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An analysis of the criminal case flow in European courts. Beata Gruszczyńska University of Warsaw Institute of Justice, Poland GT-EVAL Group Member.

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an analysis of the criminal case flow in european courts

An analysis of the criminal case flow in European courts

Beata Gruszczyńska

University of Warsaw

Institute of Justice, Poland

GT-EVAL Group Member

slide2
One of the important element of the European justice system performance is fair and prompt adjudication in criminal cases. Timely imposed punishment is more efficient than a severe one. Inevitability and promptness of penalties that satisfy the sense of rightness and have a deterrent effect.
  • Cross-countries comparison of crime, as well as number of incoming criminal cases at courts, are very risky and limited. Countries differ in penal systems, criminal policy, perception of crime, tradition, rule of registration, definition, etc.
  • Presentation shows only some quantitative results of CEPEJ data collection, which shall be developed taking into account number of judges, support staff, court facilities, technical equipment, computerization, organization and court management.
  • Comments are provisional, highlighting the most visible differences between countries.

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

points for discussion
Points for discussion
  • Trends of crime in Europe
  • Limitation in cross-national comparison
  • Crime and incoming criminal cases to the courts
  • Clearance rate (CR) and gross clearance rate (GCR)
  • Flow of criminal cases
  • Disposition time of criminal cases
  • Cases of intentional homicide and robbery

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

sources of data
Sources of data
  • Data on criminal cases in European courts

European judicial systems. Edition 2010 (data 2008). Efficiency and quality of justice, European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ)

http://www.coe.int/T/dghl/cooperation/cepej/default_en.asp

Edition 2010(data 2008):https://wcd.coe.int/wcd/com.instranet.InstraServlet?command=com.instranet.CmdBlobGet&InstranetImage=1694098&SecMode=1&DocId=1653000&Usage=2

  • Crime data

European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics - 2010http://www.europeansourcebook.org/

Fourth edition:http://www.europeansourcebook.org/ob285_full.pdf

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

slide5
Cross-countries and cross-clusters comparisonRegional clusters used by WHO (geographical sub-regions)

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

cross countries and cross clusters comparison european union versus non eu members
Cross-countries and cross-clusters comparisonEuropean Union versus non EU members

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

total crime rate in 2000 2007 per 100 000 european sourcebook data
Total crime rate in 2000-2007 (per 100 000)European Sourcebook data
  • The biggest rates are in Western European countries, what is caused, besides others, the higher reporting rates to the police
  • The lowest rates are in non-EU member states

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

total crime rate in 2007 by geographical regions
Total crime rate in 2007 by geographical regions

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

average annual growth rate in 2000 2007 by type of crime
Average annual growth rate in 2000-2007 (%)by type of crime

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

trend of crime and limitation of cross national comparison
Trend of crime and limitation of cross-national comparison

In Europe, total criminal offences cover different situation and comparison is limited; trend of total offences is slowly decreasing

  • The violent crime (except rape) was growing near 2002 and slowly decreasing in 2007. In many countries increase of assault is related to new legal provisions
  • Robbery, theft of motor vehicles are decreasing except the group of non EU
  • Domestic burglary is decreasing except Albania and Armenia
  • Drug offences are increasing in almost all European countries

Main reasons of incomparability of crime in Europe

  • Penal systems
      • Scope of criminalization
  • System of registration
      • (petty offences, traffic offences, illegal parking, etc.)
      • “victimless” offences (illegal possession of arms, drunk driving, drug offences)
  • Counting rule of offences and offenders
      • time point when offence is recorded (“input”, “output”)
      • multiply (several) offences committed (the most serious or ..)
      • serial or continuous offending
  • “Dark number” of crime (unreported or unregistered offences)

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

incoming criminal cases in 2008 per 100 000 cepej data
Incoming criminal cases in 2008 (per 100 000)CEPEJ data
  • mean 2573
  • median 1718
  • min 93
  • max over 8000
  • The highest rate is in Cyprus(over 11000), Croatia, FYROMacedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • In about 40% of countries rate does not exceed 1000
  • From 1000 to 3000 in about 40% countries.

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

crime and incoming criminal cases link
Crime and incoming criminal cases: link?
  • Relatively high crime rates are observed mostly in Western European countries, while the low and medium rates are in Eastern Europe.
  • The variety in incoming case rates is related to the different criminal policy, divergence in the reaction on crime, e.g. simplified proceeding, sanctions imposed by prosecutors without coming to the courts, etc.

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

proportion of incoming criminal cases related to severe offences and misdemeanors
Proportion of incoming criminal cases related to severe offences and misdemeanors:
  • In Italy, Portugal, Estonia, France, Hungary and Poland: % of incoming cases of serious offences is higher that 50%.
  • In some countries (Albania, Serbia, FYROMacedonia, Croatia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Denmark) % of “serious cases” is below 20%.

