Strasbourg, January 2016
European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ)
Working Group on evaluation (CEPEJ-GT-EVAL)
Pilot co-operation process / Peer review on judicial statistics
7th cycle (2015)
Bratislava (Slovakia), 5 - 6 October 2015 (n°16)
1. The exercise of evaluating judicial systems carried out by the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) has the aim of progressively defining a core of quantitative as well as qualitative key elements, collected on a regular basis and examined in the same way in all the member States of the Council of Europe. This will allow the pinpointing of common indicators on the quality and the efficiency of the functioning of justice within the member States of the Council of Europe, in order to present a unique picture of the organisation of justice in Europe.
2. Given the stakes at hand, practical precautions are necessary to give credit to such an exercise. With this end in view, the 47 members of the CEPEJ have framed an evaluation scheme which has been discussed and is to become permanent, the CEPEJ has also set up a system of national delegates permitting efficient communication with the secretariat of the CEPEJ. Finally, guidelines on statistics are being discussed.
3. With a view to upgrading its methods, the CEPEJ decided at its 10th plenary meeting (Strasbourg, 5-6 December 2012) to set up a pilot peer review co-operation process in order to strengthen the credibility of the data collected in the framework of the activity for evaluating European judicial systems. This pilot co-operation process will consist in visits to three States every year on a voluntary basis. In 2008, for the first cycle of evaluation, France, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Poland welcomed the peers of the CEPEJ. In 2009, Malta and the Russian Federation were visited but this second cycle was only achieved in 2010 by means of a meeting in Oslo regrouping 5 Nordic States. The third cycle consisted of three visits: Turkey, the Netherlands and Austria. In 2012, the fourth cycle consisted of the visit in Azerbaijan and the fifth cycle was held in 2013 and included Latvia. The sixth cycle organised in 2014 consisted in three visits: Israel, Estonia and Switzerland. The seventh cycle started with a visit to Lithuania in May 2015.
4. Peers are members or observers of the Working Group on Evaluation of the CEPEJ (CEPEJ-GT-EVAL) which also have the task to prepare, every two years, the report on evaluation of the European judicial systems. As a rule, the peers’ visit in the given State is organised by the CEPEJ member and the national correspondent responsible for the collection of CEPEJ data. In order to increase the various co-operation projects and exchanges, one of these latter persons may be asked to assist the peers in another visit within the same evaluation cycle.
5. The main objectives of this co-operation are as follows :
§ Supporting Council of Europe member States in:
- improving the quality of their judicial statistics,
- developing their statistics system so that judicial statistics at national level are in line with the common indicators defined through the CEPEJ's Evaluation Scheme.
§ Facilitating the exchange of experiences between national judicial statistics systems, sharing good practices, identifying benchmarks and facilitating the transfer of information.
§ Contributing to the transparency and accountability of the CEPEJ process for evaluating European judicial systems and helping to improve the process.
6. The reports can be consulted in the following documents CEPEJ-GT-EVAL(2008)1 (1st cycle), CEPEJ-GT-EVAL(2010)5 (2nd cycle), CEPEJ-GT-EVAL(2011)2Rev3 (3rd cycle), CEPEJ-GT-EVAL(2012)8(4th cycle), CEPEJ-GT-EVAL(2013)9Rev (5th cycle), CEPEJ-GT-EVAL(2014)2 (6th cycle), CEPEJ-GT-EVAL(2015) (7th cycle) and CEPEJ-GT-EVAL(2015)8 (8th cycle).
