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  JUDICIAL SYSTEMS
Evaluation scheme


Europeanjudicial systems

European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice

The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice

The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) is entrusted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe with proposing concrete solutions, suitable for use by Council of Europe member states for promoting the effective implementation of existing Council of Europe instruments relating to the organisation of justice (normative "after sale customer service"), ensuring that public policies concerning the courts take account of the needs of users of the justice system and helping to reduce congestion in the European Court of Human Rights by offering states effective solutions prior to application to the Court and preventing violations of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The CEPEJ is today a unique body for all European States, made up of qualified experts from the 47 Council of Europe member states, to assess the efficiency of judicial systems and propose practical tools and measures for working towards an increasingly efficient service to the citizens.

The CEPEJ website: www.coe.int/CEPEJ

Presentation

Thanks to a new evaluation cycle, the CEPEJ aims to provide policy makers and justice professionals a practical and detailed tool to better understand the operation of the public service of justice in Europe in order to improve its efficiency and its quality in the interest of 800 million Europeans.

The CEPEJ presents today the 2010 Edition of its report, based on the 2008 data. The report has been adopted by the CEPEJ in September 20101. The number of subjects and states that are addressed make it unique.

The methodology used, alongside the important contribution and support of the member states of the Council of Europe, makes it possible to present a review, which is increasingly detailed from one edition to another, of the judicial systems of 45 European states2.

The quality of the data available allows to compose and analyse, for the first time within this process, a few statistical series. These series are designed to measure the main trends in Europe as regards the evolution of judicial systems and reform processes. Relying on those data, the CEPEJ can now propose concrete solutions to evaluate and improve the quality and efficiency of justice in Europe.

The CEPEJ highly encourages policy makers and researchers to use this unique information to develop studies and feed the indispensable European debate and reforms, the necessity for which is regularly reminded by the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights and the events in our member states and entities.

The purpose of this document is not to provide a synthesis of a voluminous report, but is only to highlight, in an easily readable format, some of its elements and incite the readers into taking time “to go further”. In this overview, only brief comments follow the graphs and tables extracted from the report, but they refer to the full report which enables a deeper approach with all the necessary methodological elements for rigorous analysis and comparisons (see www.coe.int/CEPEJ).

All the data given by the member states are available on the CEPEJ website. The national answers also contain descriptions of the judicial systems and explanations which contribute to a large extent to the understanding of the given data. Thus, a genuine database of the judicial systems of the Council of Europe’s member states is easily accessible to citizens, policy makers, legal practitioners, academics and researchers.

Warning

Throughout its report, the CEPEJ has highlighted the numerous methodological problems encountered and the choices which have been made. It is advisable to refer to them constantly to avoid hasty analyses and meaningless conclusions. Comparing quantitative figures from different states or entities, with different geographical, economic, and judicial situations is a difficult task which must be addressed cautiously. To compare the judicial systems of various states, it is in particular necessary to highlight the specificities which explain variations from one state to another (level of wealth, different judicial structures, data collection). A detailed attention was paid to the terms used and to the definition and use of concepts, which were specified with the national correspondents entrusted with the coordination of data collection in the states or entities. Only a careful reading of the report and a rigorous comparison of data can make it possible to draw analyses and conclusions. Figures cannot be passively taken one after the other, but must be interpreted in the light of the methodological notes and comments.

Comparing is not ranking. But each rigorous reader has with this report a sum of data and methodological elements for an in-depth study by choosing relevant clusters of states or entities: according to the characteristics of the judicial systems (for instance civil law and common law entities; countries in transition or with old judicial traditions), geographical criteria (size, population) or economic criteria (for instance within or outside the Euro zone). The size of the states or entities is also a discriminating element. Thus, the smallest states of the Council of Europe (Andorra or Monaco) cannot be compared according to a scale “per 100.000 inhabitants”. Other complementary comparisons are proposed, by using ratios such as the GDP and the average gross annual salary per inhabitant.


1. Public expenditures allocated to courts, prosecution system and legal aid

According to the states, there are common or distinct modalities for funding courts, public prosecution systems and legal aid. These three elements have been divided as much as possible so as to allow comparisons, both of the means allocated to prosecution or judgement activities (despite the differences between the organisation of the systems) and of the amounts allocated to access to justice. This information thus gives an overall view of the budgets concerning most of the member states of the Council of Europe.

