Strasbourg, 16 May 2002
CCJE (2003) 21
Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)
Questionnaire on judges’ training: reply submitted by the delegation of Croatia
Questionnaire on Judges, Training
a) Initial training for prospective judges
1. Are prospective judges given any initial training?
If so, how long does it last?
Prospective judges do not have initial training in a sense that some kind of school for prospective judges is established.
Most of the judges in Croatia are appointed from judge trainees . Their practise in the courts of first instance lasts for two years and in that period of time they get training in everyday practice work of court and of the judge. Most of newly appointed judges work for several years as court clerks after passing the judges exam before Ministry of justice.
Those judges who are appointed from other law professions do not get even this kind of initial training. Only formal requirement for appointment is working experience and judge's exam.
2. Is the right or requirement to under go training stipulated in law or regulation?
If so, please specify.
Only for those who have the position of judges trainee their duties and rights are regulated by specific law ( Law on judges trainees) and in that law there is stated that their duty is to pass all court departments and to perform judges duties under supervision of particular judge. His/hers performance is evaluated by a judge.
3. Is training run and financed by the state or by other means?
Is it free of charge for prospective judges and are they latter paid?
As there is no institutional training for judges it is not financed by the state. Only those who are appointed as judges trainees have salary according to the law and this kind of training is ipso facto paid.
4. Is there judge's training institution?
If so, is it permanent public body?
Training institution exist only on the paper. It was established by decision of Minister of justice but in practice it does not exist.
5. If there is such an institution, please describe briefly, how it is organised, how it operates and who provides the training.
Unfortunately, this question is answered like ad 4.
6. What subjects does judges' initial training cover?
See answer ad 2. and ad.4.
7. Is there end-of-training examination to assess ability to perform the duties of a judge?
Legal formal requirement stated in article 50. of Law on Courts is that candidate for appointment has to pass examination before commission of Ministry of justice.
Members of such commission are appointed by Minister of justice.
Mainly members are judges of Supreme Court, prominent lawyers and State prosecutors .
Exam has two parts, practical and theoretical . In practical part candidate is writing judgement in civil and criminal case.
In theoretical part candidate is answering before commission several subjects, as criminal law and procedure, civil law and procedure, constitutional law, organisation of judiciary, administrative law, family law, real estate law, commercial law etc.
To approach the exam candidate needs two years of practice as a judge's trainee, public prosecutor or lawyer's trainee, or five years in other legal processions after graduation on law faculty.
After passing the exam Ministry of justice issues certification end diploma that candidate passed the exam.
b) In-service training
Is there an in-service judge's training scheme?
If so, how is it organised and what subjects are covered?
By article 22. of Law on Courts one of duties of Supreme Courts is to "provide for the professional development of judges".
Judges of Supreme Courts in co-operation with County Courts ( courts of appeal) and High Commercial Courts organise seminars with all judges of particular court where warriors questions on practical application of laws are discussed.
Judges of Courts of Appeal also organise such kind of seminars with judges of Municipal and Commercial Courts.
Seminars are organised at least once a year.
In such way principle of training of judges by judges is fulfilled.
Other kind of training for judges, but not exclusively for them, but also for other legal professions are organised by law publishers. Those seminars, which have long tradition in Croatia, on all aspects of law are organised on commercial principle and judges are attending such seminars. Application fees are paid by court's budget and number of judges who can attend such seminars is limited because of budget restrictions.
2. Is in-service training optional or compulsory?
According to article 62. of Law on Courts judges must always develop professionally and participate in the programmes of professional education and development.
3. Who runs such training ?
See answer ad 1.
4. What approaches are adopted to impress upon judges the need to improve their professional skills?
The need for judges to improve their professional skills is constantly stressed by President of Supreme Court, Association of judges, media, nongovermental organisations, Ministry of justice, Law faculty etc.
Because of large number of judges in Croatia who have five or less years of experience need for permanent education is widely recognised but lack of funds and incapability of Ministry of justice to establish in practice institution which task would be only education of judges and creating specific programs for all kinds of judges makes this idea ver far in this moment.
5. Is there specific training scheme for judges at the beginning of their careers? If so, please describe briefly.
There is no such scheme.