cepej_coe

Strasbourg, 23 October 2014

CEPEJ-GT-QUAL(2014)17

EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR THE EFFICIENCY OF JUSTICE

(CEPEJ)

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

16th meeting, 25-26 September 2014

MEETING REPORT

Report drafted by the Secretariat

Directorate General I – Human Rights and Rule of Law


I.          INTRODUCTION

1.      The Working Group on Quality of Justice (CEPEJ-GT-QUAL) of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) held its 16th meeting at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on 25-26 September 2014.

2.      The Secretariat informed participants that Ms Clementina BARBARO had been tasked with providing the group with a secretarial service.

3.      Mr François PAYCHÈRE (Switzerland), Chair, welcomed the Tunisian delegation, some of the members of which were attending for the first time to acquaint themselves with the group’s work.

4.      The agenda and list of participants are in Appendices I and II respectively to this report.

II.         INFORMATION FROM THE CHAIR, EXPERTS AND THE SECRETARIAT

5.      The Secretariat informed participants that the CEPEJ’s evaluation report on European judicial systems would be published on 9 October 2014 and encouraged members of the group to distribute this report widely.

6.      The Secretariat told group members about the co-operation activities intended to disseminate more widely the CEPEJ’s tools and to enable beneficiary States to draw on the CEPEJ’s expertise.  It pointed out that co-operation programmes were in progress with the countries of the southern neighbourhood (Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan) and the countries of the Eastern Partnership (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine).  Furthermore, a programme intended to improve the management of courts via the CEPEJ’s tools had just been started in Croatia, while a similar programme had been completed in Turkey in 2013.  As for Albania, which also benefited from targeted co-operation, preparations were under way to introduce user satisfaction surveys at five courts, with the aim of expanding these surveys to another five courts in 2015.

7.      The Secretariat told participants that a forum was to be held in Strasbourg on 10 December 2014, in partnership with the International Union of Judicial Officers (UIHJ), on “The efficiency of civil enforcement proceedings in Europe”.

8.      John STACEY (United Kingdom), informed the group that he had participated in the meeting organised in Denmark from 10 to 14 September 2014 by the European Union of Rechtspfleger on “The EUR, clerks and Rechtspfleger in the age of information communication technologies”.

9.      Fabio BARTOLOMEO (Italy) gave a brief presentation of the work of MITRE and its link with the group’s work on the reform of national judicial maps, a subject which was to be discussed at a later point in the meeting.

III.        GUIDELINES ON THE ORGANISATION AND ACCESSIBILITY OF COURT PREMISES

10.    At the 15th meeting, on 3 and 4 April, Gilles ACCOMANDO and Michel PERCHEPIED (France) had been tasked by the group with presenting, by 31 August 2014, a revised version of the draft guidelines on the organisation and accessibility of court premises, taking into account the ideas and suggestions put forward by group members at the meeting.

11.    Gilles ACCOMANDO presented the amendments made, and particularly the inclusion of the possibility of converting buildings and more reference to the changing symbolism of the courts, with the transition to a more modern concept of courts less intimidating to the public.  It was members of the public who were now the main focus of the draft.  The importance of clear identification of the court from the outside and of making it easily accessible was highlighted, as was the need to provide appropriate security arrangements for court staff.  The new draft guidelines also gave more detail about the organisation of the interiors of court buildings, particularly areas reserved for professionals, and took account of the requirements of sustainable development of the buildings.

12.    Group members thanked Gilles ACCOMANDO for his presentation and said that the revised version of the guidelines did indeed take account of the comments made at the previous meeting of the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL.  It was nevertheless proposed that a more explicit reference be made to the needs of persons with reduced mobility and to the requirement for the layout of courts to be such that detainees were effectively able to exercise their rights, while the safety of court staff was protected.

13.    At the end of the discussion, the CEPEJ-GT-QUALinstructed Gilles ACCOMANDO to finalise the draft guidelines on the basis of the comments made at the meeting, so that it could be presented and discussed at the meeting of pilot courts which was to be held on 16 October 2014 and adopted at the plenary meeting of the CEPEJ, on 11 and 12 December 2014.

IV.       THE ROLE OF EXPERTS IN THE QUALITY OF JUDICIAL SYSTEMS

14.    At its 15th meeting, the  CEPEJ-GT-QUAL had instructed Gar Yein NG (Norway), scientific expert, to present an amended version of her study on “the role of experts in the quality of judicial systems”, and had also instructed Anke EILERS (Germany) to prepare guidelines on the role of experts in the quality of judicial systems, on the basis of that study.

15.    Participants expressed their opinion of the status and objectives of the guidelines.  Fabio BARTOLOMEO said that a document setting out a reference framework on experts and expertise would be particularly useful, especially in Italy, where no document of general scope was available.  Alain NUEE, observer representing the European Expertise and Expert Institute (EEEI) told participants that the Institute was to hold a conference on expertise in 2015, at which recommendations likely to be similar to those under study by the group would be drawn up for the attention of the 28 member States of the European Union.  He added that the definition of experts’ rights and duties, the drawing up of lists of quality experts and training, particularly on professional ethics, were fundamental issues which should be dealt with by the guidelines.  Other members of the group emphasised the central nature of issues such as the role of auxiliary to the judge played by the expert, and the requirement for experts to be independent and impartial.  The Chair also said that the guidelines should do more than summarise what already existed and give indications for the future.

16.    The draft guidelines were then considered.

17.    Participants agreed that the definition of expert to be used for the purposes of the guidelines should be that which appeared in the CEPEJ’s evaluation report on European judicial systems, particularly that of the technical expert.

18.    The requirement for proportionality between the expert’s level of qualifications, the number of experts to be appointed and the complexity of the case was highlighted.  Furthermore, where the capacity of expert was concerned, participants took the view that legal entities could not in principle be excluded, although the person within that entity responsible for supplying the expertise needed to be clearly identifiable.  The need for the judge to supervise the expert appointed by mutual agreement by the parties was also mentioned.

19.    The need to take into account the cost of the expertise as a criterion when selecting the expert was also discussed.  Furthermore, the parties should be informed of the foreseeable costs of the expertise at the earliest possible stage.  The means of guaranteeing experts’ independence were also discussed, particularly when a monopoly of expertise was found to exist.  Participants took the view in this context that rotation of experts was an effective means of improving experts’ independence from the court and of counteracting situations of reciprocal dependence.

20.    At the end of the discussion, the members of the group undertook to present in electronic form, by 10 October 2014, any suggestions for amendments to the text.  The draft guidelines would then be discussed with the CEPEJ’s pilot courts at their annual meeting, on 16 October 2014, and any amendments incorporated with a view to presentation of the text for adoption at the plenary meeting of the CEPEJ on 11 and 12 December.

21.    The members of the group also agreed to publish Gar Yein NG’s study as a working document and in electronic form on the CEPEJ’s website.

V.         CO-OPERATION WITH THE EU AGENCY FOR FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS (FRA) ON THE “HANDBOOK ON ACCESS TO JUSTICE IN EUROPE”

22.    At its15th meeting, the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL had agreed to discuss the content of the Handbook on access to justice in Europe – a joint project between the CEPEJ and the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) – with a representative of the FRA, and had instructed John STACEY to monitor more closely, with the Secretariat, the progress of the work and to keep the other members of the group regularly informed thereof.

23.    Jana GAJDOSOVA, from the FRA, pointed out that the handbook was intended to make those who played a role in legal proceedings (judges, lawyers, NGOs, etc) more aware of and better acquainted with the standards which existed at European level in the sphere of access to justice; it would particularly take account of the relevant case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union.  She presented the specifications for the handbook and also gave a reminder of the project timetable: procedure for selecting the expert to be responsible for writing the handbook in autumn 2014; signing of the contract and decision on handbook structure by the end of 2014; finalisation of the handbook by the autumn of 2015 so that it could be published in electronic form and translated into several languages in 2016.  Ms GAJDOSOVA was particularly interested in the possibility of its translation into languages other than those of the European Union, and the assistance which the CEPEJ might be able to give in this respect.  She also invited John STACEY to participate in the selection of the expert, which was to be done in Vienna on 15 November 2014.

24.    A discussion subsequently took place to clarify certain issues dealt with in the specifications (such as recognition of the right of access to justice in transfrontier disputes and the arrangements for selecting experts) and the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL’s contribution to the project.  The members agreed that the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL would play an active role throughout the process of writing the handbook and would, inter alia, make comments on the detailed table of contents and the draft handbook itself.  Translation of the handbook into other European languages would also be explored within the CEPEJ.

25.    At the end of the discussion, the group instructed John STACEY to participate in the aforementioned meeting in Vienna at which the expert would be selected and to inform the other members of the outcome.  Furthermore, the Secretariat undertook to inform the members of the group at regular intervals of project progress and to request their views on the detailed table of contents and the draft handbook, which should be ready in February and April 2015 respectively.

VI.       PRESENTATION OF MITRE CORPORATION

26.    At its 15th meeting, on 3-4 April 2014, the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL had considered whether it would be appropriate to organise a meeting with the representatives of MITRE and had asked Fabio BARTOLOMEO to remain in contact with the corporation to that end.

27.    The representatives of MITRE presented their organisation’s activities.  MITRE was an American non-profit-making research centre which had, since the 90s, developed expertise in several fields, including the modernisation of judicial systems, in relation to both infrastructure and operational processes.  MITRE had recently taken into consideration in the context of its work the revised Guidelines on the Creation of Judicial Maps developed by the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL.  More specifically, MITRE had created software which, on the basis of the criteria set out in the guidelines, and selected according to user needs, (re)drew judicial maps.  The advantage of this software was that it thus enabled one or more new judicial maps to be drawn on the basis of an order of priorities defined by the user, as well as on objective scientific criteria.

28.    The members of the group thanked the representatives of MITRE for their presentation and raised a number of questions about the software and its possible applications.  Some thoughts were expressed about the permeability to political influence, in the practice of several European countries, of judicial map review processes, which would de facto restrict the scope of the use of this software.  Another question raised was whether the software enabled account to be taken of the historical dimension of each country (such as the need to locate courts in certain particularly important cities), as well as of technical developments and users’ expectations.  MITRE emphasised its tool’s flexibility and highlighted the advantages, for policy-makers as well, of a rational approach to the judicial map reform process based on objective facts.

29.    The Chair thanked the representatives of MITRE for their presentation and for the productive exchange with the members of the group, which would feed into the group’s discussions of the future work to be done on judicial maps.

VII.      PROMOTING THE GUIDELINES FOR A BETTER IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EXISTING COUNCIL OF EUROPE RECOMMENDATION ON ENFORCEMENT

30.    At its 15th meeting, the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL had considered certain problems connected with the enforcement of court decisions, and had emphasised the importance of the part played by the CEPEJ’s guidelines in that field.  At the end of the discussion, the International Union of Judicial Officers (UIHJ) had undertaken to give CEPEJ members access to its major questionnaire on enforcement, and to prepare a document on the main problems associated with enforcement, with a view to the next meeting of the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL.  Thus the group would assess on the basis of that document the appropriateness of organising further work on the subject.

31.    Matthieu CHARDON, observer representing the UIHJ, presented a document on the problems associated with enforcement which was intended both to provide the best possible promotion of the guidelines and to emphasise the most frequently occurring problems and those which most impeded efficient enforcement.  Six problems in particular to which priority could be given were identified by the document.

32.    A discussion ensued about the work which could be done by the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL on this subject.  While highlighting the need to promote the guidelines and help judicial officers to cope with the new challenges arising in respect of enforcement, the group considered it appropriate not to create new standards or to duplicate the guidelines, which were a European and global model for the enforcement of court decisions.  Joao Arsenio DE OLIVEIRA (Portugal) suggested that the group focus its work on existing good practices in Europe where enforcement was concerned, a field as yet unexplored.  The UIHJ and several members of the group agreed that it would be very useful to compile good practices in respect of each guideline.  Matthieu CHARDON pointed out that the UIHJ was in possession of the necessary information and was ready to place its expertise (and, if need be, an expert) at the group’s disposal.