The data of the wealthiest states or entities must here be related to the level of prosperity of the state; otherwise it might be wrongly interpreted that they allocate a small amount of budget to their judicial system, because of their high GDP. This is namely the case for Norway, Luxembourg, Finland, and to a certain extent for France. This fact must be taken into account if relevant comparisons, which can only be done between comparable states, are to be drawn (cf. group of states with an equivalent GDP level per inhabitant, figure 2.27 of the report).

Figure 1. Total annual public budget allocated to all courts, public
prosecution and legal aid per inhabitant in 2008, in €

Figure 2. Total annual public budget allocated to all courts, prosecution and legal aid as part (in %) of the GDP per capita, in 2008

The development of the judicial system remains a priority for governments in Europe, even though large differences are noted among the member states or entities. The budgets of the judicial systems have increased in most of the European states until 2008 - only 4 member states have experienced decreasing budgets. The states that have more recently turned to a democratic system, and implemented major structural reforms of their judicial systems, are often those that provide a consistent budgetary effort and dedicate for the operation of the systems an important public budget according to the state's level of wealth. However, it will be interesting to follow-up the evolution of these budgetary efforts devoted to the courts, the prosecution system and legal aid in Europe, in order to assess the effects of the financial and economic crisis of 2009 / 2010. Looking at the first trend indicators, one can fear that, at the European level, the growth rate of justice budgets, like all public budgets, will slow down significantly and perhaps, the curve will invert as well.

For a majority of European states, the court fees constitute significant financial resources, allowing some to cover a major part of the court operating costs, or even, for some of them, to generate a net profit which comes mainly from the resources attached to the handling of the business and land registries. Such a system, if accompanied by an effective legal aid system for enabling access to court to litigants who would not have proper means, is part of the current trend of public management aimed at partly balancing the costs of public services between the users and the tax payers.

2. Access to justice

Figure 3. Number of cases granted with legal aid per 100.000 inhabitants and average amount allocated in the public budget for the legal aid per case in 2008

In all member states or entities, systems of legal aid are made available, at least in criminal matters, in the form of legal representation or legal advice. The European trend, which is being confirmed, is to go beyond this requirement and offer legal aid for non-criminal cases too. Budgets for legal aid in Europe are generally increasing (+ 23% between 2004 and 2008). However, the amount granted by the state per case varies significantly in Europe according to the states, as well as the number of cases which can be granted with legal aid. Some states have chosen to allocate high amounts of money to a limited number of cases, whereas other states have made the opposite choice. A number of states or entities (Finland, Netherlands, UK-England and Wales, UK-Northern Ireland and UK-Scotland) are generous both as regards the amounts allocated per case and the volume of cases concerned. Several states of Central and Eastern Europe which did not have legal aid systems a few years ago are strongly involved in developing such systems, which is an encouraging trend since the last evaluation exercise.

Figure 4. Share of court fees (or taxes) in the court budget (as receipts) in 2008, in %

Except the 5 states which apply the principle of free access to courts, (France, Iceland, Luxembourg, Monaco and Spain), a part of the budget revenue of the judicial system in all the other states and entities comes from court fees and taxes, mainly collected thanks to land and business registers, in varying proportions. Austria can even generate net profit from this system.

3. Users of the courts (rights and public confidence)

More and more citizens and legal professionals can retrieve information about legal data, court activity and legal proceedings easily and free of charge via the Internet. Only a limited number of states or entities have specific arrangements to inform the (potential) users of the courts on the foreseeability of judicial procedures.

With respect to vulnerable persons, victims of rape, children, and juvenile offenders are the categories which are the best protected in judicial proceedings. This is done mostly by providing these categories with special information arrangements and procedural rights adapted to their needs. A majority of states or entities also have a compensation procedure for victims of crime.

As a part of the protection of the court users against dysfunctions of the courts, judicial systems may have implemented compensation procedures. In 26 states or entities, there is a compensation mechanism for excessively long proceedings and, in 20 states or entities, for non-execution of a court decision. Almost all the states have provision for compensating a person in cases of wrongful arrest or wrongful conviction.

