The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice

The "Crystal Scales of Justice" Prize


Since 2005, the Council of Europe and the European Commission are organising together a competition to discover and highlight innovative and efficient practices used in European courts for court organisation or 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.


In the past, the Prize concerned either criminal (2009) or civil justice (2005, 2006 and 2008). For the first time in 2010, the "Crystal Scales of Justice" Prize covered at the same time the fields of criminal and civil justice. In 2012, for this 6th edition, the Prize again covered the civil justice field, and in particular innovative practices in the field of civil justice, aimed to improve efficiency and functioning of the judicial system, procedures and the courts' organisation. In 2013, the Crystal Scales of Justice has not been organised.


Since 2014, the Council of Europe is organising the Crystal Scales of Justice on its own. The deadline to submit the applications was the 15 June 2014.

Latest news


The CEPEJ is rewarding the 2014 Crystal Scales of Justice Prize to the General Council of Spanish Bars

Aveiro (Portugal), 16.10.2014 - The General Council of Spanish Bars has just been awarded for an initiative concerning Online legal aid: Better solutions for people’s rights in French and English / in Spanish]. The 2014 European Crystal Scales of Justice prize, organised by the Council of Europe, rewarding innovative judicial practices applied by European judicial institutions, has been awarded on 16 October 2014 in Aveiro (Portugal), on the occasion of the main event of the European Day of Justice, in presence of the State Secretary of Justice of Portugal, António Costa Moura, of the President of the CEPEJ, Mr John Stacey and of the representatives of the Council of Europe. This project creates a unique entry point, through an online request for judicial aid for the costs of justice and the designation of a lawyer. Three special mentions have been awarded by same virtue to three projects developped by the Estonian Ministry of Justice, the Family affairs courts and Bar of Berlin (Germany) and the Court of Appeal of Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

A central Database for Justice (E-File), Ministry of Justice, Estonia,

An accelerated familial procedure, Family affairs courts and Bar, Berlin, Germany

European Courts weblog and European law newsletters, Amsterdam Court of Appeal, The Netherlands [written explanation of the powerpoint presentation]

Speech of Mr John Stacey, President of the CEPEJ

Speech of Ms Bettina Coen, Jury member of the Crystal Scales and Judge at the Court of Fribourg (Germany)

Speech of Mr Yannick Meneceur, CEPEJ special advisor (in French)


Press Conference by the General Council of Spanish Bars

Press review


The Portuguese Solicitadores Chamber has put a full record of the Prize awarding ceremony (speeches, presentations and announcement of the winners) on the following website (please see part Colóquio Internacional - Parte 1):







Rules of the Prize and application form


Projets sélectionnés (communiqué de presse)


Winner and selected initiatives, press releases, picture gallery and speeches)




Winner and selected initiatives, press releases, picture gallery and speeches) 


Winner and honoured projects
Picture gallery
Video message by Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, DSG of the Council of Europe [fr]


Winner and honoured projects

Interview of Dr Kirchgatterer on the impact of the prize for the Service§center of Civil and District Court of Linz


2005 winner
The 7 honoured projects





Winner and honoured projects

Press release


European Day of Justice

More information