Word from the President of the European Commission for the Efficiency of justice (CEPEJ)
Ramin Gurbanov, Member of the Bureau (Azerbaijan) since 2014 and President of CEPEJ since January 2019
Dear Colleagues and members of the justice community,
For more than 15 years, CEPEJ has been actively engaged in promoting and supporting improvements in the efficiency and quality of justice in Europe. During these years of intense activity, we have devoted ourselves to developing a range of tools and methods for use by court presidents, senior justice officials and stakeholders - in particular, the field of evaluation of judicial systems-quality of justice and judicial timeframes, as well as mediation and enforcement of court decisions.
During previous Presidencies - and thanks to the commitment and efforts of all its members and experts - CEPEJ’s expertise and experience in this area has won widespread respect not only among the European justice community, policy makers and institutions, but also in the wider world. As evidence of our reputation, ever more countries outside the Council of Europe area, as well as international organisations, are indicating an interest in obtaining observer status at CEPEJ with a view to further cooperation with us in the field of justice.
Today, in parallel with its evaluation of Europe’s judicial systems, CEPEJ continues its work on the development of a case-weighting indicator for the courts and on mediation tools, as well as on the updating of the analysis of judicial timeframes in European States, based on the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.
We have to acknowledge that contemporary society is changing rapidly, and this has subsequent impact on judicial systems. Nowadays, the potential offered by information technology and the application of predictive justice and Artificial Intelligence (AI) present fresh challenges for our court systems, and require that we should carefully explore and evaluate developments in those fields. The wave of digital transformation in our societies also extends to our courts. Among the most advanced technologies at work in this great digital transformation, AI appears to be the development showing most promise, whilst also generating most debate.
In view of these considerations, CEPEJ has adopted the European Ethical Charter on the use of artificial intelligence in judicial systems and their environment, which provides, for the first time in Europe, a framework of principles that can guide policy makers, legislators and justice professionals in addressing the rapid development of AI in national judicial processes. We should keep in mind that AI must indeed reinforce, and not diminish, the guarantees of the rule of law as well as the quality of justice to which the public have access. In adopting this Charter, CEPEJ's wish is to encourage a positive use of AI, which, on the one hand, is at the service of legal professionals and adaptable to their needs and, on the other, respects the individual rights and freedoms guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and Council of Europe standards.
In recent years, CEPEJ has become an expert resource for developing and sharing solutions in the judicial sector. This latest initiative further advances our role as the leading marketplace in ideas and best practices in that area.
President of CEPEJ