Strasbourg, 20 November 2018

CEPEJ-GT-QUAL(2018)10

EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR THE EFFICIENCY OF JUSTICE (CEPEJ)

WORKING GROUP ON QUALITY OF JUSTICE (CEPEJ-GT-QUAL)

24th meeting (Riga, 25-26 September 2018)

MEETING REPORT

Report drawn up by the Secretariat
Directorate General I – Human Rights and Rule of Law


1. OPENING OF THE MEETING AND ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

  1. Upon the invitation of the Latvian Court Administration, the Working Group on Quality of Justice (CEPEJ-GT-QUAL) of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) held its 24th meeting in Riga, in the premises of the Ministry of Justice, on 25 and 26 September 2018. The meeting was chaored by Joa Arsenio de OLIVEIRA (Portugal).

  1. The agenda and the list of participants are set out in Appendices I and II respectively of this report.

2. INFORMATION BY THE CHAIRMAN, THE MEMBERS AND THE SECRETARIAT

  1. The President thanked the Latvian authorities for hosting the meeting. He briefed the participants on the thematic session on “artificial intelligence and justice”, which was held on 27 June in the framework of the CEPEJ 30th Plenary session and which provided an important opportunity to raise the awareness of CEPEJ members of the developments on this issue taking place in several member States.

  1. The Secretariat informed the Working Group that a report on the evaluation of European judicial systems would be made public on 4 October 2018 and invited the participants to organise events to present the report in their respective countries. It also informed the Group of the implementation of co-operation programmes with member states and partner States, in particular Albania, Slovakia, and Kosovo*[1].

3. The challenges of the use of artificial intelligence algorithms in judicial systems

  1. Xavier RONSIN (scientific expert, France) presented the European Ethical Charter on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in judicial systems in all its components: six fundamental principles, a checklist, an in-depth study, an illustration of possible uses of artificial intelligence in European judicial systems, as well as a glossary.

  1. The Group expressed its appreciation for the very high quality of Ethical Charter as well as the wish that, despite its not binding character, it becomes an important reference for national authorities facing the challenge of integrating AI into national judicial policies. An in-depth discussion followed, which allowed clarifying the scope of the document and its recipients, as well as specific issues. As a result of these discussions, it was decided to amend the fundamental principles and to reduce them to five. It was equally decided that the Checklist should become the last Appendix. Finally, it was decided to add to the title the words “and their environment” to cover the use which could be made by private actors (such as insurance companies) of applications being originally designed to support judicial work, such as those improperly named of “predictive justice”.

  1. The European Ethical Charter on the use of artificial intelligence in judicial systems and their environment was approved by the Group. It was equally decided to consult the CEPEJ Working Group on mediation and the Consultative Council of European Judges before its submission for approval at the 31st CEPEJ Plenary Session, on 3-4 December 2018.

  1. The President thanked the Latvian authorities for hosting the conference on “artificial intelligence at the service of the judiciary” on 27 September 2018, and underlined the knowledge-sharing dimension of such a conference, which would provide the opportunity to discuss selected AI applications being developed in member states and the main challenges and opportunities related to the introduction of AI in judicial systems. 

4. Going further with Cyberjustice Guidelines and building a case management systems with a user’s approach

  1. At its 23rd meeting, the Working Group had approved the idea of a “Toolkit” to the Guidelines on how to drive change towards Cyberjustice and had suggested including an additional document in such Toolkit, namely one on the strategic approach to be taken when using IT in the judicial system being prepared in the context of a CEPEJ co-operation programme with Albania. It had asked Harold ÉPINEUSE to draft a more detailed document on electronic case management systems and to present it at the next meeting.

  1. Harold ÉPINEUSE (scientific expert, France) recalled that the Toolkit was prepared with a view to making the guidelines more operational and more easily applicable to CEPEJ co-operation programmes. He presented the two new documents previously requested by the group (namely an “outline on building a case management system that serves the users”, and a document entitled “preparing an Information Technology Strategy for the justice systems”). He explained that, in order to prepare the former document, twelve countries were consulted and eight provided an answer to a dedicated questionnaire, with an uneven level of accuracy in their answers. He asked guidance to the Group as to the links which should exists among such documents and the Toolkit, namely if they should be merged within the Toolkit or remain separate; and to clarify the expectations of the Group as regards the level of the analysis (in particular, if the outline on building a case management system should provide examples of different European case management systems and an analysis of their specifications and feedback from the users)

  1. The Group thanked Harold ÉPINEUSE for his presentation and indicated that the Toolkit should be an evolving document, to be gradually enriched with any documents related to the themes addressed in the “Cyberjustice” Guidelines. The members indicated that the documents presented at the meeting should be integrated into the Toolkit and expressed appreciation for such documents, considered relevant and useful for their respective countries. They requested Harold ÉPINEUSE to focus not only on issues related to new case management systems, but also to problems related to the functioning of “old” systems. It was agreed that this issue would be addressed to some extent in the new version of the document which would be presented for the next Group’s meeting. It was also agreed that the level of analysis provided so far was sufficient.

