Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)

                           Photo: Nils Engstad (Norway), new President of the CCJE

The Consultative Council of European Judges, which met on 14-16 October in London in the framework of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, elected its new Bureau:
Mr Nils Engstad (Norway), President
Mr Duro Sessa (Croatia), Vice-President
Ms Nina Betetto (Slovenia), member
Mr Jean-Claude Wiwinius (Luxembourg), member.

 

The Council of Europe attaches great importance to the status of judges and the quality of the justice system because of the rule of law and the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms – which are key values for the Organisation – depend for their implementation on a strong and independent judiciary. The CCJE may be requested by member States to look into specific problems concerning the status and/or the situation of judges. It addresses topical issues and, if necessary, visits the countries concerned to discuss the ways of improving the existing situation through developing legislation, institutional framework and/or judicial practice.
In this context, the Council of Europe is concerned both with strengthening the judiciary in its member States, with the aim of ensuring mutual respect between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary, and to give European citizens increased confidence in the justice system.It was in the light of these two objectives that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe set up the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE) in 2000.

The CCJE, consultative body concerning independence, impartiality and competence of judges, highlights the essential role of the judicial power in a democratic society. The CCJE is the first body in an international organisation composed exclusively of judges and constitutes therefore a unique body at the European level.

Information Leaflet about the CCJE

For 2015, the CCJE member appointed Ms Aida-Rodica POPA as Gender Equality rapporteur.

In accordance with the pilot survey of intergovernmental steering and ad hoc committees (document GT-REF.INST(2009)1 final), CCJE opinions have been useful for the purposes of drafting national regulations and legislation, are often used as tools for the functioning and/or administration of justice and for the organisation of the work of the legal professions and are useful for national professionals and in particular for judges and judicial service commissions, in view of the fact that CCJE opinions contain concrete specifications concerning the implementation of general standards (independence of judges, training of judges, ethics, quality of decisions, etc.).

Framework Global Action Plan for Judges in Europe


On 20 November 2009, the Fundation Justice in the World(under the patronage of the International Association of Judges) awarded the CCJE with the Prize “Justice in the World” for the excellent quality of its work and the commitment of its members.

Special file

 Its composition


All member States may be represented. Members should be chosen in contact, where such authorities exist, with the national authorities responsible for ensuring the independence and impartiality of judges and with the national administration responsible for managing the judiciary, from among serving judges having a thorough knowledge of questions relating to the functioning of the judicial system combined with utmost personal integrity.

 

Members of the CCJE
The General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union is also invited to participate in the activities of the CCJE.

 

Composition of the Bureau

Composition of the working groups

The following States, holding observer status with the Council of Europe, may participate in activities of the CCJE: Holy See, USA, Canada, Japan and Mexico.
The following observers to the CCJE may send a representative to attend the CCJE meetings:

the European Association of Judges (AEM),

the association “Magistrats européens pour la démocratie et les libertés” (MEDEL)

the Association of European Administrative Judges,

the European Association of Judges for Mediation (GEMME)

the European Judicial Training Network, and

the European Networks of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ)

the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE)

 Its missions


The right to an independent and impartial court was laid down clearly in Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The work of the CCJE is set in the context of the implementation of this right, with the aim of strengthening the rule of law and the effective protection of human rights in democratic States.

 

terms of reference of the CCJE for 2014 and 2015 :

(i) prepare and adopt, in 2014 and 2015 respectively, at least two opinions for the attention of the Committee of Ministers on issues regarding the status of judges and the exercise of their functions:
(ii) provide targeted cooperation at the request of member States, CCJE members, judicial bodies or relevant associations of judges, to enable States to comply with Council of Europe standards concerning judges;
(iii) prepare texts or opinions concerning the specific situation of judges at the request of the Committee of Ministers or other bodies of the Council of Europe such as the Secretary General or the Parliamentary Assembly;
(iv) encourage partnerships in the judicial field involving courts, judges and judges’ associations.

 

The main task of the CCJE is to contribute to implementation of the Framework Global Action Plan for Judges in Europe adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 7 February 2001 to strengthen the role of judges in member States.

It has an advisory function on general questions relating to independence, impartiality and competence of judges. This leads it to prepare opinions for the attention of the Committee of Ministers. The CCJE may also receive requests for opinions from other Council of Europe bodies.

The CCJE may be called upon to provide practical assistance to help States comply with standards relating to judges.It is required to take measures to encourage partnerships in the judicial field between courts, judges and judges’ associations.

