Strasbourg, 11 December 2008                                            







adopted by the CEPEJ at its 12th plenary meeting

(Strasbourg, 10 – 11 December 2008)


Article 2 of its statutes[1] instructs the CEPEJ to “examine the results achieved by the different systems (…) by using (…) common statistical criteria and means of evaluation”.  Article 3 states that the CEPEJ is to fulfil its tasks “by (…) defining measures and means of evaluation” and “drawing up (…) best practice surveys, guidelines, action plans, opinions and general comments”.

The action plan which the Heads of State and Government adopted at their 3rd summit (Warsaw, May 2005) included a decision “to develop the evaluation (…) functions [of the CEPEJ]”.

The CEPEJ report “European judicial systems – Edition 2008” (published in October 2008) was well received by public decision makers and the judicial community in Europe. 

The CEPEJ thought it helpful to provide guidelines for the bodies which collect and process statistics in the justice field.  The guidelines draw on the experience acquired in the pilot evaluation of judicial systems (2002-2004) and the two first regular evaluation cycles (2004-2006 and 2006 - 2008).  In particular they take into account observations and proposals from national correspondents and the comments made by the CEPEJ.

These guidelines must be seen and used as an element of the corpus of tools designed by the CEPEJ to strengthen the efficiency and quality of justice, and in particular the Time Management Checklist[2], the Checklist for promoting the quality of justice and the courts[3] and the SATURN Guidelines on judicial time management[4], as well as the peer evaluation process and judicial statistics that has been implemented since 2008.

The aims of the guidelines are to:

§  promote quality, transparency, accountability and accessibility of judicial statistics collected and processed in the member states, as a tool for public policy;

§  facilitate comparison of data on European countries by ensuring adequate compatibility of key judicial indicators despite the substantial differences between countries (as regards judicial organisation, the economic situation, demography, etc.) so as to understand how the judicial systems function, identify common indicators for measuring activity and evaluating operation of the judicial system, bring out the major tendencies, identify difficulties and provide guidance for the public policies of justice in order to improve their efficiency and quality for the benefit of the European citizens;

§  contribute to ensure the transparency and accountability of the CEPEJ process for evaluating European judicial systems and to improve this process.


I.    General principles

1.    The  main aim of judicial statistics is to facilitate the efficient functioning of a judicial  system and contribute to the steering of public policies of justice. Therefore judicial statistics should enable policy makers and judicial practitioners to get relevant information on court performance and quality of the judicial system, namely the workload of courts and judges, the necessary duration for handling this workload, the quality of courts' outputs and the amount of human and financial resources to be allocated to the system to resolve the incoming workload.

2.    All data regarding performance and quality of the judicial system should be collected and presented through a compatible and consistent methodology applicable to all the branches and bodies of the judiciary so as to be able to evaluate the efficiency of the means allocated to them.

3.    Each member state should have specific statistical institutional arrangement(s) in order to collect, coordinate, aggregate and process the information from various statistic providers needed for evaluating the functioning and measuring the activity of courts, prosecution services, administrative services within the judicial system and any other bodies with a role in judicial activity.


Procedures and mechanisms

4.     Procedures and timeframes should be agreed with the stakeholders for the establishment of a system for regular collection and dissemination of statistic information. A clear allocation of responsibilities and mechanism(s) should be established in advance for addressing general questions, managing the maintenance of the system and solving conflicts regarding the operation of the system as well as the credibility and interpretation of the data collected.

5.    As far as possible, statistical data that has been collected in the past should also be used in future systems to develop time series.

6.    When the competent authority distributes the resources between judicial bodies using benchmarks through statistics, a mechanism of monitoring of the proper application of the rules for collecting, processing and analysing data should be established to guarantee a fair and transparent system.

7.    Requests for statistics should not unduly overload court staff but correspond to the needs of the smooth management of the overall judicial system.

8.    Developing IT use in the statistic system should enable to shorten the life cycle for submitting and processing judicial data.

Transparency and accountability of data

9.    Professionalism and ethics of the persons entrusted with data processing and their independence vis-à-vis other political or administrative bodies or organs as well as private bodies guarantee the accountability of the data. The states should ensure that these persons have the appropriate skills and should guarantee the adequate level of independence so that an accountable and high quality scientific work can be delivered.  

