The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice

The impact of the CEPEJ evaluation report in Estonia

I have always expressed support for the importance of the work done by the CEPEJ as regards the evaluation of judicial systems. Throughout my professional life, I have constantly experienced how crucial it is for policy-makers to have relevant and credible references to the experiences of other member countries.

I would like to outline the impact of this process on internal developments in Estonia.

Firstly, discussions and data collection within the CEPEJ have helped to test Estonia’s own analytical and statistical capacity. Furthermore, it is important to stress here that, apart from highlighting shortcomings in the national system, this process is a source of inspiration on how to improve its performance. The Chief Judge of the Estonian Supreme Court, Mr Mrt Rask, who presents the state of affairs of the judicial system before the Parliament once a year, suggested, in June 2007, that a statistical methodology, complying with the standards of the international community, should be developed, relying inter alia on the CEPEJ's process.

Secondly, the CEPEJ's report on European judicial systems has been translated into Estonian so as to be widely accessible. Of course, it is not possible to estimate how many ideas have directly resulted from the report, but I can stress from my personal experience that the Estonian Ministry of Justice has used CEPEJ data for policy-making analyses in several areas, for instance as regards the number of judges, courts, lawyers, the pay of judicial staff, the management of court cases.

The process will have to be further developed on the basis of a five-year practice and two evaluation exercises so that stable data can be given and analysed on a more regular basis, which would include intermediary collection and the processing of key data.

Margus Sarapuu

Member of the CEPEJ Bureau
Deputy Secretary General of the Court Administration at the Ministry of Justice