Although the opinions given by the CCJE take account existing national situations, they mainly contain innovative proposals for improving the status of judges and the service provided to members of the public seeking justice.

800th anniversary of the Magna Carta and 16th plenary meeting of the CCJE

In the context of the celebrations of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the judicial authorities of the United Kingdom have invited the CCJE to hold its 16th plenary meeting in London, from 14 to 16 October 2015. During the meeting, the CCJE members adopted the Opinion No. 18 on “The position of the judiciary and its relations with other powers of the state in a modern democracy”. The report on the “Situation of the judiciary and of judges in the Member States of the Council of Europe” has also been updated. Furthermore, the CCJE had a joint meeting with the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE) of the Task force commissioned by the two bodies to draw up a list of the main challenges for the impartiality and the independence of the judicial system in the Member States, in accordance with the mission which has been entrusted to them by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe in his report on the “State of Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Europe”.
Report of the plenary meeting

Opinion n°18 (2015) on the position of the judiciary and its relation with the other powers of state in a modern democracy

CCJE Situation report on the judiciary and judges in the Council of Europe member States
Updated version n° 2 (2015) adopted during the 16th plenary meeting of the CCJE (London, 14-16 October 2015)
with its Annex

Brief report on the external activities of the CCJE – participation in various fora, conferences, seminars, workshops and projects, as well as responses to requests for assistance for the period of November 2014 – October 2015

Signature of the inter-professional Charter of Romanian judges, prosecutors and counsels

Further to the Conference held on 23 September 2015 in Bucharest on the dialog between judges, lawyers and prosecutors with regards to the Opinions No. 12 and 16 of the CCJE, the President of the Higher Council of Magistrates, Mr Marius Tudose; the President of the National Union of Romanian Bar Associations, Mr Gheorghe Florea and the representative for Romania at the CCJE and Judge of Penal Section of the Supreme Court of Romania, Ms Rodica Aida Popa, signed the inter-professional Charter of Romanian judges, prosecutors and counsels.
Inter-professional Charter of Romanian judges, prosecutors and counsels

Interview – Nina Betteto, Judge, Vice-President of the Supreme Court of Slovenia, CCJE Bureau member

More information

Publication of an overview of the CCJE Opinions

The main objective of the CCJE Opinions is to provide a framework, developed by judges themselves, of the expected characteristics of a judicial system in order to meet the requirements of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (the Convention), both in terms of the status of judges and the functioning of courts. Mr Alain Lacabarats, President of the Chamber of the Cassation Court of France, current member of the CCJE in respect of France and former President of the CCJE, has prepared an overview of the CCJE Opinions.
Overview of the CCJE Opinions

Publication of a book on Opinion N. 16 of the CCJE on the relations between judges and lawyers in Romanian

Dr Rodica Aida Popa, CCJE member for Romania, hast just published a book containing the contributions of judges and lawyers relative to Opinion No. 16 of the CCJE on the relations between judges and lawyers This book will be presented on the occasion of the Conference on the dialog between judges, lawyers and prosecutors which will take place in Bucharest (Romania) on 23 September 2015.
More information about this publication

 

The Bureau of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE) makes public its position on the suspension and arrest of judges in Turkey

Link to the document

Opinions of the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors of Turkey

Justice reform in Albania: reviewing the evaluation of the professional performance of judges

The Council of Ministers of Albania has reviewed and approved the draft law “On the system of evaluation of judges’ performance in the Republic of Albania” prepared by the Minister of Justice with the support of the Joint Programme entitled “Increase the efficiency of the Albanian justice system, in line with European standards” (SEJ), financed by the European Union and implemented by the Council of Europe. This draft law will now be discussed in Parliament during the meeting of the Commission on Justice Reform. It aims inter alia to review the process of the evaluation of the professional performance of judges and reflects recommendations in line with CCJE Opinion No. 17 on the evaluation of judges’ work, the quality of justice and respect for judicial independence. The report, drawn up by Dr Anne Sanders (Germany), and entitled: “An analysis of the current system in Albania in the light of international standards and evaluation systems in other Council of Europe member States”, is now available.
An analysis of the current system in Albania in the light of international standards and evaluation systems in other Council of Europe member States, by Dr Anne Sanders [in English / in Albanian]

Source: Council of Europe

By

Robert Williams

Editor in Chief

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