Strasbourg, 14 February 2002
CCJE (2003) 12
Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)
Questionnaire on judges’ training: reply submitted by the delegation of Norway
Questionnaire on judges’ training
a) Initial training for prospective judges
In Norway there are no programmes for initial training for prospective judges, although there is a course especially arranged for new judges. This course consists of three separate parts, all of one week’s duration. The first part is about general topics while part two and three cover criminal and civil procedure respectively. The judge will have the opportunity to participate in this course after appointment and in the very beginning after entering his or her post. The course is arranged by the Norwegian Council of Judicial Studies, see below, under b).
Unlike many other countries Norway do not have a fixed career plan within the judiciary for candidates wanting to be a judge. Vacant judgeships are announced publicly. It has been considered desirable for the body of judges to reflect the broadest possible professional legal background. It has furthermore been considered positive to maintain a broadly based recruitment of judges, so that they may combine knowledge from various areas of society and legal work.
b) In-service training
1. Is there an in-service judges’ training scheme? How is it organised and what subjects are covered?
2. Is in-service training optional or compulsory?
3. Who runs such training?
Within the Ministry of Justice, the Court Administration Department, there is a special body, Norwegian State Court IT Service (RIFT), which, as the name suggests, among other things is responsible for the IT service of all the Norwegian courts. RIFT also provides the secretariat for a special in-service training body – the Norwegian Council of Judicial Studies (Etterutdanningsrådet for dommere). The Council is composed of two District Court judges, two Court of Appeal judges, one Supreme Court Justice and two representatives from the Court Administration.
The Council organises a whole range of different courses, covering a broad field of law. The programme is set for one year at a time, partly on the basis of requests from judges. Some courses are repeated annually, for example in Human Rights Law and EEA Law. In addition an annual one-week visit to Strasbourg and Luxembourg, in order to learn about the European Court of Human Rights and the ECJ and EFTA Courts, is arranged. Courses about various procedural subjects are also quite often repeated. When new legislation in an important area comes into force, courses in this subject are usually held.
In addition to open courses the Council sometimes announces scholarships.
The training is optional.
Lecturers on the courses are judges, advocates, professors or other professional experts.
Judges also have the possibility to apply for a leave of up to 6 months duration, in order to improve professional skills. The judge is free to arrange his or her individual training programme for this period.
4. What approaches are adopted to impress upon judges the need to improve their professional skills?
The aim of the Council of Judicial Studies’ activity is to improve the competence of the body of judges. The Council practices a long-term and strategic planning of in-service training. In addition to the judicial and professional training the Council’s responsibility also includes management training and IT.
To be able to reach all judges and to offer them appropriate courses, the secretariat of the Council has sent out a comprehensive questionnaire to all judges on what training needs and priorities they have. The programme is thus based on the requirements of the judges.
5. Is there a specific training scheme for judges at the beginning of their careers?
See above, under a).