Strasbourg, 27 November 2006                                             CEPEJ-TF-DEL (2006) 9

English only

EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR THE EFFICIENCY OF JUSTICE

(CEPEJ)

TASK FORCE ON TIMEFRAMES OF PROCEEDINGS

(CEPEJ-TF-DEL)

6th meeting

Strasbourg, 13 – 15 November 2006

MEETING REPORT

At its 6th meeting, the CEPEJ-TF-DEL adopted and decided to forward to the CEPEJ plenary meeting:

1          the draft report on "length of court proceedings based on the case-law of the ECHR";

2.         the draft report: “Time management in judicial systems: A Northern Europe study";

3.         the draft Compendium of "best practices on the time management in judicial proceedings";

It discussed a second version of a questionnaire of common case categories.

1.    The Task Force on Timeframes of Proceedings (CEPEJ-TF-DEL) of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) held its 5th meeting in Strasbourg, on 13 – 15 November 2006.  The Task Force meeting was chaired by Mr Alan UZELAC (Croatia).

2.    The agenda and list of participants appear in Appendices I and II to this report.

1.   Information by the Secretariat

3.    The Secretariat informed the CEPEJ-TF-DEL that the Report on "European judicial systems" had been introduced to the Ministers' Deputies at their 974th meeting. The Deputies had unanimously "welcomed" the report, emphasised the quality of the work, backed the methodology used and recognised its great usefulness for judicial reforms in the member States.  They had stressed that it represented a fundamental contribution from the CEPEJ to the key aims of the Council of Europe concerning the rule of law.  They had supported the idea that the report was only the initial phase of a process, to be followed by in-depth analysis of the results with a view to interpreting them and drawing useful conclusions for public justice policies in the member States. The report had been published, including via the press conference on 5 October in Strasbourg with the participation of MM Eberhard DESCH, Jean-Paul JEAN and Guy DE VEL.  The conference had been preceded by several informal meetings with journalists from different member States.  The Report had been published on the CEPEJ internet site, with a presentation document and the full individual replies from the States. Mr. Stacey stressed that the evaluation report on judicial systems was very well received in the United Kingdom.

4.    The Secretariat also informed that the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL had proposed that a specific study on the results of the report regarding timeframes of proceedings should be carried out by the relevant Working Group of the CEPEJ, in addition to other specific issues to be analysed in depth (see Document CEPEJ-GT-EVAL (2006) 8).

5.    Finally the CEPEJ-TF-DEL was informed on the proposals by the Bureau for setting up within the framework of the 2007 programme of activities of the CEPEJ a Centre for studies and analyses of judicial timeframes. The members of the TF-DEL supported this idea.

2.   Study of the situation of judicial timeframes in the ECHR case-law

6.    The TF-DEL discussed and amended the last version of the report drafted by Ms. Calvez.

7.    They instructed the Secretariat to review the layout of the document and the English translation, including further comments that might be forwarded by the experts. They thanked Mr Stacey for having proposed to improve the English wording.

8.    They agreed to submit the revised version of the Report (CEPEJ (2006) 15 Prov) to the 8th plenary meeting of the CEPEJ, in view of being adopted and published within the framework of the Series "CEPEJ Studies".

9.    In addition to the Report, the experts studied the draft summary of the report proposed by the scientific expert. They agreed to retain the text as an "Overview of the report", to be published together with the report.

10.  Moreover, the Chair of the CEPEJ-TF-DEL proposed to draft an "executive summary" with the support of help of Mr. Stacey.

3.   Study: time management in Nordic courts

11.  The TF-DEL discussed and amended the last version of the report drafted by Ms. Smolej and Mr Johnsen.

12.  They instructed the Secretariat to review the layout of the document and the English translation, including further comments that might be forwarded to Mr Johnsen by the experts. They thanked Mr Stacey for having proposed to improve the English wording.

13.  They agreed to submit the revised version of the Report (CEPEJ (2006) 14 Prov) to the 8th plenary meeting of the CEPEJ, in view of being adopted and published within the framework of the Series "CEPEJ Studies".

14.  For the two reports above mentioned, the experts proposed that appropriate reference be made to the work of the respective work of the scientific experts and the Task force in the report to be published as a CEPEJ report.

4.   Draft compendium of best practices

15.  The Chair of the CEPEJ-TF-DEL welcomed the complementary work of the researchers and the improvements made on the Compendium. The experts agreed to keep this document as a "Compendium.

16.  The TF-DEL discussed and amended the last version of the document. They instructed the Secretariat to review the layout of the document, including further comments and examples that might be forwarded by the experts. They thanked Mr Stacey for having proposed to improve the English wording.

17.  They agreed to submit the revised version of the Report (CEPEJ (2006) 13 Prov) to the 8th plenary meeting of the CEPEJ, in view of being adopted and published.