Date: 5 - 6 October 2015
Ministry of Justice of the Slovak republic and
Ladislav Duditš, judge of Regional Court of Košice, CEPEJ member and National Correspondent
- Tomáš Borec, minister of Justice,
- Daniela Švecová, Chairperson of the Supreme Court of the Slovak republic
- Jana Bajánková, Chairperson of the Judicial Council of the Slovak Republic
- Ladislav Duditš, judge of Regional Court of Košice, CEPEJ member
- Renáta Hlavenková, entrusted with representation of the Secretary General of Ministry of Justice
- Soňa Dobšovičová, director of the Office of the Secretary General of Ministry of Justice
- Juraj Palúš, director general of the legislative Section, Ministry of Justice
- Michal Kotlárik, director general of the International Law Section, Ministry of Justice
- Monika Mačayová – analytical unit, Ministry of Justice
- Marek Čanecký, director of e-Justice, coordination and project preparation department
- Ján Vanko, Chairperson of the Regional court of Nitra, vice-chairperson of the Judicial Council of the Slovak republic
- Tatiana Cínová, department of IT, Regional court of Nitra
- Ľubomír Pagáč, Civil law section, Ministry of Justice
- Barbora Maliarová, director of expert, translators and interpreters department, Ministry of Justice
- Roman Hrico, department of the supervision of legal professions, Ministry of Justice
- Nataša Nikitinová, director of the Centre of Legal Aid
For the CEPEJ:
- Mr Georg Stawa (President of CEPEJ)
- Mr Ramin Gurbanov (Member of the CEPEJ Bureau and member of GT-EVAL)
- Mr Frans Van der Doelen (member of GT-EVAL)
- Ms Christel Schurrer (Council of Europe), Secretary of the Evaluation Group of the CEPEJ
- Ms. Lidija Naumovska (Council of Europe), CEPEJ Statistician.
9.30-10.00 Meeting at the Ministry of Justice: Welcome speech.
10.00-10.20 Short overview of the judicial system of the Slovak republic
10.20-10.50 Presentation on practical experience with the data collection and filling in the CEPEJ scheme for evaluation of judicial systems
10.50-11.20 Presentation of the institutions responsible for the collection of statistics on justice system requested by CEPEJ – organization of the collection and transmission of data, sources - analytical centre. Discussions on court statistics – Monika Mačayová – analytical unit, Ministry of Justice
Presentation on implemented and undergoing projects of Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic and on electronic services, provided by Slovak courts, and courts information system
11.20-11.45 Presentation of CEPEJ experts
14.00-16.00 Meeting at the Regional Court of Nitra
9.00-12.00 Meeting at the Ministry of Justice:
09.00-09.15 Presentation on civil procedure and the recodification of civil procedural law in Slovak republic - Ľubomír Pagáč, Civil law section, Ministry of Justice
09.15-09.30 Presentation on judicial experts, translators and interpreters – Barbora Maliarová, director of expert, translators and interpreters department, Ministry of Justice
09.30-09.45 Presentation on the trustees in bankruptcy, notaries, enforcement officers and the arbitration proceeding – Roman Hrico, department of the supervision of legal professions, Ministry of Justice
09.45-10.15 Presentation on Legal aid – Nataša Nikitinová, director of the Centre of Legal Aid
10.15-10.30 Presentation on Projects of Priority Axis 2 of Operational Program Effective Public Administration – Soňa Dobšovičová, director of the Office of the Secretary General of Ministry of Justice
10.30-12.00 Discussions with persons involved in the collection of data requested by CEPEJ/ Concluding remarks
1. Welcome meeting
The delegation was welcomed by the Minister of Justice Mr. Tomáš Borec, who considered the objective of the mission very important for Slovak Republic. Furthermore he pointed out that the comparing judicial system is on one side very important and on the other very sensitive due to different methodologies of information collection. He wished successful mission to the CEPEJ team and Slovakian counterparts.
Mr Ladislav Dudits a judge from the Regional Court of Košice, presented CEPEJ team and explained that he as a CEPEJ member and National Correspondent for Slovakia has invited CEPEJ for this peer review mission. He explained that it became evident that certain numbers for civil law cases in Slovakia will probably need to be recalculated in order to be harmonised with other countries.
The President of CEPEJ Mr George Stawa, presented the role of CEPEJ and added that for CEPEJ the background information of the data presented is very important and an only way to understand data from different countries. This allows understanding what is possible to compare and what is not because of differences and sensitivities of data from different systems. As it was pointed out the CEPEJ peer review exercise is not an evaluation that point out to negative trends but just the opposite it is a friendly community of professionals sharing experience and the each peer review mission is a learning exercise for both sides.
