Strasbourg, 25 March 2019

CEPEJ(2018)17

EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR THE EFFICIENCY OF JUSTICE

(CEPEJ)

EXPLANATORY NOTE TO THE SCHEME

FOR EVALUATING JUDICIAL SYSTEMS

2018 - 2020 Cycle


EXPLANATORY NOTE

I.                      Introduction

Background

At their 3rd Summit, organised in Warsaw on 16 and 17 May 2005, the Heads of State and government of the member states of the Council of Europe "[decided] to develop the evaluation and assistance functions of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ)”.

The CEPEJ decided, at its 31th plenary meeting, to launch the eighth evaluation cycle 2018-2020, focused on 2018 data.

The methodology developed in the previous CEPEJ cycles will be used to get, with the support of the national correspondents, a general evaluation of the judicial systems in the 47 member states of the Council of Europe as well as the three States observers wishing to participate to the evaluation exercise, Israel (third time), Morocco (second time) and Kazakhstan (for the first time). The objective of this evaluation is to enable policy makers and judicial practitioners to take account of such unique information when carrying out their activities.

The present Scheme was adapted by the CEPEJ Working group on evaluation (CEPEJ-GT-EVAL) in view of the previous evaluation cycles and considering the comments submitted by CEPEJ members, observers, experts and national correspondents. The Scheme’s adaptation was restricted to strengthening the corpus of data collected at regular intervals and to making it easier to draw comparisons and assess trends.

The CEPEJ adopted this new version of the Scheme (CEPEJ(2018)16rev5) at its 31th plenary meeting (3-4 December 2018).

The aim of this study is to compare the functioning of comparable judicial systems in their various aspects, to have a better knowledge of the trends of the judicial organisation in the different systems to improve the efficiency of justice. The evaluation Scheme and the analysis of the results should become a genuine tool in favour of public policies on justice, for the welfare of the European citizens. All data collected by the CEPEJ will be integrated in the interactive database CEPEJ-STAT (accessible on the CEPEJ website:

http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/cooperation/cepej/evaluation/2016/STAT/default.asp).

Most probably, all states will not be able to answer every question, because of the diversity of the judicial systems in the member states as well as unavailability of certain data. Therefore the objective of the Scheme is also to stimulate the collection of data by the states in those fields where such data are still not available.

It must be noted that the Scheme neither aims at including an exhaustive list of indicators nor aims at being an academic or scientific study. It contains indicators which have been considered relevant for states who wish to assess the judicial systems’ situation and better understand the functioning of their own systems. At the same time, the data collected will enable to contribute to the on-going work regarding the improvement of the quality and efficiency of justice.

In order to make the data collection and data processing easier, the Scheme has been presented in an electronic form, accessible to national correspondents entrusted with the coordination of the data collection in the member states in a specialised data collection tool, CEPEJ-COLLECT.

II.                    Comments concerning the questions in the Evaluation Scheme

This explanatory note accompanies the questions in the Evaluation Scheme and aims to assist the national correspondents entrusted with replying to the questions in clarifying the purpose of each question, its idea and definition. In case of more complex questions this document tries to clarify the ambiguities with practical examples of how questions should be interpreted and which replies should be given.

Should you have any question regarding this Scheme and the way to answer it, please send an e-mail to Christel SCHURRER (christel.schurrer@coe.int) or Lidija NAUMOVSKA (lidija.naumovska@coe.int).

a.      General remarks

NA and NAP answers:

When answering questions, it may not always be possible to give a number or to choose between different modalities of answers (Yes or No). In these cases you can use NA or NAP respectively.

NA (information/data is not available) means that the concept/category referred to in the question exists in your system, but that you do not know the answer/data (e.g. administrative law cases exist in your system, but you cannot quantify the number of these administrative law cases).

NAP (not applicable) means that the question is not relevant in your judicial system (for example, because the category of judicial staff or the type of dispute that constitutes the question does not exist in your system).

The answers NA or NAP are very different from each other, please observe these rules, any mistake will lead to wrong interpretations. The consistency rules (vertical and horizontal) do not apply in the same way in the presence of one or more NA or NAP responses.

Consistency (horizontal and vertical): in a table having different subcategories and a total, the latter must equal the sum of the different sub-categories (see for example, questions 6 or 46).

Subcategories:

If the answers of one or more sub-categories are NA (not available), the total cannot be equal to the sum of the other sub-categories for which the answers are quantitative data.

- if only one category is NA, the total must necessarily be NA;

- if several subcategories are NA, the total can be either NA or a quantitative data (which will necessarily be greater than the sum of the available sub-categories);

- on the other hand, if one or more subcategories are NAP (not applicable), they do not have an impact on the total which can be equal to the sum of the sub-categories since this/these NAP responses indicate that this/these sub-categories do not exist in the legal system.

Examples:

Example no. 1 - one subcategory is NA:

Approved budget (in €)

Implemented budget (in €)

TOTAL - Annual public budget allocated to the functioning of all courts (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7)

NA

NA

1. Annual public budget allocated to (gross) salaries

1000

1000

2. Annual public budget allocated to computerisation

NA

NA

3. Annual public budget allocated to justice expenses (expertise, interpretation, etc.)

1000

1000

4. Annual public budget allocated to court buildings (maintenance, operating costs)

2000

2000

5. Annual public budget allocated to investments in new (court) buildings

5000

5000

6. Annual public budget allocated to training

2000

2000

7. Other (please specify)

1000

1000

This example shows that if one sub-category is NA (in this case “2. Annual public budget allocated to computerisation”) than the “Total” also must be NA.

Example no. 2 - several subcategories are NA:

Approved budget (in €)

Implemented budget (in €)

TOTAL - Annual public budget allocated to the functioning of all courts (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7)

10000

10000

1. Annual public budget allocated to (gross) salaries

1000

1000

2. Annual public budget allocated to computerisation

NA

NA

3. Annual public budget allocated to justice expenses (expertise, interpretation, etc.)

NA

NA

4. Annual public budget allocated to court buildings (maintenance, operating costs)

2000

2000

5. Annual public budget allocated to investments in new (court) buildings

NA

NA

 6. Annual public budget allocated to training

1000

1000

7. Other (please specify)

1000

1000

This example shows that if more than one sub-category is NA than the “Total” can be NA or a number (10 000 as in the example) higher than the sum (5 000 in this case) of the other sub-categories, if these three sub-categories are known but cannot be provided separately.

Example no. 3 - one (or several) subcategory(ies) is/are NAP:

Approved budget (in €)

Implemented budget (in €)

TOTAL - Annual public budget allocated to the functioning of all courts (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7)

8000

8000

1. Annual public budget allocated to (gross) salaries

1000

1000

2. Annual public budget allocated to computerisation

1000

1000

3. Annual public budget allocated to justice expenses (expertise, interpretation, etc.),

1000

1000

4. Annual public budget allocated to court buildings (maintenance, operating costs)

2000

2000

5. Annual public budget allocated to investments in new (court) buildings

NAP

NAP

6. Annual public budget allocated to training

2000

2000

7. Other (please specify)

1000

1000

This example shows that NAP does not have influence on the “Total” since that sub-category does not exist in the legal system and consequently it is treated as 0 (8000 = sum of the existing sub-categories).

Comments: CEPEJ allocates a comment for every question. We differentiate two types of comments: General comments (in specific tab of CEPEJ-COLLECT) and specific comments under each question.

In the "specific comments" area, the national correspondent should provide detailed information on the specificities of the national judicial system for the on-going cycle as well as explain substantial variations of data from previous evaluation rounds.

The specific comments under each question are different from the general comments which apply to all evaluation cycles and are located in a separate tab. Such comments refer to specificities of the national judicial system relevant to all evaluation cycles and will be helpful when analysing the replies and processing data. It is not required to fill in this area systematically but only when specifics in the system exist and the interpretation of data should be aware of it. These comments should be as precise and as concise as possible.

When an answer and/or a comment to a specific question remains unchanged from one evaluation process to the other, it is possible to "cut and paste" from the previous evaluation round.  For the General comment this is done automatically and the user should intervene only in case change is needed. In the event of an unchanged answer/comment from one cycle to the next, a simple reference to the answers of the previous cycle is not possible.

Gross figures and full-time equivalent of posts:the posts in gross figures concern the total number of persons working, independently of their working hours. The posts in full-time equivalent, on the other hand, are aimed at quantifying the posts according to the effective work time (taking as reference the full time).The indication of the full-time equivalent implies that the number of part time working persons has to be converted: for instance, one half-time worker should count for 0.5 of a full-time equivalent, two people working half the standard number of hours count for one "full-time equivalent".

Check and variations from previous evaluation rounds: please always check the data inserted. Check, in particular, the figures inserted (for instance the number of zeros!).

Please also compare the data indicated for the year of reference with the ones provided for the previous evaluation rounds and explain significant variations from one cycle to another. This is possible to see within the CEPEJ-COLLECT system in a separate tab “Previous data”. For numerical data, the system will automatically warn you in case of a significant variation and data can only be saved with these variations if a comment is inserted. Indeed, these variations may be explained by, for example, structural reform, legislative change, different methodology or a change in the interpretation of the question by the national correspondent.

Euros: all financial amounts have to be given in Euros except question 132, where value in local currency is specifically required. This is essential to avoid any misinterpretations or problems of comparability. For countries outside the euro zone, the exchange rate, on 1st January of the reference year +1, has to be indicated in question 5.

Rules and exceptions: Please give answers, if possible, according to the general situation in your country and not according to exceptions. You may indicate exceptions to the rules in the comment area below the question.

Sources: Please indicate the sources of your data, if possible where requested. The “source" concerns the institution which has provided the information to answer the question (e.g. the National Institute of the Statistics or the Ministry of Justice). This will help check the reliability of the data.

Year of reference: the year of reference for this Scheme is 2018.


b.      Comments question by question

1. Demographic and economic data

These data will enable to determine ratios allowing comparative analysis.

Question 1

The number of inhabitants should be of 1 January of the reference year +1.

Question 2

The total annual amount of public expenditure includes all expenses made by the (federal) state or (federal) public bodies, including public deficits.

For federal states, please indicate separately the total public expenditure at regional or federal level.

Question 3

Please indicate the annual Gross domestic product (GDP) at current prices per capita. Gross domestic product (GDP) at current prices is GDP at prices of the current reporting period (i.e. not readjusted for the effects of price inflation) also known as nominal GDP.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is an indicator of economic activity which is the most commonly used and is usually measured on an annual or quarterly basis to determine the economic growth of a country from one period to another. GDP is a measure of total consumption, investment, government spending and the value of exports minus imports.

Question 4

Please indicate the average gross annual salary and not the net salary in your country for all sectors of the economy (public and private). The gross salary is calculated before any social expenses and taxes have been deducted. This data must be indicated in Euros.

Question 5

The exchange rate at 1 January of the reference year + 1 should be provided for this question. The exchange rate should be expressed as number of units of national currency required to obtain 1 Euro for all countries outside the Euro zone.

The mid exchange rate published by the Central/National Bank for 1 January of the reference year + 1 is the expected value. In case of big fluctuation of exchange rate between cycles an average annual exchange rate for the reference year could be provided instead.

Note: UK-England and Wales, UK-Northern Ireland and UK-Scotland should indicate the same exchange rate.

Question 6

The annual, approved and implemented, public budget allocated to the functioning of all courts has been defined by the CEPEJ (see categories below) and may differ from the member states’ definitions. For comparability reasons, please observe the CEPEJ categories.

The state budget (approved) should be reported, if possible without other sources (e.g. without operations, co-financed by EU). The latter should be mentioned in comments.

Note: If you cannot separate the budget of the public prosecution services and / or the budget of legal aid from the budget allocated to the functioning of all courts, please indicate “NA” and answer to question 7

This budget includes:

Categories 1 to 7:

1. (Gross) salaries are those of all judicial and non-judicial staff working within courts, excluding, if appropriate, the public prosecution system (and the staff working for the prosecution services). This amount should include the total salary costs for the employer: if, in addition to the gross salary proper, the employer also pays insurances and/or pensions, these contributions should be included.

2. Computerisation includes all the expenses for equipment, investments, installation, use and maintenance of computer systems (including the expenses for outsourced technical staff).

3. Justice expenses borne by the state (or by the justice system) refer to the amounts that the courts should pay out within the framework of judicial proceedings, such as expenses paid for expert opinions or court interpreters. Any expenses to be eventually paid by the parties (e.g. individual costs of experts and interpreters to be reimbursed to the court budget  or, court fees and taxes paid to cover justice expenses; see questions 8, 8.1, 8.2 and 9) should be excluded. The amount to be paid for legal aid should also not be indicated here (see question 12).

4. Court buildings' budget includes all the costs that are related to the maintenance and operation of court buildings (costs for rental, electricity, security, cleaning, maintenance etc.). It does not include investments in new buildings.

5.  Includes all the costs that are connected with investments in new court buildings (either building of new structure or purchase of existing buildings).

6. The annual public budget allocated to training includes all training directly covered by the courts for the training of judges (see Q46 and Q47) and non-judicial staff (see Q52), excluding, if appropriate, the public prosecution system (and the staff working for the prosecution services). It does not include the specific budget of a separate public training institution for judges and / or prosecutors (see Q131).

7. Other includes all figures that you cannot subsume under categories listed above.

This budget must not include in particular (they are reported at different questions):

-       the budget of the prosecution system (see question 13);

-       the budget for legal aid (see question 12);

-       the budget for the prison and probation systems;

-       the budget for the operation of the Ministry of Justice (and/or any other institution (of executive or legislative branch of power) which deals with the administration of justice);

-       the budget for the operation of other institutions (other than courts) attached to the Ministry of Justice;

-       the budget of the judicial protection of youth (social workers, etc.);

-       the budget of the Constitutional courts;

-       the budget of the High Judicial Council (or similar body (of the judicial branch of power));

-       the annual income of court fees or taxes received by the state (see questions 8 and 9),

The approved budget is the budget that has been formally approved by the Parliament (or another competent public authority). If the approved budget had been changed (rebalance or amendment) during the year, the latest change should be reported.

The implemented budget corresponds to the observed expenditures during the reference year.

Where appropriate, the annual budget allocated to the functioning of all courts must include both the budget at national level and at the level of regional or federal entities.

Question 7

If you have answered to question 6, please fill in with “NA” for this question.

If you answer to this question, please note that the approved budget is the budget that has been formally approved by the Parliament (or another competent public authority) and the implemented budget corresponds to the observed expenditures during the reference year.

Questions 8, 8-1 and, 8-2

All these questions concern the same court fees - they refer only to the court fees required to initiate a court proceeding: proceedings will not formally start or will stay, if the court fees are not paid in due time. This should cover the cases when fees must be paid before the filing of claim or upon request of the court.  

Regarding exceptions to be listed here: A possibility for these fees to be covered by legal aid is addressed by Q17 and should not be listed here.

These court fees do not concern lawyers' fees.

The courts of general jurisdiction are those courts which deal with civil and criminal law cases.

Regarding the method for calculating court fees required to start a court proceeding (Q8.1), depending on the country this can be e.g. a fixed amount, an amount depending on the nature of the proceedings and/or a percentage of the contested amount. If the answer (Q8.2) depends on such factors, please describe all the relevant parameters in the comment (e.g. type of court, proceedings, etc.).

Question 9

Contrary to Q8, this question refers to all court fees, regardless whether paid at the beginning or later stage of the proceedings.

Questions 12 and 12-1

Legal aid is defined as the aid provided by the state to persons who do not have sufficient financial means to defend or represent themselves in court or to prevent litigation or to offer access to legal advice or information (see information in section Access to justice and to all courts).