More attention is being paid in Europe to the needs and expectations of the court users. In a large majority of states or entities, courts produce annual reports and have monitoring systems to measure and manage case flows and the timeframes of proceedings. It has been noticed that techniques and methods inspired by new public management are increasingly implemented and imply the definition of quantified objectives and the evaluation of performances and, sometimes, of the way means are allocated to jurisdictions according to results. Performance and quality indicators are increasingly used. A very limited number of European states or entities carry out complete quality systems. This trend should further develop in the upcoming years.

The model survey and the methodological guide provided by the CEPEJ should facilitate future implementation of the surveys conducted among court users to improve the quality of the public service of justice.

Figure 5. Surveys conducted among users or legal professionals to measure public confidence and/or satisfaction

4. The courts

Figure 6. Number of all courts (geographic locations) per 100.000 inhabitants in 2008

Considering the evolution of the number of first instance courts in Europe, it is difficult to draw a strong trend as regards the organisation of the judicial map. While a majority of states have not modified their court organisation between 2004 and 2008, some of them (13) have decreased the number of courts and others (9) have increased this number. Among those states which are modifying their judicial maps, the main trend for court organisation in Western and Northern European states or entities would be rather in favour of limiting the number of courts, both for budgetary reasons, but also for seeking more efficiency through specialization. On the contrary, the main trend in the Eastern European states, which are embarked on major judicial reforms, goes towards an increase in the number of courts: access to the court for the citizens is then promoted.

Figure 7. Level of implementation of computer equipment for the direct assistance of judges and/or court clerks (Q63)

The development of e-justice and e-courts is a strong trend, and states that were late in the previous surveys have recently invested in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Recent and ongoing reforms can be noted in many states or entities in fields such as electronic registers, databases for judicial decisions, electronic court files and electronic signature or case management systems. ICT will keep being used in the judicial systems in order to increase effectiveness and quality. Thus will be further developed video-conferencing, the possibility of making use of electronic (registration) forms and electronic exchange of documents between litigants, lawyers and courts, or the recovery procedure for uncontested claims through the Internet. As long as the judicial debate can always take place and that the rights of defense are safeguarded, the development of e-justice may have a positive effect on access to justice; it should contribute to reduce backlogs and to shorten court proceedings – or at least to improve their foreseeability.

5. Alternative Dispute Resolution

Access to justice may also be facilitated thanks to the promotion of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). They contribute to limiting the need to bring issues before a court and to involving professionals other than judges.

Table 8. Judicial mediation in civil and commercial cases in 2008

Mediation (recommended, carried out or approved by justice) is a growing field in Europe: more and more states or entities are introducing mediation and the number of accredited mediators is growing. Mediation is successfully applied in many states or entities especially in the field of family law (divorce cases), commercial disputes and criminal law (compensation procedures for victims). An increasing number of states or entities grant legal aid for initiating a mediation procedure. However, it must be noted that other kinds of ADR, such as arbitration and conciliation, are widely used in some member states or entities.

6. Judges

To better take into account the diversity in the status and functions which can be linked with the word "judge", three types of judges have been defined in the CEPEJ's scheme. Professional judges are described in the explanatory note of the evaluation scheme as “those who have been trained and who are paid as such”. Professional judges are those “who sit in a court on an occasional basis” are remunerated. Non-professional judges (volunteers who are compensated for their expenses) give binding decisions in courts. This takes into account the posts effectively occupied and in full time equivalent (FTE) for professional judges, practicing full time or on an occasional basis.

Figure 9. Number of professional judges sitting in courts (FTE) for 100.000 inhabitants, in 2008

In general, the judicial systems of the member states of Central and Eastern Europe operate with a ratio of judges per inhabitant higher than in the states of Western Europe. A majority of European states or entities tend to have a stable number of judicial staff in the period 2004 - 2008, although structural or organisational reforms tend to reduce the proportion of permanent professional judges in some states or entities (Sweden, Switzerland, UK-Scotland), some of them having occasional judges. On the contrary, some member states in transition continue their reforms by increasing human resources devoted to the judicial function (Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Armenia, Russian Federation, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"). The influence of recent membership or application to the European Union may be an explanation for this trend of increasing numbers of judges (Bulgaria, Slovenia, Latvia, Turkey, Slovakia, Lithuania).

