“The Crystal Scales of Justice”

The European prize for innovative practice

contributing to the efficiency and quality of justice

2017 Edition

Rules of the Prize


Application form

Text Box: For more information:
(European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice/CEPEJ - Council of Europe)

Rules of the Prize – 2017 Edition


In 2005, in the framework of the European Day of Civil Justice, the European Commission and the Council of Europe created the European "Crystal Scales of Justice" Prize for innovative practices in court organisation and justice procedures.   

In 2013, the Council of Europe launched a new edition of “The Crystal Scales of Justice” Prize concerning justice in general, organised every 2 years (odd years).

Article 1 – Competition conditions

The competition is open to courts, Bars Associations, judicial professionals, non-governmental organisations or any other entity responsible for justice affairs in one of the Member States of the Council of Europe or of an Observer State to the CEPEJ[1]  

The initiatives must have been introduced in order to improve efficiency and quality of the functioning of justice, judicial procedures or the organisation of courts, particularly for the users of justice. They must therefore be innovative practices and their results must be measurable.

An initiative presented in the previous editions of the Prize, cannot be presented for another edition of the competition. A court, , Bar Association or association of legal professionals or any other entity responsible for justice affairs can present several initiatives for the same edition of the competition.

Article 2 - Organisation of the competition

The competition is organised bythe European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) of the Council of Europe (hereafter “the organisers”).

Article 3 - Entries

The applications shall be submitted electronically if possible, to the address indicated below. The deadline for applications is 15 June 2017.

Council of Europe

CEPEJ Secretariat –“Crystal Scales of Justice” Prize

Directorate General I - Human Rights I and Rule of Law

Council of Europe

F – 67075 STRASBOURG Cedex

E-mail: [email protected]

The applications shall be submitted, in English or in French.

The applications must include:

1) The application form duly filled in, in accordance with the attached appendix I;

2) A summary of the initiative, in accordance with the attached appendix I;

3) If necessary, a limited number of annexed documents can be included. If those are in an original language other than English or French, a brief summary in English or French should be presented.

Article 4 – Composition of the jury

The jury is composed of 6 members and 1 President, appointed by the organisers.

Article 5 – Selection procedure of the schemes

The applications which will fulfil the abovementioned formal criteria will be transmitted to the members of the jury by the organisers.

Each member of the jury shall transmit to the organisers, electronically and prior to the meeting of the jury, a list of the 10 schemes which he or she considers should be pre-selected, in accordance with the attached appendix II. The organisators will establish a list of 10 pre-selected initiatives on the basis of the list received by each of the jury members. This list will be sent to the jury members for an in depth examination.

The members of the jury shall respect the secrecy of the composition of this list.

The jury will meet to select  4 schemes by secret ballot.

For this selection  each of the jury members will award 4 points to the best scheme he / she selected as winning scheme, 3 points to the second placed scheme, 2 points to the third placed scheme and one point to the fourth placed scheme. After counting the points, in the event of a tie a second vote by simple majority can be taken in order to decide between two projects with the same number of points.

The scheme which has received the highest number of points will be awarded the “Crystal Scales of Justice” Prize. The three other schemes will be given a “special mention” by the jury.

The decisions of the jury cannot be appealed.

Article 6 – Criteria for eligibility and selection of schemes

The jury must ensure that the schemes fulfil the following criteria of eligibility:

-                      have contributed to the improvement of efficiency and quality of the functioning of the justice system; judicial procedures or the organisation of courts,

-                      are considered as innovative practices effectively implemented,

-                      can be applied to other jurisdictions or States.

-                      their implementation has measurable results

During the selection of the eligible schemes, the jury must also ensure:

-                                              compliance with the objectives of the Prize,

-                      quality of the schemes,

-                      balance between the different legal systems,

-                      balance in the themes dealt with by the schemes,

-                      conformity with the main values of the Council of Europe, in particular the European Convention for Human Rights.

Article 7 - Prize awarding and visibility of nominated schemes

The "Crystal Scales of Justice" Prize will be presented to the winner and the Council of Europe if possible during the main event organised in the framework of European Day of Justice each year on October 25th.

Two representatives of each institution or organisation which submitted the nominated schemes will be invited to attend the Prize awarding ceremony.

The organisers undertake to arrange appropriate publicity for the prize-winning initiative and for the three projects that receive a special mention.

Article 8 - Cancellation of the competition

The organisers reserve the right to cancel the competition at any time. If this happens, participants will be individually informed as soon as possible.





(Please note that this file - without the attachments –

once completed should not exceed 6 pages)

To be returned to the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) by 15 June 2017 electronically

Council of Europe,

CEPEJ Secretariat – Crystal Scales of Justice Competition

Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law

F -67075 STRASBOURG Cedex

E-mail: [email protected]

1.         Details of applicant (institution/organisation)






2.            Represented by

            First name/Surname:      

            Post held:     



3.         Scheme submitted


            Date of introduction:      

4.         Please attach to the entry form, preferably in English or in French or, where this is not possible, in one of the other official languages of the Council of Europe, a summary of the project (3 pages max), which would contain:

            a.         A description of the scheme

b.         A description of the effects of the scheme

c.         Any possible future additions which might improve the results of the scheme

d.         Any documents, press articles, evidence from members of the public etc. relating to the scheme (with a brief summary in English or French)

5.         Does the scheme have the support of the competent public authorities in your country?  If so, please give details.


6.         Do you believe the scheme to be usable in other courts in European states?  Give your reasons.

7.         Have you already applied in the framework of the same institution/organisation in previous competitions for the Prize (if yes, see article 1, paragraph 3 of the rules of the Prize) ?

 yes

 no



  1. Do you certify that the presented initiative is not a pending case before the European Court of Human Rights ?

I,      representing the aforementioned institution/organisation, declare that I am aware of the rules of the competition, with which I undertake to comply.

Done at       (place)                                                           

On       2014 (date)



institution / organisation



Telephone number


represented by

First Name/Surname

Post held

Telephone number


scheme submitted


date of introduction

Scheme :

Operational :

(Please note that this summary should not exceed 3 pages)

Description of the scheme:

Effects of the scheme:

Future additions to improve the results:

Public authority support:

Possible application in other European countries:


[1] Holly See, Canada, Mexico USA, Japan, Israël, Morocco