty-five member states.  The overall design of the scheme centred on an analysis of how judicial systems worked, based on the principles derived from the European Convention on Human Rights and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.  Participants decided to restrict the number of questions, while seeking in each instance to focus attention on significant information capable of yielding useful insights.  On no account therefore was the scheme intended to provide a full picture of member states’ judicial systems, or a basis for a scientific or academic study of the way European judicial systems operate.

5.             In the light of the problems encountered in answering the questions formulated at the previous meeting, and bearing in mind the comments submitted, the experts decided to delete certain questions, as it was impossible to answer them properly given the information currently available.  They amended several headings, in order to improve the wording and dispel any ambiguities. 

6.             Participants likewise decided to draw on the work of the Enlarged Group of Specialists on trends in crime and criminal justice (statistics and other quantitative data), set up by the Council of Europe’s European Committee on Crime Problems (CDPC), by incorporating, in the questions on criminal matters, the offences listed in the European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics and the relevant definitions.

7.             Various delegations drew the group’s attention to the fact that their countries were unable to answer certain questions.  In some cases, however, the group decided to keep the questions, arguing that one of the aims of the questionnaire was to contribute to the development of member states’ statistical systems.  When processing the replies to the questionnaire, due consideration should be given to member states’ statistical capabilities.  

8.            Considerable effort went into phrasing the questions and defining terms.  The experts decided that the scheme would be accompanied by an explanatory memorandum containing a number of rules to be observed by states when answering questions and, for each question, precise, standardised definitions of all the legal terms used and explanations so as to avoid any misunderstanding.

9.             The experts further emphasised the importance of dividing questions into three different categories:  those which called for quantitative data; those which called for qualitative comments; and finally, those which were designed to enable states with more detailed information on a particular aspect of the functioning of their judiciary to make it available to other states.  In all cases, the experts said that states could supplement the information provided with comments and/or appendices.

Processing of the results

10.         The experts said that the usefulness of the scheme, as a tool for obtaining information on and assessing member states’ judicial systems, hinged directly on the quality and reliability of the answers provided.  They had therefore decided to suggest that each member state appoint a CEPEJ correspondent who would be responsible for gathering and forwarding data.  This correspondent could draw on the help of members of the working party and the CEPEJ secretariat, who would act as “resource persons”, providing the necessary assistance.  The group of experts, for its part, was willing to assist in processing the results in order to identify the main trends and, where appropriate, help improve the questionnaire.

11.          The experts also observed that, apart from the quality of the data gathered, the way in which these data were analysed was likewise a key factor.  To that end, an exchange of views within the group produced the following conclusions:

-          The scheme for analysing replies would be a key element;

-          The quantitative data and, insofar as they could be divided into categories, the qualitative data must be processed using software, to be chosen by the CEPEJ secretariat on the basis of certain criteria, including:  capacity for analysing the data received, performing sorts and providing ratios, percentages, graphs and diagrams; upgradability; user-friendliness and remote data transmission/retrieval facilities; ease of reading the results.

12.         The experts said that another advantage of this approach was that it could be developed further over time.  They accordingly suggested that the replies to the questionnaire be updated once a year, making it possible to identify trends.  The experts also suggested that the scheme be subjected to regular review.

13.         The experts also said that should it prove necessary to carry out more detailed studies on certain aspects addressed by the scheme, proposals to this effect could be submitted to the CEPEJ.


14.         At the end of the meeting, the grouping adopted by consensus the draft evaluation scheme for judicial systems (as set out in CEPEJ(2003) 26 rev) and forwarded it to the CEPEJ for adoption at its next plenary meeting on 3-5 December 2003.



1.      Opening of the meeting

2.     Adoption of the agenda

3.     Information from the secretariat

4.     Finalisation of the “Scheme for evaluating judicial systems” prior to discussion by the CEPEJ with a view to its adoption at the plenary meeting on 3-5 December 2003

·            Examination of delegations’ comments on the scheme

·            Examination of the draft scheme completed by members of the CEPEJ-GT1, as a test

Working documents

Scheme for evaluating judicial systems

Doc CEPEJ (2003)  17 Rev.

