3 – 4 December 2018, Counci l of Europe, Strasbourg: 31st CEPEJ Plenary Meeting

The meeting was chaired by Georg STAWA (Austria), President of the CEPEJ, who was completing his four-year term. The CEPEJ thanked him for his decisive action in developing the commission and giving it a leading role in the debate on the functioning of judicial systems in Europe and beyond.

The year 2018 was particularly dense for the CEPEJ in the light of the texts adopted and the publication in October 2018 of the report on “European Judicial Systems – 2018 Edition” which has had wide echoes both among public authorities and professionals of justice than media.

Preparations for the 2020 edition are already underway.

During this meeting, several documents prepared by the CEPEJ working groups were adopted:

– the European Code of Ethics for the Use of Artificial Intelligence in Judicial Systems and their Environment, which provides for the first time in Europe a framework of principles to guide policymakers, lawyers and justice professionals in the management of rapid development of artificial intelligence in national judicial processes,

– the guide on court communication with the public and the media,

– the revised guidelines for judicial time management,

– the analysis of judicial deadlines (update) in the Council of Europe member states,

– the reference grid for mediation performance indicators (basic statistics of mediation) and the European code of conduct for mediation prescribers as well as the models of mediation forms that complete the toolbox for the development of mediation.

The adopted texts can be consulted on the CEPEJ website : https://www.coe.int/en/web/cepej.

During this meeting, two issues were of particular interest to the EUR.

Following the EUR’s request to update the Council of Europe Recommendation No. R (86) 12 on certain measures to prevent and reduce the workload of courts, the CEPEJ decided to forward to the Council of Europe’s European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ), the summary prepared by the EUR on the tasks transferred from the judge to the Court Clerks / Rechtspfleger or to other professions. The CEPEJ expressed its wish that the CDCJ could undertake as soon as possible the revision of the recommendation in order to improve the efficiency and quality of justice.

In addition, the CEPEJ was informed that the Consultative Committee of European Judges (CCJE) is planning in 2019 to prepare an opinion on the topic of court clerks and judicial assistants and their relations with judges and will prepare a report on this subject for adoption at its 20th meeting (November 2019). The EUR, particularly interested in this work, will offer its expertise for the proposed works.

The new CEPEJ Board elected at this meeting is composed of: Ramin Gurbanov (Azerbaijan), President, Ivana Borzova (Czech Republic), Vice-President, Francesco Depasquale (Malta), and Laetitia Brunin (France), Board Members.

Jean-Jacques Kuster represented the EUR.