33.    At the end of its discussion, the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL decided to prepare a compilation of good practices in respect of enforcement, with specific examples from all Council of Europe member states, and instructed the Secretariat to provide the necessary practical assistance during this work.

VIII.     OTHER BUSINESS

34.    The group pointed out that work to define judicial system quality indicators was under way, in co-operation with the CEPEJ-GT-SATURN and CEPEJ-GT-EVAL.

35.    The Secretariat is presenting a tool, prepared by Fabio BARTOLOMEO (Italy), aimed to making an inventory of all satisfaction surveys organised in the CEPEJ member States and commits to present this inventory at the next meeting of the Pilot courts, with a request to make the relevant information available.

36.    The CEPEJ-GT-QUAL members are invited to think about the ways to reach the objectives set in Art. 13 in the member States, that is to say the right to an effective remidy before a national authority « nothwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity ».


Appendix I : Agenda

1.            Adoption of the agenda

2.            Information by the Chairman and the Secretariat

3.            Guidelines on the organisation and accessibility of court premises

·         Examination of the guidelines on the organisation and accessibility of court premises prepared by the scientific experts Mr G. Accomando and Mr M. Perchepied (France)

 

4.            The role of experts in the quality of judicial systems

·         Examination of the study on the role of experts in the quality of judicial systems prepared by the scientific expert Ms Gar Yein Ng (Norway)

·         guidelines on the role of experts in the quality of judicial systems Ms A. Eilers (Germany)

5.            Cooperation with the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on the « Handbook on access to justice in Europe »

·         Discussion on the technical specifications and on the structure of the handbook on access to justice in Europe

6.            Presentation of the MITRE Corporation

·         Presentation of “MITRE Corporation” and discussion on Computational Approaches for the Reform of National Judicial Systems

7.            Promoting the Guidelines for a better implementation of the existing Council of Europe’s recommandation on enforcement

·         Discussion on the document on the main issues concerning execution prepared by UIHJ

8.            Other business / Divers


Appendix II : List of participants

EXPERTS

Joao ARSENIO DE OLIVEIRA, Head of Department, International Affairs Department, Directorate-General for Justice Policy - Ministry of Justice, Lisbon, PORTUGAL

Fabio BARTOLOMEO,  Directeur Général du Bureau des Statistiques, Ministère de la Justice, Rome, Italie

Anke EILERS, Judge, Oberlandesgericht Köln, Köln, GERMANY

Nikolina MIŠKOVIĆ, Judge, Commercial Court in Rijeka, Ičići, CROATIA

François PAYCHÈRE, Président de la Cour des Comptes, Genève, SUISSE (Chair of the GT-QUAL / Président du GT-QUAL)

John STACEY, Government Advisor for the Efficiency and Quality of Justice, UNITED KINGDOM, (Chair of the CEPEJ / Président de la CEPEJ)

Ioannis SYMEONIDIS, Judge, Court of Appeal, , Professor at the Law School, University of Thessaloniki, Thessalonique, GRECE

 

EXPERTS SCIENTIFIQUES / SCIENTIFIC EXPERTS

Gilles ACCOMANDO, Président du tribunal de Grande Instance d’Avignon,  Avignon Cedex 9, FRANCE

Michel PERCHEPIED, Ingénieur en Chef des Travaux Publics de l’Etat, Chef du Département Immobilier de Toulouse, Ministère de la Justice, Toulouse, France

Apologised / Excusé

Yinka TEMPELMAN, Quality Manager of the Dutch Council for the judiciary,  The Hague, THE NETHERLANDS

John MARSTON, Former Chairman of the High Court of Enforcement officier’s Association in England and Wales, UNITED KINGDOM

Apologised / Excusé

INVITED EXPERTS / EXPERTS INVITES

Walid ARFAOUI, Juge Cantonal, Tribunal cantonal de Zaghouan, Zaghouan, TUNISIE

Ridha BEN AMOR, Procureur Général de l’Etat auprès de la Cour de Cassation, Tunis, TUNISIE,

