The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice


EUROPAN COMMISSION FOR THE EFFICIENCY OF JUSTICE (CEPEJ)

File : Impact of the publication of the 2012 edition of the CEPEJ evaluation report of European judicial systems

Italy

20th CEPEJ plenary meeting, 6 and 7 December 2012 in Strasbourg

    Tour de table: how has the CEPEJ Report “European judicial systems –2012 edition” been received and used in the member States?

The member States have been invited to give their feedback on haw the 2012 CEPEJ report – European Judicial systems – 2012 edition has been received and used in their country.

The Cepej reports gain, edition after edition, an increasingly widespread consensus among practitioners and observers of justice. I can safely declare that in Italy the CEPEJ is considered the most reliable institution for the evaluation of the efficiency of European judicial systems. The scope of the report and its use by the direct operators of justice (e.g. judges, prosecutors, officials from the Ministry of Justice) are very important and several administrative acts and studies are inspired by and based upon the CEPEJ data. It is also common to find quotations from the CEPEJ in newspaper articles, especially in those dealing with the efficiency and organisation of justice. However, I must point out that the news of the publication of the last edition did not have a particularly high media coverage. To better clarify what I mean, the last Evaluation report is receiving quite a few quotations since it was published but it was not a big news on the day of publication, back in September 2012. I cannot say much about the weight that the analysis of the CEPEJ have on the decisions of policy makers. However, the report contributes to the increase of the influence of European institutions on decisions and legislation in the field of justice. It is certain that the Council of Europe, either directly or indirectly through publications such as that the CEPEJ report does influence policy makers in the field of justice.

    Thematic analysis of the Press review on the occasion of the publication of the CEPEJ Report “European judicial systems – 2012 edition”

    Public Expenditures: courts, prosecution system and legal aid

The majority of articles of the press review discuss the budget allocated to the judiciary and specifies that it has slightly increased since 2008.

    Access to justice

        Legal aid

Several articles welcome the progress made regarding judicial aid although the system still needs to improve its system. Moreover, an article mentions the development of private insurance policies aimed at covering legal fees. The journalist explains that there would be a correlation between judicial aid proposed by the state and the development of private insurance policy : the more citizens protect themselves personally, the more rules about legal aid are strict.

    Courts

An article specifies the number of courts which is two times more important than in countries such as France, Germany or Spain.

        Information and communication technology (ICT) in the courts (e-justice and e-courts)

Several articles report the effort made by Italy regarding the use of new technologies (mainly the Internet) in the courts.

    Status and career of judges and prosecutors (incomes, responsibilities)

Several articles mention the judges’ salaries. It is explained that from the beginning of their careers, judges and public prosecutors receive a higher salary then other judges in France or Austria. Those incomes arise sharply after 25 years of service. Regarding training of judges, an article reports that Italian authorities reduced investments in this area.

      Gender issues

Few articles deal with gender issues. Italy is situated in the European average (48% of women judges) but the higher up the hierarchy, the fewer women.

    Fair trial and court activity (clearance rate, disposition time)

The length of proceedings is widely discussed in the Italian newspaper. According to the journalists, it is a recurrent issue in Italy which is the country with the longest proceedings in Europe. An article even mentions that Italian justice proceeds “at a snail’s pace”.

    Lawyers

An article reports the high number of lawyers.