CEPEJ_rev

Strasbourg, 13 November 2018                                                                    

 CEPEJ-SATURN(2018)7

EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR THE EFFICIENCY OF JUSTICE

(CEPEJ)

Steering Group of the SATURN Centre for Judicial Time Management

(CEPEJ-SATURN)

24th meeting

Council of Europe, Palais de l’Europe (Strasbourg), Room G04

9 and 11 October 2018

MEETING REPORT

This report includes, under the various agenda items, the main decisions taken during the 13th meeting of the CEPEJ Network of Pilot Courts (10 October 2018).

Report drafted by the Secretariat

Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law


1.             The Steering Group of the SATURN Centre for the study and analysis of judicial time management of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) held its 24th meeting in Strasbourg on 9 and 11 October 2018.

2.             The agenda appears in Appendix I and the list of participants in Appendix II to this report.

1.             Information from the Chair, Group members and the Secretariat

3.             The Chair informed the members of the Group of CEPEJ’s various other work underway following its 15th plenary meeting (June 2018), which he attended.

4.             The Secretariat said that the 2018 edition of the “European judicial systems” report had been published on 4 October 2018 and had received wide media coverage. It encouraged all of the members and observers attending the meeting to disseminate the report as widely as possible in their country or professional organisation via the range of communication tools made available.

2.             Towards European timeframes for judicial proceedings – implementation guide

5.             The Working group examined the replies from 26 (out of 62) pilot courts to the Secretariat’s questionnaire on the main case categories their courts used to collect data about incoming, resolved and pending cases and the age of pending cases.

6.             It thanked the pilot courts that had made the effort to send in detailed replies to the questionnaire but noted with regret the low response rate.

7.             This called into question the possibility of future co-operation with the pilot courts which, despite regular meeting attendance, invariably failed to reply to requests from the Secretariat or the working groups about the CEPEJ’s tools although this was their key role as network members.

8.             The Group also questioned the (”bottom-up”) working method used in the present case which did not necessarily enable the courts to understand the Working group’s goals for case categorisation. Perhaps the following alternative approach would be more constructive: first, determine a number of categories and then ask the pilot courts whether they would be able to collect data on these categories (for example cases on immigration, bankruptcy, families). If the courts accepted, they would be requested to provide the data on these categories for a given year. This method would ensure that all respondents had the same understanding of the task at hand.

9.             The pilot courts meeting enabled the Group to compile the following list of case categories that would likely enable data to be collected in most of the courts:

-       Civil liability following a traffic accident

-       Intellectual property

-       Medical malpractice (only if dealt with as a case in its own right)

10.          The Secretariat was instructed to draw up a new questionnaire to collect data (about incoming, resolved and pending cases and the age of pending cases) for the above categories. The Chair would define the categories in an introduction to be added to the questionnaire, which would also clarify that if a particular category did not exist in its own right, the pilot court should provide data for the wider category which included such cases, and specify this in its reply.

11.          Following various comments made during the pilot court meeting, the Group also instructed the Secretariat to make the new questionnaire slightly more “user-friendly” as many respondents had experienced difficulty submitting their replies online. Furthermore, the Secretariat was requested to check whether the above categories were used at the European Court of Human Rights.

12.          The Group concluded that the information it received about priority, routine and complex cases was more interesting even though it had been unable to establish consistent and common definitions from the replies.


Assignment of tasks

Secretariat

Consult the ECHR on definitions

Draft a new questionnaire

11/2018

Chair

Draft an introduction defining the case categories

11/2018

Secretariat

Send questionnaire to pilot courts

01/12/2018

Courts

Fill in questionnaire

15/01/2019

Marco Fabri, Expert

Review and analyse replies

15/03/2019

3.             Case weighting in European courts

13.          The Working group examined the document entitled “Case weighting in European judicial systems” (CEPEJ-SATURN(2017)7).

