CEPEJ: Action Plan on the Digitalisation of Justice
On 8-9 December 2021, the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) adopted an Action Plan on digitalisation for a better justice. The four-year plan aims to reconcile the efficiency of new technologies and respect for fundamental rights (in particular Art. 6 ECHR), in order to guide states and courts in a successful transition to the digitalisation of justice. The CEPEJ adopted the following orientation:
- Efficiency of justice: supporting digitalisation of the administration and management of courts/prosecution services, in particular by ensuring that the tools chosen by States and courts are the most appropriate and compatible with quality, efficient, accessible, and impartial justice;
- Transparency of justice: promoting digitalisation to improve knowledge on justice in general and on the duration of proceedings in particular. Users should be better informed about the procedures, the judicial authorities and the respective tasks of each member of the judiciary. Each court should have dashboards that allow the monitoring and management of its case flow; as a result, possible backlogs can be identified and limited, reasonable deadlines met and workload of justice professionals better managed;
- Collaborative justice: establishing user-friendly, compatible, and efficient digital communication tools for interconnectivity between participants in judicial proceedings;
- - Human justice: adequately supporting the judges, prosecutors, their teams, and all other justice professionals by adapting their essential tasks to the digital environment. Digitalisation should make justice more efficient, but not replace the judge, who must remain at the centre of the proceedings;
- People-centred justice: supporting justice professionals and users through training so that they can make full use of digital tools. Training legal professionals, including lawyers, in the process of digital transformation contributes to both the efficiency of justice and its independence. Users who wish to do so should be supported, in particular through training, but proficiency in these digital tools should not become a condition for access to justice;
- Informed justice: increasing the use of the results of the CEPEJ evaluation of justice systems and other instruments. The CEPEJ should provide more analysed information and respond to other requests for specific analyses whenever possible.
- Responsible and reactive CEPEJ: ensuring the visibility of CEPEJ’s tools so that they are accessible to all and reflecting the expertise of those who developed them. The CEPEJ is at the service of professionals and users of the justice system and has the task of using all the expertise at its disposal to respond quickly, concretely and efficiently to their requests.