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Councils for the judiciary
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The theme of Councils for the Judiciary is obviously of great interest to the ENCJ . The ENCJ Statutes specifically state that one of the objectives of the ENCJ is the cooperation between the members on the analysis of and information on the structures and competencies of members as well as the exchange of experience in relation to how the judiciary is organised and how it functions.  See also the article on Councils for the Judiciary in Europe in the section Judges and Judiciaries.



2010-2011 Project on Councils for the Judiciary
One of the Strategic Objectives of the ENCJ, as set out in the Strategic Plan, is to promote the development of independent Councils for the Judiciary. In 2010/2011 a project team set out to develop the first part of a Handbook on Councils for the Judiciary. The report on Councils for the Judiciary that was drafted by the project team contains a set of recommendations dealing with the composition, presidency and powers of Councils for the Judiciary. It also considers the participation of the Minister of Justice in the Council and the relation between the Council and the other State Powers.  The next step will be to to collect all relevant materials from the ENCJ Members with the aim to develop a handbook on Councils for the Judiciary.
 
Budapest resolution

Self Governance for the Judiciary : Balancing Independence and Accountability”

 The General Assembly of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary, met in Budapest , on 21-23 May 2008. A resolution setting out guidelines for the self governance of the judiciary was adopted.  

 
Funding of the Judiciary

 

Independent and accountable judiciaries are an essential component of high quality, effective and efficient justice systems, and a prerequisite for a well-functioning EU area of justice.  Adequate funding of the judiciary is a key element in ensuring and safeguarding the independence of the judiciary and judges because it determines the conditions in which the courts and judges perform their functions.  Funding of the judiciary is a wide issue including fund allocation, but also local and national management of these resources.  The ENCJ is fully aware of the financial and economic climate and the budgetary constraints within which governments operate.  However, even in times of economic crisis, an appropriate level of funding must be made available to enable the judiciary to manage its functions properly.  Access to justice and the right to fair proceedings are not properly guaranteed if a case cannot be considered within a reasonable time by a court that has appropriate funds and resources in order to perform efficiently. Funding of the judiciary is an important issue for all of society, and particularly the economy, and the implementation of cutbacks should not be done in a manner that undermines the independence of the judiciary, impedes access to justice or which supports ill-intentioned outside interventions.
The ENCJ previously considered the issue of funding of the judiciary in its 2006-2007 Report on Courts Funding and Accountability.  One of the specific aims of this project is to update the 2007 report, particularly in the light of developments including the economic crisis and subsequent austerity measures and the notion of the economic value of a well-functioning justice system.
Independent and accountable judiciaries are an essential component of high quality, effective and efficient justice systems, and a prerequisite for a well-functioning EU area of justice.  Adequate funding of the judiciary is a key element in ensuring and safeguarding the independence of the judiciary and judges because it determines the conditions in which the courts and judges perform their functions. Funding of the judiciary is a wide issue including fund allocation, but also local and national management of these resources.  
The ENCJ is fully aware of the financial and economic climate and the budgetary constraints within which governments operate.  However, even in times of economic crisis, an appropriate level of funding must be made available to enable the judiciary to manage its functions properly.  Access to justice and the right to fair proceedings are not properly guaranteed if a case cannot be considered within a reasonable time by a court that has appropriate funds and resources in order to perform efficiently. Funding of the judiciary is an important issue for all of society, and particularly the economy, and the implementation of cutbacks should not be done in a manner that undermines the independence of the judiciary, impedes access to justice or which supports ill-intentioned outside interventions.
The ENCJ previously considered the issue of funding of the judiciary in its 2006-2007 Report on Courts Funding and Accountability.  One of the specific aims of this project is to update the 2007 report, particularly in the light of developments including the economic crisis and subsequent austerity measures and the notion of the economic value of a well-functioning justice system.

The 2015/2016 report concludes a.o. that:

  • the creation of the budget should be systemically and practically free from inappropriate political interference, so that courts are financed on the basis of objective and transparent criteria;
  • the Council for the Judiciary or equivalent body should be closely involved at all stages in the budgetary process, and courts must be resourced to a level which provides an effective and efficient justice system;
  • budgetary priorities must be defined in collaboration with the relevant judiciary according to transparent criteria, and must not themselves dictate the court procedures to be followed.

Annex I contains an overview of international sources on the topic of the finances of the judiciary

Annex II contains the replies to the questionnaire per country

In 2006-2007 the ENCJ studied the various ways that the judiciary is funded in the EU. The report on Courts Funding and Accountability gives an broad overview of the systems in place in the Member States of the EU. 

 

 
Mission and Vision; managing and assessing the perfomance of Councils

In 2006-2007 the working group, called Mission and Vision III, defined their task as follows:

  • the development of a framework for the performance assessment of a council and/or judicial system;
  •  discussion of the initiatives that members and observers have taken or plan to take with respect to the development of a mission, vision and strategy, and in so doing, how to pay attention to the later performance assessment.

The report, titled : "If you can't recognize failure you can't correct it: managing and assessing the performance of a Council or Judicial System", contains among others the experiences with perfomance management in Finland, Romania and the Netherlands.

 
Mission and Vision; a Strategy for the Council
In 2005/2006 the ENCJ working group continued their work. They focused their work on the importance for Councils for the Judiciary to develop a strategy. The report Mission and Vision II  sets out the aims of a strategy and gives an overview of the best practices in this field in Belgium, Finland, Hungary, Lituania and the Netherlands.  
 
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