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Assessments of judicial capacity

2010 Judicial Decisions Assessments

In 2010 and 2011, the EBRD commenced a qualitative evaluation of judicial decisions 
in commercial law in the CIS, Georgia and Mongolia. The first phase covered Kazakhstan, 
the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia, Tajikistan and Ukraine. 
The second phase covered Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. 
In 2012, a third phase was conducted in South East Europe, covering: 
Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, FYR Macedonia, 
Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. 

Using a purposive sampling methodology to select typical decisions,  the assessment 
studied 7 dimensions of judicial capacity, viewed primarily through the prism of the decisions:  
predictability; quality of the written judgment; legislative impediments; speed; cost; implementation and impartiality. 
Local experts in each target country selected decisions and assessed the dimensions, after 
which all decisions and local evaluation data were passed to an expert panel for analysis.

Report on Phases 1& 2 of the Judicial Decisions Assessment [see annex 1.2, page 18]

Summary of Phase 1 of the Judicial Decisions Assessment (Russian)
(262KB - PDF)

Report on Phase 3 of the Judicial Decisions Assessment, South East Europe (741KB - PDF).


Further reading:

'Court decisions in commercial matters: an EBRD assessment', Law in transition Spring 2011, 
Alan Colman, Counsel, EBRD


Assessment of bailiffs and enforcement agents 

In 2013, the EBRD has commenced a comparative assessment of the effectiveness 
of bailiffs and enforcement agents in the CIS, together with Georgia and Mongolia. 
The assessment will examine the regulation and supervision of enforcement agents; 
their effectiveness in searching for, seizing and selling assets of debtors; 
costs and time frames associated with enforcement procedures; 
and difficulties encountered in respective of enforcement against particular kinds of assets. 
The results will be published on the EBRD website in early 2014.


Judicial capacity assessment tools

A variety of tools have been developed to assist in conducting assessments of judicial 

While an assessment will always be shaped by the objective which it seeks to achieve 
and the uses to which its results will ultimately be put, existing tools provide a useful starting 
point for considering appropriate methodologies. Links to a number of key tools and guides 
are provided below.

ABA Judicial Reform Index

The ABA measures progress in judicial reform with its Judicial Reform Index (JRI), 
an assessment tool which looks at 30 "factors" that are considered to have an impact
on judicial capacity.  

It draws on a wide pool of information to assess underlying factors that contribute to 
problems in the judicial system, with a view to identifying targeted reforms and technical 
assistance programmes.

CEPEJ Checklist for promoting the quality of justice 

The Council of Europe’s European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) 
has published a detailed Checklist for Promoting the Quality of Justice and the Courts.

It highlights "the wide range of constituent factors that contribute to quality of justice, in 
a practical manner, considering the various audiences of the justice system." 
It was conceived of as an "introspection tool", for self-assessment.

CEPEJ Evaluation of European Judicial Systems

CEPEJ publishes Evaluations of European Judicial Systems (Evaluation), which 
contains extensive details and statistics on matters such as budget allocations, access 
to justice, public confidence in the court system, information on the structure and 
management of the courts, ADR, numbers of judges, judicial salaries, clearance rates, 
enforcement proceedings, and appeals.


In 2007, CEPEJ established the Study and Analysis of Judicial Time Use 
Research Network Centre (SATURN Centre). It collects information on judicial time 
management in member states, and promotes policies to ensure respect for the right 
to a fair trial within a reasonable timeframe. 

SATURN has also developed a Time Management Checklist, Best Practices and 
Guidelines for Judicial Time Management, which set common indicators on 
judicial time frames.

World Bank justice sector assessment handbook 

Arising from its experience in assessment work, the World Bank has published a 
Justice Sector Assessment Handbook, intended as a practical guide for those involved 
in justice sector assessments. 

The Handbook contains practical and theoretical advice on a number of key issues 
related to the process of assessing the justice sector, including: establishing a 
pre-assessment process; use of different data collection methodologies; common problems 
which are the focus of justice sector assessments; and preparing reports 
once the assessment is complete.

Opinion surveys relating to judicial capacity

Various studies utilise opinion surveys to gauge various aspects of judicial capacity. 

These include the EBRD Legal Indicator Surveys, the EBRD-World Bank Business 
Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey (BEEPS), the World Bank Doing Business 
, and the EBRD – World Bank Life in transition.

"Court excellence" initiatives

The International Framework for Court Excellence was established in 2009 by a consortium 
of judicial institutions from Australia, the USA and Singapore. It focuses on two key aspects 
of court performance, "management and measurement". 

It is a framework of values, concepts, and tools by which courts worldwide can voluntarily 
assess and improve the quality of justice and court administration they deliver. The document 
provides a model methodology for continuous evaluation and improvement that is specifically 
designed for use by courts.




Last updated 29 August 2013