Strasbourg, 1 February 2019
EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR THE EFFICIENCY OF JUSTICE
WORKING GROUP ON THE EVALUATION OF JUDICIAL SYSTEMS
31 January – 1st February 2019
Document prepared by the Secretariat
Directorate General I – Human Rights and Rule of Law
1. The Working Group on the evaluation of judicial systems (CEPEJ-GT-EVAL) of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) held its 36th meeting on 31 January – 1 February 2019 in Paris (France), with Jaša VRABEC (Slovenia) in the chair.
2. The agenda appears in Appendix I and the list of participants in Appendix II to this report.
I. Information BY THE Working Group and the SECRETARIAT
3. The Secretariat introduced to the Working group its new colleague Milan NIKOLIC who will work in the team in charge of the evaluation of judicial systems.
II. EVALUATION CYCLE 2018 – 2020
Scheme for the 2020 exercice (2018 data)
4. The Working group continues reviewing the draft revised Scheme (Document CEPEJ(2018)16) question by question and makes a number of additional amendments.
5. It asks the Working Group of the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE), which is meeting soon, to give its opinion on the list of performance and quality indicators concerning prosecutors contained in the Scheme.
6. The CEPEJ-GT-EVAL requests the Secretariat to prepare a finalized version of the Scheme in order to update CEPEJ-COLLECT. The latter will be open to national correspondents for the new cycle on 1 March 2019. It also instructs the experts Tine STEGOVEC (Slovenia) and Ivana NINCIC (Serbia) to finalise the revision of the explanatory note accordingly.
7. The next meeting of national correspondents will take place on 7 March 2019 in Strasbourg. The purpose of this meeting will be to present the revised Scheme and the new work schedule.
8. Simone KRESS (Germany) expressed the wish that an exchange of views on the replies contained in the Scheme could also be held, as had been the case during the revision of the Scheme.
Structure of the next Evaluation Report
9. The Working Group confirms its willingness to change the presentation and the structure of the next evaluation report (2018-2020 cycle), following a decision of the CEPEJ to this effect (adopted at the CEPEJ Plenary Assembly in December 2018).
10. The CEPEJ-GT-EVAL agrees on the following points:
· the report (“paper version") should be shorter and focused on analyses of trends;
· the report could encompass country fiches containing the main raw data on their judiciail systems, essentially quantitative but also qualitative, without analysis, compared to the European median. These summory fiches could, for example, make it easier to group States by "clusters", depending on the topic under consideration;
· provided that no additional questions are added to the future revised Scheme, the report could focus on a specific theme: the quality of judicial systems, court organisation, gender equality within judicial systems or alternatives to prosecution (in collaboration with the CEPEJ-GT-MED);
· the experts entrusted with the drafting of the different chapters should be chosen earlier, as soon as the chapters are defined;
11. The CEPEJ-GT-EVAL assigned the Secretariat to make a proposal for a template of country fiche based on the model of what is being done for the CEPEJ study for the EU Scoreboard, detailing its content. Discussions on the new structure and presentation of the future report should be continued within its next meeting in September.
III. Coopération with the European Commission
a. Study on the functioning of the judicial systems within the EU Member States (Scoreboard Justice)
12. The Secretariats informs the Working group that the CEPEJ Study on the functioning of the judicial systems within the EU Member States was submitted to the European Commission in compliance with the time limits set, i.e.:
- a first part containing the 183 data tables accompanied by the comments of the national correspondants by 15 November last;
- the country fiches as well as a revised version of the data tables and comments, including German data, by 31 December last.
13. The Secretariat emphasizes the good cooperation with the German authorities for this data collection: the data were delivered later than for the other participating countries, while respecting the deadlines set by the European Commission; the bulk of the data were collected for the whole country and therefore did not, as in the past, constitute an aggregation of data from different Länder.
b. New CEPEJ Study on indicators for the Western Balkans
14. The CEPEJ Secretariat informs the Working Group of the further negotitiation of a cooperation program aimed at assessing the progress within the judicial systems of the candidates to the EU from Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo*, called for the needs of this program “Beneficiaries”), in compliance with the CEPEJ methodology. This cooperation should be implemented under the Horizontal Facility II, funded by the European Union, and should start in May 2019, over a 36 months period.
15. The CEPEJ-GT-EVAL examines within this frame the questionnaire conceived by a small team of the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL during a meeting held in Belgrade in November 2018 (Document CEPEJ-EVAL(2018)24bis). The questionnaire has been elaborated based on a list of indicators agreed between the European Commission (EC) and the CEPEJ. Only questions concerning the new indicators are examined at this stage, the other questions being taken from the CEPEJ Evaluation Scheme. These new indicators concern : recruitment, training, accountability, integrity or corruption, declaration of assets, conflict of interests, discipline, council for the judiciary.
