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Crystal Scales of Justice


Call for applications for the European Crystal Scales of Justice Prize for innovative practices contributing to the efficiency and quality of civil justice

In 2012, the Council of Europe together with the European Commission is organising the 6th edition of the "Crystal Scales of Justice" Prize.

The aim of the prize is to identify and promote innovative practices in civil justice, aimed to improve the efficiency and quality of the functioning of the justice system, procedures, and court organisation.

The 2012 competition is open to courts, associations and legal professionals, prosecutor's offices, non-governmental organisations, or any other entity responsible for justice affairs in the Member States of the Council of Europe or the European Union.

Applications must meet the eligibility criteria as specified in the Rules of the Prizepdf(83 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  and be submitted to the European Commission or the Council of Europe by 30 June 2012.

Rules of the Prize:

Article 1 – Competition conditions

The 2012 competition is open to courts, associations of legal professionals, prosecutor's offices,  non-governmental organisations or any other entity responsible for justice affairs in the Member States of the European Union or the Council of Europe

The initiatives must have been introduced in order to improve the efficiency of the organisation and procedures of justice systems, particularly for the users of justice, or to improve mutual knowledge and exchange of best practice in the area of justice. They must therefore be innovative practices and their results must be measurable.

An initiative which has been short-listed in the previous editions of the Prize cannot be presented for another edition of the competition. A court, prosecution office, Bar Association or association of legal professionals, non governmental organisations or any other entity responsible for justice affairs can present several initiatives for the same edition of the competition.

Article 2 - Organisation of the competition

The competition is jointly organised by the European Commission's Directorate General for Justice and the Council of Europe's Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs of the Council of Europe (hereafter “the organisers”).

Article 3 - Entries

The applications shall be submitted, electronically, to one of the addresses indicated below. The deadline for applications is 30 June 2012.

Council of Europe
CEPEJ Secretariat –“Crystal Scales of Justice” Prize
Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law – 67075 STRASBOURG Cedex


Crystal Scales of Justice
European Commission
DG Justice
Unit A1

The applications shall be submitted, preferably in English or in French or, where this is not possible, in one of official languages of the European Union.

The applications must include:

  1. An application form duly filled in, in accordance with the attached model;
  2. A summary of the initiative, in accordance with the attached model;
  3. If necessary, a limited number of annexed documents can be included. If those are in an original language other than English or French, a brief summary in English or French should be presented.

Article 4 – Composition of the jury

The jury is composed of 10 members and 1 President, appointed by the organisers.

Article 5 – Selection procedure of the projects

The applications which will fulfil the abovementioned formal criteria will be transmitted to the members of the jury by the organisers.

of the jury, a list of the 5 schemes which he or she considers should be pre-selected.

On the basis of this, the organisers will establish a list of 10 pre-selected schemes. The list will be sent to the members of the jury for further examination. The members of the jury shall respect the secrecy of the composition of this list.

The jury will asses the 10 preselected schemes in order to proceed with the selection of prize-winning initiatives.

The jury will select 4 schemes by secret ballot specifying an order of preference for each of them.

The method applied will be the awarding by each jury member of 4 points to the best scheme he / she selected as winning scheme, 3 points to the second placed scheme 2 points to the third placed scheme and one point to the fourth placed scheme. After counting the points, in the event of a tie a second vote by simple majority can be taken in order to decide between two projects with the same number of points.

The scheme which has received the highest number of points will be awarded the “Crystal Scales of Justice” Prize. The three other schemes will be given a “special mention” by the jury.

The decisions of the jury cannot be appealed.

Article 6 – Criteria for eligibility and selection of projects

The jury must ensure that the schemes fulfil the following criteria of eligibility:
- have contributed to the improvement of efficiency and quality of the functioning of the justice system;
- deal with judicial procedures or court organisation,
- are considered as innovative practices effectively implemented,
- can be applied to other jurisdictions or States.

During the selection of the eligible schemes, the jury must also ensure:
- compliance with the objectives of the Prize,
- quality of the schemes,
- balance between the different legal systems,
- balance in the themes dealt with by the schemes.

Article 7 - The Prize Update with no indication of time and place, but retain publicity

The "Crystal Scales of Justice" Prize will be presented to the winner by the European Commission and the Council of Europe.

The representatives of the institutions or organisations which submitted the best four projects will be invited to attend the awarding ceremony.

The organisers undertake to arrange appropriate publicity for the prize-winning initiative and for the three projects that receive a special mention.

Article 8 - Cancellation of the competition

The organisers reserve the right to cancel the competition at any time. If this happens, participants will be individually informed as soon as possible.

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