Two categories have to be distinguished:

Cases brought to court - legal aid allowing litigants to finance fully or partially their court fees when appearing in court (legal representation and all court fees: to initiate court proceedings and other court fees);

Cases not brought to court - to prevent litigation or to offer access to legal advice or information (access to law knowing one's rights and asserting them, but not necessarily through court review), such as legal advice, ADR and some other legal services, or to enforce a judicial decision (for expenses that are not a part of enforcement  proceedings in courts).

Total amount should include only the expenses to be covered for those benefiting from legal aid (or their lawyers). Administrative costs resulting from such procedures (e.g. salaries of free legal aid services staff) should be excluded.

The approved budget is the budget that has been formally approved by the Parliament (or another competent public authority).

The implemented budget corresponds to the actual expenditures during the reference year. 

Question 13

The Public Prosecutor should be understood according to the following definition contained in Recommendation Rec(2000)19 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the role of public prosecution in the criminal justice system: "(…) authorities who, on behalf of society and in the public interest, ensure the application of the law where the breach of the law carries a criminal sanction, taking into account both the rights of the individual and the necessary effectiveness of the criminal justice system".

If you cannot separate the budget of the public prosecution services and / or the budget allocated to the functioning of all courts, please indicate “NA” in question 13 and answer to question 7.

The approved budget is the budget that has been formally approved by the Parliament (or another competent public authority).

The implemented budget corresponds to the observed expenditures during the reference year. 

The annual public budget allocated to training includes all costs allocated to training of public prosecutors and the staff working for the prosecution services. It does not include the specific budget of a separate public training institution for judges and / or prosecutors (see Q131).

Question 14

The aim of question 14 is to identify the bodies involved in the various phases of the process regarding the global budget allocated to the courts.

Various answers are possible, because, in certain countries, the management and the allocation of the budget to the courts is, for example, a combined responsibility of the Ministry of Justice and High Judicial Council. Where applicable, please give a brief description on the way responsibilities related to the allocation and use of court budgets are organised.

If you tick the box "other ", please specify in comment to which instance does it refer and describe its competences.

For the purpose of the CEPEJ Evaluation, the term High Judicial Council has the same meaning as High councils for the judiciary used by the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE) in its Opinion No. 10 and by the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ). This single term reflects the diversity of European systems and evokes the High Council for the Judiciary or another equivalent independent body.

Preparation of the budget typically refers to the phase before the adoption of the budget.

Management and allocation of the budget among the courtsshould be mentioned if this phase can be separated from preparation of court budget.

Evaluation and control of the use of the budget refers to reporting the actual observed expenditure during the year, as well as evaluation (e.g. reasons for not meeting or exceeding the planned budget).

Question 14-1

Contrary to question 14, question 14-1 concerns those persons within the courts who enjoy specific powers as regards the budget of the individual court (legal entity – see Q42).

Preparation of the budget typically refers to the phase before the adoption of the budget.

Arbitration and allocation of the budget should be mentioned if this phase can be separated from preparation of court budget.

Day to day management of the budget refers to the tasks such as the controlling and execution of the orders.

If you tick the box "other ", please specify in comment to which instance does it refer and describe its competences.

Questions 15-1, 15-2 and 15-3

These questions take into account the budget allocated to the whole justice system. It includes the budget of the judicial system (Q6+Q12+Q13) and the other categories as listed in Q15-3 accordingly.

The approved budget is the budget that has been formally approved by the Parliament (or another competent public authority).

The implemented budget corresponds to the observed expenditures during the reference year. 

The annual public budget allocated to the whole justice system should include, in particular the budget of the judicial system (in accordance with the CEPEJ definition) i.e. (Q15-2):

•           the budget for courts

•           the budget for legal aid;

•           the budget for the public prosecution services;

And possibly other elements (Q15-3):

Note: for these questions, the answers "No" and "NAP" are equivalent.

The budget for the judicial protection of juveniles includes the budget referring to the youth protection, mainly the budget allocated to social workers and not the budget for juvenile courts (this should be included at Q6).

The budget of police services includes the budget of the judicial police, prisoners’ transfer, security in courts, etc.

And for category “other” please specify elements as for example budget allocated to training, if there is no training institution (as mentioned in question 131) and if this training is not financed by the courts or prosecution services (questions 6.6 and 13.1).

2.         Access to justice and to all courts

As the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) guarantees legal aid in criminal matters, the scheme distinguishes legal aid in criminal matters from legal aid in other than criminal matters.

According to article 6 of the ECHR (fair trial) any accused individual who does not have sufficient financial means has the right to be assisted by a free of charge (or financed by public budget) lawyer in criminal cases.

For the purposes of this Scheme, legal aid is defined as the aid provided by the state to persons who do not have sufficient financial means to defend themselves before a court. For more information on the characteristics of legal aid, please refer to Resolution Res(78)8 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on Legal Aid and Advice.

Questions 16 to 19

The below questions refer to different modalities/forms of legal aid. Please indicate if a person can, within the scope of legal aid (see information in section Access to justice and to all courts above), benefit from: representation in court, legal advice, ADR and other legal services (Q16), exemption from court fees (Q17), fees that are related to the enforcement of judicial decisions (Q18) and other costs (Q19) as a part of legal aid system.

Question 16

The legal aid can consist of full or partial exemption or reimbursement of the cost, as well as other measures (e.g. delay of payment).

Representation in courtincludes all forms of representation before all regular and specialized courts (legal aid allowing litigants to finance fully or partially their court fees when appearing before courts).

Legal advice, ADR and other legal services: This category includes access to legal services outside the courts, to offer access to legal advice or information or to prevent litigation (access to law knowing one's rights and asserting them, but not necessarily through court review).

Question 16-1

In particular, add information on the procedure and the responsible institutions.

Question 17

This question refers to coverage of payment of court fees by legal aid which is when the recipient of legal aid pays the court fees and then is reimbursed. The other option is when the recipient of legal aid is exempt of the obligation to pay court fees. 

This question refers to coverage or the exemption of court fees as an aid provided by the state to persons who do not have sufficient financial means to defend or represent themselves in court, regardless if this is within the system of legal aid in your country (question 16-1) or not. Please explain in the comments if this is not part of the legal aid system in your country.

For this question “court fees” include court fees required to start court proceedings and other court fees (see Q12.2), as well as court fees to start enforcement proceedings at courts.

For States/entities that do not have court fees, the answer is NAP.

Question 18

This category includes expenses for enforcing a judicial decision, when enforcement is not a part of enforcement proceedings in courts (e.g. costs of enforcement agents/bailiffs). Court fees to start enforcement proceedings in courts are not included here.

Question 19

This question refers to costs not included in any of the previous questions (Q16-18), when appropriate.

Question 20

This question which concerns the number of cases should be linked to questions 12 and 12-1 regarding the budgets allocated to legal aid. For court cases, this question requires counting the number of court cases in which legal aid has been granted and not the number of decisions to grant legal aid - it does not matter whether legal aid has been granted once or more in the frame of one case. For cases outside court, all decisions on granting legal aid in specific situation (e.g. legal advice, costs of ADR etc.) should be considered as one case. If this is not possible, the answer should be NA, and the number of individual decisions should be put in comment. When the same decision can concern several (court and outside court) cases, the answer for total should be NA.

Question 21

This question refers to the possibility, under certain conditions, to be assisted by free of charge lawyer for the accused individuals (as stated by article 6 of the ECHR (fair trial)) and/or the victims.

The answer should be regardless whether this possibility is provided within the legal aid system or separately.

Question 22

Regarding legal aid, according to the different systems, lawyers can be appointed ex officio, proposed on a list or freely chosen by the parties.

Question 23

It is possible that legal aid is limited according to the economic situation of the applicant. The threshold below which the granting of the legal aid is possible may be different for partial or full legal aid.

If the threshold is the same for full and partial legal aid, and the decision depends on other criteria, the same figures should be entered under “full legal aid” and “partial legal aid” and the situation should be explained in the comments.

Question 24

The examples of the lack of merit of the case can be frivolous action, no chance of success, lack of public interest etc. 

Question 26

The private insurance system might concern for instance bearing court taxes or fees, lawyers' fees and other services related to the settlement of the dispute.

Question 27

Legal (judicial) costs include all costs of legal proceedings and other services related to the case paid by the parties during the proceedings (e.g. court fees, legal advice, legal representation, travel expenses).

Question 28

The aim of this question is to know of existence of official information, published online and freely available to public. “Other documents” could be downloadable documents or documents and forms to be filled online.

Question 29

This question can apply to all types of cases.

A mandatory provision of information to individuals on the foreseeable timeline of the case to which they are parties is a concept to be developed to improve judicial efficiency. It can be a simple information transmitted to the parties. This information may consist of an agreement on a jointly determined time-limit, to which both sides would commit themselves through various provisions. Where appropriate, please give details on the specific situations and existing specific procedures.

Question 30

The question aims to specify if the state has established structures which are known to the public, easily accessible and free of charge, for victims of criminal offences. It may be organised access to professionals, the provision of documents, the introduction of a telephone line or websites dedicated to information and/ or assistance to victims of offences.

Question 31

This question aims to learn how states protect the groups of people who are particularly vulnerable in judicial proceedings.

It does not concern the police investigation phase of the procedure nor compensation mechanisms for the victims of criminal offences, which are addressed under questions 32 to 34.

Definitions of different categories of offences (sexual violence/rape, terrorism, domestic violence etc.), should be in accordance with national legislation of each State.

Ethnic minoritiesmust be addressed in line with the Council of Europe’s framework convention for the protection of national minorities (CETS N° 157). It does not concern foreigners involved in a judicial procedure. Special measures for these groups can be, for instance: language assistance during court proceedings or special measures to protect the right to a fair trial and to avoid discrimination.

Information mechanisms might include, for instance:

·         a public, free of charge and personalised information mechanism, operated by the police or the justice system, which enables the victims of criminal offences to get information on the follow-up to the complaints they have launched;

·         the obligation to inform beforehand the victim of sexual violence/rape, in case of the release of the offender;

·         the obligation of the judge to inform the victims of all his/her rights.

Special arrangements in court hearings might include, for instance,

·         the possibility for a minor to have his/her first declaration recorded so that he/she does not have to repeat it in further steps of the proceedings;

·         live audio or videoconferencing of the hearing of a vulnerable person so he/she is not obliged to appear before the accused;

·         in camera hearing, excluding the public, of a victim of sexual violence/rape;

·         the obligation (or the right to request) that statements of a vulnerable person (e.g. minor) are made in the presence of a probation counsellor;

·         the testimony of minors under 16 cannot be received under oath.

The other specific modalities can consist in, for instance,

·         the possibility of an in camera proceeding, excluding the public;

·         the language assistance during a court proceeding for ethnic minorities or disables persons;

·         the obligation to hear the opinion of an association protecting the interest of a minor accused of a crime;

·         the right for a woman who is a victim of family violence to enjoy the use of the common house;

·         the physical protection during the time of the judicial proceeding;

·         the right of an association protecting and defending the interest of a group of vulnerable person to exercise the civil rights granted to the plaintiff;

·         the prohibition on publishing personal details and photographs of minor defendants and witnesses.

Question 31-1

The aim of this question is to ascertain if minors (as defined in the national legislation) can participate in court proceedings in their own name and if such participation is of a direct nature (without the intervention of a legal representative), and if yes, how.

If different age limits for minors exist in different law fields (e.g. children, juvenile, young adults), please briefly describe in the comments these “groups” of minors, age limits and types of procedure, paying special attention to representation in courts.

In this question, terms minor and juvenile are synonyms in respect of age.

Questions 32, 32-1, 33

The aim of these questions is to know whether a compensation (i.e. damages) can be paid to the victims of offences. Multiple options are possible, as the compensation can be paid by the State, another body or person. The option “damages and interests to be paid by the person responsible” applies to the situation, where damages are paid directly by the person responsible.

If compensation is possible, please specify, if it is limited to the type of offence (e.g. only for victims of violent crimes).

The general comment can also contain any other information on any other requirements/conditions for eligibility to compensation.

The aim of the question 32-1 is to know whether a court decision is required in this procedure. If the decision is not taken by the court (but rather by other authority e.g. public prosecution, executive body, etc.) the answer should be “No”. The existence of a court decision establishing an offence (and possibly consequences for victims) is not considered here, however this can be mentioned at Q32.

Question 35

The purpose of this question is to identify the role of the prosecutor in relation to victims. In some countries the role of the prosecutor is focused on the prosecution of perpetrators and his/her role is non-existent or of little importance in relation to victims of an offence. On the contrary, in certain countries, the public prosecutor can play a role in the assistance to victims of crime (for example, by providing them with information or assisting them during judicial proceedings, etc.). If this is the case, please specify it.

Question 36

This question is related to situations where public prosecutors can discontinue a case, for example due to the lack of evidence, when a criminal offender could not be identified or, in some legal systems, for discretionary reasons. It aims to know whether victims of crime may have the possibility to dispute such a decision – i.e. to appeal or to initiate a recourse to a higher authority, in order to ‘force’ the public prosecution services to carry on with a criminal case.

This question does not concern countries where the public prosecutors alone cannot decide whether to discontinue the case without needing a decision by a judge. The correct answer for such countries is NAP (“not applicable”).

Please verify the consistency of your answer with that of question 105 regarding the possibility (or impossibility) for a public prosecutor "to discontinue a case without needing a decision by a judge".

Question 37

Non-execution of court decisions can refer for example to:

-       a situation where the execution is delayed for very long and it is no longer of significance for the party or the substantial damages were taken due to delay,

-       cases when execution is denied (for any reason) by the competent authority.

Question 38

These questions concern the surveys aimed at persons who were in direct contact with a court and who were directly involved in proceedings. It does not concern general opinion surveys.

This question concerns general existence of regular surveys and not necessarily in the respective reference year.  For example a biannual survey that is implemented every second year but not in the reference year should be counted.

For each user category, please specify the frequency of these surveys both at the national and court levels. “Surveys aimed at judges” means that judges were asked about their satisfaction with judicial services etc.

Your answers can refer to different specific surveys, but also to a comprehensive survey including several categories, if the answers for this group of respondents can be differentiated (e.g. if the survey was carried out amongst all court visitors, not asking them about their role, this cannot be interpreted as surveys aimed at the parties, victims, lawyers and public prosecutors).

Please indicate in the comment any useful information (e.g. the framework for surveys, persons responsible, is feedback required).

Questions 40, 41 and 41-1

These questions refer to the existence of a procedure enabling every user of the justice system to complain about a fact that he/she thinks is contrary to the good functioning of the judicial system such as for example the excessive length of proceedings or the lack of impartiality of a judge or prosecutor or even the corruption of a judge, a public prosecutor or the court staff and public prosecution offices. If there are such situations known in your country (underlined in particular in the reports published by the Group of States against Corruption – GRECO), please specify.

Questions 41 and 41-1 allow you to mention some aspects of this procedure: authority responsible for dealing with the complaint, the existence or not of a time limit for dealing with the complaint and finally the compensations amounts granted.

The comment can include information on the efficiency of this complaint (e.g. percentage of successful complaints) and other information e.g. other possible outcomes of the complaints, the procedure for compensation etc.

Please verify the consistency of your answer with that of question 37.

3. Organisation of the court system

For the purposes of this Scheme, a court means a body established by law appointed to adjudicate on specific type(s) of judicial disputes within a specified administrative structure where one or several judge(s) is/are sitting, on a temporary or permanent basis.

