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.
CEPEJ 10 years on: expectations and achievements
The creation of the CEPEJ tool brought with it the hope to improve the functioning of the justice systems. With this tool it would be easier to understand the main trends and evolutions of the judicial system, to identify difficulties, to propose reforms for improving the efficiency of justice and to facilitate their implementation. The Report is an invaluable tool for judicial policy making, as much for the justice systems, the ministries of justice, the parliamentarians and thye different groups of legal professionals as for the whole judicial community.
The drafting of the Report requires much skill, methodological reflections and intellectual efforts. Since in Europe there is a marvellous diversity of legal traditions and judicial structures, it is extremely difficult to compare the statistical data of several countries. An electronic scheme of questions now allows States to respond to the questionnaire, to process the data and to analyse the functioning of the justice systems.
One of the biggest challenges was to ensure the
comparability of the data. We can congratulate the Secretariat,
the scientific consultants and the members of the relevant
working group, particularly Jean-Paul Jean, who overcame incredible
obstacles and showed creativity to in solving problems. Today, the evaluation Report of European Judicial Systems
has become a point of reference and is eagerly awaited, whereas the first one was an experiment,
the work of a few bold pioneers. This report really
does deserve to
be translated into our own national languages.
Interview: "As first President of the CEPEJ from 2003 to 2006, can you describe the initial ambitions of the CEPEJ and its achievements ?"
Eberhard Desch, Germany
Former CEPEJ President
Head of Division of International Law, Federal Ministry of Justice, Berlin
File : Impact of the publication of the 2012 edition of the CEPEJ evaluation report on European judicial systems
The 2012 edition of the “Evaluation
Report of European judicial
systems: efficiency and quality of justice” is a fine vintage. Its presentation at the Council of Europe ministerial
conference in Vienna (Austria) on 20th September 2012 attracted an
ever-increasing level of media interest despite the
purported severity of its data processing and the
refusal to establish rankings between countries.
"Why are the evaluation cycles of European judicial systems
qualified as tools for public policy to orient reforms of the
judicial system ?”
Avocat Général, Court of Cassation and associated Professor at
the University of Poitiers, France,
Avocat Général, Court of Cassation and associated Professor at
the University of Poitiers, France,
Beyond the different articles reflecting national concerns by quoting extracts from the CEPEJ evaluation report of judicial systems, the CEPEJ Secretariat has gather information on the impact of the publication of this report in the member States.
The sources which have allowed this analysis come from press reviews following the publication of the report and the feedback from CEPEJ members at the 20th plenary meeting of the CEPEJ on 6th December 2012, in Strasbourg.
The Consell Superior de la Justícia of the Principality of Andorra extracted data from the report on investment in the judicial system, the level of computerisation for direct assistance of the work of judges and clerks, the comparison of the remuneration of judges or prosecutors, mediation and arbitration, the number of lawyers and different enforcement systems. The CEPEJ report was also mentioned on the occasion of the solemn hearing in the speech of the President of the High Court of Justice, who is also a member of the Network of Pilot courts. He noted the favourable position of his jurisdiction regarding the CEPEJ performance indicators of clearance rate and disposition time. The written press conducted a comparative study on investment in the judicial system. In view of the insistence of the Bar on the implementation of mediation and arbitration, the press observes that Andorra is one of the few countries which doesn’t have this type of dispute resolution.
The articles of the press review essentially concern fair trial, court activitiy (clearance rate, disposition time) and the high level of automation of the judicial system.
Azerbaijan indicated that the CEPEJ has prove its effectiveness and was heavily involved in the judicial reform in the country. Press articles deal primarily with the reform and ongoing developments.
The Belgian press review mainly mentions the number of judges and parity issues in the profession.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The overview of the Report will be translated and disseminated to justice professionals and made available to the public. Some information from the CEPEJ report has been cited in expert meetings and conferences. Following publication of the 2010 CEPEJ Report, the High Judicial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina has asked a group of experts to draft a regulation on optimum and foreseeable timeframes of judicial proceedings based on the CEPEJ documents. Based on their proposal, the High Judicial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina recently adopted the regulation, which and it is to be tested in several judicial institutions in early 2013. Its implementation in all courts and prosecutors offices in Bosnia and Herzegovina will begin later in 2013. It is expected that similar initiatives will follow the publication of the 2012 CEPEJ Report.
France has lent its support to the creation of the permanent observatory of European judicial systems within the CEPEJ. Budgetary elements for 2013 have been underlined: 4,3 % growth of payment credits, efficiency of justice being considered a priority, which is evidenced especially by the creation of 142 jobs in the judicial services in addition to a redeployment of 150 jobs, a particular effort in terms of court costs and legal aid. The main concerns of the press relate to the insufficiency of the budget allocated to justice.
The press releases deal primarily with the amount of the budget allocated to justice, the high salary of judges and the frequency of procedures.
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. 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 the CEPEJ Report, does influence policy makers in the field of justice. The majority of articles in press review discuss the budget allocated to the judiciary.
Certain aspects have been analysed, such as the training of judges. The Report has also been discuted by the Council for the Judiciary and the Association of Judges. Furthermore, surveys were conducted last year and some indicators have been implemented to measure the quality of justice. Several conferences have been organised to this end.
The report has been largely distributed among justice professionals, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Finance. A meeting of the Prosecutor Generals was organised, during which data refering to prosecutors was analysed in detail.
The press releases mainly concern the size of the budget allocated to justice, the average number of judges, gender issues and the impacts of the economic crisis on the budgets of the European judicial systems.
The press articles largely refer to the budget for justice, the impossibility of filing a complaint about the functioning of the justice system of Monaco, the backlog of judicial proceedings, the length of proceedings and attendance rate of defendants at hearings.
