The European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) is the principal intergovernmental structure of the Council of Europe with responsibility for the proper functioning of the judiciary; CDCJ members, as representatives of the Ministry of Justice, are particularly well-placed within the Organisation to ensure, at national level, the necessary communication between government and judiciary.
Judicial Independence and Impartiality
- High-Level Conference of Ministers of Justice and representatives of the Judiciary (Sofia, Bulgaria, 21-22 April 2016)
A high-level Conference of Ministers of Justice and representatives of the judiciary dedicated to “Strengthening Judicial Independence and Impartiality as a Pre-condition for the Rule of Law in Council of Europe Member States” was organised by the Ministry of Justice of Bulgaria, in co-operation with the Council of Europe, in the framework of the current Bulgarian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The Conference took place in Sofia on 21-22 April 2016 and provided an opportunity for Ministers of Justice and representatives of the judiciary at the highest level to take stock of recent reforms, identify challenges and agree on the measures to be taken.
The opening and concluding remarks, key speeches and General Rapporteur's report which were presented on this occasion appear in the Proceedings of the Sofia Conference.
- Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)12 on Judges: independence, efficiency and responsibilities - Report on the review of follow-up by member states
As a first step towards the development of the Council of Europe Action Plan on judicial independence and impartiality, the 47 member states of the Council of Europe have been requested to reply to a questionnaire on the action undertaken, at national level, to improve the independence, efficiency and responsibility of judges.
A report on the measures taken by the member states will be prepared by a consultant on the basis of the answers to the questionnaire (restricted access only) received from member states, with particular attention to the key challenges facing them and possible solutions.
This report on the review of follow-up by member states to Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)12 partially forms the basis of the Council of Europe Plan of Action on strengthening judicial independence and impartiality adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 13 April 2016
- Group of specialists on the judiciary (CJ-S-JUD)
The Group of specialists on the judiciary (CJ-S-JUD) was set up in 2008, under the authority of CDCJ, to revise Recommendation No. R (94) 12 on the independence, efficiency and role of judges building on the work already carried out by the Group of specialists on the independence, efficiency and role of judges (CJ-S-JUST) in 2007.
Over its four meetings held in the course of the year 2009 (26-27 March; 6-8 July; 20-23 October and 15-17 December), the Group completed the revision of the recommendation of 1994 with, as a result, a new recommendation on Judges: independence, efficiency and responsibilities which was subsequently approved by CDCJ before being submitted to the Committee of Ministers for adoption. The recommendation (CM/Rec(2010)12) was adopted on 17 November 2010.
Group of Specialists on the role of Public Prosecutors outside the Criminal Field (CJ-S-PR)
The Group of Specialists on the role of Public Prosecutors outside the Criminal Field (CJ-S-PR) was set up in 2011, under the authority of CDCJ, to prepare a draft recommendation on, in particular, the status, powers and practice of public prosecutors outside the criminal law field, considered in the light of the importance of the protection of human rights, fundamental freedoms, the democratic principle of separation of powers and equality of arms.
The Group held four meetings in the course of the year 2011 (29-30 March, 22-24 June, 15-18 November and 7-8 December) to complete the draft recommendation on the role of public prosecutors outside the criminal justice systems which was subsequently approved by CDCJ before being submitted to the Committee of Ministers for adoption. The recommendation (CM/Rec (2012)11) was adopted on 19 September 2012.
Committee of experts on efficiency of justice (CJ-EJ)
The Committee of experts on efficiency of justice (CJ-EJ), set up under the authority of CDCJ, carried out work to increase the efficiency of justice in member states. It used to be active from 1997 (1st meeting, 16-18 June 1997) until the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) was established in 2002 by virtue of Resolution Res(2002)12 adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 18 September 2002.
The CJ-EJ was the Committee which, with the assistance of its Working Parties, has prepared notably Recommendation No. R(2000)21 on the freedom of exercise of the profession of lawyer, Recommendation Rec(2002)10 on mediation in civil matters, or Recommendation Rec(2003)17 on enforcement.
The Council of Europe has also organised a number of Colloquies and Conferences related to justice topics.