Evaluation of judicial systems - CEPEJ Council of Europe

After the establishment of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) of the Council of Europe in 2002 one of the new areas to focus on concerned the development of a method to evaluate the composition and the performance of the judicial systems in Europe. For this purpose I drafted a key document titled 'evaluation of judicial systems: a balance between variety and generalisation' (CEPEJ 2003(12)). This document was the starting point for the creation of a successful product of the Council of Europe, namely a complete overview in facts and figures of the judicial systems of the 47 Member States.

In 2005 the first pilot report on judicial systems was published at a European conference in The Hague. This report contained information received from 41 Member States, describing various aspects related to the area of justice from the financing of the justice sector, their performance (especially from the courts), access to justice, the profession of the judges and the prosecutors till recent developments in the area of the legal professions (lawyers and bailiffs).

Picture of countries applying a court user survey to evaluate the quality of services in the courts (CEPEJ data 2008)

In 2006 was the first and in 2008 was the second report of the CEPEJ published. These reports included enriched data and detailed descriptions of the various judicial systems. Also the number of participating countries in the evaluation program increased in that period. More and more countries were using the results of the reports for benchmarking purposes and reforms of the judiciary too.

One can conclude that with the publication of the reports the CEPEJ set a new landmark: the presentation of comparative data and descriptive information in the field of administration of justice.

Currently not only the European Member States are applying the results of the report for national reforms, but the information is used by the European Commission and the World Bank as well. As a part of the EU Justice Scoreboard a selection of data of the CEPEJ is applied to present comparative information of the EU Member States about the relationship between the economic development in the region and the quality of the legal systems.

The World Bank is making use of the experience of the CEPEJ as a part of the assessments of supporting countries in Europe (e.g. with the publication of Justice At a Glance reports).


Checklist for court quality and time management checklist

Other work of the CEPEJ concerns the publication of a checklist for promoting quality at the courts and a time management checklist for courts. The checklist for quality of courts can be used by governments and courts to identify areas of improvement in the field of court quality and judicial quality. This document complements the work of the International Framework of Court Excellence.

The time management checklist is applicable for court managers and court presidents aiming at improving the timeliness of court proceedings and reducing the backlog of cases.




























©2014 Pim Albers