Strasbourg, 10 August 2003

[cepej/16 2003 e]

                                                                                                                           CEPEJ (2003) 16

WORKING PARTY No. 1

of

the european Commission for the efficiency of justice

(CEPEJ-GT1)

1st meeting

Strasbourg, 26-27 June 2003

MEETING REPORT

BRIEF FOREWORD

The CEPEJ-GT1 has prepared a preliminary draft scheme for the evaluation of judicial systems, in accordance with the CEPEJ programme of activity for 2003. The draft of the scheme will be finalised by the CEPEJ-GT1 at its next meeting on 2 and 3 October 2003 for adoption by the CEPEJ at its next plenary meeting on 3-5 December 2003.

Secretariat Memorandum

prepared by Directorate General I – Legal Affairs


A.       Introduction

1.              Working Party No. 1 of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ-GT1) held its 1st meeting at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on 26 and 27 June 2003. The meeting was chaired by Mr Jean-Paul Jean (France). The agenda and the list of participants are given in Appendices I and II respectively.

B.        SCHEME FOR THE EVALUATION OF JUDICIAL SYSTEMS

(i)                Introduction

2.             The experts noted that the main task of the working party was to "define common tools enabling States, as well as interested international institutions (such as the European Court of Human Rights), to evaluate in an objective manner the functioning of the judicial systems of the member States, having in mind the need to determine concrete indicators taking into account the expectations of the users of the justice system", in accordance with the 2003 Programme of Activity (CEPEJ (2003) 10 Addendum II). They thanked Mr Pim Albers and Mr Roland Eshuis for the preliminary report which they had prepared and which would serve as the basis for the group's work.

3.             The experts emphasised that the time limits fixed for the working party were tight, since a draft report had to be adopted by the end of its second meeting (2 and 3 October 2003) for adoption by the CEPEJ at its plenary meeting (3-5 December 2003).

                                          (ii) Working party approach

4.             Mr Pim Albers explained the approach adopted in preparing the preliminary report. The working party then exchanged views on the basic principles that would govern its work.

5.             The experts agreed on the following general guidelines:

a.                   Given the great diversity among the judicial systems of the forty-five member States of the Council of Europe (to which the group's work was confined), it was agreed that a general approach to justice should be taken, as indicated in the European Convention on Human Rights and the recommendations and resolutions of the Committee of Ministers;

b.                  The purpose of the group's work was to define tools enabling each State to have the necessary elements for solving any problems that might emerge;

c.                   Indicators would enable the views of States, users of the justice system, and citizens in general all to be taken into account;

d.                  Regarding the scope of the evaluation scheme, the experts decided not to include the police or the prison service. Administrative courts, on the other hand, would constitute an integral part of the scheme. A clear distinction would be drawn between criminal justice and other fields. Lastly, the working party differentiated clearly between its descriptive approach to judicial systems and its evaluation, the latter occurring at the second stage.

6.             The experts considered the specific constraints associated with statistical processing of data. The working party decided that the indicators selected should be simple and effective rather than sophisticated, in so far as this was at all possible (since too much simplicity might nullify the usefulness of the data gathered). The working party also agreed that, in particular, a balance would be struck between the relevance of data and the cost (and difficulty) of collecting them. Finally, the experts stressed that close attention would be paid to definitions and the choice of statistical units, relying wherever possible on existing work. Indicators would be selected in the light of the difficulties associated with interpreting their results.

7.             Lastly, regarding data collection, the working party agreed to opt for the IT facilities available within the Council of Europe (website).

(iii) Choice of indicators

8.            The working party then discussed the choice of indicators in detail.

9.             The experts agreed that the list of indicators should endeavour – by relying on a small selection of key factors for proper operation of a judicial system, as envisaged by the European Court of Human Rights – to emphasise objective elements of assessment for each State.

10.         The working party therefore decided to include in this list questions relating to the resources allocated to the judicial system (budgetary, human and technical resources), the work of this system, existing statutory provisions ensuring compliance with the principles of the European Convention on Human Rights (access to justice, cases handled within a reasonable time, etc.), existing arrangements for guaranteeing the quality of judicial work (especially with regard to training), and the resources used to ascertain the perception of this quality by both users and the general public.

11.          The experts also suggested that, as far as at all possible, each member State concerned should designate a department to be responsible for the content of the data supplied, since a single contact in each State would facilitate communication with the CEPEJ and speed up preparation of the database and its regular updating from year to year.

(iv) Conclusions

12.         At the end of the meeting the working party finalised a preliminary draft of the evaluation scheme for judicial systems. The CEPEJ-GT1 experts were invited to send any comments on this preliminary draft (CEPEJ-GT1(2003)MISC 4) to the Secretariat no later than 15 August 2003. On the basis of these comments, the Secretariat would draw up a new version of the scheme, which would be sent to members of the CEPEJ-GT1 before the end of August 2003.

