The Crystal Scales of Justice award

The "Crystal Scales of Justice" competition, first launched in 2005, is organised annually by the Council of Europe and the European Commission to highlight innovative and efficient pratices used in European Courts for court organisation of for the conduct of judicial proceedings (for example, initiatives devised by a court president, a registry, a Bar) and deserving to be drawn to the attention of policy-makers and the judicial community so as to improve the functioning of the public justice system.

The prize is awarded by a jury of European legal professionals and the award ceremony takes palce within the framework of the European Day of Civil Justice.

2012 edition

The 2012 European Crystal Scales of Justice prize for innovative court practices was awarded to the Regional Court of Antwerp (Belgium) for its efforts consented to the follow-up of judicial expertise on 25 October in Vilnius (Lithuania), on the occasion of the European Day of Civil Justice.

For the 6th year, the prize aimed to promote innovative practices in civil matters, in respect of conduct of proceedings, court organisation and general functioning of the justice system.

The four projects selected by the jury were:

  • The follow-up of judicial expertise – First Instance Court of Antwerp (Belgium)
  • Lexnet – General Secretariat of justice administration (Spain)
  • The co-hearing of the judge to family affairs – Auditor of children – Regional Court of Tarascon (France)
  • Judicial data warehouse and performance dashboards – Supreme Court of Slovenia (Slovenia).


The 2012 competition was open to all bodies responsible for justice affairs in the member states of the Council of Europe or the European Union.

5 June 2009: ''Crystal Scales of Criminal Justice'' Prize awarded for the first time

The first ''Crystal Scales of Criminal Justice'' Prize was awarded on 5 June 2009 at the Justice Forum in Brussels. ''This event is a concrete and positive sign given jointly by the Council of Europe and the European Commission that both institutions share the same belief: an independent judicial system is essential for a state governed by the rule of law'', said Deputy Secretary General Maud de Boer-Buquicchio prior to the prize-giving ceremony. Poland's Central Board Prison Service won the prize with the project ''Voluntary work of convicts in Poland,'' while three special distinctions were awarded to projects from Germany, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

European Day of civil justice

25 October: The European Day of Civil Justice is an event to enable European citizens to be better informed about their rights and about the way civil justice is functioning. It is celebrated during the last week of October each year in all European States which choose to do so. (more...)

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