It is a great honour and privilege to be elected President of the CCJE. At the outset, I want to pay tribute to my predecessor, Dr. Anke Eilers, for all her hard work and dedication during her tenure as President.

I look forward to working closely with all our valued CCJE members, our experts and observers, and the CCJE Secretariat, as we strive to promote our objectives and activities in line with the 4th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe (Reykjavik Declaration 2023) and the Strategic Framework of the Council of Europe.

Since its inception in 2000, the CCJE has developed specific expertise and standards as a unique advisory body, composed exclusively of serving judges, with a mandate focussing on practical aspects of the status of judges, their independence and impartiality. The CCJE standards are instrumental in creating a conducive legal and institutional framework for judges, to assist them in the effective resolution of cases and disputes at a national level in line with the European Convention on Human Rights. The CCJE draws upon and summarises the best European practices and transposes them into soft law standards. In this way, the CCJE plays a significant role in the overall structure of the Council of Europe bodies and institutions. 

The twenty-six Opinions of the CCJE adopted so far are of utmost importance for the judicial profession and policy makers. Quotations and references to the CCJE Opinions are often used in various countries in official documents, including judgments of national courts, and the European Court of Human Rights. For example, in the Grand Chamber judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Guðmundur Andri Ástráðsson v. Iceland (1 December 2020), the CCJE Opinions No. 1 (2001) and No. 18 (2015), and the CCJE Magna Carta of Judges (2010), were quoted at length. CCJE Opinions are also referenced in the reports and Opinions of the Venice Commission and other bodies/institutions of the Council of Europe. The CCJE itself also relies upon case law emanating from the European Court of Human Rights and Venice Commission’s documents, together with the instruments and standards enumerated by a number of institutions within and outside of the Council of Europe.

I would like, in particular, to say a few words regarding the latest Opinion, No. 26 (2023) of the CCJE, adopted on 1 December 2023 and entitled “Moving forward: the use of assistive technology in the judiciary”. The purpose of the Opinion is to examine the advantages and disadvantages concerning the use of assistive technology in the judiciary. It recognises that the use of such technology will continue to develop, and that judicial systems should keep a pace with such developments.

The Opinion stresses the importance of developing and using technology in ways that maintain and reinforce the fundamental principles of the rule of law. The use of technology should serve to enhance judicial independence and impartiality. Furthermore, it can promote speed and efficiency in the administration of justice. It can also be used to support the work of judges and of parties to judicial proceedings, thereby expediting the decision-making process. Finally, the Opinion provides a durable set of principles relating to the future use of technology in the judiciary. The central aim of these principles is to secure effective and practical access to justice, while maintaining and enhancing judicial legitimacy and public confidence in the judiciary.

In conclusion, I would like to thank you for your kind attention and I look forward to continuing the productive, useful and rewarding work of the CCJE.


Leonie REYNOLDS, President of the CCJE (from 1 January 2024)