16. The Group welcomes the excellent cooperation with the Secretariat of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) at this stage and considers that this programme can only be carried out by strengthening such cooperation, as GRECO’s work in the States concerned is very advanced and essential. The evaluation of judicial systems via the questionnaire and CEPEJ-COLLECT would thus be carried out in parallel with an annual follow-up of the implementation of the GRECO Recommendations issued as part of its IV Evaluation cycle.
17. The Working Group draws the attention to the difficulty in obtaining reliable replies to questions on corruption and the integrity of justice professionals and opts for qualitative questions rather than questions that can be answered with a yes or no reply.
18. The Working Group has an exchange of views with Martijn QUINN, Deputy Head of Unit in the EC DG Justice, on the modalities of this cooperation, namely on the timetable of work and more particularly on the time needed to obtain the 2019 data from the Beneficiaries, to carry out data quality control and to prepare the report in early 2020. M. QUINN indicates that the EC priority is to collect the most recent data possible in order to submit them to the data quality control provided for by the CEPEJ methodology and thus guarantee their quality. The aim is to include these data in te “country reports” released by the EC in April/May.
19. The Group notes that the EC has already consulted the Beneficiaries on the time needed to collect the 2019 data and that it would be 2 months (end of February 2020). However, it observes that this consultation was carried out on the basis of a list of indicators of one and a half pages, without informing them that this will result in the need to answer in reality more than 200 questions, including more than 120 new questions in relation to the CEPEJ evaluation Scheme already known and a significant number of qualitative questions.
20. With this in mind, the representatives of the States concerned in the Working Group consider that it will not be realistic to be able to answer all the questions before the end of March 2020. In addition to this deadline, there will be the data quality control procedure and the finalisation of replies, the last two steps requiring an additional full month of work. Indeed, it is necessary to take into account the following stages within the Beneficiaries before the first sending via CEPEJ-COLLECT:
(i) availability of row data in the computer system
(ii) drafting of replies by the national correspondents
(iii) control of the replies by the national authorities before sending them to the CEPEJ.
21. These deadlines do not concern the evaluation of the implementation of GRECO Recommendations which will be carried out as part of a field activity (“capacity building”).
22. The Working Group highlightes the need to provide quality work to the EC in this new cooperation and, accordingly, considers that nothing can be sent to the EC before mid-May.
23. The Secretariat also recalls the CEPEJ's wish to ensure constantly full transparency with the Beneficiaries at all stages, both during the negotiation of the programme and during its implementation.
24. The EC specifies that this project will take place in parallel with a project pertaining to Case management systems-CMS and another project concerning satisfaction surveys. These projects are aimed at measuring “tangible evolutions” in the Justice field in the Western Balkans, following the numerous cooperation projects implemented in the region in the recent years.
25. The Workin group entrusts the Secretariat with:
- finalising the questionnaire in the light of the comments made at this meeting,
- organising a meeting in Brussels in March with the Western Balkans, the CEPEJ Secretariat and the EC to decide on the modalities but above all on the timetable (including the date of submission of the data).
IV. PEER REVIEW coopEration PROCESS
26. A peer review meeting had been held in Andorra on 10 and 11 December 2018 with the participation of Jean-Paul JEAN (France) and Gilbert COUSTEAUX (France). This was an opportunity to establish contacts with persons involved in data collection and to work on the consistency of some data, while identifying the reasons for the lack of some data on a recurrent basis through the evaluation cycles.
27. The Secretariat informs the Group that no peer review is foreseen for 2019, despite the call for applications made at the CEPEJ Plenary Assembly last December. It was agreed to make a further call for applications at the meeting of national correspondents in March.
V. Specific study on legal professionals
28. The Council of the Notariats of the European Union (CNUE) presents to the Working group the up-dated version (2016 data) of its specific Study on Legal Professionals. The CEPEJ-GT-EVAL takes note of it and thanks the CNUE for the high quality of its Study.
29. It was agreed that the Working group members will comment on this document by means of written procedure. These comments will then be forwarded by the Secretariat to the CNUE for possible revision if necessary.
VI. WORK TIMETABLE
30. The Secretariat informs that in the framework of a cooperation activity in Slovakia, the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL has been asked to assist the authorities of this State, and in particular the national correspondent of the CEPEJ, in identifying how to classify the cases divided at national level into 69 "registers" within the categories of cases identified by the CEPEJ in its evaluation questionnaire. The Working Group will respond by written procedure.