Questions 42 and 43

A court can be considered either as a legal entity or a geographical location. Therefore it is required to number the courts according to both concepts, which allow in particular to give information on the accessibility of courts for the citizens.

For the number of legal entities (administrative structures), the possible different divisions of a court shall not be counted individually (for instance it is not correct to indicate “3” for the same court which includes one civil division, one criminal division and one administrative division. The correct answer is “1”). The different sites where are the courts are not counted (contrary to the question regarding the number of courts on a geographic location point of view, see below).

For the purpose of this question, a court of general jurisdiction is a court which deals with any issues which are not attributed to specialised courts owing to the nature of the case.

Please, count as specialised courts only the courts which are indeed considered as such in your system. Are not considered here as specialised courts, for instance:

·         chambers responsible for "family cases" or "administrative law cases" that are under the authority of the same court of general jurisdiction,

·         a Supreme Court or a High Court dealing with all types of cases; they belong to the ordinary organisation of the judiciary.

If one court (legal entity) exercises jurisdiction over two or more law fields, considered specialised, this should be reported as one court (in the total).

In some countries, other bodies can be referred to as courts. When they are not part of the regular judiciary system, they should not be considered here (e.g. courts of audits, constitutional courts when not dealing with individual cases but rather with questions of compliance with constitution and international law, infringements of human rights etc.).

In principle, the number indicated in question 42.2 should correspond to the total of question 43.

Courts (geographic locations) (42.3): The purpose of this question is to evaluate the citizens’ access to justice. Please indicate the total number of geographical locations (geographic sites) where judicial hearings are taking place, counting the courts of first instance of general jurisdiction, the specialised courts of first instance, second instance and appeal courts, as well as the Supreme Court or High Courts.

Please count the different sites/location (which could be several buildings together), including dispersed courtrooms, of the same court. For example, if the same court operates in two buildings in separate sites/locations, indicate "2" and in case there are two buildings in the same site/location indicate “1”.

If different instance courts operate on the same site, they should be counted separately (e.g. fist instance and second instance court operate in the same building).

Please note that questions 42.1, 42.2 and 43 (unlike question 42.3) relate only to the courts of first instance. Question 42.3 concerns geographical sites, regardless of the instance level.

Question 43

This question concerns only the courts of first instance.

Courts should be included only if they are actually specialised courts. For example, if family law cases are dealt

with by ordinary courts, the answer to the 4th row of the table should be: "NAP" (not applicable).

In principle, the number indicated in question 42.2 should correspond to the total of question 43.

If one specialised court covers more law fields (e.g. labour court and social welfare court), this should be counted separately (in this case, vertical consistency is not required).

Question 44

This question allows measuring the judicial map developments and the organisation of courts. These reforms should be elaborated under question 208 point 3.

Please indicate YES only if changes have been proposed (e.g. proposal of concrete national policy or legal document). If the issue is in the public debate and no concrete changes have been proposed yet, the answer should be “No”.

In the comment section, please provide the detail on foreseen changes. The comment should be left empty, if no changes are foreseen whatsoever (the issue is not in question at all at the moment).

Questions 45, 45-1 and 45-2

Question 45 aims to compare the number of courts for some specific categories of cases (geographic locations). It should enable a comparison of member states despite the differences regarding judicial organisation.

Definition of a small claim procedure: A simplified procedure designed for the resolution of claims of limited value as defined by law.

However, this notion of “small claim” does not prevent from taking into account the differences in the living conditions in European states. For this reason, please specify on the one hand, if the definition used in your country is different from this definition (question 45.1) and on the other hand, the maximum amount included, in your country, within the definition of a "small claim" (question 45.2), which is generally used as criteria for procedural jurisdiction.

For definition of Dismissal, Robbery and Insolvency, see Q101.

Questions 46 to 52

These questions aim at numbering all persons entrusted with the task of delivering or participating in a judicial decision. Please make sure that public prosecutors and their staff are excluded from these figures (if it is not possible, please indicate this clearly).

Please indicate the number of posts that are actually filled (at 31 December of the reference year) and not the theoretical budgetary posts.

Please provide the answer in full-time equivalent which indicates the number of persons working the standard number of hours (whereas the gross figure of posts includes the total number of persons working independently of their working hours). The indication of the full-time equivalent implies that the number of part time working persons has to be converted: for instance, one half-time worker should count for 0.5 of a full-time equivalent, two people that work half the standard number of hours count for one "full-time equivalent.

For the purposes of this Scheme, a judge must be understood according to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. In particular, the judge decides, according to the law and following an organised procedure, on any issue within his/her jurisdiction. He/she is independent from the executive power.

Therefore, judges deciding in administrative or financial matters (for instance) must be counted if they are included in the above mentioned definition.

Professional judges (see Q46 – 48) are those who have been recruited, trained and who are paid as such.

Non-professional judges (see Q49 – 49-1) are those who sit in courts and whose decisions are binding but who do not belong to the professional judges, arbitrators or sit in a jury. This category includes namely lay judges and the (French) "juges consulaires" or (in some countries) “sudija-porotnik”.

Echevinage (see Q49 – -49-1) refers to a system of judicial organisation in which cases are heard and decided by a panel, composed of both, professional judge/s (who preside the panel), and persons who do not belong to the professional judges (non-professional members of echevinage). They are usually chosen amongst a group of pre-selected persons, eligible to participate in panels, for one case or permanently for a period of time (more cases).

Jury (see Q50) – not to be confused with echevinage (Q49-1), this category concerns for instance the citizens who have been drawn/selected to take part in a jury entrusted with the task of judging serious criminal offences (guilty or not guilty) or other cases. They are selected randomly and usually for one case only.

Question 46

For the purposes of these questions, professional judges are those who have been recruited, trained and who are paid as such. The information should be given for posts that are actually filled (not the theoretical number included in the budget) and in full-time equivalent.

Please give answer in full-time equivalent (see general remarks).

The data concerns all general jurisdictions and specialised courts.

In order to better understand gender issues in the judiciary, please specify the number of women and men who practice in the different court levels and specify the number of women and men who practice as court presidents.

When judges sit at different levels of jurisdiction, they must be assigned according to their main activity. On this basis, first instance judges are those who know a case for the first time; second instance judges can be defined as those who control the first decision that has been made. 

If it is not possible for you to distinguish the main activity of a judge, please provide the data in full time equivalent (FTE) for each instance to which the judge is attending.

When there are differences between the judges on the same level of jurisdiction (e.g. different judges for courts of different competences at the first instance), the situation should be explained in the comment section.

Judges, seconded or temporary assigned to other functions (e.g. to Ministry of Justice) (if applicable), should not be included in the reported figure.

Question 47

The court president must be understood as a judge (or non-judge) who is in charge of the organisation and the management of a court (legal entity). Regarding the countries such as Spain and Turkey where one judge is considered as one legal entity, this definition could be interpreted as a person which receives the title of “President” for the entire court (and not the president of a chamber or a section of a chamber) and who is, for example, responsible for coordinating the work of all the judges of his/her court.

Please note that court presidents (question 47) are also accounted under question 46 if they practise as judges.

Questions 48 and 48-1

These questions concern occasional professional judges who do not perform their duty on a permanent basis but who are paid for their function as a judge.

At first, the gross data could be indicated. Secondly, in order to compare the situation between member states, the same indication could be given, if possible, in full-time equivalent.

Question 48-1 allows measuring to what extent part-time judges participate in the judicial system.

Questions 49 and 49-1

For the purposes of these questions, non-professional judges are those who sit in courts (as defined in question 46) and whose decisions are binding but who do not belong to the categories mentioned in questions 46 and 48 above. This category includes namely lay judges and the (French) "juges consulaires" or (in some countries) “sudija-porotnik”. Neither the arbitrators, nor the persons who have been sitting in a jury (see question 50) are subject to this question.

The answer “Yes” applies to the situation where a non-professional judge is independent, or panel of judges is composed of non-professional judges.

The “echevinage” is a system of judicial organisation in which cases are heard and decided by a panel, composed of both, professional judge/s (who preside the panel), and persons who do not belong to the professional judges. They can be either chosen randomly or amongst a group of pre-selected persons, eligible to participate in panels.

Question 50

This category concerns for instance the citizens who have been drawn/selected to take part in a jury entrusted with the task of judging serious criminal offences or other cases. It may be a jury composed for one case or several cases.

Question 51

If you select "other cases", please specify in the comment to which types of cases does it refer.

Question 52

All non-judge staff, working in all courts, must be counted here in full-time equivalent for posts actually filled. In order to better understand gender issues in the judiciary, please specify the total number as well as each category by gender. Please make sure that the figures presented exclude staff working for the public prosecution services (otherwise mention the situation in the comment).

Please give answer in full-time equivalent (see general remarks).

The different categories are:

1. The Rechtspfleger is defined as an independent judicial body according to the tasks that were delegated to him/her by law. Such tasks can be connected to: family and guardianship law, law of succession, law on land register, commercial registers, decisions about granting a nationality, criminal law cases, enforcement of sentences, reduced sentencing by way of community service, prosecution in district courts, decisions concerning legal aid, etc. The Rechtspfleger has a quasi-judicial function.

2. Non-judge (judicial) staff directly assist a judge with judicial support (assistance during hearings, (judicial) preparation of a case, court recording, judicial assistance in the drafting of the decision of the judge, legal counselling - for example court registrars). If data has been given under the previous category (Rechtspfleger), please do not add this figure again under the present category.

3. Administrative staff are not directly involved in the judicial assistance of a judge, but are responsible for administrative tasks (such as the registration of cases in a computer system, the supervision of the payment of court fees, administrative preparation of case files, archiving) and/or the management of the court (for example a head of the court secretary, head of the computer department of the court, financial director of a court, human resources manager, etc.).

4. Technical staff includes staff in charge of execution tasks or any technical and other maintenance related duties such as cleaning staff, security staff, staff working at the courts’ computer departments or electricians.

5. Other non-judge staff includes all non-judge staff that are not included under the categories 1-4.

This question should be filled respecting the horizontal and vertical consistency as described in "General remarks" of the explanatory note.

Question 53

For definition of the Rechtspfleger see Q52. His/her tasks can be connected to: family and guardianship law, law of succession, law on land register, commercial registers, decisions about granting a nationality, criminal law cases, enforcement of sentences, reduced sentencing by way of community service, prosecution in district courts, decisions concerning legal aid, etc. The Rechtspfleger has a quasi-judicial function.

Questions 54 and 54-1

The aim of these questions is to know if courts outsource certain services (tasks) to enable their normal operation, to private or other providers and comparing this issue with the number of court staff.

Question 54-1 gives a list of examples for services that can be outsourced.

Questions 55 and 56

The Public Prosecutor should be understood according to the following definition contained in Recommendation Rec(2000)19 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the role of public prosecution in the criminal justice system: "(…) authorities who, on behalf of society and in the public interest, ensure the application of the law where the breach of the law carries a criminal sanction, taking into account both the rights of the individual and the necessary effectiveness of the criminal justice system".

For the purposes of these questions, a head of public prosecution office should be understood as a prosecutor (or non-prosecutor) who is in charge of the organisation and management of a prosecution office (legal entity).

For the countries as Serbia where in one prosecution office, there is one prosecutor and all other are deputy prosecutors, the “prosecutor” is considered as a head of prosecution office and the deputy prosecutors as prosecutors (whose number should be reported in question 55).

Please note that the heads of prosecution office (question 56) are also accounted under question 55 if they practise as prosecutors.

The information should be given in full-time equivalent for permanent posts that are actually filled (not the theoretic number which appears in the budget) (see note on questions 46 and 47).

In order to better understand gender issues in the judiciary, please specify the number of female and male staff working at different levels of jurisdiction as well as the number of female and male staff who are heads of public prosecution offices.

All prosecutors must be accounted, including those having specialised functions (e.g. public prosecutor specialised on organised crime, terrorism, economic crime, etc.)

In the case where prosecutors serve at several levels of jurisdiction, they should be assigned according to their main activity. In this respect, first instance prosecutors are those who know for the first time of a case. Second instance prosecutors are those performing prosecution functions in cases for which a first decision has been made.

If it is not possible for you to distinguish the main activity of a prosecutor, please provide the data in full time equivalent (FTE) for each instance to which the judge is attending.

Questions 57 and 59

In some countries, there are persons who are specifically entrusted with duties similar to those exercised by public prosecutors, for instance police officers that are able to bring a case before court or to negotiate sentences. This excludes lawyers that bring charges to a criminal hearing and victims who can go directly to the judge without having the public prosecution services intervene.

Please specify if in your country exist persons having similar duties to public prosecutors.

Please give answer in full-time equivalent (see general remarks).

Please also specify whether these persons are included in the data concerning the number of public prosecutors (question 55) and give information on these categories (status, number, duties) in comment of question 59.

Question 59-1

In this question please indicate the training (initial or continuous professional development) available to address crimes relating only to domestic violence and sexual violence in order to evaluate how different judicial systems take these issues into account.

Question 60

For the purposes of this question, please number the non-prosecutor staff working for the prosecution system, even when this staff appears in the budget of the court. This figure should not include the number of staff working for judges. The information should be given in full time equivalent for posts which are actually filled (not the theoretic number included in the budget).

Please give answer in full-time equivalent.

3.5 Use of technologies in courts

Questions 62 to 65

Deployment/availability rate(*): this rate indicates the functional presence in courts of the devices /tools/services described in the questions.

In case of specific situations the deployment/availability rate can also be communicated in the comment part of the question.

Question 62-1

This question focuses on the organization of the IT in respect of policy and strategy as well as on their governance. The information to be collected should allow distinguishing between different models existing in different countries - from fully centralized models of both policy and governance to models of distributed responsibilities. In case there is for example one committee or similar single structure, composed of representatives of relevant institutions on national level, the first option should be selected. In case the responsibilities are within several relevant national institutions without a joined structure, the second option is considered adequate. 

  

By IT governance we understand managing IT projects, defining and setting priorities, defining and distributing budget for IT; maintenance and evolution of systems etc.

Unit/stakeholders could mean court level but also could be specialized bodies of enforcement agents, notaries, prisons etc.

Question 65-1

The strategic governance is defined for this question as a set of functions (management, monitoring) practiced by a non-specialised structure in information systems, in charge of identifying the modernisation issues of the judicial system for the whole country, to set up priorities to the objectives defined and to initiate reforms attached to these objectives relying in particular on information technologies.

This question focuses on the composition of this strategic single structure in case it exists in order to understand the different options chosen by the countries. It is important to understand if these teams are composed purely of IT and administrative experts or if they are mixed teams of subject matter specialists (judges, prosecutors other judicial personnel) and also administration specialists, technical and IT experts. In case of other combinations the third option should be chosen.

It can be specified in comment if other approaches of modernisation or contextualisation of IT with the purpose of modernisation have been employed.

Question 65-2

This question focuses on the organisational model for both implementing new IT projects as well as management of existing applications. The complexity of judicial IT systems resulted in different functional organisational models and identification of trends in that respect is important.

Different columns for implementation of new projects and for management of IT applications will allow to identify the different set up of the existing organisational structure when a new system is being designed and introduced and other when an IT system is already in place and it needs only to be maintained and updated. 

The distinction between first and second models can be in the project leadership and if this leadership is in the hands of IT specialists only with help of judicial specialists the first model is applicable. In case the leadership is in the hands of judicial specialists (judges, prosecutors and other professionals) with help of internal or external IT specialists, then the second model is chosen.

If “external service provider only”, please describe in the comment and put special attention on the information who is responsible for defining the technical specification of the contract.

