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Justice: Council of Europe, average expenditure at 64 euros per person a year

Today, the Council of Europe’s Commission for the Efficiency of Justice published a Report on “effectiveness and quality of justice” in the 45 CoE member states This is the seventh of the reports that come out every two years, but this time, with its 2016 figures, it is the most comprehensive so far in terms of issues and countries covered. Over 300 pages to investigate the cost of justice, the quality of judges and magistrates, the level of gender equality, the organisation and performance of the European legal systems. It provides plenty of figures and insights. The most striking one is a slight rise in the expenditure on justice: on average, the European states spend 64 euros per person a year; some countries had had to cut their budgets after the 2008 crisis, but now they are slowly going back to pre-crisis levels. The most substantial expense item in the entire legal system is the courts (66% on average); in the Eastern countries, the most substantial part of the legal budget is allocated to public prosecutors (approximately 30%), while the North European countries tend to invest more in legal assistance (over 30% of the legal budget); only in Austria, the taxes and costs of lawsuits exceed the running costs of the entire system. In France, Luxembourg and Spain, people do not have to pay tax to go to court, instead.

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