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.
Tribute to Fausto de Santis
The Secretariat of the CEPEJ, the CEPEJ members, the national correspondents, the representatives of the Network of Pilot courts and all associated people to the CEPEJ express their deep sadness following the death of its former President, Mr Fausto de Santis, on 9 March 2012.
File: Coaching programmes for European courts
For the past ten years the CEPEJ has developed tools in line with the reality of the functioning of courts. Working with justice professionals within its working groups and its network of pilot courts, the CEPEJ seeks to provide judges, prosecutors, lawyers, court clerks, as well as policy makers, practical and pragmatic means to facilitate their daily lives and thus improve the efficiency and quality for the public service in the justice field. Concerned that the tools it develops will not see light, the CEPEJ has opted to be the principal promoter as regards its achievements towards its beneficiaries.
Two court coaching programmes have been set up: one is to assist the courts in the enforcement of guidelines and other tools aimed to manage judicial time, thereby ensuring greater foreseeability and optimisation of procedural timeframes. The second allows the courts, from a handbook prepared by the CEPEJ, to organise user satisfaction surveys. The results of these investigations will provide court managers with solutions to orientate the organisation of the work of the jurisdictions according to how this service is perceived by the community. Through these programmes, CEPEJ experts are available to the courts who request to meet their staff and discuss with them the use of these tools.
To date, twenty courts have benefited from these programmes, which might be further extended across Europe. Europe of law and justice is built primarily through co-operation between men and women who agree to pool their experience, expertise and willingness to innovate and move! We welcome you to take advantage of these programmes!
Secretary of the CEPEJ
File: Court coaching programmes - Statements from the trainers and the courts
Germany : Regional Court of Freiburg - Training to the use of the tools for judicial time management developed by the SATURN Centre
"The CEPEJ contributes to the improvement of lengths of procedures in Europe", by Jacques Bühler, Deputy Secretary General - Swiss Federal Court, President of the CEPEJ SATURN steering Group for the management of judicial timeframes and CEPEJ member
By using the SATURN tools
for judicial time management developed by the CEPEJ,
every court wishing to reduce the length of case
management, can easily make an assessment
of its own situation and launch projects in view of
accelerating the processing of cases. Such courts if
they so wish can benefit from the support of a CEPEJ
SATURN guidelines for judicial time
management are part of the
‘toolkit’ enabling Courts to process the cases which are
them within a reasonable time. The SATURN Centre has put
an emphasis on fifteen points of the Guidelines
that courts may apply on their own, without having to
request additional resources. These points have also
been selected because they allow a quick improvement of the length of proceedings
of the cases before a court. They may be summarised as follows:
a) Collecting data allowing to measure the time needed
to process cases, to identify the main steps of the
procedure and thus to detect possible periods of
b) Setting objectives related to the
length of proceedings in a case.
analysis of the length of proceedings in pending cases
and taking urgent measures when the risk of excessive
d) Conclusion of agreements with parties or their representatives regarding the calendar of case processing, followed by a strict respect, imposed by the judge, of the calendar and procedural steps agreed.
2. Steps of the implementation
Deputy Secretary General - Swiss Federal Court
President of the CEPEJ SATURN steering Group for the management of judicial timeframes
and CEPEJ member
Coaching session of the Landgericht
At this point, the Landgericht Freiburg has clearly taken a first step only to enhance time management in critical cases. However, the preparation and implementation of the coaching session have already been of great help: Mr Bühler was able to present an objective evalua-tion of the situation at the court, and it was possible to identify concrete issues to be ad-dressed in the future. With the input to be expected from CEPEJ, the court should be able to develop innovative solutions for a common problem. It should also be mentioned that the discussion took place in very cordial and productive atmosphere. The Landgericht wishes to thank Mr Bühler, Ms Oreshkina and all the staff at CEPEJ for the work done so far and is very much looking forward to the next steps of this project.
Landgericht Freiburg (Germany)
Romania: Vrancea Court, Focsani - Training to court user satisfaction surveys (December 2011)
By Giacomo Oberto, Judge – Court of Turin (Italy), Deputy Secretary General - International Association of judges and member of the CEPEJ SATURN Centre steering group
On 8 and 9 December, 2011, I participated in a meeting aimed to assist the Court of Vrancea (Focsani – Romania) in applying the methodology for conducting satisfaction surveys among court users. Working documents were distributed to the participants prior to the meeting. The event started in the premises of the said Court. During the two days, I made presentations of the coaching programme and answered the questions raised by the participants. During these two days, the President of the Court, the Vice-President of the Court, several judges and clerks of the Court took the floor.