The majority of the articles are about the growing number of judges and disciplinary measures against judges, lawyers and enforcement officers. Many articles also address about the excessive length of proceedings in civil and commercial matters as well as the increasing number of social disputes due to the crisis, and redundancy in particular.
Most items welcome the British legal aid system and discuss the insufficient number of judges, their high salary and the deficit of gender issues.
The Ministry of Justice and Public Administation of Slovenia has notified all judicial professionals of the publication of the CEPEJ European Judicial Systems Report - 2012 Edition and has ordered the translation of a document presenting the report (an overview) in Slovenian. It is reasonable to expect that, as within the previous editions of the CEPEJ Report, the data and conclusions of the Report will be used in the preparation of strategic documents of the Ministry. The CEPEJ Evaluation report on the functioning of judicial systems 2012 has been analysed by Dr. Matej Avbelj (Dean and lecturer at the Graduate School of Government and European Studies in Kranj) in a widely read column, published by a juridical portal (IUS-INFO). In his article Dr. Avbelj critically assesses the Slovenian judicial system by comparing the data presented in the Report for Slovenia, Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Germany.
The main data highlighted in the press concerns the reduction of the number of judges in Europe and legal aid per capita in Spain.
The Institute of High Studies in Public administration (IDEHAP) located in Lausanne, maintains a database of cities and cantons known under the acronym BADAC. Following the publication of the CEPEJ Report, the persons in charge of this database have expressed an interest in integrating the CEPEJ data concerning the cantons into their own database. The Swiss representative, Mr Jacques BUELHER, is currently seeking funding for adaptations to be made to to the database to include the CEPEJ data. Once the CEPEJ data has been integrated, it will be possible, for example, to extract maps with intercantonal comparisons.
"The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"
Emphasis was placed on the salaries of judges and prosecutors, the number of judges and the clearance rate. The Report has been published on the website of the Ministry of Justice, the Academy for the training of judges and prosecutors and other judicial insitutions. It has been sent by e-mail to all the court presidents. An event was organised for all the court presidents during which M. Nikola PROKOPENKO presented the report.
The articles from the Ukrainian press are mainly about the lack of information available to the CEPEJ for the production of the Report.
Ongoing activities: what's new?
Special file: CEPEJ's 10th anniversary, 6th December 2012
A special file containing the speeches and presentations made during the celebration of the CEPEJ's 10th anniversay is available on the CEPEJ's website. This file also includes 6 interviews with the CEPEJ founders and actors, the achievements of the CEPEJ and upcoming developments, as well as a film featuring speeches, dialogues, round tables and presentation of the Crystal Scales of Justice awarded projects.
Evaluation of judicial systems
The new evaluation report of European judicial systems was published on 20th September 2012 in the framework of the Conference of Ministers of Justice of the Council of Europe in Vienna (Austria).
The evaluation scheme and the explanatory note for the 2012-2014 cycle of evaluation of judicial systems, were adopted on 7th December 2012 at the CEPEJ plenary meeting. The scheme will be open to replies from national correspondents from 3 June 2013, until 31 December 2013. The processing of the data will begin in January 2014.
A report on the impact of the functioning of justice on the economic situation of the member States of the European Union was submitted to the European Commission at the end of 2012.
Timeframes of proceedings
court coaching programme for the implementation of the
SATURN tools on judicial time management is currently
being developed. Any court interested in this programme is
invited to contact
At its last plenary meeting,
on 7th December 2012, the CEPEJ invited all the member
States to provide the
Secretariat of the CEPEJ with elements of
good practices in the different member States in order
to update the existing Guidelines for judicial
The members of the CEPEJ adopted the update of the report on
the Length of
court proceedings in the member States of the Council of
Europe based on the case-law of the European Court of
Human Rights, prepared by the scientific experts: Françoise
Calvez and Nicolas Régis (CEPEJ
studies No. 19).
At its last plenary meeting, on 7th December 2012, the CEPEJ invited all the member States to provide the Secretariat of the CEPEJ with elements of good practices in the different member States in order to update the existing Guidelines for judicial time management.
The members of the CEPEJ adopted the update of the report on the Length of court proceedings in the member States of the Council of Europe based on the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, prepared by the scientific experts: Françoise Calvez and Nicolas Régis (CEPEJ studies No. 19).
Quality of Justice
working group on quality of justice (CEPEJ-GT-QUAL)
continues its training programme for the organisation of
satisfaction surveys by court users. Interested
courts may benefit from the support of CEPEJ experts in
this field. They are invited to contact the Secretariat
of the CEPEJ:
Network of Pilot courts
- Seeking best practices on court file management and
transmission of cases from one judge to another
European Day of Civil Justice
The main event of the 10th Edition of the European Day of Civil Justice took 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 European Day of Civil Justice featured a conference on mediation, a short film festival on mediation and the award ceremony of the Crystal Scales of Justice Prize. 11 countries informed the CEPEJ about their initiatives for the celebration of this Day (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Romanie, Serbia, Slovenia).
Crystal Scales of Justice
European prize of the 2012 Crystal Scales of Justice for innovative practices in the field of justice
was awarded on 25th October 2012 in Vilnius (Lithuania),
at the main event of the European Day of Civil Justice.
The Jury of eminent legal professionals examined 38 applications, representing 18
European countries. The "Tribunal de Grande Instance" of
Antwerp (Belgium) won the Prize for its efforts
consented to the
follow-up of judicial expertises.
Report on the Length of court proceedings in the member States of the Council of Europe based on the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, prepared by the scientific experts Françoise Calvez and Nicolas Régis (CEPEJ Studies No. 19)
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: email@example.com.