Strasbourg, 28 October 2008

CEPEJ-GT-QUAL(2008)9

EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR THE EFFICIENCY OF JUSTICE

(CEPEJ)

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

4th meeting, 25 – 26 September 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 4th meeting at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on 25 and 26 September 2008, with Mr François PAYCHERE (Switzerland) in the 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 told the Group that the CEPEJ had adopted the “Report on European judicial systems – Edition 2008” at its 11th plenary meeting (2 – 3 July 2008).  The report would be made public on 8 October at a press conference in Paris, after being presented to the Committee of Ministers the same day.

4.    The 3rd plenary meeting of the CEPEJ’s Network of Pilot Courts was to be held in Catania (Italy) on 24 October within the framework of the European Day of Justice.  On the agenda were a presentation and discussion on the work of the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL, with the Group being represented by its Chair, Mr PAYCHERE, and Mr John STACEY.

5.    At the meeting, the “Crystal Scales of Justice” prize would be awarded for the third time.  38 entries had been received, from 15 member states.

            2.   Using the Checklist for promoting quality

6.    The Chair of the GT-QUAL said that the Checklist for promoting the quality of justice and the courts (CEPEJ(2008)2) had been adopted by the CEPEJ at its last plenary meeting.  He emphasised the need to disseminate the instrument widely among the courts so that they could actually use it, and recommended that the CEPEJ evaluate the way it had been received and utilised in member states.

7.    With regard to the translation of CEPEJ documents into non-official languages, the Group agreed that the CEPEJ should organise follow-up to encourage justice ministries and other competent national authorities to translate and disseminate the material. 

8.    More pro-active methods could also be used to make central authorities and courts more aware of the material produced by the CEPEJ:

§  attention was drawn here to the vital role played by CEPEJ members and national experts, and also by the pilot courts;

§  mention was made of the importance of holding awareness-raising meetings in individual states, in the presence of members and experts from the CEPEJ;

§  it was suggested that contact persons be appointed in each state to disseminate CEPEJ documents nationwide and report back to the CEPEJ on a regular basis.

9.    It was proposed that the Bureau and the CEPEJ explore this matter further within the framework of the next CEPEJ activity programme.

10.  It was agreed that the Checklist would be presented to the Network of Pilot Courts at its 3rd plenary meeting (Catania, 24 October 2008), and the courts asked to comment on its use.

      3.   Study on quality systems in Europe

11.  The Secretariat said that Mr Philip LANGBROEK, scientific expert (Netherlands), had been unable to attend the meeting.  Mr LANGBROEK was in charge of co-ordinating the European research team working on a study on quality of justice systems in Europe.  The Secretariat reported on the progress of the work, saying that a seminar would be held in Strasbourg for members of the research team the day after the CEPEJ plenary meeting (9 December).  An interim report would be submitted to the CEPEJ on that occasion.

12.  Members of the GT-QUAL felt it was important to examine the quality charters that existed in certain judicial systems and courts.  They also thought it would be interesting to look at the treatment of the findings produced by the satisfaction surveys carried out under some quality systems. 

13.  The Secretariat said that the research team was having problems finding a Russian-speaking expert familiar with several eastern European systems.  The representatives of the Russian Federation said they had no direct contacts with a suitable expert and invited the Group to make a formal request to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation.

      4.   Contractualisation of judicial process

14.   Mr Julien LHUILLER (France), scientific expert, presented a draft questionnaire for gathering information about existing contractual arrangements and for ascertaining legal professionals’ views on whether such procedures could and should be introduced and, if so, in what circumstances and for which types of cases.  The Group thanked Mr LHUILLIER for his excellent work.

15.  The experts agreed that such a questionnaire could be sent to people at various levels: central government (ministries), the courts and legal professionals.  

