Representatives of inspection services from fourteen European countries 1 met in Paris on 16 and 17 March 2017 at the initiative of France, in presence of representatives of the European Union and the European Commission for the efficiency of Justice of the Council of Europe (CEPEJ).
The objective was to analyse how the national judicial inspection services could contribute more actively to the uniform development of the European judicial area, since the Treaty of Amsterdam, by the Treaty of Rome of which we are celebrating the sixtieth anniversary this year.
On the basis of the diversity of the national inspection authorities – justice councils, Ministry of Justice or judiciary power – the participants analysed the evaluation methods developed by the national inspection services and the evolutions on the purpose of the checks carried out.
While institutional and functional differences remain, they do not affect the substantive convergence that brings together the different inspection systems, including the necessary independence in the performance of their duties. The discussions also opened up prospects for cooperation and joint training at European level.
In the light of this observation, the participants discussed with the representatives of the European Commission and the CEPEJ the role that national inspection services could play in assessing the effectiveness and quality of justice at European level.
At the end of the proceedings, a consensus was reached on the guarantees of professionalism of the national inspection services conducive to the creation of a network of European judicial inspectors likely to participate in the evaluation of public Justice at the level of Europe.
Several lines of work have been put forward, such as the development of a shared methodology through the training of inspectors specializing in European law, the construction of a « common reading grid» for the functioning of courts in order to analyse in particular the flow of mutual judicial cooperation which sometimes fails, or the creation of « joint inspection teams » mandated by the States or the European Union.
The development of joint training and exchanges programs of judicial inspectors between countries has also been proposed as well as the creation of an electronic exchange platform. Finally, the various possibilities for financing these work tracks from European funds were also presented.
At the end of these exchanges, the participants agreed on the following declaration :
The representatives of the fourteen participating countries, eager to develop methods and tools for enhanced collaboration, agreed to make every effort to establish a European network of national inspection services. All the inspection services of EU Member States or candidates to the Union whether or not they were present at the conference on 16 and 17 March are invited to join this initiative.
A monitoring committee, consisting of the inspection services of the following countries : France, Belgium, Spain, Romania, Italy, the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Portugal and Poland, subject to the agreement of their authority, is responsible for defining the appropriate legal personality and to promote the following actions as from 2017 :
– submit a proposal for the creation and implementation of a secure electronic platform for exchanging information and hosting the digital resources available in interested countries and inspection services. To this end, a request for funding to the European Commission will be prepared and presented by one or more members of the Monitoring Committee,
– draw up a draft common charter of ethics,
– encouraging training and cross-cooperation actions between national inspection services, particularly through exchanges of inspectors.
The present inspection services agree, on the basis of their capacities, to converge their own efforts to multilateral efforts in order to contribute to assessing the effectiveness and quality of justice at European level and in particular of European instruments of mutual judicial assistance in civil and criminal matters.
The present inspection services encourage any steps that may be taken with international donors, such as the European Union, to ensure the financing of the proposed actions.
The present inspection services agree to meet annually to review, in particular, the implementation of this declaration and the progress of the respective work sites. The Italian, Spanish and Romanian inspection services have volunteered to consider hosting the next conference.
Paris, 17 March 2017
- Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Lithuania, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, United-Kingdom. ↩