14.          It was noted that before commencing, it was important to clearly spell out the document’s aim and the CEPEJ-SATURN group’s objectives in this exercise. The introduction of a case-weighting system might be a cause of concern for some legal professionals, who might view it as an indirect means of evaluating judges’ work and a management tool that ultimately made it possible to set a workload for each judge.

15.          Further to the discussions at the pilot courts meeting, the Secretariat was instructed to check with the States (particularly Germany, Austria and Albania) whether the information on national systems contained in the document was still correct, relevant and/or up-to-date. It was also asked to verify whether new systems (either complete or under preparation) could be included in the document.

16.          The representative of Israel presented recent work conducted in the field by her country’s courts responsible for labour law. She said that they had opted for the following method: measuring the time actually spent working on a case (by all judges) instead of estimating the time to be spent on a case, which meant that only a group of judges provided information (as in Germany, for example). It was noted that questioning all the judges responsible for a particular field avoided creating the impression that they were a test group.

17.          Further to the discussions at the pilot courts meeting, it was decided that some clarification should be added to point 2.3 to specify the authority in charge of evaluating time when introducing a case-weighting system: the court itself, the Supreme Judicial Council if there was one, or an external, private company?

18.          The EUR added that non-judicial staff included in existing case-weighting systems should also be taken into account.

19.          The Group then held a more general discussion about the future of the document, which could either be presented to the CEPEJ for adoption in its current form or be developed further through the addition of case-weighting methodology.

20.          The Working group decided to pursue its work and tasked Marco Fabri and Shanee Benkin (experts from Italy and Israel) to conduct a scientific study with a view to analysing existing case-weighting systems. They would draw on this analysis to draft a specific and practical methodology to be made available to legal systems wishing to set up a case-weighting procedure. The current document should serve as a basis for their work.

21.          The Supreme Court of Israel invited the Working group for a study visit of the institution and a practical workshop on the country’s new case-weighting system and other tools for monitoring the length of ongoing court proceedings. The study visit could take place in the week of 18 to 24 February 2019.

Assignment of tasks

Secretariat

Check the relevance of each country’s information in the document

15/01/2019

Secretariat

Draw up expert contracts for Marco Fabri and Shanee Benkin

01/12/2018

Secretariat with the Supreme Court of Israel

Organise the study visit

18/02/2019

Experts

Prepare the report

15/03/2019


4.             Dashboard for court management

22.          The Working group examined the document CEPEJ-SATURN(2017)9 which presented some relevant items to be found on the dashboards already used in certain European courts. The broad aim of CEPEJ-SATURN’s work on court management dashboards was to produce a common template that would be made available to all European courts.

23.          Martin Mikus from the Analytical Unit at the Slovakian Ministry of Justice presented the Slovakian model.

24.          It was noted that the use of dashboards could help improve the definitions of resolved and pending cases (see items 2 and 6 of this report).

25.          The Working group decided to draft a document setting out guidelines on the data, tables and graphics that could be included in a dashboard template for the next SATURN meeting. The guidelines should specify the indicators to be included (according to the discussions at the pilot court meeting, this would comprise the indicators on cases per judge or the duration of cases) along with several examples. The guidelines would form Part I of the document. The Group tasked Francesco Depasquale with this work. It also instructed the Secretariat to continue collecting information on existing dashboards, which would appear in Part II of the document.

26.          It should be decided at a later date whether this document would be destined for judges individually or as a whole, or for public use.

Assignment of tasks

Secretariat

Continue collection of information on existing dashboards

15/03/2019

Francesco Depasquale

Draw up draft guidelines on the data, tables and graphics that could be included in a dashboard template

01/03/2019

5.             SATURN Guidelines for Judicial Time Management

27.          The Working Group examined the draft revised Guidelines for Judicial Time Management (CEPEJ-SATURN(2018)5) in the light of the proposal by the expert, Jon Johnsen, (CEPEJ-SATURN(2018)2). It made some amendments essentially with a view to moving certain information to earlier sections of the document, as the information in question did not concern just prosecutors, and adding references regarding ECHR Articles 5 and 6, in a relevant way.