Mongi CHALGHOUM, Président du  Tribunal de Première Instance de Zaghouan, Zaghouan, TUNISIE

Raja CHAOUACHI, Présidente du Tribunal de Première Instance de Tunis, TUNISIE

Soraya JAZI,  Présidente du Tribunal de Première Instance de Nabeul, Nabeul, TUNISIE

OBSERVERS / OBSERVATEURS

EUROPEAN NETWORK OF COUNCILS FOR THE JUDICIARY (ENCJ) / RESEAU EUROPEEN DES CONSEILS DE LA JUSTICE (RECJ):

Jean-Marie SISCOT, Administrator of the Belgian High Council for Justice, Member of the Working Group on Quality Management

Apologised/Excusé

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

Jean-Jacques KUSTER, Représentant de l’Union européenne des Greffiers de Justice (E.U.R.), Strasbourg, France

EUROPEAN UNION (Fundamental Rights Agency) / UNION EUROPEENNE (AGENCE DES DROITS FONDAMENTAUX):

Jonas GRIMHEDEN, Head of Sector Access to Justice, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, VIENNA 1040, AUSTRIA,

Apologised / Excusé

Jana GAJDOSOVA, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, VIENNA 1040, AUSTRIA

INSTITUT EUROPEEN DE L’EXPERTISE ET DE L’EXPERT (EEEI)

Jean-Raymond LEMAIRE, Expert près de la Cour d’Appel de Versailles agréé par la Cour de Cassation, Président du Comité Exécutif de l’EEEI, Levallois-Perret, FRANCE

Apologised / Excusé

Alain NUEE, Expert, Ancien Premier Président de la Cour d’Appel de Versailles, France

Barry TURNER, Expert, Senior Lecturer in Law and Forensic Science (University of Lincoln), Senior Lecturer in Law

Apologised / Excusé

council of the bars and law societies of the european union (ccbe) /CONSEILS DES BARREAUX EUROPEENS (CCBE):

Simone CUOMO, Legal Advisor, Council of the Bars and Law Societies of the European Union (CCBE), 1000 Brussels, BELGIUM

INTERNATIONAL UNION OF BAILIFFS / UNION INTERNATIONALE DES HUISSIERS DE JUSTICE (UIHJ)

Mathieu CHARDON, Huissier de justice, Premier Secrétaire de l’UIHJ, Montfort l’Amaury, FRANCE,

INVITED BODY / INSTANCE INVITEE

MITRE CORPORATION 

Paul BIELSKI, Director of the Center for Judicial Informatics, Science & Technology and The Judicial Engineering Modernization Center, The MITRE Corporation, Virginia 22202-7539, USA

Bradford C. BROWN, Esq., Portfolio Director & Senior Advisor, center for Judicial Informatics, Science & technology, The MITRE Corporation, Virginia, 22202-7539, USA

***

SECRETARIAT

DG I - Human Rights and Rule of Law

Division for the Independance and efficiency of Justice /

DG I - Droits de l’Homme et Etat de droit

Division pour l’indépendance et l’efficacité de la Justice

E-mail: cepej@coe.int

Stéphane LEYENBERGER, Head of the Justice Division, Secretary of the CEPEJ / Chef de la Division de la justice, Secrétaire de la CEPEJ, Tel: + 33 3 88 41 34 12, e-mail: stephane.leyenberger@coe.int

Clementina BARBARO,  Administrator / Administratrice, Tél : +33 3 90 21 55 04, e-mail : clementina.barbaro@coe.int

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

Annette SATTEL, Administration and Networks / Administration et réseaux, Tel: + 33 3 88 41 39 04, e-mail: annette.sattel@coe.int

Marie-José SCHUTZ, Assistant / Assistante, Tel : + 33 3 88 41 34 86, e-mail: marie-jose.schutz@coe.int

Laetitia NSIONA, Trainee / Stagiaire, Tél : +33 3 90 21 56 36, e-mail : laetitia.nsiona@coe.int

Interpreters / Interprètes

Luc TILDEN

Christopher TYCZKA

Rebecca BOWEN