From Evaluation to Evidence-Based Policy. the Council of Europe, the EU, and the Construction of European Indicators on Judicial Systems.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:00
Location: Hörsaal 24 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Bartolomeo CAPPELLINA, Sciences Po Bordeaux, France
Since the end of the last century, a new focus has been put on the measurement of judicial activity, expanding it far beyond the national borders and the previous limited areas of measurement (crimes, prisoners…). The transnational sphere played an important role on this expansion, with the development of policy instruments by a number of international organisations trying to assess the performance of judicial systems in aspects as varied as the human rights’ enforcement or the capacity to ease economic activity. Out of this heterogeneous array of international indicators, this paper focuses on two specific projects of quantification of the judicial organisation and activity, both developed with the goal of enhancing knowledge and comparability of European judicial administrations. In particular, the analysis looks in depth at the origin and evolution of the “Evaluation Report on European judicial systems”, developed by the CEPEJ (Council of Europe), and of the “EU Justice Scoreboard”, developed by the DG Justice of the EU Commission. While giving an insight on the historical and institutional premises to the creation of these two respective projects of judicial performance measurement, this contribution analyses in detail the methodology of both the initial design and the successive modifications intervened on the indicators composing the two reports. This analysis shows that the goals associated with a certain instrument are fundamental in determining the type of knowledge that is to be produced through the instrument, or in other words, that “what we plan to do influences the way in which we measure”. Moreover, focusing on the use of these instruments in the decision-making sphere, this paper points out that instruments are never neutral and that their effects can go far beyond initial expectations. Finally, “what we measure influences what we do”, even besides initial intentions.