New Strategy on European Judicial Training for 2021-2024
19 January 2021 (updated 1 year, 4 months ago) // Published in printed Issue 4/2020 p 264
2018-Max_Planck_Herr_Wahl_1355_black white_Zuschnitt.jpg Thomas Wahl

On 2 December 2020, the Commission presented its new strategy on European judicial training for 2021-2024. It follows-up the strategy that was adopted in 2011 and covered the period until 2020. The Commission stresses that judicial training remains high on the EU agenda and needs further be strengthened. It addresses challenges detected (--> annual reports on European judicial training, e.g. eucrim 4/2019, 229-230 for the 2018 report; eucrim 1/2019, 10 for the 2017 report) and new developments, such as the exponential digitalisation of societies or the deterioration of fundamental rights in some EU countries. Based on a thorough evaluation of the 2011-2020 strategy and a public consultation conducted in 2018, the Commission sets out its vision for the coming years. It also includes calls on actions addressed to the training providers, e.g. European Judicial Training Network, the Academy of European Law (ERA), and the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA-Luxembourg). The new strategy is built upon four strands:

  • Training substance addressing broad areas of EU law, providing a flexible response to existing and emerging EU law training needs;
  • Training audience addressing a broad range of justice professionals enlarging geographical coverage and boosting judicial training for young practitioners;
  • Training methodology using modern and digital training methods to guarantee high-quality and effectiveness;
  • Shared responsibility for judicial training between Member States, training providers, national and European justice professions' organisations, and the EU.

The new strategy sets ambitious targets both in terms of quantity and quality. Overall, more justice professionals should attend training on EU law and training providers should improve the EU law training on offer. Objectives in terms of quantity are however more targeted to the professional groups. By 2024, continuous training on EU law should reach each year:

  • 65% of judges and prosecutors;
  • 15% of court and prosecution office staff who need EU law competence;
  • 15% of lawyers;
  • 30% of notaries;
  • 20% of bailiffs.

The main qualitative objectives are as follows:

  • Making sure that European acquis on the rule of law and fundamental rights is not only a standard component of basic judicial training but also part of the continuous trainings;
  • Embedding “judgecraft”, non-legal knowledge and skills in the national continuous training programmes;
  • Making sure that every future or newly appointed judge and prosecutor takes part in a cross-border exchange during the initial training.
  • Organising cross-border training activities every year for at least 5% of all judges and prosecutors;
  • Assuring training providers offer tailored e-learning, which is interactive, practical and accessible to all learners;
  • Encouraging training providers to follow more closely the recommendations in the Advice for training providers and the EJTN Handbook on judicial training methodology in Europe;
  • Promoting e-training to address justice professionals' immediate needs in the context of a concrete case;
  • Exploiting the full potential of e- learning methodologies;
  • Evaluating every training activity more uniformly.

The new strategy confirms that judges and prosecutors remain the main target group for training on EU law. The strategy also supports justice professionals in the Western Balkans and in other EU partner countries, in Africa and Latin America. This should contribute to strengthening democracy, human rights and upholding of the rule of law around the word.

The 2021-2024 European judicial training strategy was presented together with the Commission’s annual report that assessed the achievements of judicial professional trainings on EU law in 2019 and the launch of the European Training Platform (--> separate news items).

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2018-Max_Planck_Herr_Wahl_1355_black white_Zuschnitt.jpg
Thomas Wahl

Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law (MPI CSL)

Public Law Department

Senior Researcher