The Judicial College and training
The Judicial College is the official body responsible for the training of judicial office holders in England and Wales and some tribunals around the UK. The Judicial College is committed to providing world class judicial training in the UK and abroad.
The approach to international work
The Judicial College receives many requests for assistance from overseas, ranging from more straightforward requests, such as the presentation of a paper at a conference, to assisting a jurisdiction by undertaking a scoping study and thereafter devising and implementing a training project for a number of judges.
Our resources are limited. International training must be woven around the College’s commitments to domestic judicial office holders and within the context that judicial trainers, almost without exception, are sitting judges with significant in-court commitments of their own. Because of the demands placed on the College, the International Training Committee has incorporated into its terms of reference a recognition that ‘there is a need to target practical features of training and assistance that is strategic and sustainable’.
Training and assistance in this context should be given a broad meaning, to include:
- lectures, seminars, problem solving, role play, mentoring
- judicial expert working groups, peer-to-peer dialogue, advice
- sharing materials and guides
- help to develop training establishments or colleges, and train the trainers.
We hope to focus increasingly frequently upon programmes lasting several years, although we recognise that ‘one-offs’ may be important as pilots or as ways of commencing a relationship, opening up a new subject area or training trainers. Supporting incoming visits for observation or advice will always be important. To make the most of limited resources, the College hopes to identify opportunities to make a contribution at a point in time that is of strategic importance for the country in question, to combine countries, or for our contribution in one country to impact others in the region.
Key members of the College judiciary from an international perspective:
- Lady Justice King DBE is Chairman of the Board of the Judicial College
- Mrs Justice Cheema Grubb is Chairman of the International Training Committee
- HHJ Jeremy Richards and Tribunal Judge Philip Rostant are the Directors of Training for Courts and Tribunals respectively
- HHJ Rachel Karp is the International Training Coordinator
Judicial College courses
Judicial College courses, domestically and internationally, use a range of well-tried teaching methods, starting from the principle of ‘judges teaching judges’ and exploiting participants’ experience of law and life, judicial work and legal practice, to develop judicial skills. The courses are intense and fast-moving in order to make the best use of resources. Fictitious cases are presented and discussed. Individuals are encouraged to explore and share ideas in small groups, and to participate in learning rather than just being observers.
A training project may cover a discrete area e.g. money laundering or long and complex trials. It may also have a more general ambit e.g. the business of judging or the application of the adversarial system in trials. At other times, and particularly subject to constraints of resource, it can extend to help with setting up a new training school from scratch or by delivering training to overseas judges in their own country. But the Judicial College’s international training has been most successful in transnational or international subjects. Examples of transnational subjects include those which fall within the realm of ‘judgecraft’, improving judges’ skills in the tasks which are common to judges in all jurisdictions:
- Assessing evidence
- Litigants in person
- Victims and other vulnerable witnesses in court
- Case Management
- Making a structured decision
- Decision and judgment writing
- Giving an oral decision
- Judicial ethics
- Business of judging
- The Adversarial system of trial.
The Judicial College welcomes the opportunity to consider training on any subject. We are able to call upon the services of judges with specialist knowledge in all areas of substantive law. For example:
- Modern slavery
- Money laundering
- International Human Rights law
- Crimes contrary to international law
- Refugee law.
The judges who deliver this training have specialised skills in a variety of areas and we liaise very closely with organisations including the FCDO, ROLE UK, the Slynn Foundation, the British Council, the UN and the CPS.
The College also has considerable experience in training course directors and trainers in educational and training methods such as preparing a course, course materials, leading discussion, facilitating small groups, video review, distance learning, and responding to participants’ feedback.
Below are two sample programme PDFs:
Links to other bodies
The Judicial College has important links with other training bodies, principally The European Judicial Training Network (EJTN) and the International Organisation for Judicial Training (IOJT).
Within the European Union, the Judicial College is an active participant in the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN). The aim of EJTN is to help foster a common legal and judicial European culture, to develop the area of freedom, security and justice and to promote mutual recognition of judgments.
The EJTN coordinates programmes in EU law across Europe. A large number of events are organised annually across Europe by training schools within the network and many of these are open to other members, a scheme known as the Catalogue Programme. Further, with the help of EU funding, Exchange Programmes are organised by the network which enable judges and judicial trainers from one country to experience the judicial/training system of another. The Judicial College participates in both the Catalogue Programme and Exchange Programmes.
The Judicial College also takes part in events organised by the International Organisation for Judicial Training (IOJT), a world-wide judicial body dedicated to the promotion of the rule of law in other countries and to helping other countries establish training schools which further such rule.
To make an initial enquiry, and to discuss your requirements, please contact us through the following routes:
11th Floor Thomas More Building
Royal Courts of Justice
The more detail you provide of how we may be able to help, the more quickly and efficiently we will be able to deal with your enquiry. As much advance notice as possible of proposed dates for courses will enable us to provide the maximum assistance. On the other hand, please do not be afraid to ask even if your plans are quite vague; with the College’s long experience we may be able to help you formulate and design the course you need.
The College’s courses are normally delivered in English. Written materials can be translated where necessary, and the College’s international trainers are very experienced in working with and through interpreters, usually engaged locally.
The cost of courses depends on their length, the number of trainers involved, what facilities are provided locally, and many other factors. Financial assistance may be available from your own government or from international bodies with an interest in judicial training.