Question 65-3

The aim of the question is to know whether personal and/or local/court level initiatives have an institutionalised (or established in practice) way to reach the decision making (governance) level.

Question 65-4 and 65-4-1

The purpose of this question is to see if after implementing a new IT project, there has been an impact (positive or negative) on the work of the courts. The answer should be “Yes” both, in case if this evaluation is done directly by the courts, or outsourced to external contractor.

If the impact had been measured (in an evaluation, studies or official reports), please chose the most appropriate answers and give concrete examples in comments.

The second part of the question 65-4-1 focuses on different elements that could be measured.

Security of courts information system and personal data protection

Question 65-5

The question focuses on independently organised analysis on the security systems in the judiciary done by outside audit specialists on IT security issues.

Question 65-6

Is there a legislation that regulates the use of personal data managed by the courts?  If yes, please specify among others:

-       if there are authorities specifically responsible for protection of personal data;

-       the extent of the rights granted to citizens in the specific framework of software used by courts;

-       if there are controls or limitations by law regarding the sharing of databases managed by courts with other administrations (police, etc.)

Centralised databases for decision support

Question 62-4 and 62-4-1

The question requires a reply in case there is a centralised national database of court decisions so called case-law database and the reply should be “Yes” in case it exists in any electronic form for certain cases only or at some instances etc. The second part of the question deals with the details of this database.

Separate column is included for each instance for the deployment availability of the database of court decisions. This is to understand if this database includes all decisions rendered at all instances or only some decisions that are selected as relevant to be published in the case-law database.

Link to ECHR case law: if the decisions registered in the case-law database have hyperlinks which reference to the ECHR judgements in HUDOC database.

If the database of decided cases (case-law, etc.) is available in open data: According to the “CEPEJ European Ethical Charter on the use of artificial intelligence in judicial systems and their environment The term open data refers to making structured databases available for public download. These data can be inexpensively re-used subject to the terms of a specific licence, which can, in particular, stipulate or prohibit certain purposes of re-use. Open data should not be confused with unitary public information available on websites, where the entire database cannot be downloaded (for example, a database of court decisions). Open data do not replace the mandatory publication of specific administrative or judicial decisions or measures already laid down by certain laws or regulations. Lastly, there is sometimes confusion between data (strictly speaking open data) and their processing methods (machine learning, data science) for different purposes (search engines, assistance in drafting documents, analysis of trends of decisions, predicting court decisions, etc.)(https://rm.coe.int/ethical-charter-en-for-publication-4-december-2018/16808f699c).

You could also mention in comment of this question:

-       if the publication of these decisions is preceded (or not) by an anonymization of the name of the parties, of witnesses and/or professionals (judges, prosecutors, lawyers, etc.);

-       if the data published are processed by public or private operators (initiative);

-       if the data published are processed with expert systems or artificial intelligence (for predictive justice for example);

-       if “yes for some judgments”, what are the criteria for publication, if possible.

Question 62-6

This question focuses only on the existence of databases/records for criminal convictions and if the content of these records is available to judicial professionals.

The details required are to see the level of connection of this database and its accessibility to judicial professionals.

Please specify in comments the authority delivering the access to these records.

Writing assistance tools

Question 62-7 and 62-7-1

 

Writing assistance tools for which the content is coordinated at national level: to identify models and templates, which have been produced for example, by a national working group of practitioners, and not from isolated local or individual initiatives of one court (e.g.: creation by a magistrate of paragraphs models in a word processor for court decisions; hearing minutes; summons and other standard documents).

The availability rate % could be interpreted as:

○ 100% all templates are available for all courts of this matter

○ 50-99% most of the templates are available for all courts or all templates for most of the courts

○ 10-49% some of the templates are available for most of the courts or most of the templates for some of the courts

○ 1-9% just starting to become available or in testing phase

○ 0% (NAP) does not exist at all for this matter

○ NA (information is not available)

Question 62-8 and 62-8-1

Voice recording tools are those used in hearings or by judges as part of the judicial proceedings with or without computer voice recognition feature. 

They can be simple dictation tools used by judges to dictate the decisions to be typed later by court staff, such as (portable) recorders.

On the other hand, they can be also sophisticated multiple channels audio recording systems in courtrooms that allow recording by multiple microphones, judges, parties and all other participants during hearings.

Voice recognition feature is a tool that uses recorded voice, automatically identifies the words and transforms it in a text document. This document can later be edited by court staff.

Example: In case there is a simple voice dictation tool used by all judges in all first instance courts, without voice recognition feature, the reply could respectively be: 

- “available in most of the courts”

- “not available for this matter” 

- “No”

Question 62-9

The question refers to the access of judges and all other personnel of courts to internal site where national or local information is available to them. For example all new laws, new procedures, manuals or other instructions necessary when some regulation changes and/or similar information distribution.

Use of information technologies for improving the efficiency of the judicial system functioning

Question 63-1 and 63-1-1

Case management system: this question relates to business-management software or a suite of integrated applications, Enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, the workflow used by courts to register and manage their cases. Case management system (CMS) is essential and this question deals with its deployment rate as well different connectivity and accessibility features of the system.

The deployment rate % could be interpreted as:

○ 100% the system is deployed in all courts

○ 50-99% the system is deployed in most of the courts (in all except some specialized courts for example)

○ 10-49% the system is deployed in some courts (only appeal for example)

○ 1-9% just starting to be deployed or in testing phase

○ 0% (NAP) does not exist at all for this matter 

○ NA (information is not available)

Some precisions on the terms used:

Status of case online - this column requires to specify if the part of the CMS shows the status of the case online for the parties (e.g. dates of hearings) or the content of the case (documents of parties, decisions) etc.

Accessible to parties means that parties in case can access online and see the status of their case, scheduled hearings, documents etc.

Publication of decision refers to accessibility online of the decision directly from CMS.

Both (in case the both first options exist).

 

Not accessible at all - when the parties can not follow the status of their cases online at all, however it does not preclude the possibility for judges and court staff to access and work on the case in a CMS.

Centralised or interoperable database – on the assumption of cases storage in a database consolidated at national level (or if interoperable databases exist) for all courts, the answer to give will have to be “Yes”. If there is not a centralisation of data (for example, if the data are stored on a court server without any possibility of consolidation), the answer will then be “No”.

Early warning signals – it is a question of whether the software has a possibility of implementing warning signals in order to have a dynamic and proactive management of cases. For example, it can refer to warnings of times elapsed (estimated or current) in order to prevent inventories or the exceeding of predefined threshold (detection for example of cases for which the age exceeds certain relevant period (two years for example)), or automated reports, containing data on critical cases (e.g. warnings on oldest cases or cases without activity/ idle cases). You may indicate in comment if this is based entirely or partly on the guidelines of the CEPEJ SATURN Centre.

Status of integration/connection of a statistical tool with CMS: CMS is the main source of statistical data for analysis of the work of the courts. This column refers to the integration of the statistical module within CMS and its level of development. 

Business intelligence refers to means, tools and methods allowing collecting, consolidating, modelling and presenting the data of an organisation. It aims at offering to the manager of this organisation an overview of the activity processed to help him/her take his/her decisions.

In that respect the categories foreseen include:

-       Fully integrated including BI – fully integrated as a statistical module of CMS with sophisticated modelling and reporting including Business Intelligence module;

-       Integrated  - included as a module of the CMS with pre-defined reporting and ad hoc reporting possibilities but no BI;

-       Not integrated but connected- separate statistical module but connected with CMS or statistical reporting importing data from CMS;

-       Not connected at all.

Question 63-2  

Registry here refers to the business, land and other administrative registration systems and not the case registration system as such.

The deployment rate % could be interpreted as:

○ 100% all registry events are in the system

○ 50-99% almost all registry events are in the system except some cases

○ 10-49% the system is deployed in some courts (new application for example and only new cases are in while old data is still not migrated or entered)

○ 1-9% just starting to be deployed or in testing phase

○ 0% (NAP) does not exist 

○ NA (information is not available)

The computerised registry service can be considered as available online if professionals or users can, a minima, consult its content or obtain extracts of its content via an internet service.

The only presence of descriptive information on the functioning of the registry concerned or on the terms and conditions of consultation does not enable to consider the registry as available online.

Statistical module integrated or connected: this column refers to the integration of the statistical module within the system - if statistical reports can be made directly from the system or indirectly by connecting to the system.

Budgetary and financial monitoring

Question 63-6  

Budgetary and financial management of courts: it relates to IT tools informing the heads of courts of the budget allocated and the expenditures monitoring (for example, the functioning, payroll, building management, etc.).

Justice expenses management: it relates to IT tools informing the heads of courts of the expenditures linked only to justice expenses (cf. supra definition of question 27 – taxes, legal advice, legal representation, transportation fees, etc.)

System communicating with other ministries (financial among others): the aim is to identify if the information technologies are used - essentially between courts and the ministry in charge of finances - in order to facilitate the expenditures monitoring.

The deployment rate % could be interpreted as:

○ 100% the tool is deployed in every court and all information is available in categories sufficient for the heads of courts to monitor the situation

○ 50-99% the tool is deployed in all courts and most of the information is available

○ 10-49% the tool is deployed in some courts or exists but the information available is limited

○ 1-9% just starting to be deployed or in testing phase 

○ 0% (NAP) does not exist

○ NA (information is not available)

Data consolidated at national level:  the information for all courts can be consolidated directly because it is within one system or it is composed of more compatible systems that allow easy consolidation of all categories on national level. If this does not exist, than the reply should be “No”.  

Other tools of courts management

Question 63-7 and 63-7-1

The question refers to tools for quantifying the activity of judges, prosecutors and/or non-judge/non-prosecutor staff – (for example for judges the number of cases received, resolved, transferred etc.). This tool could be within CMS or be linked with it.

The tool deployment rate % could be interpreted as:

○ 100% the tool is deployed in every court and all information is available

○ 50-99% the tool is deployed in all courts and most of the information is available

○ 10-49% the tool is deployed in some courts or exists but the information available is limited

○ 1-9% just starting to be deployed or in testing phase 

○ 0% (NAP) does not exist

○ NA (information is not available)

Data used for monitoring at national level: the information for all courts can be monitored directly by a central authority because it is within one system or it is composed of more compatible systems that allow monitoring the workload at national level.

Data used for monitoring at court level meaning if the information is available and monitored by the responsible in the court.  

Tool integrated in CMS meaning if the tool for measuring the workload is part of CMS (Q63-1, 63-2);  the answer is “No” if the data is available from other tools/sources and not existing CMS.

Technologies used for communication between courts, professionals and/or court users

Questions 64-2, 64-3, 64-4, 64-6, 64-7 and 64-10

Specific legal/legislative framework refers to the existing laws authorising in a specific way the recourse to means of electronic communication, in addition or as a substitute of the paper procedure, in order to submit a case to a court (64-2), to request the granting of legal aid (64-3) or to receive opinions/summons (64-4).

It can be answered “Yes” when a legislative text organises at least one of the trial phases (64-6) or documents (64-7).

It must be answered “No” even though there exist practices of electronic exchanges between courts, professionals and/or court users based on, for example, extensive interpretations of legal texts organising preliminarily paper exchanges.

Similarly, regarding the videoconference (64-10), it must be answered “Yes” when a specific legislative text exists for one of the procedure phases mentioned in the previous column.

The column “Modalities” is to be filled in order to specify the communication technologies used. The “specific computer applications” can for example be related to dedicated websites for which court users have access with identifiers preliminarily communicated and on which opinions or summons can be uploaded securely.

Question 64-2 and 64-2-1

The availability rate % should be interpreted as:

○ 100% in all courts

○ 50-99% in most of the courts

○ 10-49% in some courts

○ 0-9% in pilot courts only

○ 0% (NAP) does not exist for this matter

○ NA (information is not available)

Specific legal/legislative framework refers to the existing laws authorising in a specific way the recourse to means of electronic communication, in addition or as a substitute of the paper procedure, in order to submit a case to a court.

An integrated/connected tool with the CMS – can be answered “Yes”, if the data or metadata from electronically submitted case can be imported to the CMS directly (even if it is in fact manually verified before import).

Question 64-3 and 64-3-1

The availability rate % should be interpreted as:

○ 100% for all types of legal aid

○ 50-99% for the majority of cases

○ 10-49% for some types of cases only

○ 1-9% in testing phase

○ 0% (NAP) does not exist

○ NA (information is not available)

Information available in CMS: if the information that the party receives legal aid is available in CMS (e.g. to the judge resolving the case) than the answer is “Yes” and if this information is not included in CMS the reply is “No”. NAP should be selected only in case if there is no CMS for example.

Granting legal aid is also electronic can be answered “Yes” if the decision can be issued in the IT system (it is not required for the decision to be automatic).

Question 64-4 and 64-4-1

The “consent of the user to be notified by electronic means” allows specifying if electronic summons/convocations are triggered only with a clearly expressed agreement of the user. The user is therefore accepting this notification mode which is fully applicable during the whole duration of the procedure. It will be answered “No” if the consent of the user is optional or not requested.

The “specific computer applications” in the column “Modalities” can for example be related to dedicated websites/internet applications for which court users have user access with identifiers preliminarily communicated and on which opinions or summons can be uploaded/downloaded securely.

Use of information technologies for improving the relationship quality between courts and professionals

Question 64-6 and 64-6-1        

This question relates to the transmission by electronic means of data/files contained in a judicial proceeding with or without scanned documents, essentially for the purpose of developing paperless communication. 

Considering that electronic communication with the court might be limited exclusively to lawyers, it is required to indicate if electronic communication is granted solely to lawyers who represent parties or this option also exists for parties not represented by lawyers.   

The column “Tool deployment rate” relates to the estimate on the number of courts where the tool is available and the number of trial phases included.  

Different tool deployment rate % could be interpreted as:

○ 100% for all types of trial phases in this matter and in all courts

○ 50-99% for the majority of trial phases in this matter and in all courts or for all trial phases in majority of courts

○ 10-49% for some trial phases in this matter and in some courts

○ 1-9% in testing phase

○ 0% (NAP) does not exist

○ NA (information is not available)

The column “Modalities” is to be filled in addition to the column “trial phase concerned” in order to specify the communication tools used.

In case of different modalities of communication in the different trial phases (e-mail only for the preparatory phase and/or computer application dedicated only to the transmission of decisions), both options must be ticked (e-mail and Specific computer application), specifying in the comment the details.

Emails without electronic signature do not count as an electronic communication for the purpose of this question.

Question 64-7

This question relates to the transmission by electronic means of data/files contained in a judicial proceeding with or without scanned documents, essentially for the purpose of developing paperless communication. It is worth noting that this question addresses only electronic communication between courts and professionals other than lawyers, such as enforcement agents, notaries, judicial experts and others.

The column “Tool deployment rate” requires you to provide an estimate on the number of courts where the tool is available and the number of different types of documents communicated electronically. Different types of deeds/acts/documents that are communicated electronically could be grouped under the following categories:

   

-         Summons to a court

-         Evidences

-         Decisions

-         Legal remedies

-         Other deeds

Please note that some of the options offered might be applicable to all legal professionals and their judicial proceedings (such as “Summon to a court”), On the other hand, some of the options might refer only to one type of legal professionals and respective judicial proceedings. Please bear in mind that the list is not exhaustive.  

It should be added that emails without electronic signature do not count as an electronic communication for the purpose of this question.

