TF Coordinator: Ana Maria Garofil and Gianina Radu (National Institute of Magistracy Bucharest)
TF Members: Vienna University of Administration and Business; ULB CEVIPOL; CNR-IRSIG Bologna; University Piemonte III; University of Pavia; Graduate School of Riga; Uniwersytet Szczeciń; Centro de Estudos Sociais Coimbra; Instituto de Ciencias Sociais Lisbona; Constitutional Court of Slovenia; Universidad Complutense de Madrid; University of Bologna; Institut del Hautes Etudes sur la Justice.
In democratic countries judicial education is not only a way of ensuring proper adjudication of the law by judges (on the basis that if judges know the law, they adjudicate correctly), it is also a way of guaranteeing judicial independence from external pressure. The impartiality of adjudication therefore depends on the effectiveness of the judicial education system, and this lies at the heart of constitutional democracies. Only impartial judges can adjudicate legitimately. Judicial education is also crucial to the transformation of non-democratic regimes into democracies, and the reform of judicial education programs is often a turning point in this transformation.
Judicial education is considered one of the key conditions allowing judges to be independent and immune from possible influence by political and corporate power. This in fact is a requirement laid down by the Council of Europe. In Europe judicial education is also deemed to play a crucial role in creating an effective and real space for justice, security and freedom. Only lawyers and judges who have been educated about European values and norms can establish a clear dialogue among their European counterparts and across domestic borders. Enhanced integration in legal and judicial education and training in Europe can ensure that the goals agreed in Tampere (1999) and later in The Hague (2004) and today formalized and detailed in the Stockholm Program (2009) can be achieved.
Menu for Justice places a high priority on the analysis of legal and judicial training programs in Europe. Task Force 4 on “VOCATIONAL TRAINING” will explore both initial and life long learning among judges and lawyers. The analysis of initial training will examine: 1) delivering institutions; 2) financial resources; 3) scientific authority; 4) program content; 5) profile of teachers; 6) mandatory versus voluntary training. The assessment of initial training will also examine recruitment mechanisms for appointing judges and prosecutors or for becoming lawyers.
Life long learning cuts across all stages of professional life, and it is crucial in ensuring the reliability and the effectiveness of lawyering and adjudication in any country. Training needs may change over time. But it is always important for lawyers and judges to be continually offered up-to-date programs which help them to fill the gap between the public demand for justice and the justice offered by the court and legal system. In this respect, Task Force 4 is key to the project. It will follow the same methodology used by the other Task Forces, but it will also be in touch with judicial institutions in the course of its work.