10.  All data collection and analysis should be undertaken in a transparent way. The main results should not only be delivered to all direct stakeholders of justice administration but also to all persons involved in the functioning of the judicial system. The opinions of researchers could be taken into account to improve this mechanism.

11.  Data and their analysis should not be personalised. They should be presented so as to be easily comprehensible in order to contribute to the transparency and acceptance of the whole system by all the persons concerned, and guarantee the fairness in the information presented. Complex formula should be avoided as far as possible.

12.  Public availability of data collected at national level should be ensured, namely through publication on Internet.

13.  Appropriate steps should be taken by the bodies responsible for collecting and processing judicial statistics in the member states to ensure dialogue with the organisations representing the legal and judicial professions, researchers and, as appropriate, other organisations with an interest in the matter so as to guarantee a broad consensus on the information collected and communicated.

Evaluation of European judicial systems

14.  Data collection should be organised taking into account as far as possible the CEPEJ Evaluation Scheme so that answers can be provided recurrently to questions put as part of the process of evaluating European judicial systems. Attention should also be paid to the guidance in the Explanatory Note so as to ensure homogeneity of the concepts considered and measurement methods used.

15.  In particular each member state should make the necessary arrangements that would allow to provide annual input to the corpus of key data of justice in Europe as defined by the CEPEJ (see Appendix II).  

II.   Specific principles

Justice budgets

16.  So that state efforts to develop the judicial system can be evaluated, statistical collection and processing should also be organised in such a way as to separate out the budgets for:

§  salaries

§  legal aid

§  computerisation (equipment, investment and maintenance),

§  justice expenses,

§  investment in new buildings,

§  building maintenance, operation and costs,

§  training and education for judges as well as for prosecutors.

17.  Judicial data should be collected and processed, as far as possible, in a manner that allows the budgets for operating the courts to be distinguished from those for operating the prosecution service.  If the judicial system is organised in such a way that no such differentiation is possible, figures for the number of judges and the number of prosecutors could allow weighting of the statistical results or a system enabling to estimate the budget dedicated to the prosecution system should be set up.

18.  The statistical information should cover both the budgets as approved and the budgets as executed.

Human resources

19.  Numbers for judicial personnel (judges, prosecutors, court clerks, etc.) should as far as possible be given in full-time equivalent.


Court activity, procedural timeframes and evaluation

20.  The statistic system should enable both at the national level and at the court level to assess the overall length of proceedings according to a sufficiently elaborated typology of cases.

21.  A large part of the cases before the European Court of Human Rights concerns the violation of the "reasonable time” of a proceeding provided for by Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.  Given that it is difficult to offer effective solutions for optimum and foreseeable timeframes unless we first have detailed knowledge of the situation, special attention should be paid to information collection on length of proceedings.

22.  In particular, member states should be able to provide information at least on the length of proceeding for the four following cases: litigious divorces, employment dismissals, robberies, intentional homicides (as defined in the Appendix I).

23.  To facilitate applying common solutions at Council of Europe level, a standard methodology should be adopted at the member state level for calculating timeframe of court case management. Member states should be in a position to calculate at least the three following ratios: clearance rate, disposition time and efficiency rate, as defined in Appendix I[5].  

Monitoring of breaches of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights

24.  Detailed up-to-date statistics in the member states on national cases before the European Court of Human Rights concerning the various rights protected by Article 6 are a key tool for evaluating and managing European Court of Human Rights judgments, in particular for the purpose of remedying situations which breach the convention.  The relevant bodies of member states are accordingly invited to maintain statistics in tabular form on national cases concerning Article 6 ECHR so that Court judgments are appropriately executed and further breaches prevented.

25.  Tables should, in particular, record the number of cases per year:

§  notified by the Court

§  declared inadmissible by the Court

§  ending in a friendly settlement

§  ending in a violation finding

§  ending in a non-violation finding

and relating at least to:

§  breach of the reasonable time requirement

§  non-execution of Court decisions.

