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Mutual Confidence
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ENCJ promotes the interaction between the judiciaries of Europe in order to improve collaboration and to stimulate the exchange of best practices which will reinforce mutual confidence. ENCJ believes that the identification of minimum judicial standards and the relevant indicators in these particular fields provides a tool for self-evaluation for the judicial systems and will further the approximation of the judicial systems in Europe. This will support the development of independent Councils for the Judiciary and contribute to the attainment of a European Judicial Culture.



Standards on Non-judicial Members in Judicial Governance
The ENCJ considered in addition that there is a need for the establishment of Minimum Judicial Standards in relation to the involvement of non-judicial members in Judicial Governance. Project VI was established to consider this issue, coordinated jointly by Italian coordinator – Professor Alessio Zaccaria of the University of Verona, member of the Italian Judicial Council and Polish coordinator – Lukasz Bojarski, member of the Polish Judicial Council (2010-2015), and President of INPRIS (Instytut Prawa i Społeczeństwa/Institute for Law and Society).
The Project Team has approached the task of defining minimum standards in this field on the basis that such standards, fully respecting the principle of subsidiarity and independence, should be limited to those which are considered indispensable for the organization and management of a Judicial Council or other relevant body as defined below.
Taking into account the great variety of possible participants in Judicial Governance and the various systems for appointing and managing non-judicial members in Judicial Governance across Europe, the Project Team sought to investigate the status quo, by forwarding a questionnaire to the representatives of various countries with specific regard to the participation of non-judicial members in a) Judicial Councils, b) judicial appointment procedures and committees, and c) complaint and disciplinary procedures or committees (please see the annex).
In addition the Project Team sought the opinions of members of Judicial Councils regarding the participation of non-judicial members in Judicial Governance by asking some open-ended questions in a separate questionnaire. In analysing the large amount of information thus obtained, we took into account the work already done by the previous five Minimum Judicial Standards Projects and also conclusions reached on the subject internationally, such as those of the Venice Commission .
The draft report was presented to the ENCJ General Assembly which met in Warsaw 1-3 June 2016. The report and the standards and recommendations that it entails were adopted by the General Assembly on June 3rd 2016.

The ENCJ considered that there was a need for the establishment of Minimum Judicial Standards in relation to the involvement of non-judicial members in Judicial Governance. The Project Standards VI was established to consider this issue. The Project Team has approached the task of defining minimum standards in this field on the basis that such standards, fully respecting the principle of subsidiarity and independence, should be limited to those which are considered indispensable for the organization and management of a Judicial Council or other relevant body as defined below. Taking into account the great variety of possible participants in Judicial Governance and the various systems for appointing and managing non-judicial members in Judicial Governance across Europe, the Project Team sought to investigate the participation of non-judicial members in

a) Judicial Councils

 b) judicial appointment procedures and committees, and

c) complaint and disciplinary procedures or committees.

The report and the standards and recommendations that it entails were adopted by the General Assembly on June 3rd 2016. The annex contains the preparatory work through a questionnaire and replies.

 
Standards for disciplinary proceedings and liablilty of judges

The ENCJ established a Project Team on the “Development of Minimum Judicial Standards V”  as a result of the ENJC work plan 2014-2015 approved by the General Assembly held in Rome on 11-13 June 2014. The Project Team was established as a continuation of the work carried out by four former ENCJ Working Groups/Project Teams on “Development of Minimum Judicial Standards” and “Mutual Confidence”. The success of these projects has confirmed that the adoption of minimum standards improves the understanding among judicial authorities and different legal systems. 

2) To provide a tool which can be used by national judicial authorities, Councils for the Judiciary and other State powers when assessing their existing system of disciplinary liability or planning any reforms in relation thereto.

The project aimed to:cover_standards_v

1. Develop a set of minimum standards and relevant indicators in the field of disciplinary liability of judges and disciplinary procedures against members of the Judiciary, in order to assure the efficiency and accountability of courts and judges, as well as public confidence in the judiciary and the judicial system as a whole.

  2. Provide a tool which can be used by national judicial authorities, Councils for the Judiciary and other State powers when assessing their existing system of disciplinary liability or planning any reforms in relation thereto.