13.         The members of the CEPEJ-GT1 were invited to send the Secretariat no later than 2 October 2003 (using the version sent out at the end of August 2003):

-          the statistical data requested under each indicator for their respective countries; if it was impossible to supply the data requested: an explanation of this, together with facts that might otherwise provide some general information on the points concerned;

-          the necessary comments, indicator by indicator, for the data to be properly interpreted and assessed;

-          any comments or suggestions, especially those relating to methodology, on the choice and relevance of the indicators selected.

This would make it possible to revise or amend the indicators if necessary and to assess the feasibility and relevance of data collection.

C.      CONTRIBUTION BY THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE WORLD BANK

14.         The World Bank representative presented the work of his institution that was of immediate importance for CEPEJ work concerning evaluation of judicial systems. He gave participants the Legal and Judicial Sector Assessment Manual produced by the World Bank.

D.       DATE AND PLACE OF THE NEXT MEETING

15.          The next CEPEJ-GT1 meeting would be held at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on 2 and 3 October 2003. At this meeting the CEPEJ-GT1 would have to finalise a draft for the scheme of judicial systems, which would be submitted to the CEPEJ for adoption at its 2nd plenary meeting on 3-5 December 2003.


APPENDIX I

AGENDA / ORDRE DU JOUR

1.         Opening of the meeting / Ouverture de la réunion

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

3.         Information from the Secretariat/ / Information du Secrétariat

4.         Preparation of a report on “The definition of common tools for the evaluation of the judicial systems” on the basis of a draft prepared by Mr Roland Eshuis and Mr Pim Albers / Préparation d’un rapport sur « la définition d’outils communs d’évaluation des systèmes judiciaires », sur la base d’un projet préparé par MM. Roland Eshuis et Pim Albers

 

Working documents / Documents de travail

Draft report on « The definition of common tools for the evaluation of the judicial systems»/Projet de rapport sur la définition d’outils communs d’évaluation des systèmes judiciaires

Document prepared by/ Document préparé par Pim Albers and/et Bert Niemeijer

CEPEJ-GT1 (2003)12

5.         Date of the next meeting / date de la prochaine réunion: 2-3 October/octobre 2003

6.         Any other business / Divers

Background documents /Documents de référence

   Report of the 1st meeting of the CEPEJ / Rapport de la 1ère réunion de la CEPEJ

CEPEJ(2003)10

Report of the meeting of the Bureau / Rapport de la réunion du Bureau

CEPEJ-BU (2003) 2


APPENDIX II

list of participants / Liste des participants

EXPERTS

FRANCE

Jean-Paul JEAN, Substitut général, Directeur de la Mission de recherche droit et justice, 75042 Paris cedex 01 (Président / Chair)

GERMANY / ALLEMAGNE

Eberhard DESCH, Head of Division of International Law, Bundesministerium der Justiz, 11 015 BERLIN (Président de la CEPEJ / Chair of the CEPEJ)

ITALY / ITALIE

Fausto  DE  SANTIS , Directeur Général au sein du Bureau de l’organisation judiciaire, Ministère de la Justice, 00100 ROME

NETHERLANDS/PAYS‑BAS

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

POLAND /POLOGNE

Beata Z. GRUSZCZYŃSKA, Institute of Justice, Ministry of Justice, 00-950 Warsaw

PORTUGAL

Maria Joao COSTA, Gabinete de Polítical Legislativa e Planeamento do Ministério da Justiça, 1000 – 216 LISBOA

UNITED KINGDOM / ROYAUME UNI

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

Richard MORTIMER, Head of Courts & Tribunals Bill Team, Clients & Policy Group, Department for Constitutional Affairs, LONDON SW1E 6QE

Judith SIDAWAY, Head of Research Unit, Clients & Policy Group, Department for Constitutional Affairs, LONDON SW1E 6QE

EXPERT CONSULTANT

Roland ESHUIS, Researcher of the WODC, Dutch Ministry of Justice, WODC, 2500 EH The Hague, The Netherlands

OBSERVATEURS/OBSERVERS

MEXIQUE/MEXICO

Ricardo SEPULVEDA, Director of the Unit for Promotion of Human Rights, Ministry of the Interior, Mexico, D.F. 06030

Eduardo BACA, Chief of Staff / Office of the Deputy Minsiter for Human Rights and Democracy, Mexico, D.F.

INSTITUTION INVITED FOR A HEARING

BANQUE MONDIALE/WORLD BANK

Klaus DECKER, World Bank, Washington, D.C. 20433, USA

SECRETARIAT (cepej@coe.int)

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

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

INTERPRETERS / INTERPRETES

Robert SZYMANSKI

Robert VAN MICHEL

Julia TANNER