Strasbourg, 31 March 2020
EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR THE EFFICIENCY OF JUSTICE
WORKING GROUP ON THE EVALUATION OF JUDICIAL SYSTEMS
6 – 7 February 2020
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 38th meeting on 6 and 7 February 2020 in Strasbourg (France).
2. The agenda appears in Appendix I and the list of participants in Appendix II to this report.
I. Information by the members of the Working Group and the Secretariat
3. Bearing in mind that this is the first meeting of the Evaluation Working Group in the framework of the new mandate (2020-2021), the Secretariat welcomes new members of the Working Group and presents new members of the Secretariat involved in CEPEJ Evaluation activities.
4. General informations regarding the new CEPEJ activity program adopted during the last plenary meeting were presented to the Working Group.
II. Election of the President of the GT-EVAL
5. Mr. Jasa Vrabec, the former president of the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL, has been re-elected for another mandate by unanimous vote of the members.
III. Exchanges of views on the development of the activities of the Evaluation Working Group to be included in a five-year plan
6. The Secretariat informs the Working Group on the main conclusions from the CEPEJ Bureau meeting held on 23 January 2020 and CEPEJ plenary meeting held on 5 and 6 December 2019. The following points were presented:
- All CEPEJ working groups, including GT EVAL, are encouraged to define their respective roles and activities for the next two years. Furthermore, they have to develop training curricula concerning relevant CEPEJ tools.
- Regarding strengthening cooperation between the CEPEJ and European Court of Human Rights, it was pointed out that coordination and cooperation between two bodies should be improved. It should be examined what type of statistical data would be of use for the ECHR’s work and the Secretariat is entrusted to explore possibilities of including them into evaluation scheme.
- The visibility of the report should be increased.
7. The Working Group members commited to provide their ideas regarding activities, trainings and cooperation with ECHR by the next CEPEJ meeting.
8. In relation to the visibility of the report, the Working Group agrees to organize, if possible, a presentation of the report after its publication and to encourage national correspondents to make similar presentations in their respective countries. Furthermore, national correspondents will be asked to share CEPEJ report and recommend use of CEPEJ Stat to their peers and colleagues.
· State of data collection of the 2018 - 2020 evaluation cycle (calendar, participants)
9. The Secretariat recalls that questionnaire was opened for data entry between 1 March and 1 October, 2019. The quality control process conducted by the Secretariat is still ongoing. It is noted that data were not entered much earlier in this cycle, although the questionnaire was opened earlier compared with the previous excercises. Furthermore, some of the national correspondents have continued to change data after the deadline which impose additional difficulties during the quality control process.
10. The Secretariat shares a planned timetimable of future activities regarding evaluation report. All data have to be processed by the Secretariat until end of February and provided in the tables to the experts early in March. The data will be shared at the same time with the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL members/scientific experts. The task of the experts will be to draft chapters of the report during March and April. The draft chapters will be reviewed by one designated member of the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL, as this proved to be a very good practice in the previous cycle. The Secretariat will also review the draft chapter in May. The CEPEJ Plenary meeting is scheduled for 11 and 12 June, and by then, the Secretariat will share the draft report and country fiches with the members. In the summer months, comments will be collected from the Member states and the report will be finalized. Proofreading and translation will also be done during July/August.
11. In accordance with the Working Group’s recommendation, the Secretariat is also working on improvements of the report design and presentation. The internal discussions regarding this aspect are still ongoing and the Secretariat will inform the Working Group on the final decision regarding this matter.
12. Final report will be sent for adoption to the Committee of Minister, before its publication in October 2020.
13. CEPEJ-GT-EVAL also agrees that process of revising the questionnaire and explanatory note should start earlier this year, preferably during summer months, so that Secretariat has the final proposals for modifications, new questions and definitions in November. Observers of GT-EVAL expressed interest to take part early in the process of redefining questions that are relevant for their professions. The Secretariat will organize a separate meeting with them for this purpose.
· Problems identified during the quality check process
14. The Secretariat informs the Working Group that during quality check process, few questions have arisen that deserve attention, and potentially decision, of CEPEJ-GT-EVAL.
15. The first question relates to differentiation between litigious and non-litigious cases. The question was raised by the European Commission regarding data received from Italy because this Member state changed the way it groups cases and therefore, the number of cases, Clearance Rate and Disposition Time differed significantly compared with the previous cycle. The Secretariat shared this question with all national correspondents from the EU countries to evaluate how other Member states categorized these cases. The Working Group agrees that it should be precisely defined what types of cases fall under these two categories, so that collected data are consistent and comparable, particularly regarding payment order cases. Furhtermore, it was pointed out that the fact that a judge takes certain actions in a case doesn’t mean that the case should be automatically qualified as litigious. The explanatory note should be revised to also include additional clarifications regarding litigious and non-litigious cases for the next cycle.