The composition of the judiciary between professional judges, occasional judges and lay judges feature strongly different types of judicial systems. Some systems are fully professionalised, or rarely use lay judges, while other systems (Northern Europe) rely heavily on lay judges. For states experiencing the coexistence of professional and lay judges, the evolution tends mainly towards an increasingly professional judiciary. Europe is divided on the use of juries, and a fairly clear division can be noted between Western Europe (in addition to Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation), supporting such a system for specific types of cases (mainly the most serious criminal offences), and Central and Eastern Europe, whose states do not provide such a system.

7. Non-judge staff

A distinction is made between four types of non-judge staff. A specific category of non-judge staff are the "Rechtspfleger", inspired by the German system. Non-judge staff have the task to assist judges directly. The third category concerns staff responsible for different administrative matters, as well as court management. The last category relates to technical staff in the courts.

Note France and Greece could not separate categories. It is the number of professional judges or prosecutors vs. number of non-judge and non-prosecutor staff.

Figure 10. Distribution of non-judge staff in courts

Data on non-judge staff in courts are stable between 2004 and 2008. In most of the European states or entities, a majority of non-judge staff working in courts is entrusted with the direct assistance of judges. Major disparities between the states can be highlighted regarding the non-judge staff in courts. In 14 member states, non-judge staff, similar to Rechtspfleger, are entrusted with quasi-judicial powers, which might influence the organisation of the judiciary.

Figure 11. Number of non-judge staff per one professional judge

8. Court activity and fair trial

With the information available, the CEPEJ is now able to draw preliminary conclusions from the analysis of the two main indicators. The clearance rate is obtained when the number of resolved cases is divided by the number of incoming cases and the result is multiplied by 100:

A clearance rate close to 100 % indicates the ability of the court or of a judicial system to resolve more or less as many cases as the number of incoming cases within the given time period. A clearance rate above 100 % indicates the ability of the system to resolve more cases than received, thus reducing any potential backlog. Essentially, a clearance rate shows how the court or judicial system is coping with the in-flow of cases.

The disposition time indicator provides further insight into how a judicial system manages its flow of cases. The disposition time compares the number of resolved cases during the observed period and the number of unresolved cases at the end of the observed period. The ratios measure how quickly the judicial system (or a court) turns over received cases – that is, how long it takes for a type of case to be resolved.

The analysis of the data currently available indicates that first instance courts in Europe are generally better able to cope with the flows of criminal cases than civil cases.
Figure 12. Clearance rate of civil litigious and non-litigious cases in 2008, in%

Figure 13. Disposition time and clearance rate of litigious civil (and commercial) cases at 1st instance courts in 2008

When reading the results presented in this map, the most productive civil (and commercial) first instance court systems, which do not generate backlogs (clearance rate equal to or higher than 100 %) and can quickly resolve a filed case, can be found in the Russian Federation and Georgia. The indicators show that Azerbaijan, Austria, Norway, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Hungary and Sweden have relatively productive first instance civil (commercial) courts. On the contrary, the first instance courts have more difficulties in resolving the incoming cases in Latvia and Spain. Regarding Spain, although the rates for 2008 increased by 6,4% and 6,9% respectively for civil and commercial cases when compared to 2007, such positive evolution was not sufficient to cover the effects of a prolonged strike of court staff that took place in 2008 in an environment of significant increase in incoming civil (19,5%) and commercial cases (26,7%) running parallel with the beginning of the economic crisis, which required additional measures.

Of the 9 states which have the highest disposition rates, only 3 (Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia) have clearance rates equal to or higher than 100%. 6 other states (Latvia, Portugal, Italy, Monaco, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Malta) have not reached a 100% clearance rate for civil litigious cases.
Subject to a more thorough analysis, the citizens seem to be more prone to initiate proceedings before a court in the central and eastern European states, in South-eastern European states and in Southern European states than in Northern European states and in the states of the Caucasus. The court activity varies between the states whether they have or not to address non-contentious civil cases (this is normally associated with the holding or not by the courts of land and commercial registers). The volume of such cases might also vary. Yet, in general, non-contentious matters, which can increase the workload of courts, are rarely the cause of lack of effectiveness of jurisdictions.