Different tool deployment rate % could be interpreted as:

○ 100% for all types of deeds in this matter and in all courts

○ 50-99% for the majority of deeds in this matter and in all courts or for all deeds in the majority of courts

○ 10-49% for some deeds in this matter and in some courts

○ 1-9% in testing phase

○ 0% (NAP) does not exist

○ NA (information is not available)

Question 64-9

This question aims to identify some systems that are completely machine driven for example some forlow value litigation, undisputed claims, preparatory phases to the resolution of family conflicts, etc. In case you answered “Yes”, please describe the system in the comment.

Use of information technologies between courts, professionals and users in the framework of judicial proceedings

Question 64-10 and 64-10-1  

This concerns the use of videoconferencing in the framework of judicial proceedings between two locations in real time and could be recorded or not for later use.

The proceeding phases concerned by the videoconference between courts, professionals and/or users are described as follow:

- Prior to the hearing relates to all preliminary phases of the submission of a case to a court or to a hearing. In civil matter, it refers essentially to alternative dispute resolutions; in criminal matter, it refers to the investigation phase (for the management of measures involving deprivation of liberty by the public prosecutor for example).

- During the hearing refers to auditions using videoconference during the trial. In criminal matter, it can refer to videoconference with both, the defendants or the witnesses that are in another location in real time.

- After the hearing refers for example in criminal matter, to subsequent phases to the conviction decision such as the enforcement of sentences.

The deployment rate % could be interpreted as:

○ 100% deployed in all courts

○ 50-99% deployed in most of the courts

○ 10-49% deployed in some courts

○ 0-9% deployed in pilot courts only

○ 0% (NAP) does not exist for this matter

○ NA (information is not available)

Question 64-11 and 64-11-1  

This question concerns only audio or both, audio and video recording, during different phases of investigation and/or trial.

The deployment rate could be interpreted as:

○ 100% deployed in all courts

○ 50-99% deployed in most of the courts

○ 10-49% deployed in some courts

○ 0-9% deployed in pilot courts only

○ 0% (NAP) does not exist for this matter

○ NA (information is not available)

Question 64-12

The question aims to evaluate if judicial systems admit electronic evidences (numerical documents, electronically signed or not, technical computerised files like data recorded in the cache of internet navigators, digital photos and videos, security cameras recordings etc.) or an evidence, presented in electronic form (e.g. scanned documents, digitalised paper photos or similar) and, in that case, if they have been integrated in their legal framework specific legislative provision adapted to the different mode of electronic proof.

If the electronic evidence are admitted in the usual legislative framework without any specific provision (for example, admission of any document, whatever is its nature), the option “General law only” should be selected.

The implementation and/or the admission of “blockchain” (information storage and transmission technology, transparent, secure, and operating without a central control body) as evidence and/or transaction should be mentioned in comments.

3.6 Performance and evaluation

                          

Questions 66 to 83, 114 and 120

Note: for this cycle, the order of questions in this section had been changed, however the questions kept their original numbering to keep consistency with answers. Therefore, the numbering in this section is not consecutive.

Various court activities (including work of individual judges and court staff) are nowadays subject, in numerous countries, to monitoring and evaluation systems.

The monitoring system aims to assess the day-to-day activity of the courts, and namely what the courts produce, thanks in particular to data collections and statistical analysis.

The evaluation system refers to the performance of the court systems with prospective concerns, using indicators and targets. This evaluation can have a more qualitative nature.

In this section, the questions relating to both national policies in courts and public prosecutors (Q 66and 67), court performance and evaluation (Q77, 78, 77-1, 78-1, 73 to 73-6, 79, 79-1, 70 to 72, 80 to 82-2), and performance and evaluation of judges and public prosecutors (Q83 to 83-1, 114, 120 and 120-1).

Questions 66 and 67

It is important to identify the countries who have implemented at a national level a quality systems in courts (for example in the Netherlands (rechtspraaQ) and in Finland (Court of appeal of Rovaniemi) and to see if specialised staff working in the courts are also specifically responsible for the quality policy within courts (whether or not it is solely responsible).

When a system/policy exists, but it is not set up on national level, or there are several different systems/policies (e.g. at different courts) the answer should be “No” and the situation should be explained in the comment.

General quality standards/policies (e.g. quality of public services, archiving of documents etc.) should be considered only when applying directly to the work of courts.

For the purpose of this question, a system based exclusively on monitoring the efficiency of work of courts (e.g. monitoring the number of cases, duration of cases etc.) should not be considered as a quality management system.

See also the reference material on the CEPEJ website concerning court quality such as for example the Checklist for promoting the quality of justice and the courts (CEPEJ(2008)2) or the document Measuring the quality of justice (CEPEJ(2016)12).

Question 66

If yes, please add for example who is responsible for setting the standards and what are the details (content, scope) of the standards (e.g. standards for reasoning of decisions).

Question 67

In context of this question “personnel” should be understood as either judges or court staff, responsible for implementing and/or monitoring the national level quality standards.

In the comment, please explain briefly their tasks and responsibilities.

Questions 77 to 78-1

The question here is whether there are any performance and quality indicators set/agreed upon for the courts to be measured.


For question 78, several answers are possible. If "other", please specify in comment.

For explanation on Number of incoming, resolved and pending cases please see Explanatory note to questions 91 to 109.

Length of proceedings (timeframes)means either monitoring the duration of proceeding from start (e.g. average duration of resolved cases or average age of pending cases), or according to set timeframes (e.g. number or percentage of cases older than X months).

Backlogs – are pending cases which have not been resolved within an established timeframe. For example, if the timeframe has been set at 24 months for all the civil proceedings, the backlog is the number of pending cases that are older than 24 months.

Productivity of judges and court staff refers to monitoring the extent of work done (e.g. number of resolved cases per judge or per department).

Satisfaction of court staff and satisfaction of users refers to evaluation of level of satisfaction among those groups. This can be measured for example by surveys (see question 38).

Costs of the judicial procedures refers to monitoring the overall budget (or some aspects of the budget) regarding judicial procedures (e.g. costs of justice expenses per case).

Number of appealsrefers to number of all cases, where the appeal against final decision had been lodged within the reference year.

Appeal ratio can be calculated for example by dividing the number of all resolved cases, with the number of all cases, where appeal was filed, or by dividing the number of all resolved cases, where the appeal was filed, with the number of cases where appeal was successful or unsuccessful (in some systems the information on successful appeal can be unreliable due to the different reasons for which the decision can be changed at the higher instance or remanded/reversed/quashed to the first instance).

Clearance rate (CR) - ratio obtained by dividing the number of resolved cases by the number of incoming cases in a given period, expressed as a percentage:

A Clearance Rate equal to 100 % indicates the ability of the court or of a judicial system to resolve as many cases as the number of incoming cases within the given time period. A Clearance Rate above 100 % indicates the ability of the system to resolve more cases than those received. Finally, a Clearance Rate below 100 % appears when the number of incoming cases is higher than the number of resolved cases. In this case the number of pending cases will increase.

Essentially, the Clearance Rate shows how the court or judicial system is coping with the in-flow of cases.

Disposition time - ratio between pending cases and resolved cases (in days). It shows the theoretical duration for a court to solve all the pending cases.


Percentage of convictions and acquittals – can be calculated from the number of the cases, ending with the conviction and number of cases, ending with the acquittal of the defendant.

Question 73 to 73-6

The evaluation refers to monitoring and review of defined performance indicators (see Q78 and Q78.1) at the level of individual courts/public prosecution office.

Question 79

The purpose here is to indicate the persons responsible for evaluation of the performance. Several answers are possible for this question. If "other", please specify in the comment.

If more than one answer is given, please explain the procedure of evaluation.

Questions 70 to 82-1

The aim of questions 70 to 82-1 is to be able to reflect the situation in your country regarding the implementation of performance measurement tools and evaluation of all court and public prosecution services. Therefore, if such tools are implemented, for example, in one or more (pilot) courts, please answer “No”. You can explain the situation in your country and the projects that are carried out in the comment.

Questions 70 and 70-1

For explanation on indicators, see explanatory note to Q78 and Q78.1.

Question 71

The scope of this question is to see whether the number of pending cases and number of backlogs is monitored.

Pending cases are cases which remain to be resolved by the court concerned at a given point in time (e.g. 1st January). Backlogs are pending cases which have not been resolved within an established timeframe.

To monitor the number of backlogs, monitoring the age of pending cases is required.  Please give details concerning your system to measure the number of pending cases and backlogs.

Question 72

The scope of this question is to see whether additional information on timeline of the proceedings is monitored. This information is important to promote active management of work of courts/public prosecution services, as well as to prevent unnecessary delays in proceedings.

Waiting timemeans time during which nothing happens in a procedure (for instance because the judge is waiting for an expert’s report). It is not the general length of the procedure.

Questions 80, 80-1, 81, 81-1 and 81-2

The questions 80 to 81-2 aim to establish if the final statistics and annual reports of activities concerning each court are available to the public via the internet and at which frequency. This gives an idea of the degree of transparency of each court.

Questions 80 to 80-3

If this centralised institution is the same for both courts and prosecution, the answer should be YES at both questions 80 and question 80-2.

These questions do not regard the monitoring of data on performance of courts for purposes of court management.

Questions 82 and 82-1

The aim of these questions is to know whether dialogue regarding procedures for communication (of documents) between the courts and prosecution (Q 82) or with lawyers (Q 82-1) is possible (e.g. organisation, number and planning of hearings, on-call service for urgent cases) in general, and not in individual cases. 

The questions concern the preliminary phase of setting up (mise en état) the file (e.g. communication and arrangements regarding the dealing with urgent cases, concentration of hearings, notification of attendance at hearings and administrative questions).

The comment should include information on this process or structure (e.g. does it concern formal and/or informal ways, is this communication nation-wide, local or ad hoc).

Questions 83, 83.1, 83.2, 83.3


These questions address only the quantitative targets to measure the individual work of each judge/prosecutor, participating in the work of the whole court/public prosecution services, e.g. a defined number of cases to be resolved per month or per year. The answer should be YES also in cases, where a more general assessment of the judge/prosecutor is possible, which includes elements such as qualitative indicators and/or other factors (e.g. conduct of the judge/prosecutor, other activities, specialisation and knowledge). If different targets are defined for judges/prosecutor (i.e. the assessment does not include performance targets), the answer here should be NO and the situation should be explained in question 114/120.

Questions 114 and 120

Contrary to question 83, individual assessments of the professional activities of judges and public prosecutors may involve qualitative aspects. They might have an influence on judges’ and public prosecutors’ careers and may have an impact on disciplinary issues. The answer to this question is interesting to make a relevant analysis of the answers to questions 144 and 145.

Such an evaluation does not seem to be in accordance with systems where judges or public prosecutors are elected.

4. Fair trial

Question 84

Question 84 refers to situations in which a judgment is given without effective defence. This may occur – in some judicial systems – when a suspect has absconded or does not show up for trial and is not represented by lawyer during the court session. The aim of this question is to find out if the right to an adversarial trial is respected, in particular in criminal cases at first instance.

The right to an adversarial trial means the opportunity for the parties to have knowledge of and comment on the observations filed or evidence adduced by the other party (see amongst others Ruiz-Mateos vs. Spain, judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 23 June 1993, Series A no. 262, p.25, para. 63).

Question 85

This Question aims to provide information on procedures which allow guaranteeing for the court users that the principle of judges' impartiality is respected, in accordance with Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Question 85-1

Please indicate the ratio between the total number of initiated procedures of challenges and total number of finalised challenges within the year of reference.

Questions 86 and 86-1

This question 86 concerns the monitoring system implemented in a State after the European Court of Human Rights has recognised a violation by the State related to Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, specifying civil (including commercial and administrative law cases) and criminal cases.

European Convention on Human Rights – Article 6 – Right to a fair trial

            In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is   entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal          established by law. Judgment shall be pronounced publicly but the press and public may be excluded from   all or part of the trial in the interests of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society,    where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the      interests of justice

This monitoring system can consist of actions such as: recognising violations at state and/or court levels (for example the implementation of a condemnations dashboard), actively informing on violations on national or court level, implementation of an internal system to remedy the established violation (for example the setting up of a review procedure – Q 86-1-), the implementation of internal systems to prevent other violations that are similar (for example the establishment of an effective remedy), measuring the evolution of the established violations etc.

For observers countries, the answer is NAP.

Question 87

Such a procedure for urgent cases (accelerated) can be used in order for the judge to take a provisional decision (e.g. decision on the right to control and care for a child) or when it is necessary to preserve evidence or when there is a  risk of imminent or hardly repairable damage (for instance emergency interim proceedings). Its main aim is to accelerate the procedure (e.g. simplified steps of the procedure, priority case is moved up in the line of waiting cases) due to the importance of the matter in question. Simplified procedures regarding non-urgent issues should not be regarded here (see Q88).

Questions 88 and 88-1

Small disputes in civil cases can refer to small claims (a simplified procedure designed for the resolution of claims of limited value as defined by law) or issue of lower complexity (facts, legal questions). Such a simplified procedure can be used for instance when it concerns the enforcement of a simple obligation (e.g. payment order).

For criminal matters, the question aims to know whether petty offences (for instance minor traffic offences or shoplifting) can be processed through administrative or simplified procedures. These offences are considered as subject to sanctions of criminal nature by the European Court of Human Rights and shall therefore be processed in respect of the subsequent procedural rights. 

Question 88-1 aims to establish how the requirement to reason the judgements is put into practice when a simplified procedure is used (see article 6-1 European Convention on Human Rights).

Question 89

This question refers to agreements between parties, their representatives (lawyers) and the courts in order to facilitate the dialogue between the main actors of the proceeding and, in particular, to improve lengths of proceedings such as an agreement on direct or electronic exchange of documents, reduced time-limits, reduced size or complexity of documents (conversely to question 82-1 which concerns the general dialogue between institutions and this question concerns a specific case).

Questions 91 to 109

The national correspondents are invited to pay special attention to the quality of the answers to questions 91 to 102 regarding case flow management and length of judicial proceedings. The CEPEJ agreed that these data would be processed and published only when answers from a significant number of member states – taking into account the data presented in the previous report – are given, enabling thus a useful comparison between the systems.

The member states are asked to provide information on the caseload of the courts (from first instance courts to the highest instance courts).

A court caseis a request (issue or problem), submitted to court, to be resolved by the court within its competence (i.e. jurisdiction). A court case is usually registered separately in the court case register according to the state rules. Court cases typically end with a decision on rights and obligations of parties (e.g. in civil matters) or with a decision on guilt of the defendants (e.g. in criminal matters). Other acts in court jurisdiction as provided by state rules (e.g. registering in land and business registry) should also be counted as court cases. On the other hand, administrative tasks in courts such as issuing criminal records certificates, document certification etc. should not be considered as incoming/resolved court cases for the purpose of these questions.

In principle, when one actual and legal situation is regarded in the national system as more than one court case because stages (phases) of proceedings are registered as separate court cases, this should be reported as one case only (e.g. main trial in criminal case is registered as one case, and the procedure for enforcing the sentence for the same person as another case – this should be reported as one case).

Note: In some states, other procedures related to court cases are also in jurisdiction of courts, while in other countries, they are not (e.g. criminal investigation can be a procedure at the office of the public prosecutor or in court, civil enforcement can be executed by bailiffs or by courts). Such cases (where in jurisdiction of courts) can be distinguished from the main trial phase by different actual or legal questions to be resolved. In this case, they could be reported as separate, when they represent more than just an administrative task to complement the main trial phase. For example, if another procedure in court is required for civil enforcement, after the “main” civil case has already been adjudicated, and the court deals with different questions (e.g. should the enforcement be allowed or not), these two procedures can be reported as two separate cases. If you experienced situation like this, please give details in the comments.  

