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Quality Development in the Field of Justice

Patrick Staes and Nick Thijs
ISBN 13 978-90-6779-211-0 EIPA Code #: 2008/06 Year: 2008 Pages: 148

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The public sector has to cope with a lot of challenges and respond to the many new needs and demands of modern society. Consequently the public sector is frequently the object of major reforms. These reforms and modernisation initiatives are characterised by a multiple focus on "citizen and user orientation", "efficiency and effectiveness", "transparency", "quality care", "benchmarking", "result orientation" and "accountability". As with all sectors of the public service, the judiciary and judicial authorities face the challenges and pressures and are subject to wide-ranging reforms.
The key question in this respect is: How can the basic requirements of a legal system, such as equal justice for all and the independence and autonomy of the courts in administering justice be combined with effectiveness, efficiency and quality? Questions raised in this publication include: Can quality models such as the Common Assessment framework (CAF) be used in this context, or does the specific nature of justice demand an alternative approach? How do organizations in the field of justice deal with their "citizen/customers"? How do they deal with efficiency and effectiveness and what are the initiatives they take to improve quality?
As a study of the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) and its application in the judicial sector, this publication is divided into two parts:

  • The first part provides a comprehensive introduction to quality management in general; touching upon its evolution, the different models used, and a more specific explanation of CAF and how it is used in the public sector. As well as the history and context of the model, the practical side is looked at in detail - from implementation to results, improvement actions and performance measurement.
  • The second part puts flesh on the theoretical bones of the first: Judicial institutions from different European countries introduce Good Practices for improving quality in the field of justice. Among them are the Courts of Denmark, the Court of Appeal in Western Sweden, the Bolzano Public Prosecutor's Office in Italy, the work done by the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) of the Council of Europe, and the Belgian, Finnish and Dutch approaches to the judiciary.

This publication is an attempt to contribute to the debate on quality management in the field in justice, based upon experiences in the public sector field by the editors, and by gathering interesting cases from all over Europe, in the hope it will provide inspiration.