The situations in the management of cases differ significantly between member states or entities. Having to handle a high volume of cases is not in itself an obstacle to the smooth functioning of the courts. Some states or entities manage to handle relatively quickly significant volumes of cases. Some states or entities are able to absorb the flow of incoming cases and / or reduce the backlog, while others see backlogs of pending cases increasing. Between these two categories, it is worth underlining those states where the efficiency in addressing cases tends to decrease, although, at this stage, they are still able to cope with the flows of incoming cases. They should follow closely the evolution of the indicators that are currently flashing orange (a cause for continued observation). A special mention should be made for the improvement of the performance of the courts of several states in transition (including Georgia, Russian Federation) which current reforms and investment in the judiciary seem to lead to encouraging results.

Figure 14. Average length of proceedings for litigious divorce cases at first instance courts between 2004 and 2008, in days

An increase in the length of procedure does not necessarily mean that the courts have lost efficiency. This may be related to a disruption in the nature of litigation. The relative number of litigious divorce cases (related to the total number of divorce cases) is rapidly decreasing in the Netherlands, due to social developments and the evolution of the divorce policy. In 1993, still 80 % of the divorce cases were litigious. In 2008, the relative number decreased to only 30 % of the total divorce cases. Therefore, only difficult and adversarial divorce cases are counted as ‘’litigious divorces’’. Such complex cases have to be dealt with intensively by a judge. The average length of litigious divorce cases is then becoming longer, though the number of cases to be addressed by the court has decreased significantly. Obviously, this does not mean that judges have become less productive and responsive to the users. Such explanations are also relevant when interpreting the length of litigious divorce cases in France.

In any case, a compared analysis of the length of divorce litigation procedures cannot be made without taking into account the specificities particular to divorce proceedings in different states.

One way to increase the efficiency of judicial proceedings concerns the introduction of simplified procedures. These procedures are often less costly and the decision-making process in the court is shorter. One of the most popular simplified civil procedures that has been introduced in many states or entities is related to uncontested financial claims. For criminal law and administrative law cases, simplified procedures can also be implemented.

Figure 15. Cases for which are applied simplified procedures

Out of the 46 responding states or entities, 43 use simplified procedures for civil cases (small claims) and 43 apply such procedures to criminal cases (petty offences). 14 states or entities have provisions on simplified procedures for administrative cases.

9. Prosecutors

Every state or entity has, sometimes under a different name, a public authority entrusted with qualifying and carrying out prosecutions. In all the European states or entities, they play an important role in the prosecution of criminal cases. In most of the member states or entities, they also have a responsibility in the civil and even administrative law area. Another important aspect that needs to be taken into account concerned the different levels of autonomy of a prosecutor. In some states or entities, they benefit of a protection of their independence, equal to judges, whilst in other states or entities, the criminal policies are directed by the Ministry of Justice and the level of independence is limited. Such a dichotomy must be kept in mind in order to understand the differences in the statutes and functions of public prosecutors.

Figure 16. Number of public prosecutors per 100.000 inhabitants in 2008

The highest number of public prosecutors (per 100.000 inhabitants) can be found in Central and Eastern European states (Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Slovakia, Russian Federation) but also in Norway. 9 states (Austria, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Spain, the Netherlands) have less than 5 prosecutors per 100.000 inhabitants.

For Italy, the number of prosecutors must be put into perspective as it includes 1.701 practicing non-professional public prosecutors. 17 other states or entities mentioned having persons who may fulfil tasks similar to the task of a public prosecutor. In Austria, specifically trained officers of the Public Prosecutor’s Office are allowed to act under the supervision of a prosecutor. Some police officers and public prosecutors have similar competences in Iceland, Greece, Malta, Poland and France. In UK-England and Wales, some government Departments have prosecutors specialised in offences specifically related to the areas of the respective Departments. In Finland, the Chancellor of Justice of the Government and the Parliamentary Ombudsman may also prosecute. In Ireland, much of the work of the Director of Public Prosecutions is carried out by lawyers in private practice rather than by lawyers employed by the state.

Figure 17. Role and attributions of public prosecutors in criminal procedures (number of states or entities)

The role of the prosecutor is preeminent in the initial and intermediate stages of the criminal procedures, while relatively limited in the final ones.

