A new dimension for European judicial training
The Commission aims to ensure that half of legal practitioners have participated in training on European Union (EU) law by 2020. The implementation of this objective will be based on actions of the Member States, national and European-level partners and the Commission.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 13 September 2011 – Building trust in EU-wide justice A new dimension to European judicial training [COM(2011) 551 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
National laws and European law coexist within the European Union (EU). Legal practitioners must have sufficient knowledge of national legal systems and of EU law to guarantee legal security and the uniform application of European law. The recognition and execution of judicial decisions and cooperation between the judicial authorities of different Member States are also dependent on this.
The Commission has therefore set itself the objective of ensuring that half of legal practitioners have participated in a European judicial training activity by 2020. Although priority is given to judges and prosecutors, the goal is to target all legal practitioners.
Above all, training should be practical and be given both on entry to the profession (initial training) and throughout a person’s career (continuous training). Priority should be given to the areas of activity identified by legal practitioners as being those where the need is greatest, those which are particularly technical, and those where the legislation is poorly implemented. Training should also include the teaching of foreign languages, to facilitate exchanges between Member States.
To address the time constraints faced by legal practitioners, eLearning should be developed. The European e-Justice Portal will be further developed, to provide more information about judicial training.
Starting from 2014, the Commission also intends to launch a programme of short term exchanges for newly appointed judges and prosecutors to improve their knowledge of the legal systems of other EU countries.
The most effective way to achieve the objective of training half of the legal practitioners is to use the existing structures, actors and networks at national and European level.
At national level, training is provided, depending on the Member State, by judicial training structures, the ministry of Justice, the Council for the judiciary, court services and professional associations. The Commission aims to reinforce cooperation with and between these different stakeholders.
At European level, European associations of legal practitioners and judicial training providers such as the Academy of European Law (ERA), the European Centre for Judges and Lawyers of the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA), the European University Institute of Firenze and the College of Europe are a way of increasing European judicial training.
The European Judicial Training Network (EJTN), which brings together the ERA and the national training structures, should be reinforced to ensure that its activities reach more members of the judiciary. For the network to play a more active role, Member States should increase their financial contribution. The goal is for the network to be able to organise 1 200 exchanges in courts per year.
European Commission action
The Commission will support a number of measures such as public-private partnerships to develop innovative training solutions and the organisation of an annual gathering of all legal professions to facilitate exchanges of good practice.
With regard to funding, the Commission aims to make European judicial training a priority of the new financial framework and to increase EU financial support. It will encourage, notably through grants, high-quality projects with a considerable European impact and reaching a large audience.