Incoming cases in the reference year are all cases submitted to court (first instance, second instance or Supreme Court) for the first time. Cases which have already been submitted to a court at the same instance level (after an appeal for example) should be counted again.

Pending cases are cases which have not been completed at the end of the reference year. Please provide both the number of pending cases on 1 January of the reference year and the pending cases on 31 December of the reference year.

Resolved cases include all the procedures which have come to an end at the instance level (first instance, appeal or Supreme Court as applicable) during the year of reference, either through a judgment or through any other decision which ended the procedure (provisional decisions or procedural decisions not ending the case (e.g. on parties, perfection of the claims, allowing or disallowing the evidence, expenses etc.) should not be counted here).

Pending cases older than 2 years are pending cases (on 31st December of the reference year) that had first arrived at the court more than 2 years ago (i.e. before 1st January of Ref. year -1).This answer regards only the current instance (e.g. for pending cases at second instance from arrival to second instance only).

For this category, you can answer NA if your statistical system does not allow measuring pending cases older than 2 years. For questions 91, 97 and 99, this data may not be reported for the category "non-litigious cases". Therefore, you can specify NA in this column for this category (category 2).

Questions 91, 97 and 99

Litigious cases are cases for which the judge decides on disputed case whereas non-litigious (non-contentious) casesare other issues in competence of courts (typically, there is no direct dispute between parties). The latter can be for example registration cases (e.g. land registry), where a decision can be taken either by a judge or by another person (e.g. Rechtspfleger).

As referred to in question 99, Supreme Courts belong to 3rd instance courts.

Categories included in "other than criminal law cases"

1. Litigious civil (and commercial) cases are for instance litigious divorce cases or disputes regarding contracts. In some countries commercial cases are addressed by special commercial courts, whilst in other countries these cases are handled by ordinary (civil) courts. Bankruptcy proceedings must be understood as litigious proceedings. Despite the organisational differences between countries in this respect, all the information concerning civil and commercial cases should be included in the same category. If appropriate, litigious civil (and commercial) cases do not include administrative law cases (see category 3). Any other type of litigious cases (e.g. judicial appeal against deeds processed by an enforcement agent) is included in this category.

2.1 General non-litigious civil (and commercial) cases concern for example uncontested payment orders, request for a change of name, cases related to enforcement (when non categorised as litigious – see above), divorce cases with mutual consent (for some legal systems), etc. If courts deal with such cases, please indicate the different case categories included. Are excluded from this category, non-contentious register cases and/or other cases.

2.2 (including 2.2.1, 2.2.2 and 2.2.3) In certain member states, registration tasks (business registers and land registers) are dealt with by special units or entities of the courts. These are to be considered as non-litigious civil cases. Activities related to business registers could be the registration of new businesses or companies in the business register of the court or the modification of the legal status of a company. Changes in the ownership of immovable goods (like land or houses) may be a part of court activities which are related to the land register.

3. Administrative law cases (litigious or non-litigious) concern disputes between citizens and (local, regional or national) authorities, for instance: asylum refusals or refusals of construction permit applications. Administrative cases are considered only if processed in court and not when it is only an issue under any administrative body. Administrative law cases are in some countries addressed by special administrative courts or tribunals, whilst in other countries they are handled by the ordinary civil courts. If countries have special administrative courts/tribunals or separate administrative law procedures or are anyway able to distinguish between administrative law cases and civil law cases, these figures should be indicated separately under “administrative law cases”. If the data is not available, please indicate NA (see examples in general remarks). Other countries should answer NAP (not applicable; see example in general remarks).

4.  The category “other" can be related to other types of cases (not corresponding to the categories above) They can include for example legal aid cases, simplified procedures that can continue as civil etc. Administrative tasks in courts such as issuing criminal records certificates; document certification etc. should not be reported.

Please check that your figures are vertically consistent (see general remarks).

With regard to questions 91, 94, 97, 98, 99, 100 and 101, a special formula for horizontal consistency applies:

 (Pending cases on 1 January + Incoming cases) - Resolved cases = Pending cases on 31 December

Questions 94, 98 and 100

Criminal law cases: Are considered here as criminal cases, all cases for which a sanction may be imposed by a judge, even if this sanction is foreseen, in some national systems, in an administrative code (e.g. fines or community service). These can include, for example, some anti-social behaviour, nuisance or some traffic offenses.

Warning: if these cases are included in the responses to questions 94, 98 and 100, then they should not be counted a second time as "administrative cases" in the responses to questions 91, 97 and 99.

The offenses sanctioned directly by the police or by an administrative authority, and not by a judge, should not be counted (e.g. penalty for parking in a closed area not contested before a judge, or failure to comply with an administrative formality not contested before a judge).


To differentiate between misdemeanour / minor offenses and severe offenses and ensure the consistency of the responses between different systems, the CEPEJ invites you to classify as misdemeanour / minor  all offenses for which it is not possible to pronounce a sentence of privation of liberty. Conversely, should be classified as severe offenses all offenses punishable by a deprivation of liberty (arrest and detention, imprisonment). If you cannot make such a distinction, please indicate the categories of cases reported in the category "severe offenses" and cases reported in the category "minor offenses".

Other criminal cases: In some states, other procedures related to court cases are also in jurisdiction of courts, while in other countries, they are not (e.g. criminal investigation can be a procedure at the office of the public prosecutor or in court). In this case, they can be reported as “Other criminal cases”, regardless that the main case is already reported as a severe or misdemeanour case.

This category could also include other procedures related to criminal cases, such as some cases of enforcement of criminal sanctions (e.g. fines, the change of monetary sanction to imprisonment). Please give details in the comments.

Note: The administrative tasks related to the “main” trial phase should not be reported as separate case in “other cases” or in any other category (as they are only a phase of the main criminal proceeding).

Please check that your figures are horizontally and vertically consistent (the total of the criminal cases includes the cases of categories 1, 2 and 3) (see general remarks).If appropriate, please don’t forget to comment on the specific situation in your country (including answers NA and the calculation of the total of criminal law cases).

Question 99.1

A manifestly inadmissible case is a case where the facts have not yet been examined and which is refused immediately following a simplified procedure, generally presided by a single judge, because the claimant has not respected a mandatory rule of procedure and therefore loses his/her right to bring an action before the judge (for example if s/he has not paid a fee or if s/he has not provided all the documents necessary in due time).

This question regards the check of the application (appeal/review) to be processed at the highest court. The meeting of the mandatory rules can be checked either at the highest court or any other body (e.g. when filing an application through the first instance court).

Questions 101, 101.1 and 102

Please check that your figures are vertically consistent (see general remarks).

With regard to questions 91, 94, 97, 98, 99, 100 and 101, a special formula for horizontal consistency applies:

 (Pending cases on 1 January + Incoming cases) - Resolved cases = Pending cases on 31 December

The five case categories, which are (mostly) common in Europe, can be defined as follows:

1.     Litigious divorce case: i.e. the dissolution of a marriage contract between two persons, following a judgment of a competent court. The data should not include: divorce ruled by an agreement between the parties concerning the separation of the spouses and all its consequences (procedure of mutual consent, even if they are processed by the competent court) or ruled through an administrative procedure. If your country has a totally non-judicial procedure as regards divorce or if you cannot isolate data concerning adversarial divorces, please specify it and give the subsequent explanations. Furthermore, as regards divorce, if there are in your country compulsory mediation procedures or fixed timeframes for reflection or if the conciliation phase is excluded from the judicial proceeding, please specify it and give the subsequent explanations.

2.     Employment dismissal case: cases concerning the termination of an employment (contract) at the initiative of the employer (working in the private sector). It does not include dismissals of public officials, following a disciplinary procedure for instance.

  1. Insolvency: Legal status of a person or an organisation that cannot repay the debts owed to creditors. Data should encompass bankruptcy declaration by a court, as well as all procedures connected with bankruptcy (recovery of credits, liquidation of assets, payment of creditors, etc.).

4.     Robbery concerns stealing from a person with force or threat of force. If possible these figures should include muggings (bag-snatching, armed theft, etc.) and exclude pick pocketing, extortion and blackmail (according to the definition of the European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice). The data should not include attempts. The case should be counted here when the robbery is either the only offence concerned or the main offence concerned in the case.

5.     Intentional homicide is defined as the intentional killing of a person. Where possible the figures should include assaults leading to death, euthanasia, infanticide and exclude suicide assistance (according to the definition of the European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice). The data should not include attempts. The case should be counted here when the intentional homicide is either the only offence concerned or the main offence concerned in the case.

Two other categories of cases have been added so that they can be quantified in the different participating countries:

6.     Cases relating to asylum seekers (refugee status under the 1951 Geneva Convention and the protocol of 1967[1]): in this category are counted cases for which an appeal has been lodged or a decision of a judge has been issued against the decision whether or not to grant the refugee status to a person.

7.     Cases relating to the right of entry and stay for aliens: This category includes procedures ending with a court decision whether or not to grant the right of entry and stay for aliens. Depending on the state, this could be the first instance decision of the judge or an appellate procedure against the decision of the state administration (before coming to court).

The percentage (%) of cases pending for more than 3 years is the ratio between:


- the number of cases pending for more than three years (cases which at 31 December of the reference year have not been completed within three years or more, counting from the date of their introduction before this instance of court).
- and all pending cases at 31 December of the reference year.

The average length of cases corresponds to the average length of resolved cases at this instance within the reference year.

If the average length of proceedings is not calculated from the lodging of court proceedings, please specify the starting point for the calculation. The average length of proceedings has to be presented in days. If you only have information on the length of proceedings in months (or years), please recalculate the length of proceedings in days.

Question 103

The information requested will enable to explain and to take into account the differences between the member states as regards divorce procedures, and in particular the mandatory timeframes prescribed by the legislation of some countries. Only data on litigious divorce cases should be included in Q101 and 102.

Question 104

The description should contain the following information:

-       starting point

-       ending point

-       is some time between the starting and ending point excluded (if so, in which circumstances)

-       all the types of cases taken into account.

Question 105

Please verify the consistency of the answer with that of a question 36 regarding the possibility for a public prosecutor to discontinue a case without needing a decision by a judge.

Question 106

In civil matters, the public prosecutor can, in some member states, be entrusted for instance with the responsibility of safeguarding the interest of children or persons under guardianship. In administrative matters, he/she can, for instance, represent the interests of children against the state or one of its bodies.

For example the public prosecutor can give his/her opinion regarding a proposal to buy a business that has been declared bankrupt, as well as the guaranties given to the buyer and even oversee the procedure to ensure that the law is respected, to avoid any conflict of interest and to prevent any abuse of power.

This issue is addressed by the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE) in its Opinion N° 3 (2008) on the "Role of prosecution services outside the Criminal Law Field" (www.coe.int/ccpe).

Questions 107, 108 and 109

In question 107, due to different systems of reporting on the work of public prosecutors, the horizontal consistency (i.e. received= discontinued + concluded by public prosecutor + brought to court) is not required.

The “Received during the reference year” should include cases submitted by the police and other bodies and victims (if applicable).

Discontinued criminal cases are cases received by the public prosecutor, which have not been brought before the court and for which no sanction or any other measure has been taken. Please indicate the number of cases discontinued because the case could not be processed, either (i) where no alleged offender was identified or (ii) due to the lack or absence of an established offence or a specific legal situation (e.g. amnesty) or (iii) for discretionary reasons, where the legal system allows it.

The column ‘Cases concluded by a penalty or a measure imposed or negotiated by the public prosecutor’ should contain information regarding proceedings which have not been brought before a judge (for example all transactions not approved by a judge).

The procedures (including guilty pleas, see question 107-1) in which the judge takes the final decision (including if the decision is simply an approval of a previous agreement concluded between the prosecutor and the accused) must appear in column 4.

If traffic cases represent a large volume of cases, please specify whether the data indicated includes or not such cases. Relevant analyses based on a comparison of states or entities can be done only by considering clusters of states or entities which have or have not included traffic offences.

5. Career of judges and public prosecutors

Questions 110 to 113-1 and 116 to 119-2

Questions in this section should be understood as per definitions and explanations in the standard setting documents of the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ), the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE), the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE) and the Venice Commission, such as the CCJE Opinion No. 1(2001) on standards concerning the independence of the judiciary and the irremovability of judges, paras 19-23 and the Report of the Venice Commission on Judicial Appointments, 2007, paras 9-17. Please refer to the Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)12 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on judges: independence, efficiency and responsibilities[2].

Question 110

Competitive exam is a potential condition for entering into the judiciary which consists of a predefined, open competition. It could be a way of recruiting judges, either as an exclusive way, in combination or in parallel with other procedures which enable the recruiting of legal professionals with long term experience. This competition is different from the bar exam, which might be a prerequisite to apply for the competitive exam.

Experience and seniority may either be interpreted broadly (ex. jurists, lawyers, notaries, legal consultants, clerks and other occupations in the field of law) or narrowly (ex. former magistrates, positions involving acting in judicial functions). The years of practice or holding a certain position might be relevant.

If different, parallel systems for recruitment exist, please briefly describe each as well as whether any system is prevailing.

Question 111

This question strictly concerns the authority entrusted with the recruitment and nomination, i.e. proposing. It is not to be understood as the authority responsible for formal appointment, if different from the former.

Some states distinguish between the formal authority, which may be the one that appoints (for instance the President of the Republic or the Minister of Justice) and the authority actually in charge of the recruitment process, which must enjoy independence from the executive.

In several States and entities, a Judicial Council or a special committee of selection/evaluation/appointment of judges have a central role in this process.

Sometimes, the specific competitive examination that gives access to the profession of judge takes place before a jury composed specially for this purpose. The latter is composed so as to provide guarantees of independence and objectivity similar to those relating to the composition of Judicial Councils and selection committees.

Question 112

If the answer is negative (if the authority competent for the promotion of judges differs from the authority(ies) responsible for recruitment and nomination, please indicate the name of the authority(ies) involved in the procedure of promotion. If there are several authorities, please describe their respective roles.

Questions 113 and 113-1

Regarding the promotion criteria for judges, it is necessary to refer to Opinion No. 17 (2014) of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)[3] on the evaluation of judges’ work, the quality of justice and respect for the judicial independence.

Question 115

This question aims at getting information on the status of public prosecutors, which may vary fundamentally from one member state to another. In several member states, there is a debate to determine where prosecution services stand, sometimes between the executive and the judicial powers.

For definitions, principles and terminology please refer to the CCPE Opinion No.9 (2014) on European norms and principles concerning prosecutors.[4]  

For example, if a country has a system where the Public Prosecutor’s Office is under the authority of the Minister of Justice, but its functional independency is guaranteed, in that case the option “under the authority of the Minister of Justice or another central authority” should be selected but the functional independency should be explained in the comment.

Question 115-1

This question aims to explore how public prosecutors are independent from influence outside the prosecution service in prosecuting individual cases. The question asks specifically if there is legislation or regulation to prevent these specific instructions.

Public prosecutors can be subject to instructions of general nature, to specific instructions on given cases or are not subject to any instructions (exempted, or not, from instructions from a higher authority within the prosecution services). 

If the government or other institution can issue general regulations but must not give directions in specific cases please specify “yes” and explain in more detail the status.

Questions 116 and 117

These questions concern the authority entrusted with the recruitment and nomination, i.e. proposing. It is not to be understood as the authority responsible for formal appointment, if different from the former.

Question 118

If the answer is negative (if the authority competent for the promotion of public prosecutors differs from the authority(ies) responsible for recruitment, please indicate the name of the authority(ies) involved in the procedure of promotion. If there are several authorities, please describe their respective roles.