28.          The Secretariat was instructed to prepare a finalised version of the third revision and send it to Group members for final approval before including it on the agenda of the CEPEJ’s next plenary meeting with a view to its adoption.

Assignment of tasks

Secretariat

Finalise the document on revised SATURN guidelines for judicial time management (3rd revision)

20/11/2018

CEPEJ-SATURN

Adopt revised document via e-mail

27/11/2018

CEPEJ

Examine the document with a view to its adoption

3-4/12/2018 (Plenary meeting)

6.             Consultation of CEPEJ-SATURN on definitions used by CEPEJ in relation to its fields of competence

29.          The Working group examined the document prepared by the Ad hoc Working group (CEPEJ(2018)2), which sets out a number of relevant definitions used by CEPEJ. It made the following comments:

-       it would be better to number the definitions in the sub-categories, under terms classified alphabetically;

-       the document could include a definition of court efficiency;

-       the definitions of Rechtspfleger needed harmonising as they varied at present;

-       the French definition of administrative law cases should be aligned with the English version.

The Group then analysed the replies to the questionnaire sent to pilot courts to establish “when a case in your court is considered resolved” (26 replies received, 62 surveys sent). Although there was no majority response on the date recorded for a resolved case, the replies indicated that the courts were generally able to say when the judgment was signed. Therefore, the next step should be to send the pilot courts a new questionnaire on the different stages recorded in their case management systems. It could also include a question on the lapse of time between the judge’s signature and the judgment being sent to the parties.

30.          The Secretariat was instructed to finish compiling the replies already received and send them to Group members before distributing a new questionnaire as indicated above.

31.          The Working group noted that it should state exactly why this information was being requested; namely, to:

-       harmonise definitions;

-       collect data and calculate the length of court proceedings within the context of court efficiency;

-       know when the court user would be informed of the ruling.

32.          It was noted that common law countries were underrepresented in both documents.

Assignment of tasks

Secretariat

Finish collecting replies to the questionnaire on “resolved cases” and forward them to CEPEJ-SATURN

28/11/2018

Secretariat

Draft a new questionnaire

15/01/2019

Pilot courts

Respond to second questionnaire

15/02/2019

7.             Recent European Court of Human Rights case law on the reasonable time criterion and possible follow-up by the CEPEJ

33.          The Working group examined the report updated by Nicolas Régis (France): “Length of court proceedings in the member states of the Council of Europe based on the case law of the European Court of Human Rights”, now finally available in English. The French version had already been presented at the Group’s last meeting.

34.          It expressed surprise at some of the statements made in the report, for instance that a duration of up to two years per level of jurisdiction was reasonable (after which closer examination of the reasons for delay was required). It instructed the Secretariat to check with the author and the Court whether these were recognised and undisputed standards. It would re-examine the report in the light of the replies and could possibly adopt the document via e-mail, before including it on the agenda of the CEPEJ’s next plenary meeting with a view to adoption.

Assignment of tasks

Secretariat

Question Nicolas Régis and the Court about certain information in the report

20/11/2018

CEPEJ-SATURN

Adopt revised document via e-mail

27/11/2018

CEPEJ

Examine the document with a view to its adoption

3-4/12/2018 (Plenary meeting)

8.             Discussion of the Study on judicial timeframes in second and highest instance courts (2014 data) and links with the GT-EVAL report under preparation

35.          The Working group was delighted to note that the latest Evaluation Report of European Judicial Systems (published in October 2018) contained a section on judicial timeframes in second and highest instance courts, thanks to the work of the expert, Julinda Beqiraj (Albania).


9.             Managing rules on judicial time for criminal cases under Article 5 and 6 of the ECHR

36.          The Working group examined a proposed work plan prepared by Jon Johnsen as a follow-up to his report “Managing time regulations for criminal cases in ECHR articles 5 and 6” (only available in English). It decided to invite Jon Johnsen to its next meeting for further discussions.