All the states or entities (46) stated that prosecutors are authorized to present the case in court. In 45 states or entities, the prosecutor has the power to charge the defendant. The only exception is found in UK-Scotland. There are 44 states or entities where the prosecutor plays a role in appeal proceedings.

In 40 states or entities, prosecutors can conduct or supervise police investigations. Member states or entities which do not entrust this task to prosecutors are: Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, Malta, Slovenia and UK-England and Wales. There are also 29 states or entities which stated that one of the powers of the prosecutor consists in conducting investigations. In 40 states or entities, the prosecutor may request the judge to order specific investigation measures. This is not possible for prosecutors in: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Ireland, Ukraine and UK-England and Wales.

Prosecutors from 39 states or entities can suggest a sentence to the judge. Such ability is not provided in the following states or entities: Austria, Cyprus, Russian Federation, San Marino, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", Ukraine and UK-England and Wales. 43 states or entities informed that prosecutors can end cases by dropping them without the need of a judicial decision. This is not possible in Andorra, Cyprus, Italy, Poland and Spain. Only about half of the states allow prosecutors to end the case by imposing or negotiating a penalty or a measure without a judicial decision.

In 16 member states, the prosecutors may have other significant powers. For example, the prosecutor has the ability to negotiate a guilt agreement (Bosnia and Herzegovina and Poland) which can lead to a simplified procedure (Georgia). In France, prosecutors may play a role in local policies for security and prevention or, for example, against domestic violence. In Greece, he/she supervises and controls the correctional facilities and in Latvia he/she protects the interest of underage or disabled prisoners. Slovenia informed that prosecutors can apply extraordinary legal remedies against final judicial decisions. In Croatia, France, Slovenia and the Russian Federation prosecutors can perform mediation duties.

10. Status and career of judges and prosecutors

Recommendations from the Council of Europe take on as fundamental principles the protection and strengthening of the judges’ independence (in particular Recommendation R(94)12 on the independence, efficiency and role of judges3) and try to guarantee the statutory protection of prosecutors (Recommendation R(2000)19 on the role of public prosecution in the criminal justice system).

With respect to the recruitment, nomination and promotion of judges and prosecutors, there is, in many states, a strong involvement of judges and prosecutors’ representatives in competent bodies. However, it is regrettable that there are still some states where judges and prosecutors are not represented in such bodies.

The budget allocated to training, which is indispensable for improving the functioning of justice, is increasing significantly in several central and eastern European states. In most of the states or entities, an initial training for judges or prosecutors is mandatory and its duration can vary from several months to several years. General in-service training is often mandatory.

Salaries of judges and prosecutors

Data which are presented in the next table must be read with extreme caution. Since the allocated salaries depend on several combined factors such as the living standards, modalities of recruitment, seniority, etc. As a result, a "new" judge / prosecutor in states of common law are actually legal professionals who benefit from long working experiences, therefore it is not surprising that they benefit from high salaries (100.000 € per year). The main remuneration may not be linear during the career. It varies considerably between the beginning and the end of career, but also according the age of access to the function.

The salaries of judges and prosecutors must be in accordance with their status and their responsibilities. The European trend is to increase judges' and prosecutors' salaries at a significant level compared to the gross salary in the state, though large discrepancies can be noted between the states.

Table 18. Gross and net annual salaries of judges and prosecutors at the level of the supreme court or the highest appellate court, in 2008

Country

Gross annual salary of a judge of the Supreme Court or the Highest Appellate Court

Gross salary of a judge in regard to national average gross annual salary

Net annual salary of a judge of the Supreme Court or the Highest Appellate Court

Gross annual salary of a Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Court or the Highest Appellate Instance

Gross salary of a prosecutor in regard to national average gross annual salary

Net annual salary of a Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Court or the Highest Appellate Instance

Albania

14 486 €

2.8

11 778 €

14 486 €

2.8

11 778 €

Andorra

39 050 €

1.7

36 707 €

128 632 €

5.5

120 914 €

Armenia

9 103 €

3.8

7 423 €

6 487 €

2.7

5 420 €

Austria

110 633 €

2.6

 

110 633 €

2.6

 

