13 – 14 June 2019, Strasbourg: 32nd CEPEJ Plenary Meeting The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice

(CEPEJ) held its 32nd plenary meeting on 13 and 14 June 2019. Mr Ramin Gurbanov (Azerbaijan) chaired it. During this meeting, an exchange of views between the President of the European Court of Human Rights, Mr Sicilianos, his fellow judges and the members of the CEPEJ highlighted the possible interactions between the Court and the CEPEJ on the indicators that can be used to evaluate the efficiency and quality of justice.

The chairmen of the various CEPEJ working groups (Evaluation – Quality – Mediation – Saturn) presented their activities and the planned work, which the CEPEJ took note of. The CEPEJ adopted the “European Handbook for the Development of National Laws on Mediation”, the “Guidelines for the Design and Monitoring of Mediators Training Programs” and the “Toolkit for the Implementation of the Guidelines on Cyberjustice” (available at https://www.coe.int/en/web/cepej/).

Continue reading 13 – 14 June 2019, Strasbourg: 32nd CEPEJ Plenary Meeting The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice

7 June 2019, Madrid: Congress of Spanish Member Organisation Ilustre Colegio Nacional de Letrados de la Administracion de Justicia

Vivien Whyte had the honour and the pleasure of representing our organization again at the annual congress of EUR Member Organisation Colegio Nacional de Letrados de la Administracion de Justicia, that met this year in Madrid in the presence of the national, regional and local judicial and policital authorities, as well as over three hundred colleagues. 

During the closing session chaired by Mr. Juan José González Rivas, President of the Constitutional Court, Vivien Whyte congratulated the Colegio on its 75th anniversary and assured them of the support of the Court Clerks and Rechtspfleger of all the countries represented within the EUR in its fair and necessary fight for a remuneration equivalent to that of the other superior legal professions and which is up to their very important responsibilities.

Continue reading 7 June 2019, Madrid: Congress of Spanish Member Organisation Ilustre Colegio Nacional de Letrados de la Administracion de Justicia

3 June 2019, Strasbourg: EUR Meets the French Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe

France currently holds the rotating chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and wishes to “provide answers to new challenges to Human Rights and the rule of law”, notably by improving the functioning of justice.

On 3 June, Vivien Whyte and Jean-Jacques Kuster met with Mr Jean-Baptiste Mattei, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of France to the Council of Europe at the headquarters of the French delegation in Strasbourg to present to him the proposals of the EUR. Our representatives gave Mr Mattei a copy of the White Paper for a Rechtspfleger/Greffier for Europe and explained to him the essential role of the Rechtspfleger and other non-judge staff in the functioning of the judicial systems and thus in the preservation of the rule of law in Europe.

In this context, updating Recommendation R (86) 12 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe was discussed, the EUR inviting France to seize this opportunity to revise this particularly useful instrument for the Member States in proposing concrete measures to reduce the overburdening of the courts, in particular by shifting tasks from the judge to other professions such as the Rechtspfleger.

Ambassador Mattei noted with us that the list of transferable tasks listed in the appendix to the Recommendation was outdated and took note of our proposals.

15 May 2019, Brussels: EUR Meets the European Commission’s Secretariat General

On 15 May 2019, President Vivien Whyte met Mr Marcel Haag, Director in charge of the European Semester and Mr Julien Mousnier, Head of the Citizens ‘Rights and Consumers’ Rights and Rule of Law Unit of the Secretariat General of the European Commission.

This meeting is part of EUR’s effort to give visibility to Rechtspfleger and other non-judge staff in the operational documents of the European Union. Indeed, these professions are essential to the functioning of the courts and thus of the economy. They also ensure a fundamental role as a link between citizens and their justice, strengthening public confidence in its institutions and thereby respect for the rule of law. In addition, in twelve Member States of the European Union, Rechtspfleger and similar professions relieve judges of a significant part of their work. By taking independent decisions in a variety of areas, they allow judges to focus on the most complex litigious cases.

