Brussels, 26 June 2014
Getting the priorities for future Justice polices right: European Commission boosts judicial training to foster mutual trust
As the European Council meets today and tomorrow to agree – amongst other things – on the future strategic priorities in the area of justice, the European Commission is already working to deliver on one of the priorities: strengthening mutual trust in each other's justice systems. The European Commission is hosting a European Judicial training workshop today and tomorrow to boost the training of legal practitioners. Over 140 judicial trainers from EU Member States will share good practices, exchange ideas and find new partners to develop further training. The two-day workshop will bring the EU one step closer in achieving its goal of having 50 % of all legal practitioners (corresponding to a total of 700.000) trained in EU law by 2020 (IP/11/1021), thus improving the number and quality of training activities in EU law and in the legal systems of the Member States. The workshop will also be streamed live.
"Mutual trust is the bedrock upon which EU justice policy is built, and high-quality training of legal practitioners is paramount in fostering this trust. As heads of state and government are meeting today and tomorrow to define the future strategic priorities for Europe's justice area, my call to leaders is to put mutual trust high on the future justice agenda," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner. "Trust is not made by decree. It grows with knowledge. To date, we have already succeeded in training over 130.000 legal practitioners in EU law and this figure will continue to rise as 35% of the new EU Justice financial programme will be dedicated to judicial training. This is the best investment Europe can make to ensure the EU's single market and our area of justice deliver the most for citizens and businesses alike."
Judicial training is on the rise (see Annex): More than 130 000 legal practitioners received training in EU law in 2011 and 2012: we are on the way to hit the 2020 target, but for that more efforts are needed. Training must be taken a step further in numbers, quality and variety of professions receiving training. Today's workshop is a step in this direction.
Workshop "Building upon good practices in European judicial training"
A pilot project that the European Commission implemented upon a proposal of the European Parliament gathered best practices for organising, implementing and evaluating training for legal practitioners on EU law from across Europe. The results of these good practices for judges and prosecutors, and the state of play of training in EU law for lawyers and court staff will be presented at the workshop – in the following areas:
The workshop will also give an overview of EU-funding possibilities to help training providers introduce new techniques (generally for projects involving cross-border cooperation). The new Justice programme reserves more than a third of its funds for training and plans a call for action grants exclusively for training projects in the second half of 2014.
The European e-Justice Portal's training section
The European e-Justice Portal now features a brand new European judicial training section to give access to ready-to-use training material on European law. This material is designed for both legal professionals wishing to expand their knowledge and understanding independently, and for trainers of legal professionals wishing to organise training sessions on EU law. The Portal also hosts factsheets on good judicial training practices that can inspire training providers of all legal professions to improve their training offer.
There are around 1.4 million legal practitioners in the EU, including judges, prosecutors, lawyers, notaries, bailiffs and court staff. The Commission's 2011 Communication on European Judicial Training set an ambitious target of training 700 000 legal practitioners (half the EU total) in European judicial training by 2020. It also asked for high quality legal training (practice orientated and using modern learning methods).
Such training is important in ensuring legal practitioners are well equipped to implement EU law and in fostering a sense of a common European judicial culture based on mutual trust. Meeting this challenging goal requires commitment from all stakeholders: national governments, Councils for the judiciary, national and European judicial training institutions, legal professions at national and European level. In March the Commission presented its vision on the future justice agenda (IP/14/233) which should focus on three main challenges: trust, mobility and growth.
The Commission is building on the strengths of all existing training providers, including the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN) and the Academy of European Law (ERA), and on the European-level legal professional organisations: the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ), the Association of the Councils of State and Supreme Administrative Jurisdictions of the EU (ACA-Europe), the Network of the Presidents of the Supreme Judicial Courts of the EU, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), the Council of Notaries of the EU (CNUE), the International Union of Judicial Officers (UIHJ) and the European Legal Interpreters and Translators Association (EULITA).
For more information:
Workshop "Building upon good practices in European judicial training", 26-27 June, Brussels
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Figure 1: Judges participating in continuous training activities in EU law or in the law of another Member State (as a % of the total number of judges)* (1)
*In a few cases reported by the Member States the ratio of participants to existing members of a legal profession exceeds 100%, meaning that participants took part in more than one training activity on EU law. Some of the exceptionally high figures may suggest that, the data delivered concerns training in all subjects and not just in EU law.
Figure 2: The target set in 2011 to train 700 000 i.e. half of all legal practitioners in the EU, by 2020 has proven to be realistic, but will only be reached if more legal professional are trained in EU law per year than the number trained in 2012. (1)
Figure 3: Distribution of training activities on EU law by specific topics (1)
(1) Source: European Commission, European judicial training, 2012
Figure 4: Yearly attendance at the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN)'s training activities