- The project started in 2013
- It aims to move beyond debating independence and accountability at a theoretical level to the development of a practical method to analyse the current state of affairs
- By developing and evaluating indicators for the independence and accountability of judicial systems, Judiciaries, and Councils for the Judiciary within the European Union with a view to their improvement
- The project identified all relevant documentation in this field. The ENCJ vision and indicators are based on the analysis of all European and International standards for the independence and accountability of the Judiciary.
Links to most recent reports
- Report on independence, Accountability and Quality of the Judiciary, 2018-2019. The report includes the results of the survey among Judges and the advancement of the Quality indicators.
- Data ENCJ Survey on the Independence of Lay Judges 2017-2018
For a full explanation of the methodology, click here
There are 5 phases to the Independence and Accountability cycle. The cycle takes 3 years. As the cycle ends a new cycle starts.
Year 1: Measure Indicators and Analyse&Discuss (=Dialogue)
Year 2: Plan to Improve
Year 3: Implement and Survey and Monitor
Elements of the project - For the separate elements click the buttons below
History of the project
Report 2014-2015: Performance Indicators 2015
Report 2015-2016: Improving the Performance Indicators
Report 2016-2017,: Performance Indicators 2017
Report 2017-2018: Validation of methodology, exploring quality of justice and promoting judicial change
Report 2018-2019: Indicators and Surveys: Leading a process of positive change
Quality of the Judiciary
In 2015 the project was continued with a particular focus on the evaluation of the elements that make up the Quality of Justice and the Quality of Judicial Decisions, as the first step towards developing indicators of the Quality of Justice. Furthermore the indicators, scoring rules and survey were improved to enable re-application in 2016/2017. Finally a series of four dialogue groups were organised each consisting of 4 members/observers. The meetings aimed to hold in-depth discussions about the challenges to the indepenence and accountability of the judiciaries in the participating countries.
Starting from a broad perspective on quality of justice, four areas of quality were selected for elaboration in this first phase. These areas are linked with the following essential tasks of the Judiciary:
- Providing public access to the law to guide society
- Guaranteeing due process from the perspective of accessibility
- Adjudicating cases in a timely and effective manner
- Delivering judicial decisions
For these four areas, a concise framework and a set of performance indicators have been developed.
The indicators focus on what might be described as ‘output quality’, rather than on ‘quality systems’ (with the exception of the assessment of the quality of decisions). A distinction is made between the description of objective characteristics and the subjective assessment of performance. Quality is in part determined directly by the arrangements stipulated by law. In addition, some aspects of quality such as the duration of cases are objectively measurable. However, there are also many aspects that can only be assessed subjectively. Subjective assessments can be given by the Judiciary itself (councils/courts/judges) and by court users (parties/lawyers/observers). At this stage, very little is known about the views of court users. Subjective assessment is therefore necessarily limited to the views from within. The set of indicators was piloted by three judiciaries, and the outcomes are presented in the report.
The questionnaire was developed and tested over the next two years. The 2018-2019 report contains the improved quality questionnaire and results of the pilot project.
Independence and Accountability of the prosecution
A sub-group comprising the representatives of five of those members of the ENCJ, which have a Council for both judges and prosecutors (Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Romania, and Italy), together with some interested observers developed indicators for the independence and accountability of the prosecution and implemented them in 2015/2016. The views and recommendations contained in this report are, therefore, the views and rec-ommendation of these 5 Councils and not of the entire ENCJ. The work of the sub-group was to consider which of the indicators determined by the ENCJ to be applicable to the independence and accountability of judges were also applicable to the independence and accountability of prosecutors.
Related documents and research:
- Special issue of International Journal for Court Administration on measuring Independence and Accountability, December 2018
- Article on ENCJ project on Independence and Accountability by van Dijk and Vos, 2018, appendix to the article
- Councils of the Judiciary and Judges’ Perceptions of Respect to their Independence in Europe, Pablo José Castillo Ortiz, 2017
- Working paper Independence of Judges: Judicial Perceptions and Formal Safeguards, Netherlands Council of the Judiciary - January 2016
- Presentation by Netherlands Council for the Judiciary on the analysis of the outcomes of the survey and indicators