26.  As far as possible the tables could likewise cover other rights protected by Article 6 ECHR.

Appendix I




1. General data on courts and court proceedings

System of monitoring should have available and public information on the general design of the judicial system, with special attention to the information relevant for the time management of the proceedings. The information on the general level should include accurate information on:

-           the number and types of courts and their jurisdiction;

-           the number and types of proceedings in the courts;

-           the proceedings designated as priority (urgent) cases;

The data on judicial system should be regularly updated, and be available at least on the annual level (start/end of the calendar year). The following data on the number of proceedings in the courts should be available:

-           total number of proceedings pending at the beginning of the monitored period (e.g. calendar year);

-           new proceedings (proceedings initiated within the monitored period, e.g. in the calendar year);

-           resolved cases (proceedings finalized within the monitored period either through a decision on the merit, a withdrawal of the case, a friendly settlement, etc…);

-           total number of proceedings pending at the end of the monitored period.

The data on the finalized proceedings can be split according to the way how the proceedings ended. At least, the cases that ended by a decision on the merits should be distinguishable from the cases that ended otherwise (withdrawal of the claim, settlement, and rejection on formal grounds).

Example I.

Courts of the State of Alpina

Court or branch of jurisdiction

Cases pending on 1.1.2008

New cases initiated

in 2008

Resolved cases

in 2008

Cases pending on



Court(s) A


Court(s) B


Court(s) C


N.B: "cases pending on 31.12.2008" = "cases pending on 1.1.2008" + "new cases initiated in 2008" – "resolved cases in 2008".

2. Information on types of cases

The information about the cases in the courts should be available both as the total, aggregate information, and as information divided according to the types of cases. For this purpose, some general and universal categories of cases should be utilized, such as division on civil, criminal and administrative cases.

Within the general categories, a more detailed types or groups of cases should be distinguished (e.g. labour cases; murder cases), and the same information should be available for the appropriate subtypes (e.g. employment dismissal cases within labour cases).

At this stage, each court can use its own case category. However the following four categories are mandatory for each court: litigious divorce, dismissal, robbery and intentional homicide.

§  Litigious divorce cases: i.e. the dissolution of a marriage contract between two persons, by the judgement of a court of a competent jurisdiction. 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 court) or ruled through an administrative procedure. If your country has a totally non-judicial procedure as regards divorce or if you can not isolate data concerning adversarial divorces, please specify it and give the subsequent explanations. Furthermore, if there are in your country, as regards divorce, compulsory mediation procedures or reflecting times, or if the conciliation phase is excluded from the judicial proceeding, please specify it and give the subsequent explanations.

§  Employment dismissal cases: 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.

§  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.

§  Intentional homicide is defined as the intentional killing of a person. Where possible the figures should include: assault 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.

For the purposes of further comparison with other European systems, the precise definition and scope of the other case type used by the court (especially the non-common categories) should be appended.

Example II.

City Court of Danubia

Type of case

Cases pending on 1.1.2008

New cases initiated

in 2008

Resolved cases

in 2008

Cases pending on



Civil cases


Litigious divorces







Criminal cases


Intentional homicides




3. Information on timeframes of proceedings

3a. Information on court-based timeframes of proceedings per duration periods and average/maximum timeframes


Every court should collect data regarding the timeframes of proceedings that are taking place in the court. Pending and completed cases within the period (e.g. calendar year) should be separately monitored, and the data on their duration should be split in the groups according to the periods of their duration, i.e. cases pending or completed in less than one month, 1-3 months, 4-5 months, 7 to 12 months, 1-2 years, 2-3 years, 3-5 years and more than 5 years. In addition to the spread of cases according to periods of their duration, the average and mean duration of the proceedings have to be calculated, and an indication of minimum and maximum timeframes should be given as well. The time of processing should consider only the time that was needed to process the case within the particular court, i.e. the time between the moment when the case arrived to the court and the moment when the case exited the court (e.g. final decision, transfer to a higher court to be decided on appeal, etc). If possible, the information on timeframes of proceedings for the completed cases should be distinguishable for the cases completed after a full examination of the case (i.e. the cases that ended by a decision on the merits) and the cases that were completed otherwise (by withdrawal, settlement, lack of jurisdiction etc.). 

Example III:

City Court of Danubia

Duration of cases completed in 2008 (situation as per 31.12.2008.)

