The aim of the CEPEJ is to contribute to improving the quality of justice and the efficiency of its functioning in the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe.
John Stacey - New President (left)
Fausto de Santis - Former President (right)
File: Dematerialization of judicial processes
Is disembodied justice effective justice?
1. To users of the public judicial service, dematerialisation has three advantages.
Firstly, dematerialised access to the judicial institution is apt to facilitate the taking of certain steps. When a document is to be released by a court (for example, a certificate that no appeal has been brought against a court decision), it is highly appropriate to provide the possibility of obtaining this document by an application submitted via the Internet or electronic mail.
Furthermore, access to justice can be greatly aided by virtualisation: computerised referral to a court and establishment of virtual procedures will not only solve problems of possible remoteness of courts by relieving persons who have business with them of the obligation to go there in person, but also reduce the management costs of proceedings by computerised transmission simplifying exchanges of documents.
Finally, persons before the courts can more readily follow the progress of the actions which they have brought when offered the possibility of obtaining password access to the computerised case history so as to find out, in real time, how their case is progressing.
2. For the courts, computerisation is beneficial firstly in rationalising the handling of case files: the operations of registering and keeping track of cases are facilitated; processing of the series of files and the interconnections is performed under more secure conditions; the framing of judgments is aided by templates designed to avert strictly procedural errors; production of multi-criteria statistics and management charts according to type of litigation makes the activity of trial benches more intelligible.
But most notably, computerisation is capable of enhancing the judge’s intellectual work: constitution of jurisprudential databases with links to decisions in similar matters, access to the preparatory work of judges who have studied identical questions of law for other cases, legal monitoring devices affording access to authoritative commentaries on the decisions delivered by a court, and more generally the possibility given to judges to connect with the various legal sites available. All these factors go to improve the effectiveness of the judicial institution.
What is more, in a world marked by internationalisation of exchanges, judges in the various states must necessarily amplify their knowledge of foreign law.
The pooling of different countries’ case-law on certain websites, assisted access to comparative law studies and the ability to set up discussion forums on questions of mutual interest between judges or courts, point to the emergence of a judicial institution with the capacity to meet the needs of predictability and certainty in the application of legal rules.
Description of developments in the field of dematerialization of judicial processes: spotlights on Turkey and Austria
Dematerialisation of Judicial Systems and its Applications in Turkey
This is an institutional study conducted by the
Department for Strategy Development of Ministry of Justice of Turkey
A large range of electronical support within the Austrian court system
In Austria there exists a large range of electronical support within the court system. Communication, registration of cases, statistics, registries of land and companies, videoconferences, …
Payment orders are produced automatically and have only to be examined and signed by the judge. Initial orders in the enforcement procedures are too much supported by routines of the computer.
Judge at the Regional Court of Linz
Member of the CEPEJ Network of Pilot Courts
The effects of the economic crisis on the functioning of the judicial system in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ongoing activities: what's new?
Evaluation of judicial systems
Comparing data of the 2010 evaluation report: some conclusions to be drawn
At its last plenary meeting on 9 and 10 December 2010, the CEPEJ
held a study session on some conclusions to be drawn from data
compared in the evaluation report of the 45 European
judicial systems concerned. At first, a study on the judicial
systems of 16 comparable countries was examined. Further
consideration was given to divorce cases, the comparison of courts'
workload in civil and penal matters - on the basis of the
analysis of case-flow management indicators: the clearance rate and disposition
time, and the training of judges and
Preparation of the next evaluation cycle of judicial systems (2010-2012 cycle)
The working group on evaluation of judicial systems proposed some adjustments to the evaluation scheme (for example: additional questions concerning gender issues in the judiciary, use of video-conference or judicial experts). The Scheme will be accessible to national correspondents as from mid-May until 31 December 2011. Technical adjustments have been implemented to the electronic version of the scheme, in order to facilitate the national correspondent's work. The next report is expected in Autumn 2012.
Timeframes of proceedings
The final Resolution of the Ministers Conference of Justice of the Council of Europe (Istanbul, 24 - 26 November 2010), highlights the importance of the CEPEJ's work in the field of judicial time management.
The SATURN Centre pursues its work to develop qualitative and quantitative approaches on timeframes management of timeframes in the courts. Practical training sessions aimed at courts willing to participate are being prepared, for a concrete use of the tools developped by the CEPEJ in this field.
Quality of Justice
The Working Group on Quality of justice (CEPEJ-GT-QUAL) pursues the experimentation of the Handbook on Court users satisfaction surveys in several pilot courts (for example: Angoulême, Catania and Turin). The working group is also preparing a framework document on main principles for the organisation of the judicial maps. It has also launched a reflection on the role of experts in the framework of the judicial process.
The work of the Lisbon Network (Network of training institutions of Judges and Prosecutors of the member states of the Council of Europe) has been integrated in the terms of reference of the CEPEJ. Following this integration, the Network has held its plenary meeting in Strasbourg, on 17 February 2011. During this meeting, discussions were held about the way the Network could give useful feedback to the CEPEJ work on training of judges and prosecutors and the possibility for the CEPEJ to communicate better on its tools in the framework of the training curricula.
CEPEJ Communication policy
Several changes are foreseen in the CEPEJ communication policy for 2011.
Training sessions aimed at the main beneficiaries (politicymakers and legal professionals) on the most important CEPEJ tools will be led by CEPEJ members or experts in the members states. These sessions, open to a wide public, aim to improve knowledge of the work of the CEPEJ and to facilitate its implementation in the courts. A specific page on the CEPEJ website is under construction.
Council of Europe TV Web on Justice
You can view the interview of Stéphane Leyenberger, Secretary of the CEPEJ on the TV Website of the Council of Europe.
European Day for Justice
The main event of the European Day for Justice will be held in Toulouse (France) around 25 October 2011. Detailed information on the event will be published soon on the website. The Courts and judicial institutions of the Council of Europe member states are invited to inform the Secretariat about initiatives undertaken at a national level in the framework of this day.
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|- 9th meeting of the Pilot Group for judicial time management (SATURN) (Strasbourg)||19-20 May 2011|
|- 17th CEPEJ plenary meeting (Strasbourg)||28-29 June 2011|
|- 18th meeting of the Bureau of the CEPEJ (Strasbourg)||21 September 2011 (to be confirmed)|
|- 6th meeting of the Pilot Courts (Strasbourg)||22 September 2011|