I introducted myself as Judge of the Court of Turin and
Deputy Secretary of the International Association of
Judges, and spent few words about my role as member of
the “Groupe de pilotage” of the CEPEJ SATURN Centre of
the CEPEJ over the past years. I then informed the
assistance about the experience of the “Customer
Satisfaction Survey in Turin Courts,” as explained in a
whose main features I illustrated during the meetings.
During the entire course of the meeting, I wanted to
reserve ample time for questions. In particular, the
participants were interested to know more about how we
had determined the number of people necessary to ensure
the fruitfulness of the survey (in Turin’s case 618). In
this regard, I replied that the sample was calculated by
the Court’s DG of Statistics and I provided Romanian
colleagues with the document (in Italian, to be
translated by the interpreter of Vrancea Court) prepared
by statistical experts explaining why a sample of about
620 people was considered as an optimal one for the
enquiry into the Turin Court.
Georgia: 6 court user satisfaction surveys
By Leila Marshania, Project Officer "Ehancing the Capacity of the Judicial System of Georgia", Promotion of Judicial Reform, Human and Minority Rights in Georgia, Council of Europe
In Georgia, the court users satisfaction survey
conducted in six first instance
Courts by using the CEPEJ methodology
City Courts of Georgia, namely: Tbilisi City Court,
Zugdidi District Court, Gori District Court, Kutaisi
City Court, Rustavi City Court, Batumi City Court).
aim was also to analyze user satisfaction by taking into
account, for each factor evaluated, both the replies
relating to satisfaction and replies relating to
importance (level of expectation) according to the
rating scales. The priorities in terms of improvements
to be made are determined by the items rated highest
in terms of importance and lowest in terms of
"Alongside with the judiciary reform, the judiciary power evaluates the changes made within the system through researches" by Lasha Kalandadze, Judge, Georgia, member of the CEPEJ Network of Pilot courts
During the last three years, the courts have been conducting user surveys several times a year with the resources allocated by international organisations or with local resources as well. Main goal of the surveys is to identify the attitude of population towards the judiciary through various parameters. In the surveys held for the last three years, the indicators of population attitude were: sensitive treatment by the court personnel, environment at courts, and timely performed services by the courts. According to all the parameters, about 80% of the all the respondents were satisfied with the court service.
One of the main directions of the judiciary reform is to ensure timely consideration of cases at court, to offer transparent and speedy administration of justice to the parties. According to the conducted research, the reform can be considered successful in this respect.
The surveys showed that the population’s confidence is rising proportionately in parallel to the reforms carried out within the judiciary and according to the most recent survey held in 2011, the respective rate was 75% on average.
In May 2012, the judiciary power commissioned a new research of court service to the company in joint cooperation with the Denmark’s program on promotion of judicial reform, human and minority rights.
It is noteworthy that the idea of conducting the court user satisfaction survey was based on the guidelines that were developed by the CEPEJ. The Supreme Court of Georgia having shared the idea of conducting a survey, the 2011 court users were interviewed at the courts of 6 big cities of Georgia by the selected company.
Considering the recommendations of the CEPEJ, those court users participated in the survey, which did not represent state bodies. Prosecutors, investigators and other representatives of law enforcement bodies did not participate in the research.
During the survey, the respondents were the persons who had come for the civil, criminal and administrative cases. 45% of the surveyed population had come to the court because of civil cases, 31% – for criminal cases, and 17% for the administrative litigations. 5% of the respondents had come to the court for obtaining various kinds of information.
Out of the respondents involved in the survey 44% were women and 56% were men.
The survey was conducted according to the questionnaire that was developed after taking into account the CEPEJ recommendations.
A respondent evaluated this or that aspect of the court functioning with a 5-point system, where 1 point meant extremely bad evaluation, and 5 – very good evaluation.
As a whole it is possible to say that the evaluations are above the average and are close to the highest.
According to the summarized points, the surveyed users evaluated the court personnel with 4.6 points out of a 5-point system, their prompt action – with 4.5 points and the court functioning – with 4.4.