  1. The Group instructed Harold ÉPINEUSE to present a new version of the Toolkit including all the documents presented at the 24th meeting and introducing the changes that will be proposed in the framework of an electronic consultation, to be carried out by the Secretariat after the meeting.

5.  Courts’ and public prosecution offices’ communication with the public and the media

  1. At its 23rd meeting, the Group had mandated Pierre CORNU (scientific expert, Switzerland) to develop a handbook on courts and prosecution authorities’ communication with the public and the media, which would cover both the management of everyday business and crisis situations.
  2. Pierre CORNU presented the “Guide on communication with the media and the public for courts and prosecution authorities”. The Guide had been drafted as a very practical tool, providing good practices for communication and addressing questions such as the purpose of judicial communication, best actors to carry it out, and possible means to be used. In line with the Groups’ guidelines, the Guide addressed both day-to- day and crisis’ communication.
  3. A discussion followed afterwards, in which the Group’s members expressed appreciation for the format and the contents of the Guide, which was found overall very pedagogical and comprehensive. Some suggestions were made to include additional aspects, such as for instance how to solve any conflicts of competence between authorities equally responsible for communicating on a case, what to do in case of a serious mistake made by the judiciary in prosecuting or judging on a case, how to assess the best timing to communicate on a given subject. The Secretariat and the expert took note of all the different comments.
  4. At the end of the discussion, the Group agreed to pre-approve the Guide, tasked the expert of introducing the additions proposed, and charged the Secretariat of conducting an electronic consultation among the members on the revised Guide which would be updated by the expert after the meeting. It was equally agreed that the Guide would be submitted to the CEPEJ for adoption, after the inclusion by the Secretariat of any comments which would be made by the members in the framework of the electronic consultation. 

6.  Knowledge-sharing as a tool for breaking judges’ isolation and improve their expertise and skills

17.  At its 23rd meeting, the Group had instructed the Secretariat and the President of the Group to draw up a questionnaire for the attention of CEPEJ pilot courts and to incorporate their replies into the working document to be presented at the Group’s 24th meeting.

18.  The President presented the new document prepared by the Secretariat, entitled “Improving the quality of the judge’s work through better knowledge-sharing and cooperation – Overview of tools and practices in CoE member states aimed at breaking a culture of isolation and improving the judge’s competences and skills”. The new text included the replies received from twenty-two CEPEJ pilot courts out of sixty-six. In this connection, the Secretariat added that the upcoming meeting with the pilot courts on 10 October 2018 would provide an opportunity to gather additional inputs from them on the different subjects dealt with by the document.

19.  The members noted that, thanks to the consultation of the pilot courts, the document had been substantially enriched of best practices and agreed to pursue this consultation further. Several members indicated that the next step would be to deduce from this document more operational guidelines on knowledge-sharing among judges.

20.  The Group tasked the Secretariat to present a revised version of the document, in line with the comments and suggestions made, for the Group’s 25th meeting.

7. Review of the definitions used by CEPEJ Working Groups

  1. The President reported on the meetings of the ad hoc working group responsible for identifying the key terms and concepts used by the CEPEJ. The Group had met on several occasions and already produced a concrete deliverable: the document CEPEJ(2018) Prov 5, entitled “Draft definitions used by the CEPEJ”.

  1. The Group reviewed this document and made several comments on the CEPEJ definitions, which were duly noted by the Secretariat and by the President. The Group tasked the Secretariat to convey its comments to the members of the Working Group in charge of developing such definitions.


APPENDIX I / ANNEXE I

Agenda / Ordre du jour

  1. Adoption of the agenda / Adoption de l’ordre du jour

  1. Information by the Chairman, the experts and the Secretariat /

Information du Président, des experts et du Secrétariat

  1. The challenges of the use of artificial intelligence algorithms in judicial systems / Les enjeux de l’utilisation des algorithmes de l’intelligence artificielle pour les systèmes judiciaires

*       Presentation of the Ethical Charther on the use of artificial intelligence in judicial systems and its appendixes / Présentation de Charte éthique d’utilisation de l’intelligence artificielle dans les systèmes judiciaires et de ses annexes

*       Information about the conference on « artificial intelligence at the service of the judiciary » , Riga, 27 September 2018 / Informations sur la conférence sur " l'intelligence artificielle au service du pouvoir judiciaire ", Riga, 27 septembre 2018

 

  1. Going further with Cyberjustice Guidelines and building a case management systems with a user’s approach / Aller plus loin avec les Lignes directrices Cyberjustice et construire un système électronique de gestion des affaires avec une approche usager

*       Presentation by Harold Epineuse (scientific expert, France) of a toolkit to support the implementation of the Guidelines on driving changes towards cyberjustice, as well as of a substantive document on building a case management system that serves the users / Présentation par Harold Epineuse (expert scientifique, France) d’une boite à outils pour renforcer la mise en œuvre des Lignes directrices sur la conduite du changement vers la cyberjustice, ainsi que d’un document de fond sur la construction d’un système informatique de gestion des dossiers au service des usagers