Ms Daniela Švecová, Chairperson of the Supreme Court of the Slovak republic stressed that comparison of effectiveness between judicial systems gives objective results only when the starting point is similar.
She also pointed out that for the moment Supreme Court does not have its own premises and it is hosted by the Ministry of Justice. She also pointed out that the Supreme Court also has insufficiency of judge assistants and presently there is only 1 assistant for 3 judges. It is expected that the situation will change in 2016.
Ms Jana Bajánková, Chairperson of the Judicial Council of the Slovak Republic which is the superior judicial body in Slovakia, responsible also for analysing the judicial system of the country pointed out that steps for improvement of the system are already agreed with the Government of Slovakia. Judicial Council is member of the Europe Network of Councils for the Judiciary and they are involved in several development projects. They are also hosted in the Ministry of Justice.
2. General presentation of the different aspects of the judicial system of Slovakia
The Performance of Judicial Expertise, interpretation and translation in the Slovak republic was presented by Barbora Maliarová, director of expert, translators and interpreters department.
In the presentation she has focused on the following topics:
Mr Marek Čanecký, director of eJustice, coordination and project preparation department presented the IT Projects implemented by the ministry of justice of the Slovak republic
The following projects were presented::
Electronic case file with main aim to establish a comprehensive information system for electronic administration and management of the civil and criminal cases of the courts. In addition to other benefits, it will also contain a database of published court decisions, which will include criminal matters.
Electronic Collection of laws (SLOV-LEX) aims to establish the repository of the Laws and their amendments, respectively their consolidated versions as a universal access point for citizens, entrepreneurs, professional public, state and local governments.
Deployment of videoconferencing technology in the judicial sector. This will allow remote communication of proceedings parties and open the court hearings for remote third parties or when examination of person who is in imprisonment or custody is necessary.
The project for development of electronic services of judiciary to ensure creation of electronic services and integration interfaces of Ministry of Justice and courts, which will allow providing information about court proceedings and court hearings, delivering electronic documents, developing the IT system of Court expert’s electronic diary, to build an automatic anonymization tool for court decisions, to further develop eAction Portal,
to search in different Registers and to build Bailiff´s electronic diary. The other aim of the project is to build secured and trusted archive for each information system of Ministry of Justice.
Insolvency register or bankruptcy register will be an important source of information of a legal nature to make easier the daily issues of citizens, lawyers, public bodies, companies and other interested parties regarding the life situations related to the bankrupt and debt relief.
Disqualifications register will be kept by business register courts and will be a source of information on disqualified persons who had been sanctioned restrictive in business or do not have the ability to lead the company (for example, led the company into bankruptcy).
Ms Monika Mačayová from the analytical unit presented the Analytical Center responsible to ensure collection, evaluation and analysis of statistical data for the judiciary. Ministry of justice collects statistical data from the following entities:
Analytical centre collects the performance indicators within judiciary using two basic templates: statistical sheet and statistical report of the movement of cases. Further to this there is also the Annual report of the work of the single judge and panels of all courts.
Statistics collected include:
Departmental statistics is based on final outcome of judicial proceedings.
The source of statistical data on the final outcome of the judicial proceedings is final judicial decisions and court registers. The source of statistical data on case-load and circulation of judicial work at courts is the first record of received submissions kept in the Court Register and other record-keeping tools. This record serves as the basis for drawing up initial documents, which in statistical record keepings means statistical sheets. Different type of statistical sheet is used for:
- specified cases tried and decided upon in criminal proceedings.
- specified cases tried and decided upon in civil proceedings including commercial cases,
- specified cases in administrative judiciary,
- custody and parental responsibility,
- divorce and marriage annulment matters.
Copies of different statistical forms were also made available for the CEPEJ team.