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

of pending cases at 1st january 2008 in the number of incoming cases
% of pending cases at 1st January 2008 in the number of incoming cases
  • The biggest backlog (from previous years) were in Slovenia and Portugal (over 100% of incoming cases in 2008).
  • Large backlogs were in Montenegro, Croatia, FYROMacedonia, Italy and Turkey (from 80% to 100% of the number of new cases in 2008).
  • The best situation was in Estonia, where backlogs was about 4% of new cases, followed by Russian Federation (14%) and the Netherlands (18%).

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

clearance rate and gross clearance rate
Clearance Rate and Gross Clearance Rate
  • Clearance Rate (CR) is the relationship between the number of resolved cases and the number of incoming cases in a given year

CR = resolved cases / incoming cases

The second measure GCR takes into account the total number of cases to be solved

  • Gross Clearance Rate (GCR) is the relationship between the number of resolved cases and the total number of cases handled in the courts in a given year (pending cases from previous periods and incoming cases)

GCR = resolved cases / pending cases + incoming cases

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

clearance rate of criminal severe cases in 2008
Clearance rate of criminal severe cases in 2008(%)
  • In about half of countries (out of 30) the clearance rate exceeded 100%, what meant that it was possible to reduce the backlog from previous years.
  • In 9 countries the clearance rates were lower or equal 95%, what means that backlogs from previous years increased by another 20% - in Armenia and about 10% - in Spain, Latvia, Denmark, Albania and Malta.

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

gross clearance rate of criminal severe cases in 2008
Gross clearance rate of criminal severe cases in 2008 (%)
  • The best results were achieved by countries in which the backlogs from previous years were small.
  • Slovenia, Italy, Turkey and Albania managed to settle only about 50% of the cases.
  • [GCR could be calculated for 27 countries, which provided relevant data]

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

flow of criminal severe case per 100 000
Flow of criminal severe case (per 100 000)
  • The best result was in Estonia and the Netherlands, where the backlogs from previous period were small.
  • In Montenegro, Portugal, Slovenia and FYROMacedonia number of resolved cases exceeded number of incoming cases and backlogs could be slightly reduced.

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

flow of criminal severe case per 100 000 continuation
Flow of criminal severe case (per 100 000)continuation
  • Latvia, Denmark and Switzerland increased backlogs
  • Belgium, Russian Federation, Serbia and Georgia could slightly reduced pending cases

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

pending criminal serious cases at the end of 2008 per 100 000
Pending criminal serious cases at the end of 2008 (per 100 000)
  • The highest backlog has been observed in Italy (over 2000).
  • In Slovenia, Portugal and Turkey the pending cases were over 1000.

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

disposition time of criminal severe cases in days
Disposition time of criminal severe casesin days
  • Average duration is over 190 days (over half a year).
  • In Slovenia and Italy disposition time is longer than 1 year.
  • Courts in Belgium, the Netherlands, Russian Federation and Estonia needs much shorter time to resolved criminal severe cases than in other states – not more than 3 months.

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

clearance rate and gross clearance rate for cases of robbery
Clearance rate and gross clearance rate for cases of robbery
  • CR (clearance rate) was the biggest in Georgia, Switzerland and Bulgaria
  • The highest GCR (gross clearance rate) was in Turkey, Russian Federation and Armenia
  • Note: only few countries provided relevant information about cases of robbery

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

robbery in europe in 2000 2007 per 100 000 source european sourcebook 2010
Robbery in Europe in 2000-2007(per 100 000)Source: European Sourcebook 2010
  • Robberies declined in many countries
  • The fastest decreasing was in new EU member states

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

clearance rate and gross clearance rate for cases of intentional homicide
Clearance rate and gross clearance rate for cases of intentional homicide
  • CR over 100% was in 8 countries taken into account
  • The highest GCR – over 80% was in Russian Federation and Finland

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

intentional homicide in europe in 2000 2007 per 100 000 source european sourcebook 2010
Intentional homicide in Europe in 2000-2007(per 100 000)Source: European Sourcebook 2010
  • Homicides decreasing in almost all countries in Europe
  • The fastest decline was in non-EU member states

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

comments
Comments
  • Case flow monitoring shows wide differences in number of incoming cases, resolved cases, clearance rate and pending cases in European courts
  • In more than half countries gross clearance rate (as a relation between resolved cases and total cases to solve) is lower than 70%. Countries with GCR below 50% need improving management system very fast
  • Analysis on national level is only an example and should be expanded with the additional information about e.g. the size of the courts, the number of judges and support staff
  • The study shows that there is a need to improve data collection, refine the definition to make next survey more complete and effective.

CEPEJ December 2010, Criminal Cases Flow in European Countries, Beata Z. Gruszczyńska

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