- Monitoring and evaluation of the rule of law and justice in the EU: status quo and the way ahead?
- Number of pages
- The Hague: HiiL
- Document type
- Faculty of Law (FdR)
- Paul Scholten Centre for Jurisprudence (PSC)
This Concept Paper presents a framework for monitoring and evaluation of the rule of law and justice in the European Union. The development of the framework has been based on a number of principles - objectivity and neutrality, validity and reliability, actionability. It also firmly follows the commitment of the Stockholm programme towards the needs and interests of the citizens of the EU.
An analysis of the legal and political framework confirms that respect for the rule of law and justice are fundamental and constant principles for the EU. These values affect all policies and actions of the Union. At the same time, however, rule of law and justice have never been formulated in a manner which facilitates robust monitoring and evaluation. Moreover, the lack of conceptual clarity has been exacerbated by the introduction of related values and principles into the legal and political framework - freedom, equality, respect for fundamental rights, efficient justice systems, and access to justice. Not surprisingly there is a significant fragmentation in the existing attempts to monitor and evaluate rule of law and justice in the EU.
Innovative approaches are needed to bridge the gaps and bring the Union closer to the ideal of "respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities". In the Concept Paper we argue that an Index of justice should be based on two overarching concepts - rule of law and justice.
Rule of law has been defined as a multidimensional concept consisting of eight facets - 1) accountability to the law; 2) access to information; 3) independent judiciary; 4) effective judicial system; 5) respect for fundamental rights; 6) effective implementation of laws; 7) access to justice and 8) absence of corruption. Numerous data sets have been studied to identify indicators that inform the rule of law dimensions.
This thin conception of the rule of law places considerable emphasis on the institutional framework. The concept of justice should provide balance and focus on justice as experienced by the citizens of the Union. Justice has been understood as the amount of fairness that people experience and perceive when they take steps to solve disputes and grievances. This particular perspective on justice has been named Bottom-up justice. On each path to justice, people assess and derive fairness from three particular dimensions: the costs of justice, the quality of the procedure and the quality of the outcome. In this Concept Paper we argue that Bottom-up justice can be monitored and evaluated through asking the EU citizens about their experiences with justice.
Further, the Concept Paper uses the concepts of rule of law and Bottom-up justice to construct a prototype of an EU Index of justice. Various aspects of the use and implications of the Index are demonstrated. At the end, the Concept Paper initiates a discussion about the stakeholders in the process of monitoring and evaluation of the rule of law and justice in the EU.
- Concept paper. - June 2012
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