CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL OF EUROPEAN PROSECUTORS(CCPE)
1. Does the prosecution service in your country work strategically with ensuring quality in the work of prosecutors? If yes, how is that done?
The organization of the Prosecution Offices is basically in the hands of single Chief prosecutors (i.e. the Chiefs of the Prosecution Offices at each Italian Court). The organizational model adopted by each of them is then subject to the scrutiny of the Judicial Council (within each District), as well as to the High Council of the Judiciary.
Such a control ensures some kind of uniformity of approach within the national territory.
The quality of the prosecutors’ work is generally ensured by a partition in different matters, which allows the specialization of prosecutors. As a consequence, they are generally quicker in deciding the cases and the quality of the adopted decisions is improved.
Furthermore, the Chief Prosecutor steadily checks on them: the powers of intervention and withdrawal of assigning a case have been bestowed upon him in the event that a conflict on how an assigned case is handled might arise or a deputy prosecutor in charge of a case might not comply with (generally established or case-to-case) principles and standards.
2. Which criteria are considered crucial in your country for securing the highest quality and efficiency of the work of prosecutors: their independence, impartiality, human and material resources, conditions of work etc.? Please briefly describe.
In the Italian legal system, the independence and impartiality of the judiciary are regarded as essential principles. They are enshrined in the Italian Constitution in relation both to judges and prosecutors. In addition to these principles, the principle of security of tenure of the judiciary ensures the independence of judges and prosecutors even from any indirect pressure.
A well-structured system of vocational training, in the first place, and then on-the-job training is envisaged to ensure top quality in the work of prosecutors and judges. A period of training of 18 months is envisaged for trainee judges/prosecutors: it is organized in several sessions to be held at the High School for the Judiciary and in the courts. All members of the judiciary are expected to follow continuing education programs both at national and district level.
Human and material means –including technology– are also regarded as pivotal resources. However, the Italian prosecution service does not conduct any negotiations, either on them or on the budget.
3. Are there any indicators, formal or informal, used in your country in order to assess the quality and efficiency of the work of prosecutors, for example, the number of cases considered, the length of the consideration, the complexity of the cases considered etc.? Please briefly describe.
In Italy there is a well-structured system of statistical surveys in the all justice field. This system makes it possible to draw useful data to assess the “efficiency”, meaning the respect for the different deadlines included in the proceedings and the respect for the overall length of trial proceedings.
No “indicators” on quality assessment are collected, since it may be hard to define such a standard in itself even before any survey can be made. Until now, these difficulties have prevented the adoption of a shared system for the collection of the so-called “required workload” (that is the highest level of “productivity” that judges and prosecutors are required to provide), despite all attempts at doing so in a long time. The elaboration is going on.
4. Is there a formal or informal procedure for evaluation of the work of prosecutors, how often it is evaluated, by whom, and with what consequences? Do the prosecutors have the right to raise formal or informal objections to the results of the evaluation and to its consequences?
Both Italian judges and prosecutors are subject to a mechanism of professional assessment every four years and up to the 7th level of proficiency check. This system is based upon different standards (legal background, mastery in the techniques used in the different fields of prosecution and jurisdiction activity, outcome of the judicial decisions they have taken, quantity and quality of their work, respect for the deadlines in the drafting of decisions, as well as participation of (judges and) prosecutors in the smooth running of the offices they are assigned to).
The High Council of the Judiciary conducts a proficiency check based upon the opinion expressed by the Judicial Council (a district-based council) and the obtained documents.
The Judicial Council’s opinion is respectively grounded upon the Chief Prosecutor’s report, the assessment of the deeds drawn by a prosecutor (some of them are sample extracts and some others are singled out by him/her) and also some other elements of information it may acquire.
5. As regards the fight against organised crime and terrorism, are there any specific conditions, criteria, procedures or indicators created for prosecutors in your country in order to:
- facilitate their work?
The Anti-mafia District Prosecution Office has been established within the Prosecution Office at the District Court of Appeal, located in the area’s main city. It has a special jurisdiction in the field of organized crime, with respect to some particularly serious offences.
The Anti-mafia District Prosecution Offices are coordinated at national level by the Anti-mafia National Directorate.
In 2015 the Anti-mafia District Prosecution Offices and the Anti-mafia National Directorate were conferred powers in the field of anti-terrorism.
- evaluate their work?
Just like all judges and prosecutors, even the prosecutors responsible for the Anti-mafia Directorate are subject to the assessment mechanism mentioned at No. 4. They are appointed to work for the Anti-Mafia District Prosecution Office for two years and their appointment (which may be renewed every two years up to an overall period of no more than ten years) is subject to a specific job evaluation.
6. Are there in your country recent legislative reforms to fight more effectively against organised crime and terrorism and how are these reforms seen in relation to the quality and efficiency of the work of prosecutors? Please briefly describe.
Italy ratified many conventions developed within the Council of Europe and the United Nations in relation to the fight against terrorism and it implemented the instruments adopted in this area within the European Union.
The Anti-mafia District Prosecution Offices and the Anti-mafia National Directorate were established at national level, as mentioned at No. 5.
7. Do you consider that current international conventions, as well as international organisations, like Eurojust, Europol and Interpol, are sufficient to effectively fight against organised crime and terrorism?
Taking into consideration the typically cross-border nature of organised crime and terrorism, we do have to positively evaluate international organisations like Eurojust, Europol and Interpol, tending to improve the fight against this kind of crimes.
The establishment of a European Prosecutor seems to be a natural consequence of these instruments, as also mentioned in the T.F.E.U. (Article 86). Italy has always been in favour of the establishment of the EPPO (European Public Prosecutor’s Office).
In the years to come, this could also become an important instrument to fight against cross-border crime (although it has a more limited goal at the beginning, being intended to protect the financial interests of the Union). As a result, Italy is now a little disappointed by the recent (rather unambitious) developments of the debate on this issue.
8. What are the major challenges in your country as regards the quality and efficiency of the work of prosecutors and, in particular, their fight against organised crime and terrorism?
An improvement in information exchange surely represents the major challenge to enhance efficiency and quality of the prosecutors’ work, especially in the fight against organized crime and terrorism (apart from an obvious development in human, material and technological resources). It is really worth wishing for an improvement in information exchange at international level (even by the means of sharing existing data-bases) as well as at national level.
In Italy the Anti-mafia District Prosecution Offices (as already said at point No. 5, these Offices were established within the Prosecution Offices at the District Courts of Appeal) undersigned several memoranda of understanding with other Prosecution Offices to allow the flow of data.
On this regard, special attention is to be given to the so-called “spy crimes”. These minor offences provide us with suggestions, or represent useful indicators to monitor the organized crime and terrorism-related phenomena.
Rome, 19th February 2016