ENCJ votes to suspend the Turkish High Council for Judges and Prosecutors PDF Print E-mail

The ENCJ unites the national institutions in the Member States of the European Union which are independent of the executive and legislature, and which are responsible for the support of the Judiciaries in the independent delivery of justice.  It aims to improve cooperation between, and good mutual understanding amongst, the Councils for the Judiciary and the members of the Judiciary of the European Union (or candidate) Member States.

It is a condition of membership, and for the status of observer, that institutions are independent of the executive and legislature and ensure the final responsibility for the support of the judiciary in the independent delivery of justice.

The ENCJ became concerned that the procedures adopted by the High Council for Judges and Prosecutors of Turkey (HSYK) indicated that this condition was no longer satisfied.

The General Assembly of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) gathered in The Hague on 8th December 2016 to discuss and decide on the position of the HSYK in the Association.

The ENCJ has been following developments in the judiciary in Turkey since 2014 and has expressed its concern both in its correspondence with the HSYK and publicly in the Declaration of the Hague (June 2015), the Declaration of Warsaw (June 2016) and more recently after the mass-suspension of judges and prosecutors and again following their dismissal.

The HSYK has been given ample opportunity to explain their actions. They took the opportunity to do so by sending its resolution of the 31st August and by explaining the situation at the extraordinary General Assembly in The Hague on 8th December 2016.

The ENCJ acknowledges the huge impact and subsequent national trauma caused by the events on 15th July 2016. Those responsible should be made accountable through an open, fair and impartial judicial process conforming with international standards.

It is no part of the function of the ENCJ to take a position on the internal political situation in Turkey.  However, taking into account the failure of the HSYK to satisfy the ENCJ that its standards have been complied with, the statements of the HSYK, as well as information from other sources including the reports and statements of the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe and Human Rights Watch and the Venice Commission, the ENCJ decided that the actions and decisions of the HSYK, and therefore the HSYK as an institution cannot be seen to be in compliance with European Standards for Councils for the Judiciary. Therefore, the HSYK does not currently comply with the ENCJ Statutes and is no longer an institution which is independent of the executive and legislature ensuring the final responsibility for the support of the judiciary in the independent delivery of justice.

The General Assembly accordingly resolved to suspend, with no Council voting against, the observer status of the HSYK. Therefore, the HSYK is, for the time being, excluded from participation in ENCJ activities. The ENCJ is however open to staying in contact with the HSYK and is prepared to offer its assistance and guidance in setting out and compliance with the European Standards for Councils for the Judiciary.

 

Done in The Hague 8 December 2016

 
Former ENCJ President Geoffrey Vos, appointed Chancellor of the High Court PDF Print E-mail

sir_geoffrey_vosThe Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Vos, ENCJ President from 2015 till June 2016, has been appointed as the Chancellor of the High Court of England and Wales, with effect from 24 October 2016. 

The Chancellor of the High Court is the president of the Chancery Division of the High Court and vice-president of the Court of Protection. The Chancery Division deals with the resolution of disputes involving property in all its forms, ranging from commercial, business, intellectual property and competition disputes to its traditional work relating to companies, partnerships, mortgages, insolvency, land and trusts. The Chancellor of the High Court is also an ex officio judge of the Court of Appeal. As a member of the Privy Council, he is entitled to the prefix ‘The Right Honourable’.

The Chancellor of the High Court is also a member of the Judicial Executive Board which supports the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales (currently Lord John Thomas - ENCJ President 2008-2010) in the exercise of his executive and leadership responsibilities.

Click here for more information on the Judiciary of England and Wales.

 
CEPEJ publishes 2016 report on the functioning of the judicial systems in Europe PDF Print E-mail
With a report and a new interactive database, the CEPEJ-STAT, both of which are available to the public, the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) of the Council of Europe publishes today it findings as regards the main trends observed in 45 European countries in the field of the functioning of judicial systems. The report provides a detailed picture of the performance of the judicial systems, their budgets, the situation as regards judges, prosecutors and lawyers, and the organisation of courts in the 45 participating member States and in one CEPEJ observer State (Israel). The report and the database constitute a reference point for all policy makers and justice professionals, to be used when developing public policies on the organisation of judicial systems. They are complemented by a new comprehensive thematic report devoted to the use of information technologies in courts.
The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) of the Council of Europe published its findings as regards the main trends observed in 45 European countries in the field of the functioning of judicial systems on October 6th. The report provides a detailed picture of the performance of the judicial systems, their budgets, the situation as regards judges, prosecutors and lawyers, and the organisation of courts in the 45 participating member States and in one CEPEJ observer State (Israel). The report and the database constitute a reference point for all policy makers and justice professionals, to be used when developing public policies on the organisation of judicial systems. They are complemented by a new comprehensive thematic report devoted to the use of information technologies in courts.
 
Statement on the position of the Turkish High Council for Judges and Prosecutors in the ENCJ PDF Print E-mail

The ENCJ reiterates its unreserved condemnation of the recent attempted coup in Turkey. The loss of life incurred in this attack on a democratically elected government is inexcusable. Those responsible should be made accountable through an open, fair and impartial judicial process conforming with international standards.

 The ENCJ has expressed its concern, both before and after the attempted coup, that the approach of the High Council for Judges and Prosecutors to the transfer, suspension, removal and prosecution of judges has not been consistent with the principles of judicial independence.  The ENCJ has received persuasive information that these procedures have taken place without respecting the principles referred to above.

 The board of the ENCJ has repeatedly requested the Turkish High Council for Judges and Prosecutors for details of the procedures followed relating to the extraordinary mass dismissal of thousands of judges and prosecutors and to demonstrate that minimum international standards in relation to disciplinary proceedings against judges and prosecutors have been followed. To date no satisfactory response has been received to these vital inquiries.

 As a result of the information that the ENCJ has received and the failure of the Turkish High Council to provide any satisfactory response to it, the board is forced to conclude that the Turkish High Council for Judges and Prosecutors no longer meets the requirements of the ENCJ that it is independent of the executive and legislature so as to ensure the independence of the Turkish Judiciary. The board of the ENCJ has accordingly resolved unanimously to propose to its General Assembly the suspension of the status of Observer to the ENCJ of the HSYK. To this end it has called an extraordinary general meeting which will take place in December 2016.

 Brussels, 28th September 2016

 
Brainstorm session with European Commissioner Jourova PDF Print E-mail

On 19th September 2016 the ENCJ participated in an informal brainstorm session which was organised and hosted by the European Commission. The session aimed to discuss the Quality and Independence of the Justice Systems. Besides the European Commissioner Ms Vera Jourova and the staff of DG Justice, the participants were representatives of the three main Judicial networks: ENCJ, ACA- Europe (Councils of State) and the NPSJCEU (Presidents of the Supreme Courts).

brainstorm

© European Union, 2016

The ENCJ was represented by the President Ms Nuria Diaz Abad, the former President Lord Justice Geoffrey Vos, Mr Damir Kontrec (State Judicial Council of Croatia) and Monique van der Goes. 

The discussion focussed on the need to increase public confidence in a changing society. There was a particular focus on the EU Justice Scoreboard and the need to develop indicators for the Quality of Justice and to evaluate the effectiveness of the safeguards for the Independence of the Judiciary. 

 
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ENCJ News
05/04/2016 > CCJE and the CCPE publish report on the challenges for judicial impartiality and independence in Council of Europe member States
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Report from the CCJE and the CCPE on the main challenges for judicial impartiality and independence in Council of Europe member States The Bureaus of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE [ ... ]


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