Evaluation of court personnel was broken down according to the several criteria. In total, the service providing staff was evaluated with 4.6 points out of 5. The highest evaluation was provided for politeness and sensitive attitude of the court staff.
Respondents evaluated the judges with
4.4 points. The judges treated citizens politely and
with respect – said the surveyed citizens and in this
respect their evaluation was 4.6 points out of 5.
Overall court evaluation: 33 % of the respondents changed their mind about the court positively after going to the court. 49.9 % has not changed their opinion regarding the court, where from 39.8% had positive opinions even before going to the court, though the opinions were negative in case of 9.6% of respondents. Only 7.7% of the respondents changed their opinion to the negative.
As a whole, the users are more satisfied than dissatisfied with the court service.
Out of 4-point evaluation of court, the maximum points – 3.3 average points were for the confidence. Majority of the respondents trust the court.
Majority of the respondents, which is 76.4% agree that the judges in Georgia do not get bribes. 11.8% found it difficult to answer to this question, and in total, 10.6 think that there are only single cases of taking bribes.
Member of the CEPEJ Network of pilot courts
Ongoing activities: what's new?
Evaluation of judicial systems
The new evaluation report on European judicial systems will be published on 20 September 2012, in the framework of the European Conference of Ministers of Justice (Austria).
Timeframes of proceedings
The SATURN Centre for judicial time management is aimed to become progressively a genuine European observatory of judicial timeframes. It refines the concrete tools serving to improve knowledge of the length of procedures by case category.
The implementation of the court coaching programmes to the use of SATURN tools on the management of timeframes is underway. It is provided by the CEPEJ members and experts. Each interested court is invited to contact Stephane.Leyenberger@coe.int.
Quality of Justice
The Working Group on Quality of Justice (CEPEJ-GT-QUAL) pursues its training programme for the organisation of court users satisfaction surveys. The voluntary courts can benefit from the support of CEPEJ experts for this purpose. They are invited to contact the Secretariat of the CEPEJ Stephane.Leyenberger@coe.int.
The definition of justice quality indicators as well as the preparation of guidelines on the main principles which should govern the reorganisation of judicial maps are also underway.
Network of Pilot courts
The synthesis of the questionnaire "Which indicators for measuring the quality of justice ?", which served as the basis of the implementation of an action plan in countries where deficiencies have been identified. On this same basis, civil, criminal and administrative case categories are subject to in-depth studies on the homogenous basis. The Network will hold its plenary meeting on 27 September 2012 in Malta.
2012 edition of the European Day of Justice
The main event of the 10th Edition of the European Day of Civil Justice will take place in Vilnius (Lithuania) in presence of the Minister of Justice of Lithuania, of representatives of the Council of Europe and of the European Commission. The programme will soon be available on the CEPEJ's website. Posters to be downloaded will be made available on the website for all Council of Europe member States. The courts involved in this initiative to bring justice closer to the citizen, to inform them on their rights and to promote the work of the European Commission and of the Council of Europe in the field of justice, for example through case simulations and information sessions, should send their programme to Annette.Sattel@coe.int.
Crystal Scales of Justice
2012-2013 CEPEJ activity programme
The CEPEJ activity programme adopted at the plenary meeting at the end of
last year, focuses in particular, on the duty of
evaluation of the functioning of European judicial
systems and the effective implementation, in the courts,
of the measures developped by the CEPEJ in the field of
management of judicial timeframes and the promotion of
the quality of the public services of justice.
To come... on 20 September 2012.... CEPEJ evaluation report on European judicial systems (2012 Edition, 2010 data)
You wish to react to an article published in this issue or suggest topics to be addressed in future editions ? Please send us your suggestions by e-mail to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
19th CEPEJ plenary meeting (Strasbourg)
- 12th meeting of the SATURN Steering group on the management of judicial timeframes (Malta)
- 7th meeting of the Network of Pilot courts (Malta)
- 20th Bureau meeting (Strasbourg)
- European Day of Civil Justice
- 12th meeting of the working group on Quality of justice (GT-QUAL) (Strasbourg)
- 21th meeting of the working group on evaluation of justice (GT-EVAL) (Strasbourg)
- 20th CEPEJ plenary meeting (Strasbourg)
5+6 July 2012
26 + 28 September 2012
27 September 2012
10 October 2012
25 October 2012
18+19 October 2012
15+16 November 2012
6+7 December 2012