The seventh edition of the EU’s Justice Scoreboard, giving an overview of the efficacy of Member States’ justice systems, has been released.
The EU Justice Scoreboard 2019 collates and analyses data on the judicial processes of Member States, with the aim of identifying prevailing issues and providing the information national authorities need to improve the independence and effectiveness of their justice systems. It is one of the tools in the EU’s Rule of Law Toolbox, contributing to the formation of fair and free legislative and judicial policy across the EU.
The primary findings in the 2019 report were mixed, showing positive developments in efficiency of justice systems in Member States and improvements in standards training for judges. National investment in justice remains stable, as does the fundamental quality of justice across EU members. A number of issues were identified, however, which still require further work in many Member States:
- Late ICT adoption – the justice systems of many Member States have yet to fully implement technology-based case management protocols, meaning data collection can be patchy;
- Poverty as an obstacle to justice – several Member States do not automatically provide legal aid for their lower income citizens, while court fees described in the report as “significant” can act as a deterrent to poorer citizens seeking justice; and
- Negative perception of judicial independence – public perception of national judicial independence has decreased since last year in three fifths of Member States, with the majority of respondents citing political interference as the main factor in their answers.
Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: “The 2019 EU Justice Scoreboard comes at a time when challenges to the rule of law are mounting in some places in Europe. I am pleased to see that many countries continue to improve their judiciary. Sadly, some others are reversing the positive trends. There are still too many EU citizens who don’t see their justice systems as independent and who are waiting too long for justice to be served.”