Mr Juraj Palúš, director general of the legislative Section, gave a presentation on the Judicial system of the Slovak republic concentrating on:
- Legal regulations governing the judicial system
- Constitution of the Slovak Republic
- System of the courts consisting of general courts (district courts, regional courts specialized criminal court and Supreme Court) and Constitutional Court
- Administration of judiciary
- Supervision and Administration of the courts
- Judicial council of the Slovak republic
- Competence of the Ministry of justice
Mr Ladislav Duditš, CEPEJ member presented the CEPEJ scheme for evaluation of judicial systems – practical experience where he focused on the methodology of data collection as well as on the way to understand the Slovakian data. The Slovakian institutions involved in the collection of data for the CEPEJ evaluation scheme are:
- Ministry of Justice of the Slovak republic
- Supreme Court of the Slovak republic
- General Prosecutor Office
- Statistical Office of the Slovak republic
- Judicial Academy
- Legal Aid Centre
- Slovak Bar Association
- Slovak Chamber of Notaries
- Slovak Chamber of Enforcement officers
Within the ministry of Justice following units are included:
- Section of Economy
- Section of informatics and management of projects
- Department of human resources
- Office of Secretary general
- Section of Civil law – Department of supervision of legal professions
- Section of Criminal Law
- Department of judicial experts, translators and interpreters
Budgetary data concerning judicial system are included from two different sources Ministry of Justice and Supreme Court and for all items in Q6 and Q15 – it presents a sum of two budgets. Due to the different structure of the budget for some items it is not possible to separate one sum of total as for Public budget allocated to legal aid. The legal aid in criminal procedure is under the responsibility of the courts and the legal aid in civil procedure have two different budgetary items, budget of the Legal Aid Centre and general budget of courts – costs paid by the state (legal services).
In respect of the number of different categories of non-judge staff the categorisation in CEPEJ and in Slovakia slightly differ as listed:
Ministry of Justice
Non-judge staff whose task is to assist the judges
Staff in charge of administrative tasks and of the management of the courts
Other non-judge staff
Higher Judicial Officer
Probation and mediation officer
Electronic filing office
Information centre clerk
Other – state and public service
Large discrepancy in methodology is noted in the section for Case flow management and timeframes.
In Slovakia the following notation is in use:
Pending cases including:
Due to this categorisation it is difficult for Slovakia to distinguish the pending cases at 1st instance since they also include cases that are finalised at first instance but still considered pending because the final decision at the next instance is not completed. Consequently Slovakia is sending to CEPEJ all pending cases as per Slovakian definition.
Further discussion was made on possibilities to distinguish pending cases as according the CEPEJ methodology.
Mr Duditš also expressed difficulty in obtaining some statistical data concerning the type of case etc. since some data are submitted to statistical authority only at the end of proceedings and some data are not collected.
Consequence – lack of data e. g. Q 101, two types of criminal offences (Q 94, 98), Q 97.
Mr Duditš expressed satisfaction in cooperation with the institutions involved in data collection and noted that there is increasing interest in the CEPEJ output.
He has also pointed out the difference in the presentation of judicial data and the data presented in the EU Scoreboard. The main technical difficulty for the National Correspondent is that he cannot split the questionnaire and send to different sources to fill it out electronically.
During the presentations there was a rich interaction between CEPEJ experts and Slovakian hosts specialist in different aspects of the judicial system. In the discussions many issues were clarified instantly or identified to make notice to the difference in system as such or the ways information is collected.
The most relevant methodological discrepancy was pointed out by the Slovakian side and was intensively discussed, analysed and finally clarified. The issue concerns the number of 1st instance pending cases.
In Question 91 of the Evaluation Scheme the number of pending cases on 1st of Jan and on 31st of December is requested by CEPEJ. Slovakia has difficulties to provide the data on pending cases on 1st instance due to different concept of a pending case in their system. As mentioned before, in Slovakia a pending case includes:
According CEPEJ methodology only the first should be included but at this point it is not still clear if this is possible in Slovakia. There is a category of undecided that was considered but further analysis on the availability of this type of cases and its categories must be made. The Slovakian counterparts promised to analyse the situation and provide if possible new data also for the previous cycles.