10.          Role of parties and practitioners in preventing delays in court proceedings

37.          The Group raised the question of the overall purpose of the discussion paper on the “Role of parties and practitioners in avoiding or reducing delay in disposal of court proceedings” (CEPEJ-SATURN(2017)8). It felt that it would be useful to hold further discussions on judge/lawyer relations in this respect. The actions of other stakeholders – such as experts and probation services – could impact the length of court proceedings.

38.          It felt that it was necessary at this stage to consider the document as a working paper that might not become a CEPEJ document itself, but which could serve as a basis for including a section on lawyers in the guidelines for monitoring judicial timeframes.

39.          The subtitle in brackets was deleted and the Secretariat was tasked with organising appropriate consultation of lawyers via the CBBE which is an Observer to the CEPEJ, for example by considering inviting them to the next meeting. Subjects for discussion could include judicial time agreements between judges and lawyers and how lawyers’ conduct and actions impact the length of court proceedings.

40.          The following points emerged from the workshop attended by the pilot courts:

It was agreed that this point would be discussed at greater length at the next meeting when its author, Noël Rubotham, who had been unable to attend the present meeting, would be able to take part.

11.          CEPEJ co-operation and court coaching programmes

41.          The Group was informed of on-going programmes in Albania, Kosovo and Slovakia.

12.          Update of Recommendation Rec(86)12 concerning measures to prevent and reduce the excessive workload in the courts

42.          The SATURN Group pursued talks on a possible update of Recommendation Rec(86)12 concerning measures to prevent and reduce the excessive workload in the courts.

43.          For information, the CEPEJ had sent an Opinion to the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) on 12 December 2014 asking it to consider the possibility of updating the Recommendation adopted 28 years earlier (CEPEJ(2014)19), and setting out the reasons for this request.

44.          In response to the Opinion, the CDCJ had examined the request in October 2015 and had decided to work on updating the Recommendation. It had also addressed the issue in November 2016 when it had agreed to initiate an activity on the role of court registrars in the resolution of court cases, although it had not included this among its priorities. Finally, in January 2018 the CDCJ (pursuant to its meeting in November 2017) had asked the CEPEJ, as the best-placed body, to forward the information it required on the non-judicial tasks which judges continued to carry out, on the member states concerned (if possible indicating the reasons given by the member states) and on the other professions responsible for these tasks in other member states. The CDCJ stated that it was awaiting this information so as to make an informed decision on the scope of the proposed update to the Recommendation.

45.          The CEPEJ-SATURN thanked the EUR for the important work it had undertaken to draft the Summary report (CEPEJ-SATURN(2018)6) on the results of a questionnaire sent to its member states to evaluate the transfers of tasks from judges to other non-judicial staff (lawyers, attorneys, etc.).

46.          It instructed the Secretariat to draw up a document to submit to the CEPEJ to present the report and its aims so that following its plenary meeting, the CEPEJ could forward it to the CDCJ. It would first be e-mailed to the CEPEJ-SATURN and EUR for any comments.


Assignment of tasks

Secretariat

Draw up a presentation of the Summary report with the Summary report in an appendix.

20/11/2018

CEPEJ-SATURN

Submit any comments on the document

27/11/2018

CEPEJ

Examine the document with a view to its adoption

3-4/12/2018 (Plenary meeting)

Secretariat

Send document adopted by CEPEJ to CDJC

10/12/2018

13.          Other business

47.          The Chair of CEPEJ-SATURN would attend the CEPEJ’s next plenary meeting (2-3 December 2018).

48.          It was anticipated that the next CEPEJ-SATURN meeting would be held on 3 and 4 April 2019 in Strasbourg.


APPENDIX I

AGENDA / ORDRE DU JOUR

1.       Opening of the meeting

Ouverture de la réunion

2.      Information by the President, members of the Group and the Secretariat

Information du Président, des membres du Groupe et du Secrétariat

3.      Preparation of the 13rd plenary meeting of the CEPEJ Pilot courts

Préparation de la 13ème réunion plénière du Réseau des tribunaux référents de la CEPEJ

