- Development of the website
The site provides access to:
- the Events section affords an overview of the latest ACA-Europe events;
- a 'Tour of Europe' that provides detailed information on the administrative jurisdictions in each EU Member State, summing up the situation with respect to 78 aspects of administrative justice;
- reports from all 22 previous colloquiums (around 13,000 pages).
- all past editions of the Reflets newsletter;
- a guide to preliminary ruling proceedings before the CJEU with direct links to the relevant case law;
- the websites of nearly all the member institutions;
- the information network (see below).
In 2012, the website was regularly updated; regular steps were taken to raise awareness of the opportunities for information offered by the website, particularly its databases.
- DEC-NAT database
The Research and Documentation Department of the Court of Justice of the European Union holds files on around 21,000 national decisions. Pursuant to an agreement concluded between the Court of Justice and ACA-Europe, these data were transmitted to the Association, which compiled them into a searchable database. The DEC-NAT database can be accessed free of charge via the ACA-Europe website.
The following information is given for each decision listed in DEC-NAT:
- national references: names of parties, applicable national provisions and relevant articles of doctrine;
- international or European references, applicable Community provisions (if any);
- an analysis of the decision: keywords, i.e. a summary of the purpose of the decision;
- in some cases, a fourth section setting out the preliminary ruling of the Court of Justice.
DEC-NAT data are updated and translated into English. The 2010 and first-half year 2011 updates were translated in 2011. The following updates were translated in 2012.
The databases are monitored by a Support Committee, which is also responsible for suggesting any useful improvements.
The CJEU's Research and Documentation Department and the Publications Office of the European Union have both acknowledged the high quality of the DEC-NAT database. An agreement was concluded with the CJEU and the Publications Office to allow DEC-NAT data to be consulted via the large EUR-LEX database.
Furthermore, a study currently under way will set out to establish connections between the data in the DEC-NAT database and all the respective national databases. That project continued in 2012.
- The JURIFAST rapid information system for case law
Using a login and password, the research and documentation departments of courts that are members of ACA-Europe can upload recent and unpublished decisions to the JURIFAST system. JURIFAST is accessible to the public (in French and English) via the ACA-Europe website and provides the following information:
- the date of a decision and a summary of its contents;
- the full text of the decision in the original language;
- a reference to the applicable provision(s) of Community law, with a link to the said provision(s) in all official EU languages;
- a summary of the decision;
- in some cases, a direct link to the preliminary ruling of the Court of Justice in all the official EU languages;
- in some cases, a direct link to the ruling of the respective national court following the preliminary ruling of the European Court of Justice.
The JURIFAST system has been operational since 1 February 2004.
As at 31 December 2012, 1394 decisions had been entered into them.
In 2012, JURIFAST continued to be monitored and translated by the General Secretariat.
- Non-public network
A forum that is up and running aims to allow all magistrates and all members of research and documentation departments to exchange information and ask questions. The system was set up at the beginning of 2005.
As at 31 December 2012, 263 members had registered for the forum and posted 501 messages on 175 topics of discussion.
The General Secretariat continued to oversee the activities of the forum in 2012.
- DEC-NAT database
The newsletter is published in both a paper version and electronically on the ACA-Europe website.
Twenty six editions of the newsletter have been published since 2002.
In 2012, two newsletters were be published, based on the seminars organised by ACA-Europe.
Newsletter nr 27 is dedicated to the seminar of The Hague on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, held on 24 November 2011.
Newsletter nr 28 is dedicated to the seminar of Brussels entitled "Increasing the efficiency of the Supreme administrative Court's powers", held on 1 and 2 March 2012.
This brochure, available in both French and English, summarises ACA-Europe's composition, background and activities.
The last vade mecum was published in 2009.
The new edition was published in June 2012.
Reflets is an online document published by the CJEU that gives readers an overview of recent national and international case law, of new national legislation, and of some articles of doctrine. This document originally only existed in French, but ACA-Europe and the CJEU agreed that it will be translated into English and made available via its website.
- Statutory meetings
The General Assembly, held in Madrid on 26 June 2012, elected Mr Jean-Marc Sauvé, Vice-President of the Council of State of France, to be President of ACA-Europe for a two-year term. Mr Georges Ravarani, who completed his term as Vice-President of ACA-Europe, was thanked for his dynamic and very valuable contributions to the association's work and Mr Josef Baxa, President of the Supreme Administrative Court of Czech Republic was elected Vice-President.
The following seminars were held in 2012:
Seminar of Brussels on 1 and 2 March 2012.
The seminar was organised in cooperation with the Council of State of Belgium. The subject was: "Increasing the efficiency of the Supreme administrative Court's powers", which was divided in three themes:
The 'administrative loop', or the power to rectify the legality of an administrative decision;
Power to award compensation and action for annulment;
The effectiveness of enforcement of the rulings of administrative courts.
- Seminar of Brussels on 23 November 2012.
The seminar, organised in cooperation with the D.G. Environment of the European commission, was dedicated to the theme: "Access to justice and organisation of jurisdictions in environmental litigation: national specificities and influences of European Union law". The seminar was opened by Mr Potocnik, European Commissioner for the Environment.
- Colloquium of Madrid
ACA-Europe's 23rd colloquium was held in Madrid on 25 June 2012 and was dedicated to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The discussions were based on a questionnaire written by Mr Diez-Picazo, judge at the Supreme Court of Spain and general reporter.
Actually, Member Courts are regularly required to answer legal questions concerning the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, specifically with regard to:
the entry into force ratione temporis of the various provisions contained in the Charter;
the circumstances in which the Charter is applicable;
the scope of its own provisions concerning those of other international treaties;
how to interpret certain provisions and situations in which a reference for a preliminary ruling should be made to the CJEU.
The Colloquium of Madrid discussed those issues.
- Judges' exchanges
In 2012, ACA-Europe organised an exchange of 12 judges from (administrative) Supreme Courts, taking the form of working visits lasting 2 weeks to a court in another Member State. The guest judge follows their counterparts' activities in person, attends hearings, and takes part in both the deliberations on the verdict and the writing of judgments. At the end of their visit, each judge writes a report.
- Admission of new Members and new Observers
In accordance with its Statutes, ACA-Europe is willing to admit as Observers the corresponding institutions in countries that have started membership negotiations with the European Union. These Observers will automatically become Members as soon as their Member State joins the European Union.
ACA-Europe considers it a priority to offer optimal assistance to the new Members (the Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria, the High Court of Cassation and Justice and Legislative Council of Romania and the Administrative Court of Croatia) and Observers (now, the Council of State of Turkey) to help them fully acquaint themselves with the European legal system.
In 2012, new Members and Observers were invited to participate actively in all of ACA-Europe's activities. The Association endeavoured to promote and coordinate bilateral contacts with old members.
Contact with European authorities and other European networks
ACA-Europe maintains regular contact with the Court of Justice of the European Union (a founder member), the European Parliament (especially the Committee on Citizens' Rights, Justice and Home Affairs), the European Council (among others the working group on E-Justice) and the European Commission (above all the Commissioner for Justice, the Legal Service and the Directorates-General Justice and Environment). These contacts duly continued in 2012.
ACA-Europe also collaborates with the Network of the Presidents of the Supreme Judicial Courts of the European Union and the European Network of the Councils of Justice, among others.
The former network is involved with the JuriFast database and is invited to attend ACA-Europe's seminars and working groups. ACA-Europe is involved with the portal for case law set up by the network by virtue of giving access to its Members' databases.
The latter network is invited to participate in ACA-Europe's activities, and future joint actions are envisaged.