Due to the ambiguity of the situation if new data is obtained it must first be analysed what effect it will have on the Clearance rate and Disposition time to see if the change will make any sense.
The identified issue is of great importance for CEPEJ and the resolution of the matter will be also applied to other countries were it might exist. During the mission potential countries were pre-selected for further analysis.
3. Visit to the Regional Court of Nitra
The court in municipality of Nitra is located in a building that was built as a court building in 1903. The meeting was organised with the management team of the court including the Mr Ján Vanko, Chairperson of the court and vice-chairperson of the Judicial Council of the Slovak republic, Ms Viera Koscelanská, chairperson of the District Court Nitra and Ms Tatiana Cínová, head of the IT department of the Regional court.
Chairperson of the court presented that each month discussion is organised on the number of cases and the workload of judges. Judges based on the workload can request change in distribution of cases.
Statistical reports are produced quarterly, semi-annually and annually. Warning system exists for cases that are not active for 6 months and/or for 12 months.
According to their calculation the average number of cases per panel of judges per month is 50-110. The impression of the Chairperson of the court is that the number of judges per case is smaller than needed since the number of cases increases in the last 3 years. Unresolved cases per individual judge in this court increased to 300.
Increase in the number of judges as well as their salaries is identified by the court management as main way to solve the existing problem of pending cases.
4. Supervision of the Ministry of Justice in arbitration proceedings
Supervision of the Ministry of Justice in arbitration proceedings was presented by Mr Ľubomír Pagáč. He described the roles of the following professions supervised by the Ministry of Justice.
- Bankruptcy trustee;
- Enforcement agents
The Center for Legal Aid was presented by the Director Ms Nataša Nikitinova as a state budgetary organization connected to the budgetary chapter of the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic. This Center provides quality and complex legal aid to all natural persons whose personal financial situation makes it impossible for them to bear the expenses of legal services in order to assert their rights. The legal aid covers not only pre-litigation legal advice, but also assistance in out-of-court procedures, preparing filings for court, representation in court (including remedies) and performing all acts necessary with the above and full or partial exemption from the costs incurred. The Center provides legal aid by its lawyers, advocates and mediators.
The Legal aid Center does not include criminal law cases.
5. Pre mission data review for Slovakia
Before the mission an analysis of the statistical data for Slovakia was made in order for the expert team to have an initial picture of the situation in the country. This was also to give background information to the experts for questions to be posed to the Slovakian authorities and to facilitate the discussion in general. After the on-site discussions, most of the replies were consolidated and validated by the experts.
Below only basic data are listed.
As the graph below shows, the number of incoming, resolved and pending other than criminal cases (civil and commercial litigious cases) in the first instance court varies trough years but it seems that the system adjust to the changes. For example when there are more incoming cases there are also more resolved cases.
If we look at the clearance rate it was going down and in the last years it is fixed on 91%. Consequently the number of pending cases is going up as well as the Disposition time.
For criminal cases the CR is still over 100% and the DT is improving.
Number of legal professionals
The number of different legal professionals per 100 000 inhabitants was analysed and compared with the numbers of some neighbouring and/or similar countries to have the first impression of the Slovakian resources in comparison with European median.
The amount granted to the judicial system of Slovakia per capita and as a percentage of GDP was also viewed in comparison with the same European countries and European median.
Data not available (NA)
In some cases Slovakian data is NA in CEPEJ evaluation scheme due to the present classification of cases per law article only. This does not allow division of cases as requested by CEPEJ and for that reason the following categories are not available for Slovakia.
- Severe criminal cases
- Misdemeanour cases
Additionally the number of different categories of cases on 2nd and Supreme Court instance is not available and only total number of cases is provided.
For the moment this data cannot be made available. However in Slovakia a new CMS is in process of development financed by a project from European Commissions and hopefully it could become available for the 2016 cycle.
 This process has been initiated by France; the Working Group on evaluation of judicial systems (CEPEJ-GT-EVAL) is entrusted with its implementation and its follow-up.