16.  It was agreed that the work would be carried out in two stages:

§  scientific expert to prepare a simple, short questionnaire designed to identify the appropriate contact persons.  This would be sent to members of the CEPEJ, national correspondents and pilot courts, by the end of 2008;

§  expert to compile a detailed questionnaire intended more specifically for judicial systems / courts which had introduced such procedures or similar; Ms TSIMBALOVA, MM. RIEDELL and STACEY would review the draft questionnaire so that the Secretariat could then send it, at the beginning of 2009, to the contact persons identified earlier.

17.  The replies would be processed by the expert at the end of the first quarter and examined by the GT-QUAL at a meeting in the Spring of 2009 [28 and 29 May 2009 were mooted, subject to approval of the activity programme by the CEPEJ and availability of funds].

18.  It was agreed that the work should focus more on ad hoc methods of contractualisation, rather than on the statutory provisions governing procedures.

      5.   Measuring user satisfaction

19.  Mr Daimar LIIV presented a preliminary draft structure for a handbook that could be prepared by the GT-QUAL for policy-makers and courts wishing to develop satisfaction surveys of professionals and court users.  The Group thanked LIIV warmly for his valuable insights.

20.  In the course of the general discussion, the question arose as to which courts had the authority to initiate such surveys.  Attention was likewise drawn to the need to clearly identify the different target groups for these surveys.

21.  The experts also felt that some thought should be given to the use of the survey findings.  The staff of the courts concerned should be involved in processing the findings, so that any questions that might arise with regard to the image of the court in question could be handled in the appropriate manner.

22.  The GT-QUAL stressed the need to link the work carried out by Philip LANGBROEK’s team on quality systems to the preparation of this handbook, as satisfaction surveys could be a component part of quality systems.  One of the members of the research team could be involved in preparing the handbook.

23.  The Group agreed that Mr LIIV would update the draft document which would then be forwarded to a scientific expert (to be appointed by the Secretariat) so that he could turn it into a draft handbook.  This expert would work in close consultation with Mr LIIV.

24.  The draft handbook would be discussed at the next meeting of the GT-QUAL.


Annexe 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.         How to use the Checklist for the promotion of the quality of justice? / Quelle utilisation de la Checklist pour la promotion de la  qualité?

4.         Study on quality systems in Europe: exchange of views with Mr Philip Langbroek / Etude sur les systèmes qualité en Europe: échange de vues avec M. Philip Langbroek

5.         Contractualisation of judicial process between judges and the parties (including an exchange of views with the sicentifi expert, Julien Lhuillier) /

Contractualisation des relations entre les juges et les parties(y compris un échange de vues avec l'expert scientifique, M. Julien Lhuillier)

6.         Measurement of court users' satisfaction / Mesure de la satisfaction des usagers


Annexe II

List of participants / Liste des participants

EXPERTS

Daimar LIIV, Judge, TallinnAdministrative Court, HARJUMAA, ESTONIA

François PAYCHÈRE, Juge à la Cour de justice, GENEVE, SUISSE (Chair of the GT-QUAL / Président du GT-QUAL)

André POTOCKI, Conseiller à la Cour de Cassation, PARIS, FRANCE (Apologised / Excusé)

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, OULU, FINLAND (Apologised / Excusé)

MEMBER STATES / ETATS MEMBRES

RUSSIAN FEDERATION / FEDERATION DE RUSSIE

Tatiana KOBOZ, Judicial Department, Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, MOSOW

Evgueni POPOV, Judicial Department, Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, MOSOW

Leonid SMERTIN, Judicial Department, Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, MOSOW

Yana tsimbalova, Counselor at the Dept. of the apparatus at the Representatiion of the Russian Federation at the ECHR, Ministry of Justice, MOSCOW

SCIENTIFIC EXPERT / EXPERTS SCIENTIFIQUES

Julien LHUILLIER, Allocataire-moniteur de la Faculté de droit, 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,

SECRETARIAT

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

Division of Justice /

Direction générale des droits de l’Homme et des 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

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

Sandrine MAROLLEAU, 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

QUAINE Philippe       

MARCHINI Isabelle   

MCGEORGE Corinne