Questions 121, 122, 123 and 124

A mandate for an undetermined period means that judges and public prosecutors are appointed for ‘life’ (until their official age of retirement) and cannot be removed from office (unless severe disciplinary proceedings/sanctions against a judge or a public prosecutor are ordered, knowing that the highest sanction is a dismissal). It is possible for judges/public prosecutors to be appointed for life after a “probation period”. If there is a probation period, after which judges are appointed for life, please answer “yes”.

Question 121-1

This question aims to better understand the status of judges in different member states by identifying the reasons for transferring a judge without their consent as well as the procedural guarantees in place.

Question 125

Please select ”NAP” if your answer to Question 121 is “yes”.

Question 125-1

Please select ”NAP” if your answer to Question 121 is “yes”.

If renewable, please explain how many times, under what conditions, etc.

Question 126

Please select ”NAP” if your answer to Question 123 is “yes”.

Question 126-1

Please select ”NAP” if your answer to Question 123 is “yes”.

If renewable, please explain how many times, under what conditions, etc.

Questions 127, 129

These questions aim to better understand the types of training offered to judges and public prosecutors. For example, initial training might be compulsory (obligatory condition for appointment), or it may be optional. On the other hand, it is possible that training in certain categories is not at all organised within the judiciary of a country, in which case please choose the “no training proposed” option.

“Compulsory” training shall be understood as training set as a precondition/condition to perform specific type of judicial tasks – ex. training for work with minors in criminal proceedings, etc. If a dual system exists (i.e. training is compulsory for certain categories of judges and not for others), please select the option which most accurately describes the system and give an explanation and/or exceptions within the general comments section.

One type of examples of in-service training for specialised judicial functions are training organised for judges for commercial or administrative matters, training for work with minors in criminal proceedings, intellectual property law training for work in specialised departments for intellectual property matters, or training for public prosecutors in working on cases of organised crime.

A new category of training on ethics has been introduced to measure the extent of ethics training judges and public prosecutors are being offered.

Questions 131, 131-1 and 131-2


These questions only concern member states that have public bodies specifically entrusted with the training of judges and/or public prosecutors (schools, academies). The professions can be trained together (in a single institution) or separately. Training can be only initial, only continuous or both initial and continuous. Several institutions can therefore co-exist or one may offer all types of training.

The budgets to be indicated should only correspond to the single budget of those bodies, and not to the total public budget for the training of judges and prosecutors (in particular, if part of the training is provided by a University or private institutes or financed by the court/public prosecution services, for example). If the budget of the public training institution includes both public state budget and substantial donor support (ex. for Member States in the process of EU integration), please indicate a total budget with the donor support and specify in the comment.

The total budget of these institutions allocated for training must not be indicated under questions 6 or 13 and should only be reported here.  


Question 131-1

If your countrydoes not have public schools or institutions specifically responsible for training of judges and prosecutors and consequently you have not completed the table in question 131, please complete question 131-1 and describe how judges and/or prosecutors are trained within your system.

Question 131-2

This new question regarding the number of in-service training courses (in days) organised by the judicial training institution for judges, public prosecutors, non-judge and non-prosecutor staff aims to gather information on the quantity of training delivered by the public training institution within the reference year.

A training day shall be understood as one working day. Please include also half-day trainings as half-days in your calculation. Therefore, if a training lasts for two half-days, please calculate as one.

The e-training courses on the other side are available on internet/intranet and they should be quantified in number only (not in days).

If a training course is organised more than once within the reference year on a particular subject each course repetition should be counted.

Question 132

Two different indicators are analysed: the salary at the beginning of the career (at a first instance court for a judge/public prosecutor; starting salary at his/her salary scale) and the salary at the end of the career (at the Supreme Court or the Highest Appellate Court). Please indicate the average salary of a judge/prosecutor at the highest level and not the salary of the Court President/the Attorney General).

These indicators represent the salary for full-time work. If a bonus given to judges significantly increases their income, please specify it and, if possible, indicate the annual amount of such bonus or the proportion that the bonus takes in the judge's income. This bonus does not include the bonus mentioned under question 139.

The gross salary is calculated before any welfare costs and taxes have been paid (see question 4).

The net salary is calculated after the deduction of welfare costs (such as pension schemes) and taxes (for those countries where they are deducted beforehand and automatically from the sources of income; when this is not the case, please indicate that the judge has to pay further income taxes on this "net" salary, so that it can be taken into account in the comparison).

If it is not possible to indicate a determined amount, please indicate the minimum and maximum annual gross and net salary.

Question 133

Please indicate any additional benefits judges and public prosecutors may enjoy in your system. For example, judges and public prosecutors might receive free or subsidised housing, especially if assigned to courts outside of their place of residence.

Questions 135 and 137

Teaching includes for instance practising as a University professor, participating in conferences, participating in educational activities in schools, etc.

Research and publication include, for instance, publishing articles in newspapers, scientific and legal journals, on-line blogs, etc. Participating in working groups for drafting of legal norms should also be understood within this category.

Cultural functionincludes, for instance, performing in concerts and theatre plays, selling his/her own paintings, etc.

Question 139

Please indicate if there is a possibility for judges’ additional remuneration to be in relation to the number of decisions, quality of their work or any other productivity criteria.

Questions 138 to 138-5

These new questions whether there are institutions / bodies giving opinions on ethical questions of the conduct of judges / public prosecutors aims to explore in more detail the institutional capacities of member states to deal with issues of ethics within the judiciary.

Such a body might be, for example, a separate institution, a commission within a High Judicial Council or may take some other form. Such a body may be addressed regarding contentious ethical issues, and it might render opinions of various strengths.

The opinions of these bodies may be considered publicly available if they are published on a website, circulated among judges and public prosecutors, published in the “official gazette” or journal, etc.

Questions 138-2 to 138-5

Please answer “NAP” if your answer to question 138 was “NO”.

Questions 140 and 141

The power to “initiate a disciplinary proceeding” against a judge or a prosecutor must be understood in a wide sense, as the purpose of the question is to identify who can be at the origin of a disciplinary proceeding, and not the body formally responsible for opening the disciplinary file. 

Questions 140 to 143

An “ombudsman” (also known as “ombudsperson”, “ombud”, or “public advocate”) is an official who is charged with representing the interests of the public by investigating and addressing complaints of maladministration or a violation of rights. The ombudsman is usually appointed by the government or by parliament, but with a significant degree of independence. In some countries an “inspector general”, “citizen advocate” or other official may have duties similar to those of a national ombudsman and may also be appointed by the parliament.

Questions 144 and 145

These questions, which appear as tables, specify the number of disciplinary proceedings against judges or public prosecutors and the sanctions actually decided against judges or public prosecutors. If a significant difference between those two figures exists in your country and if you are aware of the reasons, please specify.

Breach of professional ethics (e.g. rude behaviours against a lawyer or another judge), professional inadequacy (e.g. systematic slowness in delivering decisions), criminal offence (offence committed in the private or professional framework and open to sanction) refer to some mistakes made by judges or public prosecutors which might justify disciplinary proceedings against them. Please complete the list where appropriate. The same applies to the type of possible sanctions (e.g. reprimand, suspension, fine, withdrawal of a case, transfer of the file to another court or department, temporary reduction of salary, position downgrade, resignation, dismissal etc.).

If the disciplinary proceedings are undertaken because of several mistakes, please count the proceedings only once and for the main mistake.

Specific comments could in particular be developed, where appropriate, as regards the procedures initiated and the sanctions pronounced in the case of corruption of judges and public prosecutors, namely by taking into account the reports by the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and possibly by Transparency International.

6. Lawyers

Question 146

For the purposes of this chapter, lawyers refer to the definition of the Recommendation Rec(2000)21 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the freedom of exercise of the profession of lawyer, as follows: a person qualified and authorised according to national law to plead and act on behalf of his or her clients, to engage in the practice of law, to appear before the courts or advise and represent his or her clients in legal matters.

Questions 147 and 148

Legal advisors (for instance, some solicitors) are legal professionals who give legal advice and prepare legal documents but have no competence to represent users in courts.

Questions 149 and 149-0

These questions aim to measure the scope of the "monopoly of lawyers" i.e. extent of exclusivity in legal representation and/or to get information concerning other persons entitled, according to the type of cases, to represent clients before courts and to obtain details on their status. In some countries a legal representation by a lawyer is mandatory for criminal cases, whilst in other countries this might not be the case (a representation, by for example, a family member is possible, by a relevant association, or a law school graduate employed with the represented company). A similar principle can be found in civil law cases. In certain countries for civil cases with a small financial value there may not be the obligation to hire a lawyer to represent parties in such cases before the court.

The answer to these questions might vary whether first, second or third instances are considered (ex. lawyers have exclusive rights to represent parties with respect to certain extra-ordinary legal remedies before the Supreme Court).

Dismissal cases should be understood as employment dismissal cases. Criminal cases are divided into two categories – where lawyers are representing the defendant (criminal defence) and where lawyers are representing the victim.

Question 149-1

Please indicate other activities which lawyers may practice in your system, even if they are not practiced by lawyers as an exclusive right (which means even if there is no monopoly on the activity).

Property management should be understood as professional property management. “Other law activities” should be understood as other law-related activities, in addition to legal representation and offering of legal advice.

Question 149-2

The given options in Question 149-2, “what are the statuses for exercising the legal profession of lawyer” should be understood as follows:

Self-employed lawyer: a lawyer practicing in a private practice (associate lawyer for example).

Staff lawyer: a lawyer employed by a law firm (e.g. a collaborator).

In-house lawyer: he/she has the lawyer status but practises within a company, exclusively on behalf of a company.

Question 150

Please choose the option(s) which best describes the organisation of the lawyer profession in your system. Choosing more than one option is possible (i.e. it is possible that a lawyer may or must be a member of both a local and a national bar association). Please give any additional useful comments on the way the lawyer profession is organised in your system. For example, if lawyers are organised through a regional bar, please indicate how the region is defined, and how many bar associations there are.

Question 151

Specific initial training and/or examination should be understood as any training and/or examination which is particular to the lawyer profession, aimed at raising and assessing the competences of lawyers, before entering the profession. If specific initial training and/or exam exists but is not the only way to access the profession, please choose “yes” and describe the system, indicating the different possibilities in the comment section.

For example, a lawyer candidate might have to undergo exclusively traineeship within the profession, or a traineeship might be necessary but it does not need to be within the lawyer profession.

If your system does not require specific initial training and/or examination, but initial training and/or examination requirements exist, please specify them (ex. they may be common for all legal professions).

Question 152

Mandatory general in-service professional training system means a requirement for lawyer to undergo continuous training. There are usually organised by the bar association.

Question 153

Specialisation in some legal fields refers to the possibility for a lawyer to use officially and publicly this specificity, such as "lawyer specialised in real estate law" or “lawyer specialised in representing/defending minors”.

Question 154

The transparency on the foreseeable amount of fees is an available information to clients in order for them to estimate their future costs.

Question 156

Regulation on lawyers’ fees may be obligatory or recommendations. Please specify in the comment.  

Questions 157 and 158

Similar to courts/public prosecution services, lawyers might use quality standards, as developed by (national, regional or local) bar associations. If this is the case, please specify which quality standards and criteria are used.

Question 159

A complaint about the performance of lawyers: it might be introduced by clients who are not satisfied with the performance of the lawyer responsible for their case. The complaint can concern for instance delays in the proceedings, the omission of a deadline, the violation of professional secrecy. Where appropriate, please specify.

Please specify also, where appropriate, which body is entrusted with receiving and addressing the complaint.

Questions 160 to 162

The question refers to disciplinary proceedings which are generally filed by other lawyers or judges. Disciplinary proceedings can be within the competence of bar associations, a special chamber at a court, the ministry of justice or a combination of some of them.

The terms: breach of ethical standards, professional inadequacy and criminal offence refer to acts susceptible to lead to disciplinary proceedings being brought against the lawyer. Please complete the list if appropriate. Idem regarding the different types of sanctions possible (for example reprimand, suspension, withdrawal from cases, fine).

If the disciplinary proceedings are undertaken because of several mistakes, please count the proceedings only once and for the main mistake.

If “other” is selected, please complete the list of reasons for disciplinary proceedings and the types of sanctions mentioned in the comment.

If there is a significant difference between the number of disciplinary proceedings and the number of sanctions, please specify the reasons.

7. Court Related Mediation and other Alternative Dispute Resolution

Question 163

“Court-related mediation”: Mediation which includes the intervention of a judge, a public prosecutor or other court staff who facilitates, directs, advises on or conducts the mediation process. For example, in civil disputes or divorce cases, judges may refer parties to a mediator if they believe that more satisfactory results can be achieved for both parties. In criminal law cases, a public prosecutor (or a judge) can refer a case to a mediator or propose that he/she mediates a case between an offender and a victim (for example to establish a compensation agreement). Such mediation may be mandatory either as a pre-requisite to proceedings or as a requirement of the court in the course of the proceedings.

Questions 163-1 and 163-2


For certain types of disputes or certain legal areas, it is possible thatthe procedure codes require that a mandatory first mediation meeting, or mandatory informative session with mediator, or mandatory full mediation are conducted beforehand in order to be able to go to court. Furthermore, certain proceduresgive the possibility to the judge to whom a case is addressed to order a mediation procedureat the beginning of judicial proceeding or during this proceeding. If this is the case, please specify in which situationssuch rules apply.

For example, in Italy and Turkey, for certain types of disputes attending of a mediation information session is a procedural requirement (prerequisite) in order to initiate court proceedings.

Question 164

Private mediators: locally recognised professionals with a mediation specialisation.

For the purposes of this specific question, "civil cases" exclude family cases, consumer cases and employment dismissal cases, to be separately addressed in the specific rows further in the table.

Question 165

Please indicate whether a party may benefit from court-related mediation services through a legal aid scheme (as understood in Section 2.1 “Legal Aid”) or whether court-related mediation is offered free of charge to the parties, through other means. For example, in certain countries, mediators might participate in pro-bono mediation programs within the court, in which they offer their services free of charge, or might be compensated by some other means.

Please explain the various possibilities which exist in your system.

Question 166

Please indicate the number of accredited or registered mediators, either by the court or by another national authority or an NGO. The aim of this request is to have an objective basis for counting the number of mediators.

Question 167

The interest of this question is to understand in which field court-related mediation is more used and considered as a successful process.

For the purposes of this specific question, "civil cases" exclude family cases, consumer cases and employment dismissal cases, to be separately addressed in the specific rows further in the table.

In the category “Number of cases for which the parties agreed to start mediation” please indicate the number of cases in which an agreement to mediate has been concluded in the reference year.

In the category “Number of finished court-related mediations” please indicate the number of cases which terminated in the reference year (whether by a settlement agreement, a party or both parties deciding to stop mediation, a mediator deciding to terminate the mediation, or any other reason).

In the category “Number of cases in which there is a settlement agreement” please indicate the number of mediation cases conducted within the reference year, in which the parties have reached a settlement agreement.

Question 168

Court Related Mediation should be differentiated from other Alternative Dispute Resolution procedures, in particular:

Mediation (other than court related mediation): Structured and confidential process in which an impartial third person, known as a mediator, assists the parties by facilitating the communication between them for the purpose of resolving issues in dispute.

Conciliation: Confidential process by which an impartial third person, known as a conciliator, makes a non-binding proposal to the parties for the settlement of a dispute between them.

Arbitration: Procedure by which the parties select an impartial third person, known as an arbitrator, to determine a dispute between them, and whose decision is binding.

Other ADR”: may refer to, for example, negotiated agreement, collaborative law, collaborative practice, hybrid processes, assistance of an ombudsman, early neutral evaluation, etc. Processes in different countries may vary in both design and terminology.