The report contains:

  • A Collection of the relevant information on national systems of disciplinary liability of judges;
  • Research, compilation and analysis of existing reports or opinions issued by relevant stakeholders in the field of disciplinary liability of judges;
  • A summary of Minimun Standards in relation to disciplinary proceedings and liability of judges. 

 

 
Standards IV: Allocation of Cases
The success of these projects confirmed that adoption of common / minimum standards improves the understanding among judicial authorities and different legal systems and, therefore, contributes to the reinforcement of mutual confidence and judicial cooperation as well as facilitates the attainment of a common European judicial culture.
However, the work in this area has not been finished yet. Recent developments in Europe revealed the need to have relevant standards in the area of allocation of cases, which is crucial for guaranteeing the independence and impartiality of the judiciary. As the Charter of Fundamental Rights ensures the right to a fair trial and effective legal remedies, everyone has the right to a pre-established and reviewable determination of which judge will hear his or her case. It is, therefore, essential that case allocation processes are well organized and transparent

The success of the previous Standards projects confirmed that adoption of common / minimum standards improves the understanding among judicial authorities and different legal systems and, therefore, contributes to the reinforcement of mutual confidence and judicial cooperation as well as facilitates the attainment of a common European judicial culture.

In 2013/2014 the project developed standards in the area of allocation of cases, which is crucial for guaranteeing the independence and impartiality of the judiciary. cover_encj_standards_4

The report contains 11 standards for the allocation of cases.

1. All cases should be allocated on a basis that is compatible with Article 6 ECHR.    

2. There should be an established method of allocation of cases. The method of allocation should be made available to the public. This method of allocation may be governed by statute, regulation or judicial or administrative practice.

3. The method for the allocation of cases should ensure the fair and time efficient administration of Justice, and the enhancing of public confidence.

4. The following principles and criteria to be applied in the allocating of cases should be taken in to account in all established methods of allocation, including administrative or electronic allocation, and allocation by a senior judge, Presiding Judge or President of a Court.    

5. The principles and criteria to be considered in the methodology for allocating cases should be objective and include:

6. When considering complexity, it may be defined as including some or all of the following factors:

7. The method of allocation should be applied uniformly according to the criteria in paragraph (5); differences in the application of the principles and criteria may be required due to the nature of the jurisdiction, the size of the Court, the level of the Court and the judicial district where the case is heard.

 8. Allocation should be the responsibility of the President, Senior Judge of the Court or a Court Board, but the practical arrangements for the allocation of cases can be delegated to either another judge or a civil servant authorised for the purpose of the allocation of cases.

 9. The motivation/reasoning for any derogation from the established method of allocation should be recorded.

10. The method for the allocation of cases should comply with the principles and criteria set out herein whether the Judge is sitting alone or as part of a panel.  When Judges sit as a panel it is the combined composition of the panel that should comply with the principles and criteria.

 11. The parties to a case are entitled to be informed about the allocation of the case at a time prior to the start of the hearing/consideration of the case that is reasonable taking into account the nature and complexity of the case, and the time by which the party has to exercise any right to challenge the allocation of the case to the specific Judge/Judges. This may be done in writing, electronically, or by the publishing of a Court list or any other means. 

a) Are the parties entitled to be informed about the allocation of the case prior to the start of the hearing/consideration of the case?  

 
Standards for the evaluation and irremovability of judges

In 2012/2013 has been further developing the topic of Minimum Standards. The report on Minimum standards regarding evaluation of professional performance and irremovability of members of the judiciary has identified relevant minimum standards in the field of assessment of professional performance and irremovability of judges and prosecutors. In order to make it possible to self-evaluate those standards at a later stage a set of indicators will be drawn up. The ultimate goal is to thus strengthen mutual confidence among judges and prosecutors from different jurisdictions within the EU and contribute to the evolvement of a European common judicial culture.

Preparatory work: collection of replies to questionnaire

 
Standards for the selection, appointment and promotion of judges

ENCJ report on Minimum Standards 2011-2012

In 2011/2012 the ENCJ continued its work in the area of development of minimum standards for the justice sector.  The report sets minimum standards for the selection, appointment and promotion of judges. The report was officiallly adopted in Dublin at the General Assembly with the adoption of the Dublin declaration.

Preparatory work 2010/2011: collection of replies to questionnaire

In 2012-2013 ENCJ will further its work in the area and focus on the evaluation and irremovability of judges.

 
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