Council of Europe launches new action plan to strengthen judicial independence and impartiality

Justice ministers from across Europe have given their backing to the organisation’s new 2016-2021 action plan on strengthening judicial independence and impartiality.


The plan was agreed by government ministers from 47 member states, together with representatives of the judiciary, at a conference held in Sofia.

Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland said: “It is vital that judicial independence and impartiality exist in practice and are secured by law. It is equally important that public confidence in the judiciary be maintained or restored.

“The measures proposed are designed to promote a culture of respect for judicial independence and impartiality, which is crucial in a democratic society based on human rights and the rule of law.”

The action plan’s objectives include:

• establishing mechanisms to fully implement member states’ obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights to guarantee access to an independent and impartial tribunal;
• improving or establishing formal legal guarantees of judicial independence and impartiality and putting in place the necessary structures, policies and practices to ensure that these
guarantees are respected and that the judicial branch functions properly;
• safeguarding and strengthening the judiciary in its relations with the executive and legislature;
• reinforcing the independence of the prosecution service;
• building public trust in the judiciary, including by taking society as a whole into account in the composition of tribunals and the judiciary.

Human Rights Europe

21 April 2016