Results of the Netherlands

CEPEJ-GT1 (2003) 1

Comments by Mexico

CEPEJ-GT1 (2003) 2

Additional comments by Portugal

CEPEJ-GT1 (2003) 3

Comments by Germany

CEPEJ-GT1 (2003) 4

Reply from France

CEPEJ(GT1 (2003) 5

Reply from Italy

CEPEJ-GT1 (2003) 6

Reply from Poland

CEPEJ-GT1 (2003) 7

Reply from England

CEPEJ-GT1 (2003) 8

Reply from Northern Ireland

CEPEJ-GT1 (2003) 9

Reply from Scotland

CEPEJ-GT1 (2003) 10

Reply from Portugal

CEPEJ-GT1 (2003) 11

·            Exchange of views on the choice of software for perusing and analysing the replies to the questionnaire

5.     Meeting with members of the CEPEJ-GT2 to discuss the specific aspects of delays concerning divorce and victims of crime

Working documents

Report prepared by Marco FABRI and Philip LANGBROEK

Doc CEPEJ (2003) 20

Report prepared by Gabriela THOMA-TWAROCH

Doc CEPEJ (2003) 19

Report prepared by Helen REEVES

Doc CEPEJ (2003) 21

6.     Any other business

A.     Background documents

 Report of the 1st meting of the CEPEJ-GT1

CEPEJ(2003) 16

See also: []


List of participants / Liste des participants



Jean-Paul JEAN, Substitut général, Directeur de la Mission de recherche droit et justice, Pariscedex 01, (Président / Chair)

Odile TIMBART, Chef du Bureau de la statistique, Ministère de la justice, PARIS, FRANCE


Eberhard DESCH, Head of Division of International Law, Bundesministerium der Justiz,  BERLIN, (Président de la CEPEJ / Chair of the CEPEJ)


Fausto  DE  SANTIS , Directeur Général au sein du Bureau de l’organisation judiciaire, Ministère de la Justice, ROME


Pim ALBERS, Senior Policy Advisor, Strategy Department for the Administration of Justice, Ministry of Justice, THE HAGUE


Beata Z. GRUSZCZYŃSKA, Institute of Justice, Ministry of Justice, WARSAW


Maria Joao COSTA, Gabinete de Polítical Legislativa e Planeamento do Ministério da Justiça, LISBOA


Hazel GENN, Professor of Socio-Legal Studies, Faculty of Laws, University College London, LONDON

Deirdre BOYLAN, Policy Officer,  Department for constitutional  Affairs, LONDON


Roland ESHUIS, Researcher of the WODC, Dutch ministry of Justice, WODC, The HAGUE, The Netherlands



Naoyuki IWAI, Consul Général du Japon, Consulat Général du Japon, STRASBOURG, FRANCE

Pierre DREYFUS, Assistant, Consulat Général du Japon, STRASBOURG, FRANCE


Ricardo SEPULVEDA, Director of the Unity  of Promotion of Human Rights, Minister of Interior, MEXICO, Excusé/Apologised

Juan SILVA MEZA, Minister, Member of the Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico, MEXICO





Alexey KOJEMIAKOV, Directorate General I - Legal Affairs, Head of the Private Law Department / Direction Générale I - Affaires Juridiques, Chef du Service du droit privé

Gianluca ESPOSITO, Directorate General I - Legal Affairs, Secretary of the CEPEJ / Direction Générale I - Affaires Juridiques, Secrétaire de la CEPEJ

Muriel DECOT, Directorate General I - Legal Affairs, Co-Secretary of the CEPEJ /Direction Générale I - Affaires Juridiques,  Co-Secrétaire de la CEPEJ

Philippe BIJU-DUVAL, Directorate General I - Legal Affairs / Direction Générale I - Affaires Juridiques

Jean-Pierre GEILLER, Directorate General I - Legal Affairs / Direction Générale I - Affaires Juridiques, Tel : +33 3  88 41 22 27,  Fax : +33 3 88 41 37 45

Elisabeth HEURTEBISE, Directorate General I - Legal Affairs / Direction Générale I - Affaires Juridiques