Inspection Service of the General Council of the Judiciary
C/ Trafalgar, 27-29 – 28010
Phone 91 7006100 (général)
E-mail : Direction du Service d’inspection : firstname.lastname@example.org
Presentation of the Inspection Service:
The General Council of the Judiciary is constitutionally vested with the power to inspect and supervise all courts and tribunals in order to monitor and verify the proper functioning of the Justice Administration.
The Inspection Service is the technical body through which the General Council of the Judiciary exercises these powers, without prejudice to the inspection powers granted to the President of the Supreme Court and the governing bodies of the different High Courts of Justice and the National High Court. It is based in Madrid.
Thus, the Inspection Service is a technical body of the CGPJ that performs verification and control of the operation of the services of the Administration of Justice under the auspices of the CGPJ’s Standing Committee. It is referred to in section 1.8 of article 560 of the Organic Law of the Judiciary. It performs these functions by carrying out actions and inspection visits decreed by the Council, all without prejudice to the competence of the governing bodies of the Courts and in coordination with these (articles 560 and 615 of the Organic Law of the Judiciary).
Organisation of the Inspection Service:
The Head of Service directs the Inspection Service. The Head of Service is appointed by the Plenary of the General Council of the Judiciary for a term of office that coincides with that of the Council making the appointment. He or she has the rank of judge of the Supreme Court.
The Head of Service team consists of an assistant magistrate and a seconded lawyer who, together with the Head of Service, make up the Central Inspection Unit.
The Inspection Service is organised into five inspection units, each composed of one or more delegated inspectors and one or more lawyers. The units are organised by jurisdictional order: the civil, criminal, social, contentious-administrative units, and a mixed unit covering the family, personal capacity, juvenile and prison supervision courts.
The Statistics Section is part of the Inspection Service. Its task is to process, organise and use the statistical bulletins from the judicial bodies.
Functions assigned to the Inspectorate:
1. Collecting and supplying information about the status of courts and tribunals. For this purpose, there are several database applications with information about the judicial bodies and professional knowledge about members of the Judiciary. In addition, the Inspection Service uses the data obtained to prepare information about the situation of each court or group of courts, as well as on the management and performance of their officials.
2. Oversight of the work of courts and tribunals. The control function aims to verify the degree of compliance with pre-established standards for the functioning of the jurisdictional bodies and their actual situation and to detect any deviations.
3. Preventing shortcomings in judicial bodies. It makes proposals for specific action plans based on the knowledge it acquires.
4. Support for improving the management of courts and tribunals. Once it has completed the audit, the Inspectorate analyses the most relevant results concerning the judicial body’s organisation and operation and the causes that explain the current status of each and makes proposals for any improvements it considers necessary.
5. Proposals to the judicial organisation and to public bodies and other legal operators about implementing measures and incorporating guidelines and other features for improvements to the management and quality of the public service of the Administration of Justice.
Inspection Service Activities:
1. On-site inspection visits. The inspection units carry out routine and special visits to judicial bodies. Routine inspections are intended to provide detailed, general information about the status of each inspected body. Special inspections are to obtain information about specific situations when the Standing Committee considers them necessary. A detailed report is drawn up detailing the result of the inspection and proposals for any measures the Service considers necessary. The report is addressed both to the inspected body and the Head of the Inspection Service and other bodies or entities of any kind. In addition, there is a Guide containing criteria for inspections. It was approved by agreement number 46 of the Plenary of the CGPJ on 20th December 2012 to guide and homogenise inspections of courts and tribunals.
2. Online Inspections. In the last decade, Spain has made a significant effort to implement and deploy the electronic court record system. As a result, records that hitherto had to be examined on-site are increasingly examined online rather than on paper.
Online inspections were introduced in 2020. In exercising their assigned functions, the inspectors and lawyers appointed by the Inspection Service can use the new technologies to remotely access electronic copies of judicial files and record books of the courts and tribunals from their computers. This enables them to assess the situation and diagnose the shortcomings of the inspected body, with a scope similar to that of on-site inspections, but without needing to travel to the premises of the inspected judicial bodies.
3. Virtual Inspections. An exhaustive verification of the situation of judicial bodies throughout Spain is carried out every six months. It is based on data from the Statistics Section, on data contained in the rest of the Inspection Service’s computer applications, and information obtained from the judicial bodies, where applicable. The report on this inspection states in which bodies shortcomings have been found and makes the necessary internal and external proposals for improvement.
4. Reports. The Inspection Service prepares a wide range of reports at the request of the Standing Committee, the Disciplinary Action Advocate and the different services and sections of the General Council of the Judiciary. The reports cover matters such as adopting reinforcement measures and their effectiveness, transfer competitions, compatibilities, leaves of absence, job adaptations. It also prepares reports for external bodies and entities when required (such as the Ombudsman, the Ministry of Justice, governing bodies of the National High Court, High Courts of Justice and Provincial Courts).
5. Monitoring of judicial bodies’ operations.
The Inspection Service of the General Council of the Judiciary has been awarded the EFQM European Excellence certification (300-399), awarded by the European Foundation for Quality Management. This was decided by the Directorate General of Public Governance of the Secretary of State for the Civil Service under the Ministry of Finance and Civil Service.
Thus, the Inspection Service has become the first Spanish organisation in the field of justice to be awarded a European excellence certification.