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Independence & Accountability of the Judiciary
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ENCJ project on Independence and Accountability

Links to most recent reports

  1. Report on Independence, Accountability and Quality of the Judiciary, performance indicators 2017 (adopted June 2017)
  2. Data ENCJ Survey on the Independence of Judges 2016-2017

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Background information to the project

2013-2014

In 2013 the ENCJ started an ambitious project which aimed to develop indicators for the independence and accountability of the Justice systems of the EU. The second objective was to present an ENCJ vision on the independence and accountability of the judiciary. The report on Independence and Accountability 2013-2014 of the Judiciary was adopted by the General Assembly in Rome and established the methodology for the performance indicators. The report also contained the decision to initiate a survey among judges on their independence.

2014-2015

In 2014 and 2015 (2014-2015 report) the ENCJ continued the project and the indicators were applied by members and observers. The ENCJ also undertook a survey among European judges on the perception of their own independence.

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.

2015-2016

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.

2016-2017

In 2016-2017 the Independence and Accountability (improved in 2015-2016) were applied again. The survey among judges on their independence was also repeated. 11.712 judges from across Europe particpated. The report contains the application of the indicators on independence and accountability and the outcomes of the survey among judges. The results of the survey are also availalbe in a separate document.

The work on Quality continued.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 set of indicators was piloted by three judiciaries, and the outcomes are presented in this report. I

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. 

 

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