Strasbourg, 18 November 2002
CCJE (2003) 26
Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)
Questionnaire on judges’ training: reply submitted by the delegation of Denmark
Questionnaire on Judges, Training
a1. Are prospective judges given any initial training? If so, how long does this last.
According to the Danish Administration of Justice Act section 42 a judge only be appointed if he or she has a university degree in law.
In Denmark a significant proportion of future judges start their careers as deputy judges, usually between the age of 25 and 35 years. The deputy judges work as trainees the first three years of their career. During this they will have to work with all areas dealt with by Danish city courts. During this time they will also participate in different courses, and from 2002 will have to conclude this training with an examination.
For judges recruited from other branches of the legal system – like civil servants or solicitors – there is no initial training given. No judge at city or High Court level can however be appointed without having worked as a temporary appointed judge for nine months at one of Denmark’s two High Courts.
a2. Is the right to or requirement to undergo training stipulated in any law or regulation.
No, but according to the above mentioned section 42 a judge can only be appointed judge if he or she has a university degree in law.
a3. Is training run and financed by the state or by other means? Is it free of charge for prospective judges and are the latter paid?
The education of deputy judges and courses for appointed judges is financed by the state.
a4. Is there a judges training institution? If so, is it a permanent public body?
All training of deputy judges and courses for judges and deputy judges are run by the Court Administration. It is a permanent body.
a5. If there is such an institution, please describe briefly how it is organised, how it operates and who provides the training.
The training is administrated by the department for employment at the Court Administration. In the department an office plans and administers the courses, i.e. decide which courses are to be held, engage teachers for the courses, arrange booking of conference facilities for larger courses etc.
The training/teaching is undertaken by teachers chosen because of the knowledge of the subjects, their background depending on the causes taught. The teachers can be judges, solicitors, professors etc.
a6. What subjects does judges’ initial training cover?
If by judges’ initial training is meant the training of deputy judges then the subjects covered is the handling of civil- and criminal cases, insolvency and winding up of estates. There are also courses in legal writing and in administration. The courses held are generally with a focus on the practical handling of the cases, the rules and legislation governing the different areas should be known by the participants – at least to some extent – beforehand.
a7. Is there an end-of-training examination to access ability to perform the duties of judge?
As mentioned under A1 there is an examination of deputy judges at the end of their three year training period. As for the appointment of judges, all lawyers seeking to become a judge must work as a temporary appointed judge for nine months in one of the two High Courts. After this period the High Court will give an evaluation of the lawyer’s ability to become a judge. Along with this evaluation the Judicial Appointments Council, who advises the Minister of Justice on all appointments of judges, will seek information about the background and earlier work experiences of the lawyer seeking to become a judge.
b1. Is there an in-service judges’ training scheme? If so, how is it organised and what subjects are covered?
Yes. It is organised as mentioned above under A5. The subjects covered are new legislation and in recent years quite a lot of workshops have been arranged, where judges can discuss different practical problems with other judges. There is also a training scheme in administration for the judges who have administrative functions.
b2. Is in-service training optional or compulsory?
b3. Who runs such training?
The courses are organised and run as mentioned above under A5 and A6. The training schemes in administration are generally run by private consultants, but are financed by the Court Administration.
b4. What approaches are adopted to impress upon judges the need to improve their professional skills?
A catalogue of courses and training schemes are sent to all judges two times a year. Other than that nothing is done. Almost all Danish judges are very interested in attending courses and in improving their professional skills – the problem is not to impress upon judges the need to improve their professional skills, but the lack of funds of the Court Administration. The demand for courses and training schemes is much larger than what the Court Administration is able to provide.
b5. Is there a specific training scheme for judges at the beginning of their careers? If so, please describe it briefly.
No, except what is mentioned under a6 and a7.