The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice

The role of the Registrar in the data collection procedure

The role of the Registrar in the data collection procedure is closely connected with the court automatisation. This is reflected both in the field of non-statistical, as well as in the field of statistical data collection.

As far as the area of non-statistical data is concerned, we had to face a double collection of data in the past. This was, first, the data collection by the lawyer or the notary for his own procedure; this was, second, the data collection by the Registrar for the court proceedings. Therefore, it is justified to speak and discover a waste of human resources. To collect date in the same way twice, does not make any sense. During the so-called transition phase it just happened to arrive that the Registrar had to make the media transfer of paper documents into electronic documents, while constructing the database. An example for the media transfer during the transition phase is Article 298 A German Code of Civil Procedure (= ZPO). Today, however, as a standardized collecting procedure, it is common practise to make structured data available for the Registrar and the court proceedings. These non-statistical data, made available, are usually based on XML. Let me just refer, for instance, to a special dataset XJustiz in German court proceedings (see Thus, an automatic upload of such non-statistical data can take place (name, address, date of birth, residence etc.), thus saving not only human resources, but also speeding up the court proceedings in the beginning and providing a higher level of workflow. Therefore, it is justified to speak about a genuine evaluation process in this regard.

However, as far as the area of statistical data is concerned, which are also sometimes the starting points for some questions in the CEPEJ-Report, we had to realize date in the initial stage of the courts. It is the very own duty of the Registrar to collect, check and provide such data. As a result, the Registrar can be mentioned as some kind of a guarantor for such data. Of course, it is quite understandable, that the Registrar can not refer to any data. In fact, he had to collect these data for the very first time and only for the court databases. The automatisation of court proceedings does not have any effects on the work of the Registrar, as far as the collection of the statistical data is concerned. Rather, the role of the Registrar is still the same as before, namely establishing the coherence of data and providing the quality of data. Of course, this does not happen without any further checks on the data, provided by the Registrar. During the court proceedings, there are many possibilities to verify and check the data, in case by judge, rechtspfleger, greffier and by registrar. This is also due to the fact, because the Registrar is not only acting at the beginning of the court proceedings. In fact, the files are normally accompanied by Registrar to the end of the proceeding. However, a high level of fluctuation and turnover can be the source of mistakes and errors. The role of the Registrar is to capture statistically the case, to manage the database, to classify the case and to fix the data about the beginning and the end of the court proceedings. All relevant tabs in databases provide for such data. It is due to the work of the Registrar that all judicial functionaries can check on the status of the court proceedings at any time. The CEPEJ Report picks up on various points the data about the beginning and the end of the court proceedings. This is the reason why it is able to make statements about the average duration of court proceedings in the different member countries. The Registrar provides therefore the basis for statistical observations about the backlog of cases and pending cases. In this regard, the Registrar is just in line with the aims of the CEPEJ Report: providing reliable data, establishing the coherence and quality of data, although at a different level, close to the files at the court. The Registrar is aware about being a guarantor within the data collection procedure.

Harald Wilsch
Diploma Rechtspfleger (FH) at the Local Court of Munich, Bavaria
Treasurer of the European Union of Rechtspfleger (E.U.R.)