Councils for the Judiciary in EU Countries
Wim Voermans and Pim Albers, COUNCILS FOR THE JUDICIARY IN EU COUNTRIES, Council of Europe, European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ), Strasbourg 2003
132 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2008 Last revised: 10 Nov 2009
Date Written: September 20, 2008
This 2003 report reflects an explorative, comparative study started in the Netherlands in 1998, into the phenomenon of Councils for the Judiciary in Europe. Councils like these are abundant and come in different sorts and sizes. Notwithstanding all of their differences, Councils for the Judiciary (the umbrella term the report uses to refer to them) in the EU do share a lot of common features. Generally they function as independent intermediates between the government and the judiciary in order to ensure and guarantee the independence of the judiciary in some way or in some respect.
For purposes of classification a Council for the Judiciary is defined as an institution which: a. is a self-governing judicial organization, b. functions independently from the government and parliament, c. acts as an intermediate institution (a 'buffer') between the legislative-executive branch of government and the judiciary, and d. does not administer justice as such, but typically performs 'meta-judicial' tasks such as disciplinary action, career decisions by judges, the recruitment and professional training of judges, coordination between courts, general policies, courts' service-related activities (budget, housing, automation, finances and accounting, etc.) , etc. as regards judges and courts.
On the basis of an empirical study different Councils for the Judiciary in Europe are compared (France, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Croatia. A comparison of features and constitutional position of the Councils involved in the study learns that there are basically two model-types of Councils in Europe: the so-called Northern styled ones (with foremost budget, managerial, policy and logistic responsibilities) and Southern styled ones (with responsibilities for discipline and career decisions as regards judges. The report - published by the ECEJ of the Council of Europe -observes a trend in Europe to establish Councils for the Judiciary in Europe in order to boost the independent functioning of the judiciary vis-a-vis government and parliament.
Keywords: Council for the Judiciary, Domstolsverket, Consiglio Superiore della Magistrature, Raad voor de Rechtspraak, Courts Service, Domstolsstyrelsen, State Judicial Council, Northern model, Southern model
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K40, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation