The Assembly was opened by the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Mrs. Maria Pejcinovic Buric. It has highlighted the new dimension of CEPEJ during the crisis, which has made it possible to support Member States in their efforts to maintain the normal functioning of the judiciary, access to justice, security and fundamental rights.
The debates have allowed the exchange of experience on the best practices developed, but also on the difficulties in some countries. The increased use of information technologies and new management techniques and work organization have made it possible to hold court hearings by video conference in most countries and to promote electronic legal transactions, but especially the massive use of the home office for staff, if the technical means have allowed it. Only the best equipped systems were able to function well.
The crisis has uncovered and exacerbated good practice, but also malfunctions. It must lead to the development of a new vision of justice with innovative court management.
The main lessons to be learned from the crisis will be, in particular, to define new ways of dealing with the length of the proceedings and the backlog of justice, for which CEPEJ has already developed numerous instruments, and to find ways to restore a high-quality judiciary that is independent and cares for vulnerable people. Teleworking methods must also be considered in human resources management.
In the accompanying declaration adopted by CEPEJ, it calls on Member States to strengthen and continue innovative practices in order to ensure continuity and efficiency of the civil service of the judiciary, while guaranteeing respect for the rights of litigants and the principle of a fair trial.
The European Union of Rechtspfleger/Greffiers (EUR) was represented by Jean-Jacques KUSTER. It presented a contribution on the situation in some of its Member States and the impact of the crisis on the working methods of the Rechtspfleger/Greffiers and other judicial staff.