The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice

2006 Crystal Scales of Justice: impact of the prize for the Service§center of Civil and District Court of Linz

The first prize in the "Crystal Scales of Justice" was awarded to the Service§center project at the Civil and District Court of Linz on 26 October 2006.

The award was greeted by a positive response in the media. This in turn publicised, or reminded the general public of the Service§center project.

Various positive responses were noted outside the legal circles. It also led to a number of legal staff who had previously shown some scepticism beginning to understand our project. The project has gained considerable status within Austria’s legal circles. The new Federal Minister of Justice, Dr. Maria Berger, emphatically supports the project. Currently, the question of the salary group to which staff should be assigned to is open; Minister Berger referred to a favourable solution in the best interest of the staff.

The award served to further reinforce the high level of commitment demonstrated by Service§center staff; further activities can be outsourced from legal businesses to the Service§center.

The following sketch shows the high level of monthly access to the Service§center. March 2007 was the first month in which the figure of 6,000 cases of access to the Service§center was exceeded.

The popularity of the Service§center due to the award has led to various domestic delegations – especially from ordinary courts visiting the centre. Foreign institutions have also shown an interest, such as the Korean Ministry of Justice, which approached a judge in Vienna to collect information and arrange a visit to Linz. A delegation from Romania visited the Service§center on 13 September 2007.

The Civil and District Court of Leoben plans to establish a Service§center. In October, a member of the Service§center’s staff, Dir. Ecklmayr and I will present our Service§center to judges and court officers from the Civil and District Court of Leoben.

And the "Service§center" project was presented on the occasion of various vocational training sessions in the legal field throughout 2007 by Mr Dir. Ecklmayr and myself.

The project "Service§center at the Civil and District Court of Linz" is an ongoing success. Above all, the award has underlined the need and significance of citizen-friendly activities in jurisdiction, and made a major contribution to generating awareness of this.

Whereas the protagonists of the Service§center were originally regarded as dreamers and out of touch with reality, and not only in individual cases, now the successful project has gained respect – as is made obvious by by the Crystal Scales Award in October 2006.

Dr Kirchgatterer
President of the Linz Court