The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice

Strasbourg, 24 September 2012




7th plenary meeting
(Gozo (Malta), 27 September 2012)

Research on good practices in matter of record keeping and
transmission of files from a judge to another


Lausanne, 15th May 2012 / BrJ

Research on good practices in matter of record keeping and
transmission of files from a judge to another

    1. Initial situation
    The Landgericht of Fribourg en Brisgau is a pilot court of the CEPEJ. A meeting took place in this court at the end of April 2012. The objective of the meeting was to see if it was possible to optimize the processing time of complex contentious civil cases.

    Medical liability cases or building cases are examples of complex contentious civil cases. Those cases often need investigations, notably/in particular in proofs administration, which last several years. It might happen that these complex cases are heard by several successive judges who, very often, do not meet. In general, the files do not contain any indication, neither on the status of the file (summary of the status of the procedure), nor on the reflexions made (for example idea of manoeuvre/move on the way to direct proof administration). Therefore, each file transmission from a judge to another lead to the extension/lengthening of the procedure in question.

    The situation described for civil cases can also occur in penal and administrative proceedings.

    2. General objective

      The objective is the treatment of files in a reasonable timeframe, in the sense of the case law of the European Court of Human rights. Each tribunal can optimise its internal processes, including adopting rules relating to record keeping and/or files transfer/transmission from a judge to another. For this purpose, it can draw on rules and practices that exist in other countries.

    3. Objective of the clusters discussion
    The problem in the Landgericht of Fribourg en Brisgau exists in several other courts. This is why the CEPEJ has decided to pursue the issue. The pilot courts have certainly rules and good practices they would be willing to share.

    This is why, representatives of pilot courts are invited to explain their rules and (best) practices relating to:
    a) record keeping
    b) transmission of a file from a judge to another during the proceedings

    Practices are particularly sought including, for instance, that the judge in trial:
    - shall set, in writing, on the basis of the evidences given by the parties, what means of proofs/evidences he intends to retain for each element of fact.
    - shall plan, in writing in details the steps of the proofs administration.
    - is required to draft the facts at an early stage of the proceedings.
    - is required to prepare at regular intervals (for example, every 6 months or every year from the 2nd year after the introduction of the instance) a report of situation on the progress of the case.
    - is required to draft a report on the status of the case and his thoughts at the time he is no longer in charge of the file.