The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) was established on 18 September 2002 and is composed of experts from the 47 members states of the Council of Europe, a secretariat and some "observer" countries which may be admitted to its work.
The CEPEJ is tasked with:
- Analysis of the results of the judicial systems;
- Identification of the difficulties encountered;
- Definition of concrete means of improvement by both evaluation of their results and assessment of the way these systems function;
- Providing assistance to member States, at their request;
- Making recommendations to the competent bodies of the Council of Europe regarding the areas where it considers that the creation of a new legal instrument would be desirable.
On 9 October 2014, the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice published its report on European judicial systems regarding the efficiency and quality of justice.
This report is based on 2012 data and shows the main trends in Europe regarding the evolution of the judicial system and the reform processes.
Some of the key findings to emerge from this report are:
- Members states have instigated a great deal of institutional and legislative reform in order to create a more streamlined and efficient justice system;
- All member states provide legal aid for both criminal and civil procedures;
- European states increased their budget and spend on average 60 € per inhabitant, and per year, on the functioning of the judicial system;
- Recourse to alternative measures for the settlement of disputes (ADR - "Alternative Dispute Resolution") continues to develop.
However, there clearly remains room for improvement:
- Judges remain independent of the executive and legislative powers, although functional independence of prosecutors is not a principle shared by all states;
- The “glass ceiling”* remains a reality even if we can see a progressive feminisation of the judiciary system among judges or prosecutors;
- Excessive length of judicial proceedings is the main ground for complaint in member states, and must remain a major concern;
- Only France and Luxembourg provide access to court free of fees.
Click here for the report.