Number of resolved cases

Number of cases pending on at the end of the period

< 1 m.

1-3 m

4-6 m

7-12 m.

1-2 y

2-3 y.

3-5 y

5 y>

Disposition time, in days


Civil cases


Litigious divorces







Criminal cases


Intentional homicides




3b. Information on total duration of proceedings


It is particularly important that the cases in the court also can be distinguished according to their total duration. The total duration is the time between the initiation of the proceedings and the final disposal of the case (see the CEPEJ Time-management checklist and SATURN Guidelines). If possible, the time needed to enforce the decisions should also be appended to the information on total timeframes of proceedings.

4. Monitoring of intermediate stages of proceedings and waiting time

The monitoring of timeframes should not be limited to the collection of data regarding total timeframes between the start and the end of the proceedings. Information on duration of intermediate stages of the proceedings should also be collected. At the minimum, the stages to be monitored should include the duration of the preparatory stage of the proceedings (e.g. time between the start of the proceedings and the first hearing on the merits), the central stage (e.g. from the first to the last hearing on the merits) and the concluding stage of the trial (e.g. from the last hearing to the delivery of the decision on the merits). The data on duration of appeals proceedings, or duration of other legal remedies should also be available. Special monitoring should be provided for the periods of inactivity (waiting time).

This statistic must be completed at national level by the relevant body (Ministry of Justice, High Council for the Judiciary, etc.).

Example IV:

            City Court of Danubia

Type of case

Average duration of intermediate stages in the proceedings (situation as per 31.12.2008.)

Trial stage

Legal remedies

Preparation of the proceeding




Special recourse



Civil cases


Litigious divorces







Criminal cases


Intentional homicides




5. Analytical information and indicators

Based on the general data on courts, numbers of cases and their duration, as well as on the other relevant information on the courts and judicial system, further instruments may be used as indicators and benchmarks of performance in the courts.

Inter alia, the following indices can be used to analyse and monitor the duration and other factors important for the understanding of timeframes in the court:

1.     Clearance rate (CR indicator): Relationship between the new cases and completed cases within a period, in percentage.

Example: If in a calendar year 500 new cases were submitted to the court, and the court completed at the same time 550 cases, the CR is 110%. If the court would complete 400 cases, the CR would be 80%. A CR above 100 % means that the number of pending cases decreases.

2.     Case Turnover ratio: Relationship between the number of resolved cases and the number of unresolved cases at the end. This requires a calculation of the number of times during the year (or other observed period) that the standardized case types are turned over or resolved.

3.     Disposition time (DT indicator): it compares the number of resolved cases during the observed period and the number of unresolved cases at the end of the observed period. 365 is divided by the number of resolved cases divided by the number of unresolved cases at the end, so as to be able to express it in number of days. The ratio measures how quickly the judicial system (of the court) turns over received cases – that is, how long it takes for a type of cases to be resolved. This indicator provides further insight into how a judicial system manages its flow of cases.

Other indicators (for information)

4.     Efficiency rate (ER indicator): Relationship between the number of personnel used in a court in a year and the output of cases from the same court at the end of the year.

5.     Total backlog (TB indicator): Cases remaining unresolved at the end of the period, defined as difference between the total number of pending cases at the beginning of the period, and the cases resolved within the same period. Example: If there were 1000 cases pending at the beginning of the calendar year, and the court terminated 750 cases during the calendar year, at the end of the calendar period there would be 250 cases that are calculated as total backlog.

6.     Backlog resolution (BR indicator): The time needed to resolve the total backlog in months or days, calculated as the relationship between the number of cases and the clearance time. Example: If there are 100 cases considered as total backlog at the end of the period, and the court completed 200 cases in the same period, the BR indicator is 6 months or 180 days.

7.     Case per judge (CPJ indicator): Number of cases of a particular type per judge in the given period. Example: If a court has 600 pending civil cases at the end of the calendar year and 4 judges that deal with them, the CPC is 150.

8.     Standard departure (SD indicator): Departure from the set targets per type of case in the given period, in percentage or days. Example: If the target for completion of litigious divorce case in the first instance was set to be 200 days, and in the calendar year the average duration of such cases was 240 days, the SD indicator is 40 days or 20%.

