The EU Justice Scoreboard gives a comparative overview of the efficiency, quality and independence of justice systems in EU Member States and helps national authorities to improve the effectiveness of their judicial systems. Effective justice systems are essential to build trust in the single market and create a business and investment-friendly environment. The 2017 Scoreboard presents data on the safeguards in place in the different Member States to guarantee the judicial independence of judges. This reflects the strong importance of rule of law for the EU.
The 2017 edition also looks for the first time at how easily consumers can access justice and which channels they use to submit complaints against companies. It also shows the length of criminal court proceedings relating to money laundering offences.
Key findings of the 2017 edition include:
Shorter civil and commercial court proceedings since the first report five years ago, including in a number of Member States whose justice systems are facing challenges;
Mixed results on consumer protection enforcement, with the length of administrative proceedings and judicial review varying by country. Many consumer issues are solved directly by consumer authorities and they don't need to go to courts;
Varied lengths of cases against money laundering, from less than half a year to almost three years for proceedings dealing with anti-money laundering offenses;
Limited access to justice for poorer citizens, with some Member States providing no legal aid in some types of disputes for citizens whose income is below the poverty threshold;
Limited use of ICT tools in some countries, in particular the use of electronic signatures is very limited in over half of EU countries, while new data underlines the importance of electronic communication for well-functioning justice systems;
Improved or stable perception of judicial independence among the general public and business, in more than two-thirds of Member States, compared to 2016; where there is a perceived lack of independence, interference or pressure from government and politicians is the most stated reason.
Quality standards to avoid lengthy proceedings absent in some Member States, although most Member States do have standards fixing time limits or timeframes in place.
The findings of the 2017 Scoreboard are taken into account for the country-specific assessments carried out within the 2017 European Semester process. The country reports for Member States were published on 22 February 2017 and include findings on the justice systems of a number Member States (Belgium, Bulgaria, Spain, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia).
Source: EU Commission News