8. Enforcement of court decisions

Question 169

In accordance with the definition contained in Recommendation Rec(2003)17 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on enforcement of court decisions: the enforcement agent is a person authorised by the state to carry out the enforcement process irrespective of whether that person is employed by the state or not.

For further guidance, please also refer to the Guidelines of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) (2009)11 REV2 and  CEPEJ Good practice guide on enforcement of judicial decisions (CEPEJ(2015)10).

Please note that questions 169 to 183 only concern the enforcement of decisions in civil matters (which include commercial matters and family law issues for the purpose of this Scheme).

Question 171

Regarding activities that can be exercised by enforcement agents, it is necessary to refer to “Guidelines for a better implementation of the Council of Europe's Recommendation on enforcement” adopted by the CEPEJ during its 14th plenary meeting and particularly articles 33 and 34.

Questions 171-1 and 171-2

These questions aim to measure the scope of the "monopoly of enforcement agents" i.e. extent of exclusive rights in exercising certain functions and activities within the enforcement proceeding.

Question 171-3

Enforcement agents may also be authorized to perform secondary activities compatible with their role. These activities are usually performed by other professions. Please indicate which activities they may perform in your system.

Question 172

Specific initial training and/or examination should be understood as any training and/or examination which is particular to the enforcement agents, aimed at raising and assessing the competences of enforcement agents, before entering the profession. If specific initial training and/or exam exists but is not the only way to access the profession, please choose “yes” and describe the system, indicating the different possibilities in the comment section.

If your system does not require specific initial training and/or examination, but initial training and/or examination requirements exist, please specify them (ex. they may be common for all legal professions).

Question 172-1

Mandatory general continuous or in-service training is a requirement for enforcement agents to undergo continuous professional training, usually organised within a chamber, association, or judicial training institution.

Question 173

Please choose the option(s) which best describes the organisation of the enforcement agent profession in your system. Choosing more than one option is possible (i.e. it is possible that an enforcement agent may or must be a member of both a local and a national body). Please give any additional useful comments on the way the enforcement agent profession is organised in your system. For example, if enforcement agent are organised through a regional body, please indicate how the region is defined, and how many bodies there are.

Questions 174, 175 and 176

These questions aim to provide information on the way enforcement fees are determined and on the possibility for users to have easy access to prior information on the foreseeable amount of fees requested by an enforcement agent to execute the judicial decision.

The transparency on the foreseeable amount of fees is an available information to clients in order for them to estimate their future costs.

Question 175

Please indicate the answer which best describes your system, indicating in the comments section any possible exceptions. For example, an obligatory fee scale might exist, although in certain cases, fees might be negotiated otherwise.

Question 176

Rules on fees may be provided in laws and bylaws, or in standards of professional associations. Please indicate in the comments section the nature of the rules and, if they do not exist, how fees are calculated. 

Questions 177, 178 and 179

Enforcement agents are entrusted with public duties. It is therefore important to know who supervises them, even if their status can be very different. In addition, it is important to know if specific quality criteria are used in the profession of the enforcement agents and which criteria are defined.

Question 181

Please describe the systems for enforcement of domestic court decisions rendered against public authorities, if specific mechanisms and their supervision are established in your system. For example, a party might have to address a certain authority in these cases, prior to initiating the regular enforcement proceeding, or an entirely specific enforcement proceeding might be set up.

Question 182

Taking into account the amount of cases brought before the European Court of Human Rights regarding, in particular, the non-execution of court decisions rendered against public (national, regional of local) authorities, it might be interesting, in order to better assess the situation in the member states, to comment specifically on this situation, if you consider it as a major issue in your country.

Question 183

The previous evaluation rounds have proven that all the countries have in their legislation a possibility for complaints which can be filed by users against enforcement agents. The answers should provide more information on the reasons of such complaints and if a quality policy has been defined for the enforcement agents.

Question 184

Please indicate, where appropriate, which are the items that your country wishes to improve on, which are the foreseen or the adopted measures undertaken to improve the situation and, where appropriate, which are the difficulties in this field. In other words, please evaluate the situation in the country concerning the enforcement procedures.

Question 185

This question refers to the implementation of a statistical system enabling to indicate, in number of days for example, the length of the enforcement procedure as such, from the time the parties receive the decision.

One of the reasons for the difficulty to keep a statistical data base in this field can be that, in civil matters, the execution of the decision depends on the wish of the winning party.

Question 186

The aim of this question is to compare the situation between countries concerning the notification of the judicial decision enabling the enforcement procedure to begin.

Questions 187 and 188

The terms: breach of ethical standards, professional inadequacy and criminal offence refer to acts susceptible to lead to disciplinary proceedings being brought against the enforcement agent. Please complete the list if appropriate. Idem regarding the different types of sanctions possible (for example reprimand, suspension, withdrawal from case, fine).

Questions 190 and 191

These questions are related to fines and not to criminal asset recovery. They should be understood as how many imposed fines are in fact enforced in criminal proceedings, in the reference year, and studies thereto related.

9. Notaries

A notary is a legal official who has been entrusted by the public authority with the safeguarding of the freedom of consent and the protection of the rightful interests of individuals. A signature by the notary confers authenticity to legal acts. As a guarantor of legal security, the notary has an important role to play in limiting litigation between parties. Thereby, he/she is a major actor in preventive justice.

A distinction must be made between Latin-type/civil law notaries and “notaries public”, who do not have the same competences.

Question 192

This question aims to gain insight into the status of the notary profession within various systems. It differentiates systems where the notary practices a fully private function, with no public intervention (first choice), those where, while exercising an independent profession, the notary is entrusted with a public power (second choice) and therefore is in some respects controlled or supervised by public authorities (for instance the public prosecutor, judge, or Ministry of Justice) and systems where notaries execute their duties as public officials/agents, paid by the public authority (third choice).

Therefore, notaries may practice as:

1)     independent private professionals, without control from any public authority

2)     professionals appointed by the State

3)     public officials

 

If none of the above options describes your system please indicate “other” and specify the status.

This question also aims to gain insight into the gender balance within the profession.

Question 192-1

Please answer affirmatively if a diploma of a law school is an access condition; relevant legal professional experience should be understood broadly, such as working in a notary or law office, or working as a lawyer or in a court; professional training should be understood as specific notarial professional training; exam should be understood as any specific notarial exam.  If your system involves an appointment procedure which in turn involves the state (ex. divided competences of the Chamber of Notaries and the Ministry of Justice) please answer affirmatively and give explanations in the comment section.

Question 192-2

An appointment for an undetermined period means that notaries are appointed for ‘life’ (until their official age of retirement) and cannot be removed from office (unless severe disciplinary proceedings/sanctions against a notary are ordered, knowing that the highest sanction is a dismissal or cancelation of their licence).

Questions 194 and 194-1

The activities notaries perform vary considerably from one state or entity to another. Whereas the “authenticity” in the case of notaries public covers only the signature, the main competence of Latin type notaries is the “authentication” of legal acts. This consists of providing authenticity regarding the identity of the parties, their capacity and their informed consent as well as the lawfulness of the content. It should be noted that when Latin type notaries certify signatures, the certification might also entail the check of legal capacity of the parties involved and the examination of the content of the proposed transaction, as for example in Austria and Germany.

-       Authentication is the receiving and recording of an act by a public official – in particular a notary – who:

o    has jurisdiction (geographical jurisdiction in particular)

o    complies with the conditions as to form prescribed for an authentic act.

This authentication endows the act with the status of an “authentic act”, with the result that the matters recorded by the public official are held to be truthful, unless forgery is established by judicial process.

-       Certification (certification) is purely material recognition of the signature of a named person: it consists of an attestation that the signature subscribed to an act or a document of any kind is indeed that of the person purporting to have signed it. The certification of a signature by a notary can relate only to "actes sous seing privés" (private documents). The notary need only to compare the signature presented to him/her with the signature appearing on an official document in the name of the person concerned or on a document which s/he knows for certain to have been signed by that person.

-       Legality control of documents submitted by the parties (legalisation; meaning: "to render legal"). It is an attestation by which a public agent, an official, who has authority in that regard, attests to the genuineness of the signature affixed to a public or private act and, in the case of a public act, as to the capacity in which the signatory acted and, where appropriate, the identity of the seal appearing on the act in order that it may be accepted as genuine wherever produced. The apostil is a form of legalisation.

-        “Mediation”: a voluntary, confidential and structured dispute resolution process in which a neutral and independent person/s assist(s) the parties in facilitating the communication between them in order to help them resolve their difficulties and reach an agreement. It exists primarily in commercial, family and civil matters, as well as social, administrative and criminal matters. The process is non-binding as the mediator does not have the authority to impose upon the parties a solution to the dispute.

Question 194-1

Please indicate the activities in which notaries have exclusive rights, if any. For activities in which only notaries have exclusive rights, only notaries are permitted to exercise them, or are exclusively granted authority (and in many countries, an obligation) to do so (for example, to perform real estate transfer or conveyance or to draft certain types of contracts).

For example, a notary may be entrusted with certification of signatures, along with courts or local municipalities (with citizens having the right to choose where to certify acts, ex. based on monetary considerations or proximity). On the other hand, a notary may have exclusive rights in some systems of certification of signatures, in which case parties may receive such a service only from notaries.

In some countries, notaries perform inheritance or consensual divorce proceedings, in parallel with the courts. In case where activities may be performed by other professionals or authorities, it would be useful to indicate so in the general comments as well as whether parties are free to choose who will perform the activity.

Question 194-2

Please state the general areas of law in which notaries perform their activities within your system.

Question 194-3

This is a new question, aimed at exploring the use of information technology in notarial systems. Please indicate whether notaries use digital systems for establishing authentic instruments (ex. authentic deeds may be created and valid in digital form), or for the purpose of establishing of records of the authentic instruments (ex. digitalising notarial deeds to create an e-Archive).

Please describe the various ways digital technology is used in your notarial system, including any possible electronic interconnections between notarial systems and registries with other court or public registries.

Question 195

Depending on the status of notaries, various supervising and monitoring bodies and authorities may exist, in parallel. If no authority is entrusted with supervising and monitoring, please specify in the comment.

Question 196-1

General continuous or in-service training is a requirement for notaries to undergo continuous professional training, usually organised within a chamber, association, or judicial training institution. It should be differentiated from specific initial training and/or examination.

10. Court interpreters

Questions 197 to 201

Court interpreters play a major role in guaranteeing access to the judge for the court users who do not have the ability to understand and/or speak the official language of the court. For some countries, quality criteria were defined and interpreters are certified.

To get a better understanding of the role of court interpreters in court proceedings four general questions have been asked. Some questions are derived from the report Hertog e. and van Gucht J. (2008), Status Quaestionis: questionnaire on the provision of legal interpreting and translation in the EU, Intersentia (Antwerp, Oxford, Portland). 

Question 197

"Protected title" means that a person cannot claim the title of interpreter of his/her own, without the benefit of an agreement or another form of official recognition, which may be given by the court or by an administrative body, for example on the basis of diploma or tests, and sometimes of an oath.

Question 198

Please indicate “yes” if the status, role, fees, or any activity of interpreters are regulated by laws or bylaws in your system. Please describe in the comments.

Question 199

Please indicate the number of accredited or registered interpreters, either by the court or by another authority. The objective of this request is to have an objective basis for counting the number of interpreters.

Question 200

It should be noted that for this question, the criteria mentioned concern the quality of the interpretation that is given and not the quality of the interpreters.

Question 201

The interpreters can be recruited and/or appointed by the court, either for a long term of office (for instance, they can be registered on a list on which the judge can choose the interpreter for given proceedings) or on a case by case basis, according to the specific needs in a given proceeding.

11. Judicial experts

Question 202

The role and function of experts are very different depending on their position within the procedure, which varies especially between continental and common law systems.

There is a need to differentiate several types of experts:

If your system cannot be described by any of the above categories, please choose “other” and explain in the comment.

For more reference, please see: CEPEJ Guidelines on the role of court-appointed experts in judicial proceedings of Council of Europe’s Member States.

Questions 202-2 to 202-3

Questions 202-2 to 202-3 have been added to analyse in more detail and compare the system of registration/licencing which exists in various jurisdictions.

Question 203

"Protected title" means that a person cannot claim the title of expert of his/her own, without the benefit of an agreement or another form of official recognition, which may be given by the court or by an administrative body, for example on the basis of diploma or tests, and sometimes of an oath.

Question 204

Please indicate “yes” if the status, role, fees, or any activity of the experts are regulated by laws or bylaws in your system. Please describe in the comments.

Question 204-1

This question relates to the duty to report potential conflicts of interests by the judicial expert. You would answer positively if the expert needs to report, for example, that s/he is related to or affiliated with any of the parties in the dispute or has a connection to the facts of the case (ex. civil engineer involved in oversight of building development entrusted with giving judicial expertise on certain engineering aspects of the development project).

Question 205

Please indicate the number of accredited or registered experts, either by the court or by another authority. The objective of this request is to have an objective basis for counting the number of judicial experts.

Question 205-1

Please describe your system with respect to expert remuneration. For example, it may be freely negotiated with the parties, set by the court, set or recommended by a bylaw or other regulation, or there may be a combination of systems.

Question 206

Experts may be, for example, obliged to defend their expert opinion/report at a court hearing, and to hand in the report within a time specified by the court or a regulation. They may also be bound by autonomous codes of conduct or professional standards.

Question 206-1

When indicating the number of cases where expert opinion was ordered by a judge or requested by the parties, please count only the number of court cases regardless of the number of expertise requested in each case (for example, if three expert opinions were conducted within a civil proceeding – commissioned by each party and another opinion commissioned by the court, please count as one court case).

Question 207

Judicial experts can be recruited and/or appointed by the court, either for a long term of office (for instance, they can be registered on a list on which the judge can choose the experts for given proceedings) or on a case by case basis, according to the specific needs in a given proceeding.

Question 207-1

The question aims to gain insight into the role of the judge in controlling of the progress of conducting of the expertise i.e. the judicial control of the progress of the work of experts. Please indicate in the general comments how judges control the work of experts in terms of timeframes, accuracy and precision of expertise, etc.

12. Foreseen reforms

Question 208

As a conclusion, this question offers the possibility to indicate general or more specific information on the on-going and planned reforms to be undertaken to improve the quality and the efficiency of justice. Please try to classify the presented reforms in the proposed categories. If strategies on the judiciary are adopted, please provide links to the texts, if available.

High Judicial Council should under this question be understood as any and all institutions independent of the executive and the legislature, responsible for various governance functions in relation to the judiciary. The Council(s) could be composed of one institution, such as the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina, or separate institutions for judges and prosecutors.



[1]1951 Convention and 1967 protocol relating to the status of refugees: Article 1 - definition of the term “refugee” A. For the purposes of the present Convention, the term “refugee” shall apply to any person who:(1) Has been considered a refugee under the Arrangements of 12 May 1926 and 30 June 1928 or under the Conventions of 28 October 1933 and 10 February 1938, the Protocol of 14 September 1939 or the Constitution of the International Refugee Organization; Decisions of non-eligibility taken by the International Refugee Organization during the period of its activities shall not prevent the status of refugee being accorded to persons who fulfil the conditions of paragraph 2 of this section;

(2) owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it. In the case of a person who has more than one nationality, the term “the country of his nationality” shall mean each of the countries of which he is a national, and a person shall not be deemed to be lacking the protection of the country of his nationality if, without any valid reason based on well-founded fear, he has not availed himself of the protection of one of the countries of which he is a national.