16. The second question was posed by the National correspondent from Spain and concerned differentiation between proscutors’ cases and courts’ criminal cases. When counting public proseutors’ cases, Spain only takes into account cases that are under exclusive competence of prosecutors and never reach court proceedings. On the other hand, criminal cases that reach court stage and in which public prosecutors act as parties are always counted as courts’ cases. Considering the importance of this division and need for further clarifications, the Working Group decided that questions regarding public prossecutors’ cases and relevant definitions in the Explanatory note should be analysed and redefined for the next cycle.
· Experts in charge of drafting the report and supervision of each chapter
17. The Secretariat presented the list of experts recruited to draft the chapters of the report (see Appendix III).
18. The supervision of each chapter of the report will be ensured by one or two CEPEJ-GT-EVAL members or scientif experts (See Appendix III).
· MANUAL ON USING CEPEJ STAT
19. The Secretariat presented the final version of “Manual on Using CEPEJ STAT” (Document CEPEJ-GT-EVAL(2019)11 ). No comments nor proposed changes were made and therefore the document will be translated into French language and published online.
· STRUCTURE OF THE REPORT
20. This part of the meeting was attended by Federica Viapiana and Alain Lacabarats, experts in charge of drafting chapter 2 and one part of chapter 4 of the report.
o GENERAL REPORT
- Regarding proposed clustering of Member states in the report, it was reiterated that CEPEJ in principle does not make any sort of ranking nor clustering of Member states. The experts can be free to propose different clusters based on objective criteria but the working group will decide on case-by-case basis which criteria and clustering methods might be acceptable.
- The experts should identify overall trends, but also explain outliers based on the data and comments received. They are free to propose new ideas and correlations between different indicators and sections.
- “Best practices” is a new part added in each section. Based on the data and comments received, experts should identify good practices in the Member states and present them at the end of each section. The data and reports collected by other COE bodies, as well as initiatives awarded in the Crystal Scale competition, could also be used in this part of the report.
- The CEPEJ-GT-EVAL members/scientific experts will be involved from early stage and communicate directly with the designated experts in order to follow their work and exchange views during the drafting process.
- Data on different legal professions will be available on the CEPEJ STAT and in the specific studies prepared by the observer professional organisations.
o COUNTRY FICHE
22. The Secretariat presented a draft country fiche (Document CEPEJ-GT-EVAL(2019)12Rev) and proposed several new indicators to be included. It was highlighted that few qualitative indicators, among others, were added following recommendations made during the last CEPEJ-GT-EVAL meeting.
23. The Working Group discussed and agreed to add some new information and clarifications, as well as to revise the terminology. The document will be modified based on the Workign Group’s inputs for the next meeting. It was also agreed that country fiches will be printed as part of the report. The printed version will be identical to the online version.
o Discussion on the new dashboard on efficiency in CEPEJ-STAT
24. The Secretariat presents a document (CEPEJ-GT-EVAL(2019)13Rev) and changes introduced since the last meeting. The Working Group examines the document in detail and agrees on the following:
- The title is changed to “CEPEJ indicators on efficiency” to point out that document contains only indicators commonly used by CEPEJ. A disclaimer is also added.
- There are four levels for each of these two indicators. The CR has following levels: very low, low, normal and high. The DT has following levels: low (below European median), medium (1-2 European median values), medium to high (2-3 European median values), high (3-4 European median values), very high (above 4 median values).
- The document focuses on links between these two indicators and the Secretariat presents the possible correlations. Different colours show the correlation of these two indicators. Table with definitions (legend) will be added for better understanding. The terminology was slightly revised to avoid use of word extreme.
- In accordance with CEPEJ methodology, it was agreed that ranking of the Member states will be avoided. Countries will be displayed in alphabetical order, but different colours should indicate level of efficiency. Furthermore, different types of sorting based on results will be possible for online users.
- For now, it is envisaged to have this indicator for the following types of cases: civil, criminal and administrative.
25. Based on the inputs from the meeting, the Secretariat will made relevant modifications and finalize the document for the next meeting of the Working Group.
o EFFICIENCY PART OF THE REPORT
26. The Working Group analyses the efficiency part of the report and gives the following guidelines:
- If possible, this section should have a summary of the overall results in the beginning, and then separate segments for first, second and third instance;
- If the experts notice that some significant indicator or question should be added, they will signalize it to the Secretariat and Working Group;
- Different ways to present indicators should be examined but rankings should be avoided.
