Strasbourg, 1 April 2008

CEPEJ-GT-QUAL(2008)4

European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ)

WORKING GROUP ON QUALITY OF JUSTICE (CEPEJ-GT-QUAL)

3rd meeting, 6-7 March 2008 - Meeting report

Report prepared by the Secretariat

Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs


1.            The Working Group on Quality of Justice (CEPEJ-GT-QUAL) of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) held its 3rd meeting at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on 6 and 7 March 2008.  Mr François PAYCHERE (Switzerland) was appointed Chair.

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

            1.   Information from the Secretariat

3.            The Secretariat reported on the conclusions of the 10th plenary meeting of the CEPEJ and the celebration of its 5th anniversary[1].  It also gave an update on the ongoing process of evaluation of European judicial systems.

4.            Mr Pim ALBERS said that, as Special Adviser to the CEPEJ, he was continuing his co-operation with the institutions responsible for developing the Global Tool on Court Excellence.

2.   Finalisation of the checklist for the quality of the judiciary and the courts

5.            The CEPEJ-GT-QUAL considered the two possible options for presenting the checklist for promoting the quality of the judiciary and the courts and agreed to work on the basis of the proposal by Mr François PAYCHERE (CEPEJ-GT-QUAL(2008)1).  It had the merit of avoiding repetition according to the various levels of responsibility (national, court, individual judge).

6.            The group discussed and amended the list of questions in the document (CEPEJ-GT-QUAL(2008)1 Rev 1).

7.            It instructed the Secretariat to finalise the document in co-operation with the Chair.  It was agreed that the document would be sent to the experts for comment during March and then submitted to the Network of Pilot Courts for consultation.  On the basis of the comments by the courts, the document would be amended again during May and sent to the GT-QUAL experts before being submitted to the 11th plenary meeting of the CEPEJ for adoption.

            3.   Preparation of a study on quality systems in Europe

8.            The group heard a statement by Mr Philip LANGBROEK, the expert (Netherlands) in charge of co-ordinating the research team working on the preparation of a study on systems for promoting the quality of justice in Europe.

9.            On the basis of the proposal submitted to the group by Mr LANGBROEK (CEPEJ-GT-QUAL(2008)2), the experts made the following comments:

§  The study should not focus on quality criteria but on quality systems;

§  It would be necessary to be realistic about the actual basis of the study and clearly identify the target groups of the judicial work on the basis of which the quality indicators would have to be examined: lawyers could not be the only group evaluating quality; the cost-benefit ratio of the services provided would have to be studied; the concept of accountability would have to be studied;

§  In terms of methodology, the study should not be based on self-justification of the quality system by its main players (ministries, judges, clerks); other groups (users’ associations, ombudsmen, etc) should also be consulted.

10.          It was proposed that the study cover three sets of questions:

§  Do you have an accessible quality charter?

§  Which practical methods are used for drawing up and updating quality criteria?  Which groups are involved in implementing the methods?

§  Which arrangements exist for taking account of the results of the evaluations in the operation of the judicial system?

11.          Mr LANGBROEK explained that the research team would provide a neutral, external perspective on the questions studied.  For practical reasons, the study would be confined to courts of first instance.

12.          It was agreed that the study would cover a limited number of European countries (a maximum of around ten), including non-EU states.

13.          The CEPEJ-GT-QUAL asked Mr LANGBROEK to produce an interim report by 30 November 2008 so that it could be considered by the 12th plenary meeting of the CEPEJ.  The members of the research team would be invited to meet in Strasbourg during the plenary meeting and to take part in the latter if appropriate.  The report would then be finalised in 2009 and published in the “CEPEJ Studies” series.

14.          Mr Kari TURTIAINEN was appointed GT-QUAL rapporteur for the matter.

4.   Selection of two specific topics related to the quality of justice and preparation of a working plan for adopting concrete relevant measures

15.          The group selected two specific topics to be covered by in-depth work concerning the quality of justice: the contractualisation of judicial process and the measurement of user satisfaction.

16.          With regard to the contractualisation of judicial process, the experts said that it would be interesting to study the extent to which judicial activity (which traditionally was one involving authority) could move towards a degree of co-management of the procedure (regarding the progression of cases, determination of the matters submitted to judges, the commencement of periods for seeking partial agreements or settlements, the incorporation of outside expertise in proceedings, etc).

17.          The GT-QUAL agreed to propose the preparation of guidelines to enable member states which so desired to develop practices of this kind.

