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Translating the EFQM model into the courts

Patrícia Moura e Sá (Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal)
António Albuquerque (Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal, AND, Tribunal Judicial Lisboa Oeste, Sintra, Portugal)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 15 June 2015




The purpose of this paper is to develop an assessment guide based on the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) model criteria. Courts have been under pressure to become more accountable and responsive organisations. In this context, self-assessment models that drive attention to the way resources are being used and to the results that are being achieved, incorporating the views of different stakeholders, are of particular interest.


A case study approach was used. The meaning of the quality principles that underline the EFQM model was discussed with the court administrator, judges, prosecutors and justice officers. Those perspectives were taken into account when translating the criteria and criterion parts of the EFQM model. The assessment guide was validated by an experts’ panel.


The EFQM model captures the essential features of a court even if the courts terminology and governance models challenge the translation of some criteria. The resulting guide includes a description of the various criteria and criterion parts and the identification of key focus areas, while giving some illustrative examples of initiatives and indicators that could be looked at under each model dimension.

Practical implications

The assessment guide can be used to undertake self-assessment exercises in different courts.


There is a lack of studies on the measurement of courts’ performance apart from the publication of simple lists of process indicators. The assessment guide developed in this study is perhaps one of the most comprehensive resources for assessing the quality of a court.



Moura e Sá, P. and Albuquerque, A. (2015), "Translating the EFQM model into the courts", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 7 No. 2/3, pp. 230-244.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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