V. Cooperation with European Commission
a. Study for the European Commission on the functioning of judicial systems in the member States of the European Union (Scoreboard of justice)
27. The Secretariat informs the Working Group that data were timely submitted to the European Commission in mid November and end of December, in accordance with the agreed timetable.
28. Regarding the next cycle for 2019 data, the Secretariat and European Commission currently discuss new version of the questionnaire. The final version will be opened it in the CEPEJ COLLECT system in the beginning of March 2020.
b. CEPEJ Study on Western Balkans Indicators (Dashboard Western Balkans)
29. The Secretariat informs the Working Group that a specific questionnaire for CEPEJ study on Western Balkans Indicators was opened on the 1st October to collect 2019 data from the six beneficiaries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo*). The questionnaire contains part of the questions from the regular CEPEJ evaluation questionnaire and some new questions (Document CEPEJ-GT-EVAL(20019)5rev4). In accordance with the project’s timeframe, 2019 data are collected in two steps. The first portion of selected data was collected by 31 December 2019, quality check for this data is ongoing and data will be delivered to the European Commission by the beginning of March. The second part of data will be collected by 31 March and these data will be quality checked and delivered to the European Commission by the end of May.
30. The Secretariat also reported current problems in obtaining 2019 data from Serbia, Montenegro and Albania. The related issue was a failiure of the same beneficiaries to timely deliver 2018 data for the purposes of the CEPEJ evaluation scheme, which caused additional problems for the 2019 data quality check. The Secretariat will work with these beneficiaries to improve the data collection and will try to collect the missing data in the following weeks.
c. Proposed new project
31. The Secretariat informs the Working Group about a new request from the EU Commission that would involve collection and processing of data on functioning of judicial systems in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova and potentially some other countries. The Secretariat expects more details and concrete proposals in the following months.
VI. PEER EVALUATION COOPERATION PROCESS
32. The Secretariat informs the Working Group that there are no new proposals for peer evaluations. During CEPEJ Bureau meeting, it was discussed which Member states face problems in data collection and it was agreed that a list of countries will be drawn for potential visits after the quality control process is finished.
VII. Access to CEPEJ raw data
33. The Secretariat informs the Working Group that it has ongoing communications with the COE Legal Department regarding questions relevant for access to CEPEJ raw data. As a result of these discussions, a protocol for raw data access will be drafted and presented to the next CEPEJ-GT-EVAL meeting.
VIII. Any other business
34. Working Group discussed and adopted the following timetable of planned activities for 2020:
· 7 - 8 April 2020 – ad hoc CEPEJ-GT-EVAL meeting with experts in charge for drafting sections of the Evaluation report. This meeting will be used to assess progress and exchange views with the experts after they conduct an initial analysis.
· 11-12 June 2020 - CEPEJ Plenary meeting. The draft report should be presented on this meeting.
· The national correspondents’ meeting initially planned for May will be postponed and the new date will be confirmed by the Secretariat as soon as possible.
· October 2020 – Publishing of the report.
In the period between two meetings, the Working Group members are invited to propose potential new activities for CEPEJ-GT-EVAL and communicate them to the Secretariat.
DRAFT AGENDA / PROJET D’ORDRE DU JOUR
3. Election of the President of the GT-EVAL / Election du Président du GT-EVAL
4. Exchanges of views on the development of the activities of the Evaluation Working Group to be included in a five-year plan / Echanges de vues sur l’évolution des activités du Groupe de Travail Evaluation à insérer dans un plan quinquennal
- State of data collection of the 2018 - 2020 evaluation cycle (calendar, participants) / Etat de la collecte de données du cycle d’évaluation 2018 – 2020 (calendrier, participants)
- Structure of the report / Structure du rapport
o General report / Rapport général
o Country fiches: indicators to be added? / Fiches pays : indicateurs à ajouter ?
