6.3 – Managerial culture of Court administration and Performance standards of non-judicial personnel

6.3.1 Performance standards  

The President of the Court represents the court and judges, ensures the effective functioning of the court, and consequently the increase of services to society, as well as exercises judicial activities as a judge.[1]

The administrative bodies and administrative management of the court have several levels: 1. – the President of the Court and the Vice-President[2]; 2. – The Council of the Court established and functioning in each court[3]; 3. – Chancellor of the Court; – 4. General Meeting of the Court[4].

The President of the Supreme Court is elected by the general assembly of the court for a period of three years without the right of re-election[5]. The mandate of the President of the Courts is three years, with the right of reelection only once[6]. The assessment of the activity of the president of a court is carried out based on these criteria: a) managerial and organizational skills; b) communication skills[7].

The president of each court is elected by the HJC and has the responsibility for the overall judicial management and exercises the following duties regarding the standards of interaction, cooperation and coordination with non-judicial staff:

  • take care of the organization and functioning of judicial administration in court regarding non-judicial activities through the Chancellor;
  • summon, prepare and chair the general assembly s of judges and the Court Council;
  • provide guidance and supervision to the Chancellor;
  • verify complaints, investigate disciplinary violations and propose the initiation of disciplinary proceedings on the Chancellor;
  • carry out actions and make decisions related to the status of civil servants in the judiciary;
  • Ensure the implementation of decisions of the High Judicial Council, in particular with regard to measures aimed at increasing the efficiency and quality of judicial services;
  • Ensure access to and method of using the case management system in accordance with the overall national policy in the field of information technology and security and the rules adopted by the High Judicial Council.[8]

The vice president of each court is elected by the general assembly of judges for a three-year term without the right of reelection[9]. In the absence of the president, he/she exercises the president’s powers.[10]

The Court Council consists of three members: a) the court president, who acts as chairman of the Court Council; b) the vice president of the court; c) the court chancellor. The council has the following authority: a) Approve job descriptions for all categories of civil servants and court employees, according to the model approved by the High Judicial Council, and in special cases adapts them to the court needs and job criteria; b) make decisions regarding the status of civil servants as provided for in this Law; c) approve the structure and organization of the court administration, according to the model approved by the High Judicial Council, and in special cases it adapts it to the needs of the court and the abilities of the persons in office; ç) approve the structure of the court and assign judges to sections and trial panels after receiving the opinion of the general assembly of judges, following the general rules adopted by the High Judicial Council; d) review complaints relating to court infrastructure matters, ancillary services in court, and other matters not related to the exercise of judicial administration duties and report to the High Judicial Council on complaints and measures taken in accordance with the rules adopted by the High Judicial Council; f) evaluate and examine the draft budget prepared by the finance officer 15 days before submission to the High Judicial Council; e) Provide information, opinions or reports requested by state institutions in compliance with the law; h) cooperate with the School of Magistrates and the High Judicial Council on issues related to the initial and continuous training of judges and civil servants; f) Organize regular meetings with court users to increase the efficiency and quality of justice; g) approve special rules of the court on matters of court safety and security[11].

The Chancellor is appointed by the HJC[12] and is the body responsible for managing the judicial administration, with a series of important authorities[13].

Judicial administration accomplishes its mission through the following services: a) judicial services which directly support judicial activities, including documentation and activities carried out by counselors and legal assistants, the chief secretary and judicial secretaries; b) administrative services, including finance and budgeting, foreign relations and public relations, information technology, judicial archives, security and human resources; c) support services which in particular ensure the provision of notification services; assisting the trial panel and chair of the hearing, as well as any other activity related to the proper order and conduct during the court session, the transportation services, the maintenance of the court premises[14].

The activity of the civil judicial service is based on the principles of equal opportunities, non-discrimination, transparency, professionalism, integrity, accountability and is oriented towards efficient services which are accessible to all[15].

 

6.3.2 Indicators of achievement

Courts’ processes and operations[16] must allow judicial procedures to go ahead, while respecting legal deadlines. The case distribution and management/delegating responsibilities should allow for standards of performance, efficiency and effectiveness.

Indicators of achievement: Existence and Election of Vice Presidents in Courts; the existence and creation of Courts Councils; – Implementation of the General Court Assemblies, in accordance with legal provisions; – the existence of chancellors and non-judicial staff in accordance with legal provisions related to their number and authority.

The High Judicial Council prepares and publishes within June of each year the annual report on the judicial caseload and court workload for the previous calendar year, including recommendations for improving the efficiency of the courts or reducing the workload of judges and court staff[17].

