Justice Scoreboard reveals an assessment of the efficiency, quality, and independence of EU justice systems

Date

2021 08 12

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The European Commission has published the 2021 Justice Scoreboard, which reveals an assessment of the efficiency, quality, and independence of EU justice systems. Lithuania is named as one of the top EU countries in terms of the speed of civil, commercial, or consumer dispute resolutions, the availability of information on the protection of human rights, and the digitization of court proceedings. Public confidence in the judiciary, relatively low funding of the judiciary, and guarantees for lawyers remain as challenges for our country. 

The results of the Justice Scoreboard show that progress in EU countries in 2021 has been facilitated by the wider use of digital solutions introduced during the pandemic, such as videoconferencing systems in the courts, etc. However, the assessment of judicial independence is extremely low, declining in almost half of the EU Member States compared to 2020. This year also saw the start of an analysis of a new factor - the appointment of Supreme Court judges. 

Evaluation of the Lithuanian justice system in 2021 remains good, efficiency and quality aspects in the field of justice are often named the best among the EU countries. 

„We can be glad that the Lithuanian legal system is named as advanced and efficient in the Justice Scoreboard published by the European Commission. The digitization of processes and the implementation of innovative solutions, especially relevant in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, have been positively assessed and remain to be priority measures of our country to ensure the efficiency of legal processes, and will contribute to reduction of time and costs in the future. Our country is also commended for the effectiveness of civil, commercial, or consumer dispute resolutions, and the availability of information in the field of human rights“, – emphasizes Evelina Dobrovolska, the Minister of Justice. 

According to E. Dobrovolska, the insights presented in the Justice Scoreboard will allow Lithuania to better assess the country's challenges in the field of justice in the context of other EU countries, such as trust in the judiciary, funding of the judiciary, and will also help find timely solutions for effective change. 

The document published by the EC, assessing the efficiency of the Lithuanian legal system, revealed that the workload of courts has slightly decreased, but the number of new cases remains high. Our country is very well rated in terms of the duration of civil, commercial, and administrative disputes in 

the first instance, although in cassation (in the case of administrative disputes - on appeal) the length of the proceedings is quite long. The efficiency and speed of consumer dispute resolution was positively assessed - we are in the 5th place among other EU countries. 

Assessing the quality of our country's legal system, there was a positive response to the availability of legal aid for low-income people, and Lithuania ranks 6th among other EU countries in this area. Our country is commended for the promotion and use of out-of-court dispute resolution, as well as for the application of child-friendly justice measures. 

Lithuania's challenges include indicators of court funding in terms of population (Lithuania ranks penultimate in the EU) and a relatively small number of lawyers (23rd position in the EU). 

However, compared to other countries, our country has one of the largest increases in the salaries of court staff. Indicators for providing information on the judicial system to the public (2nd position in the EU), court proceedings rules adaptation to digital solutions (4th position in the EU), digital solutions for resolving civil and commercial disputes (5th position in the EU) are also very well received, as well as criminal cases (9th position in the EU) and, according to the availability of published rulings online, we are the second country in the European Union. 

The assessment of the independence of the justice system reveals that 55 percent of the Lithuanian population believes that the justice system is independent, but 33 percent of the population does not trust the courts. Lithuania ranks 14th in the EU in terms of public confidence in the courts, which has improved by 2 positions compared to 2020, and companies' trust in the courts is higher - 60 percent of companies trust them, and 26 percent do not (10th position in the EU). However, we are in 24th position under the guarantees given to lawyers. 

The European Commission's Justice Scoreboard will also be used to prepare the Report on the European Union Rule of Law in all EU countries.