o Discussion on the new dashboard on efficiency in CEPEJ-STAT / Discussion concernant le nouveau tableau de bord sur l’efficacité dans CEPEJ-STAT
- Experts in charge of drafting the report / Experts en charge de la rédaction du rapport
o Discussion with experts (to be confirmed) / Discussion avec les experts (à confirmer)
o Supervision of each chapter by a member of CEPEJ-GT-EVAL / Supervision de chaque chapitre par un member du CEPEJ-GT-EVAL
- Problems identified during the quality check process / Problèmes identifiés durant le contrôle de qualité des données
List of Participants / Liste des participants
Members / Membres
Juan Fernando ARMENGOT IBORRA, Letrado de la Administración de Justicia Asesor, Ministerio de Justicia, MADRID, ESPAGNE
Joanne BATTISTINO, Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs, The Law Courts, Republic Street, VALLETTA, MALTA
Simone KREβ, Vice-President, Landgericht Köln, Luxemburger Str. 101, 50939 KÖLN, GERMANY
Christophe KOLLER, Directeur opérationnel, ESEHA, Herzogstr. 25, 3014 BERNE, SUISSE
Jaša VRABEC, Head of the Office for Court Management Development, Supreme Court, Tavčarjeva 9, 1000 LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA
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
SCIENTIFIC EXPERT / EXPERT SCIENTIFIQUE
Victoria MERTIKOPOULOU, Advisor, EU and Competition, Regulatory, Compliance, Kyriakides Georgopoulos Law Firm, ATHENS, GREECE
Raffaella CALO’, Judge, Ministry of Justice, ROME, ITALY, Tel: +393497348057
EVALUATION REPORT EXPERTS / EXPERTS DU RAPPORT D’EVALUATION
Alain LACABARATS, Président de Chambre, Cour de Cassation, 5 quai de l'Horloge, 75055, PARIS, France
Federica VIAPIANA, Research Fellow at IRSIG-CNR, Via Petralata 65, 40122, BOLOGNA, ITALIA
Jan Philipp WESTHOFF, Sechzigstr. 89, 50733 Cologne, Germany
Observers / Observateurs
COUNCIL OF THE BARS AND LAW SOCIETIES OF THE EUROPEAN UNION / CONSEIL DES BARREAUX EUROPÉENS (CCBE) Apologised/ Excusé
COUNCIL OF THE NOTARIATS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION (CNEU) / CONSEIL DES NOTARIATS DE L’UNION EUROPEENNE (CNUE) Apologised / Excusé
EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF JUDGES (EAJ) / Association européenne des MAGISTRATS (AEJ) Apologised / Excusée
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
European Union of Rechtspfleger / Union européenne des greffiers de justice et Rechtspfleger (EUR)
Jean-Jacques KUSTER, Président honoraire, 24 rue de la Canardière, 67100 STRASBOURG, FRANCE
INTERNATIONAL UNION OF JUDICIAL OFFICERS / UNION INTERNATIONALE DES HUISSIERS DE JUSTICE ET OFFICIERS JUDICIAIRES (UIHJ)
Patrick GIELEN, Huissier de justice, av. Molière 266, 1180 UCCLE, BELGIQUE
EUROPEAN COMMISSION / COMMISSION EUROPEENE
Kateřina SVIČKOVÁ, Policy Officer, Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers Unit C1 – Justice policy and rule of law, Rue Montoyer 59, B-1000 Brussels, BELGIUM
Mojca KRISPER FIGUEROA, Programme Manager, Financial assistance desk, D5 Western Balkans Cooperation and Programmes, DG NEAR
Apologised / Excusée
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) / L'Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques (OCDE)
Tatyana TEPLOVA, Senior Counsellor, Head, Governance for Gender, Justice and Inclusiveness, PARIS, Apologised / Excusée
INVITED DELEGATION / DELEGATION INVITEE
MOROCCO / MAROC
Apologised / Excusé
Justice and Legal Co-operation Department / Service de la Coopération judiciaire et juridique
Fax: +33 3 88 41 37 43
Hanne JUNCHER, Head of the Justice and Legal Co-operation Department / Chef du service de la cooperation judiciaire et juridique
Muriel DECOT, Secretary of the CEPEJ / Secrétaire de la CEPEJ
Christel SCHURRER, Secretary of the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL / Secrétaire du CEPEJ-GT-EVAL
Lidija NAUMOVSKA, Statistician / Statisticienne
Lolita CHEKREDJI, Statistician / Statisticienne
Milan NIKOLIC, Administrator / Administrateur
Anna POTASHNIK, Administrator / Administrateur
Anne-Louise JACQUET, Legal officer / Juriste, Tél. : +33 (0)3 90 21 63 68
Annette SATTEL, Administration and Networks / Administration et Réseaux
Anna KHROMOVA, Assistant / Assistante
INTERPRETERS / INTERPRETES
Lucie DE BURLET
APPENDIXIII: Experts in charge of drafting the report and supervision of each chapter
Expert in charge of drafting
WG member/scientific expert in charge of supervision
Chapter 2 – Budgets of judicial systems
Chapter 3 – Judges, prosecutors, court staff and legal professionals
Jan Philipp Westhoff
Chapter 4 – organisation of courts
4.1 Court system
Chapter 4 – organisation of courts
Chapter 4 – organisation of courts 4.3 Court users
Juan Fernando Armengot Iborra
Chapter 5 - Efficiency and quality of courts and public prosecution services
Ana Krnic Kulusic
* 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.