18.  The experts agreed that the Compendium should be conceived as a first map of concrete measures to deal with the length of judicial proceedings, which should be further investigated to validate their effectiveness. It would be regularly completed and updated with further good practices and innovative ideas indicated to the CEPEJ by European courts or other relevant bodies.

19.  It was also proposed to see this Compendium as an interactive document, that could be used for example as an "e-discussion tool" (discussion forum at the website or Blogs).

5.   Common case categories in civil, administrative and criminal matters

20.  The CEPEJ-TF-DEL underlined the need for information on length of proceedings, despite the fact that the majority of countries were currently not able to provide the relevant information within the CEPEJ evaluation process.

21.  Regarding the topic of common case categories various approaches were possible. The first approach was described in the document forwarded to the members of TF-DEL on common case categories: to invite member states to fill in a questionnaire to see what kind of case categories were used by the member states and for which cases information on the length of proceedings and delays was measured and registered. The other approach was to use the priority cases defined in the Calvez report, for inviting member states to collect information on delays and length of proceedings. The third approach (a bottom up approach) was to ask countries to provide information on the case categories that they were using and the possibilities they had to register information on delays and length of proceedings.

22.  All these approaches would be taken into account in the future working group or centre studying judicial timeframes.

6.   Strategy for dissemination of the documents produced by the CEPEJ

23.  The experts stressed the need for more involvement of the CEPEJ Network of pilot courts in the dissemination of the CEPEJ documents, in particular as regards timeframes of proceedings. They could in particular be invited to trial the best practices proposed in the Compendium and complete it by other practices.

24.  Mr Stacey suggested that all the documents produced by the TF-DEL could be sent to key-stakeholders in the member states. The Secretariat invited the members of TF-DEL to indicate a distribution list of key persons for each country.


Appendix I

AGENDA / ORDRE DU JOUR

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

2.         Information by the Secretariat / Information du Secrétariat

3.         Study of the situation of judicial timeframes in the ECHR case-law / Etude de la situation des délais judiciaires dans la jurisprudence de la CEDH

§    Discussion of the finalised draft report and executive summary in view of its adoption and submission to the CEPEJ plenary meeting / Discussion du projet de rapport finalisé et du résumé en vue de son adoption par la Task Force et sa soumission à la réunion plénière de la CEPEJ

4.         Study: « Time management in Nordic courts » / Etude: « Gestion des délais dans les tribunaux des pays d’Europe du Nord »

§    Adoption of the final in view of its submission to the CEPEJ plenary meeting / Adoption du rapport final en vue de sa soumission à la réunion plénière de la CEPEJ

5.         Document: "Time management: best practices” / Document: "Gestion du temps: des bonnes pratiques"

§    Discussion of the document in view of its adoption and submission to the CEPEJ plenary meeting / Discussion du document en vue de son adoption par la Task Force et sa soumission à la réunion plénière de la CEPEJ

6.       Tool for measuring judicial timeframes / Outil de mesure des délais judiciaires

§    Establishment of a typology of cases and the subsequent judicial timeframes/ Mise en place d'une typologie de cas et de délais de procédure correspondants

7.         Strategy for the dissemination of the documents produced by the CEPEJ-TF-DEL/ Stratégie pour la diffusion des documents produits par la CEPEJ-TF-DEL                    

8.         Other business/Questions diverses


Appendix II

List of participants / Liste des participants

Jon T. JOHNSEN, Professor in Law, Dean, Faculty of law, University of Oslo,  Oslo, Norway

Janny C. KRANENBURG, Vice-President, Court of Appeal of s’Hertogenbosch, Sector Civiel Recht II, 's-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands

John STACEY, Head of Civil & Family Procedure Branch, Her Majesty's Courts Service, London, UNITED KINGDOM

Gabor SZEPLAKI-NAGY, Conseiller Référendaire, Directeur du Bureau des Droits de l’Homme à la Cour Suprême de Hongrie, Budapest,  Hongrie

Alan UZELAC, Ph.D. Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, Croatia, Chair of the CEPEJ-TF-DEL / Président de la CEPEJ-TF-DEL

Michael VRONTAKIS,  Vice-Président du Conseil d’Etat, Athènes, GRECE

Jana WURSTOVA, Lawyer, Adviser, Czech Bar Association, Prague, Czech republic  

***

OBSERVER / OBSERVATEUR

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

Jean-Jacques KUSTER, Greffier en chef, Tribunal d'Instance, Strasbourg, FRANCE

WORLD BANK / BANQUE MONDIALE

Klaus DECKER, Counsel, Justice Reform Practice Group, WORLD BANK, Washington D.C., UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

SECRETARIAT

Directorate General I - Legal Affairs /

Direction Générale I - Affaires Juridiques

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 / Conseiller spécial, Tel : +33 3  90 21 74 47, 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

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

Interpreters / Interprètes

Sally BAILEY

Chloé CHENETIER

Julia TANNER