Digitization of justice: The Council of Europe advocates cooperation between member states
The Ministers of Justice of the Council of Europe met on 5 October in Gödöllő (Hungary) in the framework of the Hungarian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers for a conference on "Digital technologies and artificial intelligence - new challenges for justice in Europe".
The conference was opened by Judit Varga, Minister of Justice of Hungary, and Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, which is not the European Commission.
It was based on the organization's work on justice, information society, algorithms and artificial intelligence, in particular on the results of the work of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ).
Here are the main conclusions:
The Council of Europe has provided a solid basis for the protection of European values in the field of human rights, democracy and the rule of law since 1949. We are currently facing unprecedented changes in European societies, driven and amplified in particular by technological development. As regards the challenges of digitalisation in the judicial field, no member state can meet them alone. Therefore, the Conference of Ministers of Justice organised by the Hungarian Chairmanship of the Council of Europe has created a platform for discussion on how to ensure the efficient functioning of our judicial systems in the digital age, while protecting the human rights of individuals, in particular the rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Hungarian Chairmanship of the Council of Europe, on the basis of the fruitful discussions at the
Conference of Ministers of Justice, hereby
- DECLARES its high esteem and gratitude for the work done by the Council of Europe over the last 70 years and its work to promote and protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law. DECLARES also its commitment to continue to support all ongoing initiatives and work towards strengthening dialogue and co-operation between Council of Europe member states on the use of digital tools in the field of justice, in particular in the framework of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) and also on the legal framework for development, design and implementation
- CONCLUDES that all initiatives and best practices that can help to facilitate judicial procedures through the use of electronic means and applications based on artificial intelligence, including national procedures and cross-border co-operation between the authorities of the Council of Europe member states, are of the highest value.
- CONCLUDES that despite the different constitutional and legal traditions of the Member States, there is a real need for a common approach to overcome the challenges raised by the rapid technological development and to find practical solutions related to the digitisation of Justice.
- EMPHASISES that a human-centred approach to the use of digital tools and artificial intelligence, which preserves and protects the substantive elements of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in a digital world, must be at the heart of an effective justice system.
- NOTES that following the High Level Expert Round Table on New Means of Communication for International Co-operation in Criminal Matters held on 4 October 2021 in the framework of the Hungarian Chairmanship, the experts of the Council of Europe member states agreed that an informal platform should be set up for co-operation of the Council of Europe member states. This initiative would be of inestimable value
- INVITES, therefore, future Presidencies to organise annual IT round tables, providing a forum for a continuous and in-depth exchange of views between Member States on regulatory and IT best practices which could help overcome technical compatibility problems and facilitate the widespread use of new means of communication in the field of international judicial cooperation
- INVITES future Presidencies of the Council of Europe to follow up on the initiative by the Hungarian Presidency, and to continue the discussion among Ministers of Justice on other challenges and achievements related to the digitalisation of justice as well as to promote the continued cooperation of Member States by sharing best practices.
Source: Council of Europe