4.      European timeframes for judicial proceedings – Revision of the implementation Guide

Délais judiciaires européens – Révision du Guide de mise en œuvre

Update/Revision of these timeframes by detailing the categories of cases: summary of replies to the questionnaire sent to the Network concerning the classification of cases used by the pilot courts

Mise à jour/Révision de ces délais-cadres en détaillant les catégories d’affaires : bilan des réponses au questionnaire envoyé au Réseau concernant la classification des affaires utilisée par les tribunaux-référents

5.      Cases weighting

Pondération des affaires

Examination of the document on case weighting with a view of presentation to the next CEPEJ plenary meeting

Examen du document sur la pondération des affaires en vue de sa présentation lors de la prochaine réunion plénière de la CEPEJ

The German example of case weighting systems

L’exemple allemand du système de pondération des affaires

6.      SATURN Guidelines for Judicial Time Management

Lignes directrices du Centre SATURN pour la gestion du temps judiciaire

Revision of the Guidelines for Judicial Time Management on the basis of the proposal of J. Johnsen

Révision des Lignes directrices pour la gestion du temps judiciaire à la lumière de la proposition présentée par J. Johnsen

7.      Consultation of the CEPEJ-SATURN on definitions used by CEPEJ which are under its competence

Consultation du CEPEJ-SATURN sur les définitions utilisées par la CEPEJ relevant de sa compétence

Examination of the relevant definitions in the document concerning definitions used  by CEPEJ, as drafted by the ad hoc Group

Examen des définitions pertinentes dans le document sur les définitions utilisées par la CEPEJ préparé par le Groupe ad hoc

Synthesis of replies to the questionnaire sent to the Network concerning the definition of a “pending case” by the pilot courts

Bilan des réponses au questionnaire envoyé au Réseau concernant la définition d’un « affaire pendante » par les tribunaux-référents


8.      Dashboard[1] for court management

Tableau de bord[2] pour la gestion des tribunaux

Updating of the document presenting the template dashboards

Mise à jour du document présentant les modèles de tableaux de bord

9.      Updating of Recommendation Rec(86)12 concerning measures to prevent and reduce the excessive workload in the courts

Mise à jour de la Recommandation Rec(86)12 relative à certaines mesures visant à prévenir et réduire la surcharge de travail des tribunaux

Results of the specific survey conducted by EUR

Résultats de l’étude spécifique menée par l’EUR

10.    Update of the Calvez/Regis report

            Mise à jour du rapport Calvez/Régis 

11.    Discussions on the Study on judicial timeframes in 2nd and highest instance (data 2014) and link with GT-EVAL on-going report

Discussion relative à l’étude sur les délais judiciaires au sein des tribunaux de 2ème instance et de la plus haute instance (données 2014) et lien avec le rapport en cours du GT-EVAL

12.    Managing judicial time regulations for criminal cases in ECHR article 5 and 6

Gestion des règles de temps judiciaire pour les affaires pénales dans les articles 5 et 6 de la CEDH

Discussion on a study on Managing judicial time regulations for criminal cases in ECHR articles 5 and 6

Discussion sur une étude relative à la gestion des règles de temps judiciaire pour les affaires pénales dans les articles 5 et 6 de la CEDH

13.    Role of the parties and the practioners in preventing delays in court proceedings

Rôle des parties et des praticiens afin de prévenir les retards dans les procédures judiciaires

Exchange of views on the development of the document, after discussion with the pilot courts

Echanges de vues concernant le document en préparation, après discussion avec les tribunaux pilotes

14.    CEPEJ Co-operation and Court coaching programmes

CEPEJ Programmes de coopération et de court coaching

15.    Other items

Divers


APPENDIX II : List of participants

MEMBERS / MEMBRES

Ivana BORZOVÁ, Head of Department of Civil Supervision, Ministry of Justice, CZECH REPUBLIC

