One of the recent events held in Madrid by the ESADE Alumni Public Management Club was the dinner-discussion "Modernización de la Justicia, una estrategia reformadora", led by Francisco Caamaño, Minister of Justice.
The Minister started his talk by asking why is it so difficult to reform justice? First of all, because it is a government branch with an age-old tradition and an independent power, the judiciary, which, due to its very nature – to be as objective as possible – tends to distance itself from the rest. What is more, there is the peculiarity that one power, the executive, renders service to another power. Add to this the structural complexity of there being different bodies, each with their own judicial nature: the General Council of Judiciary Power (CGJP); the Attorney General, and the Administrative Office of the Courts (under the authority of the autonomous communities, in many cases).
The Minister's suggestion: discreet work and dialogue. As an example, he referred to the extensive organisational reform finally resulting from the introduction of the new Judicial Office, which, although manifested by law years ago, should have been set in motion earlier. The aim is that a judge is there to judge and can renounce other tasks involved with running the court. Ground-breaking and evolutionary, because it entails breaking with century-long tradition and starting almost from zero (by creating, for example, new positions which previously did not exist).
On a wider scale, the important organisational reform is to restructure the general courts. The current labour, mercantile and civil courts, numbers 1, 2, 3, etc., will be replaced by general courts with different sections. There will be a president and a team of judges, logically, but proceedings will be of the court itself, they will enter into it and will be resolved by the relevant judge, thus eliminating the over-personalised prosecution which complicates matters as basic as the handling of substitutions.
As for technology, the Minister is fully aware of its importance, by this means not just “installing a PC¿, but rather the real cultural change it implies. The aim is to have paperless courts (the High Court is about to achieve this), and the means will be available, but for full effect, people inside and outside the courts will have to assume this fully and change their routines. Between 35% and 45% of time will be saved in current trials, which will have an impact on the economy (a slow justice system is an economic hindrance). However, new legal problems will appear and will be solved as and when. For example, what happens if a judge makes a personal copy of a court order to take home and then mislays a part.
Another strategic line is to reduce the number of court proceedings. For example, by opening up other ways to resolve conflicts. In Spain, the culture of mediation and arbitration is non-existent; changing this will be one objective of the guidelines being prepared. There will be mandatory mediation prior to court appearances and arbitration will be provided by prestigious professionals, but not necessarily lawyers. Fewer appeals will reach the Supreme Court, allowing it to focus on its true task: upholding doctrine.
The ESADE Alumni Public Management Club cordially invites you to this dinner-discussion titled "Modernización de la Justicia: una estrategia reformadora".
Justice is one of the essential services in the rule of law. This being the case, it just so happens that its performance is continuously questioned by the general public, so its modernisation has become a pressing political issue. Indeed, the Spanish Administration of Justice is currently undergoing a reform process which was boosted by the approval of the 2009-2012 Modernisation of the Justice System bill, the aim of which is to fulfil the long-aspired goal of an agile and efficient justice system. This poses a major challenge due to the complexity of the judicial world, its administrative problems and structural shortcomings. In this process, ICT is expected to play a key role, but alone it will be pointless unless accompanied by both maximum collaboration and substantial changes in the roles of various players and proceedings alike.
Welcome and presentation: Miguel Trías (MBA 89), Chairman of ESADE Alumni
Oscar Cortés (MP-FGAP 07), Deputy Chairman of the ESADE Alumni Public Management Club
Diego Molero (MP-FGAP 07), Board Member of the ESADE Alumni Public Management Club
Talk: Francisco Caamaño, Minister of Justice
Francisco Caamaño Domínguez
Born on 8th January 1963 in Cee (A Coruña). He is married and has two daughters. From April 2008 until his appointment as Minister of Justice on 24th February 2009, he served as Secretary of State for Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs. He is a Bachelor and Doctor in Law from Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, and was a Lecturer and Assistant Professor of Constitutional Law at the same university. In 1993, he became a Barrister of the Constitutional Court, and in October 2002 he was named Professor of Constitutional Law at Universidad de Valencia. In 2001, he was appointed Director of the Fundación Democracia y Gobierno Local, and later Co-Editor of the journal Cuadernos de Derecho Local. In April 2004, he was appointed Secretary of State for Parliamentary Relations. As a professor he has lectured in constitutional law, European law and regional law. What is more, he has led many talks, seminars and doctorate and postgraduate courses, as well as specialisation Masters courses, about subjects connected to his speciality, both at universities and other public and private centres. He has led and participated in several research programmes, on both a Spanish and a European level, as well as overseas legal cooperation programmes, mainly with Central American countries. Fruit of this activity is his specialisation in parliamentary law and constitutional jurisdiction.