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2010 Judicial Decisions assessment
In 2010, the EBRD commenced a qualitative evaluation of judicial decisions in commercial law
in the CIS and Mongolia. 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.
'Court decisions in commercial matters: an EBRD assessment', Law in transition Spring 2011,
Alan Colman, Counsel, EBRD
International arbitration law assessment
Arbitration is commonly regarded as a preferred dispute resolution mechanism in international
contracts. The purpose of the EBRD International Commercial Arbitration Assessment was to
evaluate and compare the legal regimes of some of the Bank’s countries of operations with best
international standards and practices.
Because poorly drafted laws may undermine the advantages of arbitrating disputes, it is
important to examine national laws and establish whether they comply with the best international
standards and practices.
For the purposes of the Assessment, the relevant national legislation was compared with the
UNICITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration.
The Assessment intended to establish whether the national legislation is based on the Model Law
provisions and to reflect the degree of conformity of the local international commercial arbitration
regime with the standards promulgated by the Model Law.
The assessment examined international commercial arbitration regime in 13 of the EBRD’s
countries of operations: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic,
Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Mongolia.
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
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.
CEPEJ SATURN Centre
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
report, 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 12 July 2011