13. Judicial Training & Education - Status, Needs, Organization & Strategies
JUDICIAL EDUCATION AROUND THE WORLD : A SELECT SURVEY
13.5.1 Educating judges on judicial functions
and training them on how to judge properly are relatively new ideas not yet
accepted fully by the judicial fraternity. Some judges still believe that
institutionalised training may interfere with judicial independence. Others
resent the very notion of training in as much as it questions their capacity and
competence. However, with the explosion in knowledges bearing on legal disputes
and with the diversification of complex litigation, there has been increasing
demand from many judges themselves for programmes of continuing education
tailored to specific problems and needs. Today in some countries it has become
mandatory for judicial personnel to get trained periodically. Even experienced
judges have felt the need for examining their judicial skills and methods of
work in the context of technological developments and specialised legal
practice. In plural democratic societies the need is felt to identify possible
biases in relation to minorities, caste groups and women vis-à-vis judicial
attitudes and practices with a view to correct the distortions in the process of
judging. The need for mandatory judicial education is now acknowledged
throughout the world and many countries have evolved programmes for
institutionalised judicial training institutes organized as part of the judicial
establishment of the respective countries.
Judicial Studies Board of
became responsible for supervising the training of Magistrates and members of tribunals.
13.5.3 The structure of the Judicial Studies Board comprises the Main Board, which is responsible for policy and planning and for all matters of general application, and four Committees for planning and organizing instructional seminars and providing the necessary material. In 1991 the Board established a fifth Committee to advise the Board and the other committees on the problems and concerns of Ethnic Minorities. The other four Committees are - the Criminal Committee for training those who sit in the Crown Court; the Civil and Family Committee to train judges who deal with these areas of work; the Magisterial Committee to train Magistrates and a Tribunals Committee to advise on training of those who serve on tribunals. There are sixteen members of the Main Board, of whom 10 are judges. There are 63 members of committees, of whom 20 are judges. The administration of the Board's activities is managed by the personnel of the Lord Chancellor's Department. The courses are run by the judges under their direct control despite the recommendation of the Bridges Committee to attach the programmes to an academic centre with a full-time Director of Studies. The Board reportedly has an annual budget of nearly 2 million pounds.
13.5.4 The Board's induction seminars last 3 to 4 days. There are four criminal induction seminars a year attended by an average of 120 lawyers, some of who have never even conducted a case in the criminal courts. First day is devoted to lectures on preparation and conduct of a trial. A mock trial in which the novice judges play different roles is the highlight of the second day. A real judge presides over the trial. Actual cases are used in mock trial and the trainees learn how to manage a trial. In the third day they will receive lectures from academics, probation officers, prison officials etc. The rest of the course is devoted to sentencing exercises. Much of the work is now done in groups of five or six pupils, each with its own tutor judge.
As homework, the trainees are given examples of real cases and asked what sentences they would impose. These are marked and compared with the actual sentences given by the Court of Appeal. Thereafter the trainee judges are attached with an experienced judge for a week or two before they are permitted to sit in the Crown Court. Many persons feel that even after four days of intensive training, they are not well prepared to sit in the regular courts.
13.5.5 The newly appointed judge usually begins his judicial career sitting in the court where he gained his work experience. There is always a more senior judge sitting in a nearby court; if anything goes wrong the new judges are told to adjourn the case immediately so that they can seek the advice of the senior judge. They can also telephone the Court of Appeal and ask the Registrar for instant advice on what to do next. After sitting for five years, these judges get another 3 or 4 days' refresher course for each subject area in which they are involved - crime, civil actions and family work.
13.5.6 There are no residential training courses for High Court judges or judges of Court of Appeal. They do attend occasional evening seminars to learn about developing areas of law. Sometimes they attend one day seminars on important new legislations.
13.5.7 The Board's committees use the services of law professors, practising lawyers and experts from other professions to lecture at the seminars. Otherwise, the major part of the course is to be conducted by the committees themselves. This work involves the selection of subjects, selection of speakers, selection of reading materials, selection of material for practical exercises and writing the publications of the Board. In association with the Open University, the Board has brought out training packages for Magistrate's training.
Judicial Education in the
13.5.8 Judicial education in
13.5.9 There are half a dozen other judicial
training centres in
13.5.10 After the success of the
13.5.11 The State judicial education officers, joined by some representatives of the national organizations, founded in 1975 the National Association of State Judicial Education (NASJE) which acts as a clearing house for the State programmes, programme materials, faculty suggestions and curriculum development. In their annual conferences they discuss innovative programmes conducted in State centres and thus help promote the cause of judicial education.
13.5.12 The Institute for Court Management in
Judicial Education in Countries of the Commonwealth :
13.5.13 In a survey on Judicial Education in
the Commonwealth presented at the Commonwealth Magistrates' and Judges'
Association Conference in 1994, The Hon. Judge Sandra E. Oxner, the then
President of CMJA divided the judicial education programmes existing in
Commonwealth countries into three categories. The first category consisting of
(The information summarised below is drawn from the paper presented by Judge Oxner at the Commonwealth Magistrates' and Judges' Association Conference at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe in August 1994).
Despite the above initiatives, in 1985 the Stevenson Committee Report found that 40 per cent of Canadian judges never took a course during their judicial career. The recommended solution was the establishment of the National Judicial Institute which got set up in 1986. It is a research and educational organization for all Canadian judges. Its mandate is "to foster a high standard of judicial performance by programmes that stimulate professional and personal growth, and to engender a high level of social awareness, ethical sensitivity and pride in excellence".
