Category Archives: Activities

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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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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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.
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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).

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8 March 2019, Brussels: New Meeting with DG Justice

As part of the regular meetings between the EUR and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Justice, Vivien Whyte met on 8 March with Ms. Niovi Ringou, head of the Justice Policy Unit to discuss possible evolutions in the content of the EU Justice Scoreboard.  

Indeed, the Scoreboard presents figures on the efficiency of European justice systems, including the number of judges per 100 000 inhabitants, but does not mention Rechtspfleger or other non-judge staff. In all countries, non-judge staff are essential to the good functioning of courts. Variations in their numbers have a significant impact both in terms of efficiency and quality of justice. Thanks to their unique position close to the citizen, they are also a key element of public confidence. 

In addition, in twelve EU Member States, Rechtspfleger or similar professions relieve judges from part of their workload, allowing them to focus on complex contentious cases. Data on this precious resource, which in some countries (Austria, Poland…) handle 80 % of civil cases, should be included in the Scoreboard to give an objective image of justice systems in the EU. 

President Whyte developed these points again during the meeting and expressed his hope that they will be taken into consideration for the next edition of the EU Justice Scoreboard.

27 February, Strasbourg – Council of Europe: World Non-Governmental Organizations Day

A conference – debate was held at the Council of Europe on the occasion of the World Day of Non – Governmental (International) Organizations.
Anna RURKA, President of the Conference of INGOs, opened this conference, which focused on “the contribution of (I)NGOs to the work and mandate of the Council of Europe”.
Both representatives of the Committee of Ministers and the Secretariat of the Council of Europe stressed the crucial role of the INGOs, representing civil society, who provide indispensable assistance to the work and missions of the Council of Europe.
Several INGO speakers at the Council of Europe illustrated this work, which was sometimes done at the cost of great difficulties or even reprisals in their country.
The comments and suggestions made during this debate will be forwarded to the Committee of Ministers for a conference to take place in Warsaw on 27 March 2019. The latter had already made a recommendation on the need to strengthen the protection and promotion of the space devoted to civil society in Europe (CM / Rec (2018) 11).

You will find under the following link a short speech by Mrs RURKA on this day: short statement.

Jean-Jacques Kuster represented the EUR.