  1. Courts’ and public prosecution offices’ communication with the public and the media/ Communication des tribunaux et des autorités judiciaires de poursuite pénale avec le public et les médias

*                  Presentation by Pierre Cornu, (scientific expert, Switzerland) / Présentation par Pierre Cornu, (expert scientifique, Suisse)

*                  Discussion

  1. Knowledge-sharing as a tool for breaking judges’ isolation and improve their expertise and skills/ Le partage des connaissances en tant q’un instrument pour rompre l’isolation des juges et améliorer leur savoir-faire et leur savoir-être 

*         Presentation by the President and the Secretariat / Présentation par le Président et le Secrétariat

*     Discussion / Discussion

  1. Review of the definitions used by CEPEJ Working Groups / Révision des définitions utilisées par le Groupe de travail de la CEPEJ

*       Summary of the ad hoc meeting / Rapport de la réunion ad hoc

Other business / Divers


APPENDIX II / ANNEXE II

List of participants / Liste des participants

MEMBERS / MEMBRES

Gilles ACCOMANDO, Premier Président de la cour d’appel de Pau, FRANCE

Joao ARSENIO DE OLIVEIRA, Head of Department, International Affairs Department, Directorate General for Justice Policy, Ministry of Justice, PORTUGAL (Chair of the GT-QUAL / Président du GT-QUAL)

Nino BAKAKURI, Judge, Supreme Court of Georgia, GEORGIA

Merethe ECKHARD, Director of Development, The Danish Court Administration, Centre for Law, Training and Communication, DENMARK

Anke EILERS, Presiding Judge of the Court of Appeal, Koln, GERMANY

Georg STAWA, Secretary General, Federal Ministry of Justice, AUSTRIA, (President of the CEPEJ /Président de la CEPEJ): Apologised / Excusé

Ioannis SYMEONIDIS, Judge, Court of Appeal, Professor at the Law School, University of Thessaloniki, GREECE

***

SCIENTIFIC EXPERTS / EXPERTS SCIENTIFIQUES

Pierre CORNU, Juge, Tribunal cantonal, SUISSE

Harold EPINEUSE,Chargé de mission, Institut des Hautes Etudes sur la justice, FRANCE

Xavier RONSIN, Président de la Cour d’Appel de Rennes, FRANCE

***

INVITED DELEGATIONS / DELEGATIONS INVITEES

ALBANIA/ALBANIE

Marsida XHAFERLLARI, Chief Inspector, High Council of Justice

KOSOVO*

Albenora BEKTESHI-HOTI, Basic Court of Ferizaj,

Sabit SHKODRA, Basic Court of Gjilan

LATVIA / LETTONIE

Anna SKRJABINA, ESF Project Leader, Court Administration of the Republic of Latvia

SLOVAK REPUBLIC / REPUBLIQUE SLOVAQUE

Erik KOTLÁRIK, Chancery of the Secretary of State I., Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic

***

OBSERVERS / OBSERVATEURS

EUROPEAN UNION OF RECHTSPFLEGER AND COURT CLERKS / UNION EUROPEENNE DES GREFFIERS DE JUSTICE (EUR) Apologised / Excusé

EUROPEAN COMMISSION / COMMISSION EUROPEENNE

Gabor MAGYAR, Policy officer, Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers, JUST C.1 – Justice policy and rule of law, Brussels, BELGIUM

EUROPEAN EXPERTISE AND EUROPEAN INSTITUTE (EEEI) / INSTITUT EUROPEEN DE L’EXPERTISE ET DE L’EXPERT (EEEI)

Raymond LEMAIRE, Président, Institut européen de l’Expertise et de l’Expert, 92300 LEVALLOIS, FRANCE

INTERNATIONAL UNION OF JUDICIAL OFFICERS / UNION INTERNATIONALE DES HUISSIERS DE JUSTICE ET OFFICIERS JUDICIAIRES (UIHJ)

Jos UITDEHAAG, Secrétaire, Pays-Bas

Patrick GIELEN, Conseiller du Président, Huissier de justice, 1180 UCCLE, Belgique

COUNCIL OF THE BARS AND LAW SOCIETIES OF THE EUROPEAN UNION / CONSEIL DES BARREAUX EUROPÉENS(CCBE)  

Simone CUOMO, CCBE Senior Legal Advisor

***

SECRETARIAT

DGI - Human Rights and Rule of Law, Division for the independence and efficiency of justice /

DGI - Droits de l’Homme et Etat de droit, Division pour l’indépendance et l’efficacité de la justice

E-mail: cepej@coe.int

Stéphane LEYENBERGER, Head of Division, Executive Secretary of the CEPEJ / Chef de la Division, Secrétaire exécutif de la CEPEJ, Tel: + 33 3 88 41 34 12, e-mail: stephane.leyenberger@coe.int

Clementina BARBARO, Secretary of / Secrétaire du CEPEJ-GT-QUAL Tél: +33 3 90 21 55 04, e-mail: clementina.barbaro@coe.int

Ioana VOELKEL, Assistant / Assistante, Tél. +33 (0)3 90 21 42 94, e-mail: ioana.voelkel@coe.int



[1] 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.