Azerbaijan

13 728 €

4.8

11 112 €

13 392 €

4.7

11 820 €

Belgium

129 673 €

3.5

60 451 €

129 673 €

3.5

60 451 €

Bosnia and Herzegovina

41 481 €

6.1

25 646 €

41 481 €

6.1

25 646 €

Bulgaria

23 266 €

7.0

NA

23 266 €

7.0

NA

Croatia

58 490 €

4.7

29 754 €

58 490 €

4.7

29 754 €

Cyprus

127 387 €

5.1

NA

NAP

 

NAP

Czech Republic

50 378 €

4.8

NA

43 662 €

4.1

NA

Denmark

109 212 €

2.3

 

184 830 €

3.9

 

Estonia

47 817 €

4.8

38 138 €

36 692 €

3.7

28 205 €

Finland

114 500 €

3.3

70 000 €

72 000 €

2.1

48 000 €

France

107 011 €

3.4

91 537 €

107 011 €

3.4

91 537 €

Georgia

22 800 €

 

17 100 €

NA

 

NA

Greece

105 770 €

4.3

73 570 €

120 796 €

4.9

84 396 €

Hungary

37 480 €

4.0

18 740 €

37 480 €

4.0

18 740 €

Iceland

73 463 €

2.7

 

73 463 €

2.7

 

Ireland

257 872 €

7.8

 

 

 

 

Italy

131 302 €

5.8

73 327 €

131 302 €

5.8

73 327 €

Latvia

46 764 €

5.7

32 435 €

28 812 €

3.5

19 668 €

Lithuania

29 862 €

4.0

22 066 €

21 461 €

2.9

17 406 €

Luxembourg

140 201 €

3.3

NA

140 201 €

3.3

 

Malta

32 584 €

2.5

 

39 944 €

3.1

 

Moldova

5 100 €

2.6

4 001 €

3 775 €

1.9

2 865 €

Monaco

 

 

 

121 359 €

 

114 549 €

Montenegro

25 035 €

3.4

16 649 €

25 035 €

3.4

16 649 €

Netherlands

115 000 €

2.3

60 000 €

130 500 €

2.7

65 000 €

Norway

136 978 €

3.2

 

 

 

 

Poland

43 826 €

5.2

29 269 €

43 826 €

5.2

29 269 €

Portugal

83 401 €

4.2

 

80 972 €

4.1

 

Romania

36 802 €

6.4

25 815 €

30 403 €

5.3

21 328 €

Russian Federation

45 011 €

9.0

39 160 €

12 240 €

2.4

10 648 €

San Marino

70 760 €

3.4

60 055 €

 

 

 

Serbia

33 371 €

8.2

19 840 €

27 809 €

6.9

16 533 €

Slovakia

36 550 €

4.2

 

36 550 €

4.2

 

Slovenia

55 509 €

3.3

29 529 €

51 456 €

3.1

27 792 €

Spain

137 810 €

4.7

NA

137 810 €

4.7

NA

Sweden

96 634 €

3.2

55 713 €

143 500 €

4.8

50 000 €

Switzerland

227 446 €

4.9

211 980 €

147 912 €

3.2

124 246 €

FYROMacedonia

20 912 €

4.1

13 583 €

16 916 €

3.3

11 037 €

Turkey

37 146 €

 

29 864 €

37 146 €

 

29 864 €

UK-England and Wales

212 093 €

8.1

NA

 

 

NA

UK-Northern Ireland

176 899 €

7.7

101 273 €

 

 

 

UK-Scotland

214 165 €

8.5

 

88 845 €

3.5

 

Average

 

4.6

   

3.9

 

Median

 

4.2

   

3.5

 

Minimum

 

1.7

   

1.9

 

Maximum

 

9.0

   

7.0

 

The ratio between the salary of a judge or prosecutor at the Supreme Court or at the Highest Appellate Court and the national average gross annual salary is an interesting indicator to measure differences between countries by removing the biases that are the modes of recruitment, age, previous career, the exchange rate or GDP. The four common law states and entities, UK-Scotland, Ireland, UK-Northern Ireland and UK-England and Wales as well as the Russian Federation, Serbia and Bulgaria grant judges at the Supreme Court or at the Highest Appellate Court with the highest salaries related to the national average gross annual salary, 7 to 9 times higher. The European median for judges is 4,2 times, for prosecutors it is still 3,5. Such significant deviations can be found for other legal professions such as lawyers for instance.