Appendix II

Appendix III

Key data on justice in Europe

Demographic and economic data

1.         Inhabitants, GDP and average gross annual salary

Number of inhabitants

Per capita GDP (gross domestic product) in euro

Average gross annual salary in euro

2.         Total annual budget allocated to all courts (euro)      

3.         Does the budget of the courts include the following items?

         Please give for each item a specification of the amount concerned (if possible)


Amount (euro)

Annual public budget allocated to salaries


Annual public budget allocated to computerisation


Annual public budget allocated to legal costs              


Annual public budget allocated to court buildings


Annual public budget allocated to training and education


Annual public budget allocated to legal aid


Other (please specify):


4.            Annual public budget allocated to the prosecution services          

5.         Is the budget allocated to the public prosecution included in the court budget?



Legal Aid (Access to justice)

6.         Annual number of legal aid (provided by public authorities) cases and annual public budget allocated to legal aid (complete the table)



Criminal cases



Other than criminal cases



Total of legal aid cases



Organisation of the court system and the public prosecution

7.         Judges, non-judge staff and Rechtspfleger (complete the table)

Total number

Professional judges (full time equivalent and permanent posts)


Professional judges sitting in courts on an occasional basis and paid as such


Non-professional judges (including lay-judges) who are not remunerated but who can possibly receive a defrayal of costs


Non-judge staff working in the courts (full time equivalent and permanent posts)


Rechtspfleger (if applicable)


8.         Public prosecutors and non-prosecutor staff of the prosecution services (complete the table)

Total number

Total number of public prosecutors (full time equivalent and permanent posts)


Total number of staff (non-prosecutors) attached to the public prosecution service (full time equivalent and permanent posts)


9.         Level of computer facilities used within the courts



100% of courts

+50% of courts

-50% of courts

- 10 % of courts

Direct assistance to the judge/court clerk

Word processing

Electronic data base of jurisprudence

Electronic files


Internet connection

Administration and management

Case registration system

Court management information system

Financial information system

Communication between the court and the parties

Electronic forms

Special Website

Other electronic communication facilities

The performance and workload of the courts and the public prosecution

10.      Number of cases regarding  Article 6 of the European Convention of Human

Rights (on duration and non-execution), for the year of reference

Cases declared inadmissible by the Court

Friendly settlements

Judgements establishing a violation

Judgements establishing a non violation

Civil proceedings - Article 6§1 (duration)

Civil proceedings - Article 6§1 (non-execution)

Criminal proceedings - Article 6§1 (duration)

11.      Total number of civil cases in the courts(litigious and non-litigious):             

12.      Litigious civil cases and administrative law cases in the courts (complete the table)


Litigious civil  cases

Litigious administra-

tive cases


Divorce cases

Employment dismissal

Total number

(1st instance)

Pending cases by 1 January of the year of reference

Pending cases by 31 December of the year of reference

Incoming cases

Decisions on the merits

Average length (from date of lodging of court proceedings) of 1st instance proceedings

13.          Number of cases received and treated by the public prosecutor (complete the table)

Total number of 1st instance criminal cases

Received by the public prosecutor

Discontinued by the public prosecutor

In general

because the offender could not be identified

due to the lack of an established offence or a specific legal situation

Concluded by a penalty, imposed or negotiated by the public prosecutor

Charged by the public prosecutor before the courts

14.      Criminal cases in the courts(complete the table)

Criminal cases (total)

Robbery cases

Intentional homicides

Total number (1st instance)

Pending cases by 1 January of  the year of reference

Pending cases by 31 December of  the year of reference

Incoming cases

Judicial decisions

Average length (from  the date of official charging) of 1st instance proceedings

Execution of court decisions

15.          As regards a decision on debts collection, can you estimate the average timeframe to notify the decision to the parties which live in the city where the court seats:

 between 1 and 5 days

 between 6 and 10 days

 between 11 and 30 days


[1] Committee of Ministers Resolution Res(2002)12.

[2] CEPEJ(2005)12Rev.

[3] CEPEJ(2008)2.

[4] CEPEJ(2008)8.

[5] This appendix repeates the SATURN Guidelines on judicial time management: EUGMONT (CEPEJ(2008)8).