13.5.15 A very significant contribution of the National Judicial Institute of Canada for the programme of judicial education every where is the publication after two years of research and consultation a series of minimum standards in organizing judicial education. The study emphasised that judicial education is essential to enhance the fair and efficient administration of justice and that an organizational and individual commitment to judicial education must be made. According to these Standards -
(a) the Goals for judicial education are (1) to bring about an awareness by judges that education immediately after appointment and, on a regular basis throughout their judicial careers is necessary for maintaining and enhancing essential competence, personal growth and social awareness; (2) to provide the public with information on judicial education in order to get recognition of the need to make time and resources available for this purpose; and (3) to create standards for judicial education, both at national and local levels.
(b) the Objectives to be achieved include (1) providing judges with knowledge, skills, techniques and awareness required to perform judicial responsibilities fairly, correctly and efficiently; (2) to improve through education the administration of justice, including fair and efficient management of trials and the reduction of court delay; and (3) to promote each judge's commitment to the highest standards of personal growth, official conduct and social awareness.
(c) the Structure of judicial education to include ten days of intensive education at the time of appointment and ten days of continuing education every calendar year thereafter. These programmes should include a balance among the areas of substantive law, skills training and current social issues. Topics to be studied include evidence, procedure, sentencing, family violence, judicial ethics, media relations, cross cultural issues, judgment writing, case flow management, gender bias, tribal issues, computer courses for judges and designing strategies for implementing change in the courts.
(d) the Faculty should consist primarily of judges with expertise in the subject matter and who are capable of preparing and presenting educational materials effectively. Law Professors, lawyers and people with special expertise are also to be utilised where their expertise are needed.
The NJI is governed by a Board of judges representing all courts chaired by the Chief Justice of Canada and includes two lay members.
13.5.17 The Australian
13.5.18 In most European countries,
judicial appointments are based on a career judiciary after completing basic
legal education. The arrangements for judicial training therefore focus on the
additional courses for prospective judges, and judicial appointment is
conditional upon successful completion of the programme. Thus, in
13.5.19 The German system provides a unified training for the bar and judiciary. Judges are chosen from those who must distinguish themselves on the programme. Training lasts five and half years and includes study in courts and tribunals and with firms of lawyers. In Scandinavian countries prospective judges have a "judicial apprenticeship" under a judge as a clerk or assistant.
Lessons Judicial Education Programmes Convey :
13.5.20 There are few issues which emerge from
consideration of judicial education programmes functioning in different
countries which are relevant for structuring the training in
13.5.21 Many of the problems revealed in the role of a judge are responded to by the curriculum of many of the programmes offered in judicial education. Starting with sentencing and updating of laws, judicial education curriculum moved into computer programme for judges, human rights issues, judicial ethics, judgment writing, conduct on and off Bench, media relations, case flow management, contemporary social problems and technological advances (particularly in medicine and health). A curriculum committee must be prepared to continuously justify the choice of topics in successive programmes.
13.5.22 Besides educational programmes, judicial education centres need to develop self-study materials as well as audio and video tapes to supplement judicial libraries. Information packages of printed orientation material, bench books and standardized judicial materials are useful and inexpensive tools in judicial education.
There is need for constant evaluation of the programmes in terms of objects, content, materials, method and impact.
Continuing Judicial Education :
13.5.23 For organizing continuing judicial
education, the principles and standards promulgated by the National Association
of State Judicial Educators,
(a) Legal Ability : updates on law, court rules and court procedures; in depth analysis of complex legal issues; examination of judicial decision-making practices and philosophies; and effective opinion writing through identification, analysis and clarity in expressing legal issues, reasoning and conclusions.
(b) Comportment and Demeanour : judicial code of conduct; fostering fairness through the recognition and elimination of bias or prejudice; cultural awareness; decisiveness; and judicial temperament.
(c) Judicial Management Skills : case management; effective trial and jury management; settlement skills; personnel management; skills to cope with the growth of litigation and the increasing complexity of legal issues and proceedings; and, when appropriate, court system planning administration.
(d) Contemporary and Inter disciplinary Issues : updates on scientific and behavioural sciences relevant to any judicial practice; knowledge of contemporary social issues; and the law and humanitics.
(e) Personal Development : revitalisation and re-dedication to public service; awareness of the need to maintain high levels of personal well being; and stress management.
13.5.24 There are however a number of new initiatives setting different trends in judicial education. One such trend is to organize judicial education on important subject matter thrown up by major changes in legislations, land mark judicial decisions or social upheavals. Family violence, drug problem, child abuse etc. provide such subject-matter trends influencing judicial education programmes.
The increased awareness of human rights and social demand for fair deal from courts irrespective of gender, race etc. create need for another organizing principle for judicial education. The programmes thus evolved are designed to promote a change in judge behaviour in interaction with parties, victims, witnesses and attorneys.
13.5.25 Finally, an issue of considerable significance conveyed by experiments in judicial education is the need to train judicial education faculty. The principle that judges teach judges is unexceptionable; but judges have to be trained to do the teaching. For this Faculty Development programmes are to be introduced incorporating better understanding of adult education principles and appropriate instructional methods. Topics for such programmes would include : characteristics of the adult learner, assessing learner needs, developing learning objectives, structuring a course, participatory learning techniques, and evaluating learning. Typically, such a programme allows the participants an opportunity to practice applying the principles they have learned. They might make a short presentation which would be videotaped and then critique by their peers and evaluated by an expert in adult education.
There is a wealth of knowledge and experience
in developing judicial education programmes already available in many countries,