The following questions should be answered:

  • Is the impact that legislative changes have on the courts’ workload evaluated in order to change human resources and other court capacities to adapt to these changes?
  • What is the individual role of each judge in case management?
  • Do judges communicate and exchange their best practices and experiences in case management?
  • Are there trainings to this purpose?
  • Are there measurable and monitorable performance indicators?
  • Is the distribution of cases based on objective criteria, known and made public in advance[18]?
  • Is there an electronic case management system accessible by all courts?
  • What is the caseload for each judge in relation to the court caseload?
  • What is the caseload in relation to the total number of court employees whose job is to directly support judges in giving justice?
  • How is the managerial model implemented by performing the duties at the court level, compared to the centralized implementation by the HJC[19]?

 

6.3.3 Measurement method

Management culture standards can be measured by analyzing the assigned legal/administrative tasks for each administrative body in quality and management role: The President of the Court, the Vice President, the Council of the Court, the General Assembly of the Court

For the court president, according to law, the criteria of managerial and organizational skills are measured based on indicators related to: a) Appropriate organization of the court into chambers or sections; b) Nomination to adjudication panels; c) Scheduling judges for urgent cases; ç) Assignment of cases by lots; d) Replacement in due time of judges being inhibited during the proceedings; dh) Convening thematic meetings; e) Efficient scheduling and utilization of the public funds according to the court needs; ë) Supervision to the effect of improving the information in the official website of the court; f) Supervision to set up suitable environments in the court to the needs of the parties and the public, including the indicative signs in the court; g) Organisation of trainings for judges and for court employees[20].

By means of communication skills criterion, the capacities of the Court President for clear, timely and transparent communication are evaluated. This criterion shall be measured against indicators related to: a) Effective and timely cooperation with the Council, High Justice Inspector, Ministry of Justice, High State Control or any other oversight or auditing institution; b) Communication with the public and third parties, by strictly setting out the timetable for the reception of citizens, documentation of meetings or replies in writing to various institutions[21].

Performance standards of non-judicial personnel can be made measurable through some indicators, such as questionnaires and self-assessment surveys within the court’s non-judicial staff. It is related to organizational behavior and internal structural elements and SATURN standards can be used as guidance for measuring the level of internal management[22]. The management culture of the court president is measured through legal indicators and the evaluation of managerial work as a court president[23].

 

 

 

 

[1] Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE), Opinion n° 19 (2016), “The role of court presidents”, item II/6.

[2] Law no. 98/2016, Article 28.

[3] Ibid, Article 27, 38,  and Article 23/4: After receiving the opinion of the General Meeting of Judges, the Council of the Court may establish one or more sections in the court. After having appointed the judges in the branches, if any, the court council establishes the panels of judges and then assigns the judges to the sections and the panels.

[4] Article 39 and 40 of Law no. 98/2016.

[5] Article 51 of Law no. 96/2016.

[6] Ibid, Article 52.

[7] Article 79 of Law no. 96/2016.

[8] Article 37 of Law no. 98/2016.

[9] Ibid, Article 26/2.

[10] Ibid, Article 26/2.

[11] Article 39

[12] Ibid Article 59: The competent body for appointing the chancellor, counselor and legal assistants is the High Judicial Council.

[13] Ibid, authorities Article 39: The Chancellor is responsible for: a) functioning of the court case management system, in accordance with the applicable legislation on technology and information security, and overseeing accurate data collection and processing, b) submitting periodic reports on the state of use and functioning of the Case Management System to the High Judicial Council; c) Reporting without delay to the High Judicial Council on the needs and necessary updates of the functioning of the Case Management System; d) Provide guidance and oversight of the work of civil court judges; d) Provide access to statistical data to the High Judicial Council and the Ministry of Justice to the extent needed by these institutions in the exercise of their competencies as provided by law; ) performs any task as defined by law or as authorized by the Court President.

[14] ibid, Article 41

[15] Article 8 of Law no. 98/2016

[16] Checklist for promoting the quality of Justice and the Courts/CEPEJ (2008)2

[17] Article 22/2 of Law no. 98/2016

[18] Paragraph 21 of Opinion no. 19 (2006), CCJE,  “On the role of Court Presidents”

[19] Checklist for promoting the quality of Justice and the Courts/CEPEJ (2008)2,  C/24

[20]Article 80 of Law no. 96/2016

[21] Article 81

[22] CEPEJ-SATURN(2015)2

[23] Article 52 of Law no. 98/2016, On evaluation criteria for court presidents.