18.          Mr André POTOCKI was appointed rapporteur on the matter and instructed to prepare a framework document by 30 April 2008, with the assistance of Mr RIDEL and Mr STACEY.

19.          On the basis of that document, the Secretariat would be instructed to appoint a group of experts to compile comparative elements and best practice and draw up draft guidelines.

20.          With regard to the measurement of user satisfaction, the group agreed to propose the preparation of a methodological handbook for court administrations and courts wishing to develop satisfaction surveys.  It would be based on the experience of certain member states and relevant best practice.

21.          Mr Daimar LIIV was appointed rapporteur on the matter.  He was instructed to prepare a preliminary document by the end of May 2008.

22.          The Secretariat was asked to provide him with the existing material at the CEPEJ’s disposal (proceedings of the CEPEJ study session on the users of justice, (December 2003), process of evaluating European judicial systems, etc).


Annexe I

Agenda / Ordre du jour

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

2.         Appointment of a Chairperson / Désignation d'un Président

3.         Information by the Secretariat / Information du Secrétariat

4.         Finalisation of the Checklist for the quality of the judiciary and the courts /

Finalisation de la Checklist sur la qualité des systèmes judiciaires et des juridictions

5.         Preparation of a study on quality systems in Europe /

Préparation d'une étude sur les systèmes qualité en Europe

6.         Selection of two specific topics related to the quality of justice and preparation of a working plan to set up concrete relevant measures / Sélection de deux sujets spécifiques relatifs à la qualité de la justice et préparation d'un plan de travail pour développer des mesures concrètes


Annexe II

List of participants / Liste des participants

EXPERTS

Daimar LIIV, Judge, Tallinn Administrative Court, HARJUMAA, ESTONIA

François PAYCHÈRE, Juge, Président du Tribunal administratif  de la République et canton de Genève, GENEVE, SUISSE (Chair of the GT-QUAL / Président du GT-QUAL)

André POTOCKI, Conseiller à la Cour de Cassation, PARIS, FRANCE

Johannes RIEDEL, Chair of the Court of Appeal (Oberlandesgericht Köln), KÖLN, GERMANY

John STACEY, Head of Civil & Family Rules and Jurisdiction Branch, Her Majesty's Courts Service, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM (Vice-Chair of the CEPEJ / Vice-Président de la CEPEJ)

Kari TURTIAINEN, District Court Judge, District Court of Oulu, OULU, FINLAND

Mikhail VINOGRADOV, Adviser, Assistant of the Deputy Chief of the Office, Government of the Russian Federation, MOSCOW, RUSSIAN FEDERATION

COUNCIL OF EUROPE'S MEMBER STATES /

ETATS MEMBRES DU CONSEIL DE L'EUROPE

Konstantin KOSORUKOV, Assistant on Legal Affairs, Permanent Representation of the Russian Federation, STRASBOURG

SCIENTIFIC EXPERTS / EXPERTS SCIENTIFIQUES

Philip Langbroek, Utrecht University, Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance Department State- and Administrative law, UTRECHT - The Netherlands

Julien LHUILLIER, Allocataire-moniteur de la Faculté de droit de Nancy, NANCY, FRANCE

OBSERVERS / OBSERVATEURS

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, FRANCE  (Apologised / Excusé

WORLD BANK / BANQUE MONDIALE : Apologised / Excusée

EUROPEAN COMMISSION / COMMISSION EUROPEENNE : Apologised / Excusée

***

SECRETARIAT

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

Division of Justice /

Direction Générale des Droits de l’Homme et Affaires Juridiques (DG-HL) -

Division de la Justice

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

Stéphane LEYENBERGER, Secretary of the CEPEJ / Secrétaire de la CEPEJ, Tel : +33 3 88 41 28 41, e-mail: stephane.leyenberger@coe.int

Pim ALBERS, Special Advisor to the CEPEJ Secretariat / Conseiller spécial pour le Secrétariat de la CEPEJ,  Tel : +33 3 88 41 47 74, e-mail: pim.albers@coe.int

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

Sandrine MAROLLEAU, Communication / Communication, Tél: +33 3 90 21 52 08, e-mail: sandrine.marolleau@coe.int

Elisabeth HEURTEBISE, Assistant / Assistante, Tel : +33 3 88 41 35 54, Fax : +33 3 88 41 37 45, e-mail: elisabeth.heurtebise@coe.int

Interpreters / Interprètes

Nicolas GUITTONNEAU

Christine TRAPP

William VALK



[1] See CEPEJ(2007)29.