31. The next CEPEJ-GT-EVAL meeting will take place on 23 and 24 September 2019.
AGENDA / ORDRE DU JOUR
- Preparation of the new questionnaire / Préparation du nouveau questionnaire
- Preparation of the revised explanatory note / Préparation de la note explicative révisée
- Discussion on the structure of the next report / Discussion concernant la structure du prochain rapport
- Selection of a new topic for the thematic report / Choix d’un nouveau sujet pour le rapport thématique
List of Participants / Liste des participants
Members / Membres
Adis HODZIC, Senior Advisor for Statistics High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kraljice Jelene 88, 7100 SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Simone KREβ, Vice-President, Landgericht Köln, Luxemburger Str. 101, 50939 KÖLN, GERMANY
Ivana NINČIĆ, Ministry of Justice, 22-26 Namanjina St. BELGRADE, SERBIA
Jaša VRABEC, Head of the Office for Court Management Development, Supreme Court, Tavčarjeva 9, 1000 LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA (President of the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL/ Président du CEPEJ-GT-EVAL)
Martina VRDOLJAK, Head of department for statistics, analytic and strategic development of Judiciary, Directorate for organisation of Judiciary, Ministry of justice, Ulica grada Vukovara 49, 10000 ZAGREB, CROATIA
Joanne BATTISTINO, Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs, The Law Courts, Republic Street, VALLETTA, MALTA, Apologised / Excusée
SCIENTIFIC EXPERTS / EXPERTS SCIENTIFIQUES
Christophe KOLLER, Directeur opérationnel, ESEHA, Herzogstr. 25, 3014 BERNE, SUISSE, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Observers / Observateurs
COUNCIL OF THE NOTARIATS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION (CNEU) / CONSEIL DES NOTARIATS DE L’UNION EUROPEENNE (CNUE)
Susanne VIGGRIA-KRAEMER, Legal adviser, CNUE, Av. De Cortenbergh, 120, BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
EUROPEAN EXPERTISE AND EXPERT INSTITUTE / INSTITUT EUROPEEN DE L’EXPERTISE ET DE L’EXPERT (EEEI)
Eric PARIZE, Expert Consultant en système d'information, Rue des Aduatiques 31, ETTERBEEK, BELGIQUE
INTERNATIONAL UNION OF JUDICIAL OFFICERS / UNION INTERNATIONALE DES HUISSIERS DE JUSTICE ET OFFICIERS JUDICIAIRES (UIHJ)
Mathieu CHARDON, Huissier de justice, Secrétaire général de l’UIHJ, 6 place du Colonel Fabien, 75019 PARIS, FRANCE
Patrick GIELEN, Huissier de justice, av. Molière 266, 1180 UCCLE, BELGIQUE
EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF JUDGES (AEM-EAJ) / Association européenne des MAGISTRATS (AEM-EAJ) Apologised / Excusée
COUNCIL OF THE BARS AND LAW SOCIETIES OF THE EUROPEAN UNION / CONSEIL DES BARREAUX EUROPÉENS (CCBE) Apologised / Excusée
European Union of Rechtspfleger / Union européenne des greffiers de justice et Rechtspfleger (EUR)
Vivien WHYTE, Président de l’EUR, Directeur des services de greffe judiciaires, Tribunal de grande instance, 1 quai Finkmatt, STRASBOURG, FRANCE
Martijn QUINN, Deputy Head of Unit, DG Justice, Unit 02, Square Frère Orban, 10, BRUSSELS; BELGIUM
COUNCIL OF EUROPE / CONSEIL DE L’EUROPE
Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law (DG I)
Division for the Independence and Efficiency of Justice/
Direction Générale des Droits de l’Homme et Etat de droit (DG I)
Division pour l’indépendance et l’efficacité de la justice
Muriel DECOT, Co-Secretary of the CEPEJ/Co-secrétaire de la CEPEJ, Tél: +33 (0)3 90 21 44 55, e-mail :
Christel SCHURRER, Secretary of the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL/Secrétaire du CEPEJ-GT-EVAL, Tél : +33 (0)3 90 21 56 97, e-mail: email@example.com
Lidija NAUMOVSKA, Administrator, statistician/Administratrice, statisticienne, Tél: +33 (0)3 88 41 22 49, e-mail: Lidija.firstname.lastname@example.org
Milan NIKOLIC, Administrator / Administrateur, Tél: +33 (0) 90 21 61 96, e-mail: Milan.email@example.com
INTERPRETERS / INTERPRETES
 This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.