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26 April 2019, Council of Europe, Strasbourg: end of talks on updating Recommendation R(86)12

On 16 September 1986, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers adopted Recommendation R(86)12 on certain measures aimed at preventing and reducing excessive workload in the courts. This instrument mentioned the German and Austrian Rechtspfleger as a good practice and provided a list of non-judicial tasks from which judges could be released. Thanks to this instrument, the situation has improved. Nevertheless, the judicial systems have evolved, working methods have changed, the economical and political situation has worsened.

In this context, the EUR believes in the need for a new instrument proposing new measures that could prevent and reduce the still excessive workload in court.

Continue reading 26 April 2019, Council of Europe, Strasbourg: end of talks on updating Recommendation R(86)12

10 – 12 April, Trier, Germany: European Law Academy Project for the Training of Court Staff in European Law

As part of the Justice program of the Directorate-General for Justice of the European Commission, the Academy of European Law (ERA), in partnership with the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN) and with the support of 23 training institutions from 19 EU Member States (for Austria, the Federal Ministry for the Constitution, Reforms, Deregulation and Justice) presented a pilot project for the training of European judicial officers in European law.

The Austrian organization VDRÖ, a member of the EUR, is involved in this project in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Justice.

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10 – 12 April 2019, Council of Europe, Strasbourg: Spring Session of the INGO Conference

On the occasion of this session, the INGOs were encouraged to show their commitment to the Council of Europe, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2019. The Council of Europe is currently experiencing a financial and political crisis that is forcing it to adopt restrictive financial measures.

The INGOs thus voted on a resolution to support the Secretary General’s position that States must ensure a sustainable financial base for the Council of Europe and the need for enhanced interaction with civil society:
https://rm.coe.int/conf-ple-2019-res1-fr-l-avenir-du-conseil-de-l-europe-la-societecivil/168093f44f

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4 – 7 April 2019, Anadia, Portugal: Congress of the Portuguese Union SFJ

Vivien Whyte participated to the Congress of Portuguese Member Organisation Sindicato dos Funcionários Judiciais (SFJ) on 4 and 5 April 2019 with the Secretary of State for Justice, the Mayor of the City and of representatives from the President and Prosecutor General of the Supreme Court. Many court officials attended the event, as well as several other professional organisations.

In his speech during the opening ceremony, the President of the EUR talked about the social movement carried on by Portuguese colleagues for several months to demand a better statute, decent retirement, better careers and promotions. He renewed the support from European court clerks and Rechtspfleger in this just and necessary fight. He stressed that court clerks, keepers of the form, are also keepers of liberty and that political decision makers had to recognize their essential role in the functioning of judicial systems.

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3 – 4 April 2019, Council of Europe, Strasbourg: Meeting of the SATURN Group of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ)

The Steering Group of the SATURN Center for Judicial Time Management met in Strasbourg on 3 and 4 April 2019.

Several issues were discussed at this meeting with a view to preparing documents for submission to the plenary assembly:

  • the implementation guide for European judicial deadlines,
  • the weighting of cases in European courts,
  • developing guidelines for a dashboard template for court management,
  • the management of judicial time rules for criminal cases in Articles 5 and 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights,
  • the role of parties and practitioners to prevent delays in court proceedings.
Continue reading 3 – 4 April 2019, Council of Europe, Strasbourg: Meeting of the SATURN Group of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ)

14 – 15 March 2019, Strasbourg: CEPEJ Working Group on Quality

During the meeting, the Group examined tools dedicated to the effective implementation of the principles of the European Ethical Charter for the Use of Artificial Intelligence in National Justice Systems and their Environments (https://rm.coe.int/charte-etique-fr-pour-publication-4-decembre-2018/16808f699b).

Continue reading 14 – 15 March 2019, Strasbourg: CEPEJ Working Group on Quality
EUR CONGRESS 2019 in Lisbon
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