Ivan CRNČEC, Assistant Minister of Justice, ZAGREB, CROATIA,  Apologised / Excusé

Francesco DEPASQUALE, Magistrate, Legal Advisor to the Director General, Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs, VALLETTA 1189, MALTA

Vassilis ANDROULAKIS, Judge at the Council of State, ATHENS, GREECE

Giacomo OBERTO, Magistrat, Tribunal de Grande Instance, TURIN, ITALIE (President of SATURN / Président du SATURN)

Noel RUBOTHAM, Head of Reform and Development, Courts Service, DUBLIN 7, IRELAND, Apologised / Excusé

***

PRESIDENT OF CEPEJ /PRESIDENT DE LA CEPEJ

Georg STAWA, Secretary General of the Austrian Ministry of Justice, Federal Ministry of Justice, VIENNA, AUSTRIA, Apologised / Excusé

***

Scientific ExpertS / Experts scientifiques

Marco FABRI, Director, Research Institute on Judicial Systems, National Research Council (IRSIG-CNR), BOLOGNA, ITALY

Jon T. JOHNSEN, Professor in Law, Faculty of law, University of Oslo, OSLO, Norway, Apologised / Excusé

***

INVITED DELEGATIONS / DELEGATIONS INVITEES

SLOVAK REPUBLIC / REPUBLIQUE SLOVAQUIE

Danka KOVALOVÁ, Director of the analytical Centre, Ministry of Justice, BRATISLAVA

Martin MIKUŠ, Analytical Centre, Ministry of Justice, BRATISLAVA

Karolína NOVÁKOVÁ, Analytical Centre, Ministry of Justice, BRATISLAVA

***

OBSERVER / OBSERVATEUR

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

Vivien WHYTE, Président de l’EUR, Directeur des services de greffe judiciaires, STRASBOURG, FRANCE

Jean-Jacques KUSTER, Représentant de l’EUR, STRASBOURG, FRANCE

***


COUNCIL OF EUROPE / CONSEIL DE L’EUROPE

SECRETARIAT

Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law (DGI) 

Division for the Independence and Efficiency of Justice /

Direction générale droits de l’Homme et Etat de droit (DGI)

Division pour l’indépendance et l’efficacité de la justice

E-mail : cepej@coe.int

Hanne JUNCHER, Head of the Justice and Legal Co-operation Department / Service de la coopération judiciaire et juridique, Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 24 37, e-mail: hanne.juncher@coe.int

Muriel DECOT, Co-Secretary of the CEPEJ / Co-Secrétaire de la CEPEJ, Tel: +33 (0)3 90 21 44 55, e-mail: muriel.décot@coe.int

Leonid ANTOHI, Project Co-ordinator / Coordinateur de projets, Tél : +33 (0)3 90 21 49 65, e-mail: Leonid.antohi@coe.int 

Annette SATTEL, Administration et Réseaux, Tél: +33 (0)3 88 41 39 04, e-mail: annette.sattel@coe.int

Ioana VOELKEL, Assistant/Assistante, Secretariat of the CEPEJ / Secrétariat de la CEPEJ, Tel : +33 (0)3 90 21 42 94 ; e-mail: ioana.voelkel@coe.int

Anna KHROMOVA, Assistant, Secretariat of the CEPEJ / Secrétariat de la CEPEJ, Tel : +33 (0)3 90 21 21 68, e-mail : anna.khromova@coe.int

INTERPRETERS / INTERPRETES

Isabelle MARCHINI

Lucie DE BURLET

Jean-Jacques PEDUSSAUD



[1] A dashboard is a set of table and/or graphics (bar charts, pie charts, etc) to monitor the flow of cases, the allocation of human resources etc.

[2] Un tableau de bord est un ensemble de table et/ou graphique (diagrammes en barre, camemberts, etc) pour surveiller le flux des affaires, l’allocation des ressources humaines, etc.