The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice

 

Extract from the
2014-2015 Activity Programme of the CEPEJ

Appendix III

Terms of reference of the Working Group on quality of justice
(CEPEJ-GT-QUAL)
renewed by the CEPEJ at its 22nd plenary meeting

In accordance with article 7.2.b of Appendix 1 to Resolution Res(2002)12, and under the authority of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ), the Working Group on quality of justice (CEPEJ-GT-QUAL) is instructed to develop means of analysis and evaluation of the work carried out within the courts with a view to improving, in the member states, the quality of the public service delivered by the justice system, in particular vis--vis the expectations of the justice practitioners and users, according to performance and efficiency criteria meeting a large consensus.

In order to fulfil its tasks, the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL shall in particular, while observing the principle of independence of judges:

a. improve tools, indicators and means for measuring the quality of judicial work and the way in which this service is perceived by the users;

b. draft concrete solutions for policy makers and for courts to improve the organisation of the court system, in particular as regards access to courts and enforcement of court decisions;

c. draft concrete solutions for policy makers and for courts, allowing to remedy dysfunctions in the judicial activity and balance the obligations of the work of judges and its workload with the obligation to provide users with a justice of quality;

d. promote among European courts the tools and measures designed by the CEPEJ regarding quality of justice.

In order to fulfil its tasks, the Working group shall in particular:

promote among courts the effective implementation of the Handbook for court users satisfaction surveys and analyse the results of such surveys and organise and implement the subsequent court coaching programme (on a volunteer basis);

fine-tune and test in courts indicators enabling to assess the quality of the court work, in close cooperation with the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL and the Steering Group of the SATURN Centre;

develop measures and tools for promoting the quality of the work of judicial experts;

prepare guidelines on the organisation and accessibility of court premises;

draft a Handbook on access to justice, in collaboration with the EU Fundamental Rights Agency;

promote the CEPEJ’s Guidelines on the enforcement of court decisions and prepare guidance for policy makers on the powers of enforcement agents and methods of enforcement;

develop other measures and tools enabling to improve the quality of the public service of justice implemented by the member states, taking into account, in particular, the Checklist for promoting the quality of justice and the courts (CEPEJ(2008)2);

promote the proper translation and dissemination of the CEPEJ's relevant tools and measures.

2. Composition

The CEPEJ-GT-QUAL shall be composed of 6 members of the CEPEJ or experts, proposed by member states and appointed by the CEPEJ Bureau, with an in-depth knowledge in the field of operation of courts and analyse of judicial practice. Their travel and subsistence expenses will be borne by the budget of the Council of Europe. Other experts appointed by the member states might participate in its work, at their own expenses.

The relevant Council of Europe and European Union bodies may be represented to the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses.

The non-governmental organisations granted the observer status with the CEPEJ may be invited by the Bureau to participate in the work of the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL, on a case-by-case basis, if the Bureau considers their attendance relevant for the quality of the work.

3. Working structures and methods

The CEPEJ-GT-QUAL will organise 4 meetings (subject to budgetary availability).

In carrying out its terms of reference, the CEPEJ-GT-QUAL shall cooperate with the CEPEJ Network of Pilot courts. It will also coordinate its work with other relevant CEPEJ's working groups (namely the CEPEJ-GT-EVAL and the Steering Group of the SATURN Centre)

It may also seek the advice of external experts and have recourse to studies by consultants.

4. Duration

These terms of reference expire on 31 December 2015.