Disciplinary proceedings against judges and prosecutors

Judges and prosecutors have series of responsibilities which may lead to disciplinary proceedings in case of non-fulfilment. The legality principle requires that disciplinary sanctions can only be imposed on judges in cases expressly defined by the judges’ status, where one must find the list of the various sanctions that can be imposed.

Figure 19. Number of sanctions pronounced per 100 judges in 2008

An average of 1 sanction per 100 judges is characteristic of the 37 responding states or entities.

The difference between the number of “open disciplinary proceedings” and the number of “finally imposed sanctions” is explained by the fact that a filter mechanism does or does not exist before filing the case before the disciplinary body.

11. Lawyers

The word "lawyer" is used according to Recommendation Rec(2000)21 of the Council of Europe namely: “… a person qualified and authorised according to the national law to plead and act on behalf of his or her clients, to engage in the practice of law, to appear before the courts or advise and represent his or her clients in legal matters”.

Figure 20. Number of lawyers (with and without legal advisors) per 100.000 inhabitants in 2008

The number of lawyers has increased in Europe between 2004 and 2008 in all the member states or entities, but it varies between the various parts of the continent, according also to functions which are more or less wide, namely beyond the legal representation before courts. The states of Southern Europe have the highest ratio of lawyers per inhabitant; the level of judiciarisation of the society in such states is usually higher than in the states of Northern Europe. It cannot be established at this stage that there is a direct link between the number of lawyers and the volume and lengths of proceedings, further analyses will have to be made to see whether the number of lawyers and their role vis--vis the development of judicial proceedings, compared to the role of the judges, have or not a relevant impact on the court workload and the length of proceedings.

Figure 21. Number of lawyers per professional judge (with and without legal advisors) in 2008

The number of lawyers per professional judge varies considerably across the member states or entities. When legal advisors are excluded, one can observe that there are states or entities which have less than 2 lawyers per professional judge (Slovenia, Monaco, Bosnia and Herzegovina, UK-Scotland, Azerbaijan and Russian Federation). The highest numbers (more than 20 lawyers per one professional judge) can be found in Spain, Malta and Italy. However, in these states, lawyers have wide powers that go beyond activities directly related to courts.

12. Execution of court decisions

It is difficult to assess the smooth execution of court decisions in civil or commercial matters on the basis of relevant statistics, as execution is not automatic: it belongs to the parties who have won the case to decide, where appropriate, whether to request or not the execution of the court decision. Therefore, this report does not focus on the rate of execution of court decisions, but mainly on the organisation of the execution and the role of enforcement agents.

Table 22. Timeframe for notification of a court decision on debt recovery to a person living in the city where the court is sitting

The timeframe for notification, which depends also on its procedural form, may be reduced in practice either thanks to the acts of an enforcement agent or thanks to the simplified form of a mail with acknowledgment of receipt. So, the timeframe depends either on the diligence of the enforcement agent or on the more or less proper operation of the postal service. Each state or entity, in a similar situation, evaluates an average timeframe as an indicator of efficiency.

More than half of the states or entities (23) stated to be able to notify the person in a timeframe between 1 and 10 days. Only two states (Czech Republic and Greece) need more than 30 days to provide the decision to the person concerned. Compared to previous years (2004 and 2006 data), one can notice that several states reduced these timeframes: Azerbaijan, Hungary, Malta and Moldova. Other states stated that their timeframes increased: France, Georgia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Serbia and Spain.

The full report is available on the CEPEJ Web site:
www.coe.int/cepej


1 The report is based on a draft prepared by the CEPEJ working group chaired by Jean-Paul JEAN (France) and composed of Fausto de SANTIS (Italy, President of the CEPEJ), Elsa GARCIA-MALTRAS DE BLAS (Spain), Beata Z. GRUSZCZYŃSKA (Poland), Adis HODZIC (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Georg STAWA (Austria), Frans van der DOELEN (The Netherlands) and the scientific expert Natalia DELGRANDE.

2 45 member states out of 47 have participated in the evaluation process. Only Germany and Liechtenstein have not been able to provide data for this report. The results for the United Kingdom are presented separately for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as the three judicial systems are organised on different basis and operate independently from each other.

3 This is being revised.