Strengthen the Judiciary's Independence in Europe!

Strengthen the Judiciary's Independence in EuropeConference "Judicial independance in Europe, models of self government and self responsability" 

Frankfurt am Main, 7 - 8th november 2008.

The conference program

Papers :

Following European trends, challenges and choices (Eric Alt) : There is no unique model, but choices need to be made to develop mutual confidence and efficiency. We have to invent new scales of justice, so that a German judge or prosecutor asking his French or Italian counterpart for some investigations can be sure that the work is done fairly and in good time. This depends on a whole system, but the guarantees of independence are an important part of this system.

Autonomy and self governance of the portuguese public prosecuting office (A. Cluny) : the position of guardian of the law is of the responsibility of the Public Prosecutor's Office and with this limit, as is the case for judges, prosecutors are exclusively subject to legal values and as a result prosecutors need to enjoy the same independence that judges enjoy [...] ... a material as well as conceived independence, in turn [...] personal independence: unremovability and permanence which as a rule are guaranteed to prosecutors should be secured - mutatis mutandis - according to the rules which govern judges.

Self-government and Constitutional Law: The Italian Experience (G. Salvi) : Italy presents more than one unique feature, due to its history and relatively recent democracy (determining weak liberal institutions and habits). It is not a model to be shared. At the same time, the experience of Italy, the effort it made to free itself from organized crime and corruption, preserving a high level of guarantee, the importance accorded - also through judiciary - to individual and collective rights, makes it a relevant focus of observation, a sort of laboratory) able to offer other countries good suggestions as to what to adopt and what to reject.

Self-government in courts - vertical (‘hierarchic' model) versus horizontal (‘democratic' model) (J. Bayo Delgado) : ln the Spanish model there are three areas where democratic principles of self-government have inspired the legislator: the Council of the Judiciary (Consejo General del Poder Judicial - CGPJ), Governing Chambers of the Supreme Court, National Court and Superior Courts (Salas de Gobierno) of each region (Comunidad Autónoma, Autonomous Community or 'Land') and the assembly of judges (Juntas de Jueces) and its chairperson, the chief judge (Juez Decano).

Professional assessement (G. Salvi) : The foremost, indispensable bastion in defence of the autonomy and independence of magistrates is sound professional skills

Some perspectives on Councils for the Judiciary (Lord Justice Thomas) : When an analysis of the tasks which must be performed to maintain the independence of the judicial branch of the state is carried out,  the inevitable conclusion is that a Council for the Judiciary is needed. It must fulfil a central role, even though some of the tasks may be carried out by others. There is no real alternative.

Contribution of Vito Monetti : The Councils of the judiciary represent the balance between opposed principles, respect of the principle of independence for the Judiciary as well as of the principle of political legitimacy in the public administration; as for the members elected by the Judiciary, the fact that the electoral body is composed by all the members of the judicial body represents - along with the widest possibility offered to submit a candidature - a further guarantee for the internal independence.

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