Strasbourg, 6 February 2003
CCJE (2003) 32
Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)
Questionnaire on judges’ training: reply submitted by the delegation of Slovak Republic
Questionnaire on Judges, Training
a) Initial training for prospective judges
1. Are prospective judges given any initial training?
If so, how long does this last?
Yes, preparatory service of the prospective judges lasts three years following article 61 paragraph 1 of the Act on Courts and Judges No. 335/1991 Coll.
The Minister of Justice of the Slovak Republic is allowed to include to the preparatory service of a candidate also other legal practice in others working branches where the candidate gained necessary experiences for the performance of the function of judge. This shortening of the preparatory service shall not exceed two years.
2. Is the right to or requirement to undergo training stipulated in any law or regulation?
If so, please specify.
Yes, the claim to undergo training is stipulated in the article 61 paragraph 1 of the Act on Courts and Judges (No. 335/1991 Coll.).
There is defined in this article the purpose of the preparatory service of the candidates for judges. In the same Act (in the article 63) it is stipulated that after the termination of fhe preparatory service the candidates shall be obliged to submit to a specialized judicial examination. Under the Act on Judges and Lay Judges No. 385/2000 Coll. to pass specialized judicial examination is one of the conditions for the act of appointing 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 the latter paid?
Both the training for prospective judges and judges in function are financed by the national budget through the budget of the Ministry of Justice.
4. Is there a judges´ training institution?
If so, is it a permanent public body?
Education of judges and also of prospective judges is provided by the Ministry of Justice through an Institute of Education which was established by the Minister of Justice for that purpose. It is not a public body. It is straight directed by the Ministry of Justice.
5. If there is such an institution, please describe briefly how it is organized, how it operates and who provides the training.
The Institute of Education which was established by the Ministry of Justice is a self-
sustaining, not profit-making organization which operationally and technically covers the education activities. It offers feeding and accommodating services but not the educational process itself. This training process is provided by external lectors who are experienced experts from practice, either judges from higher courts or teachers from faculties of law, eventually lectors from abroad. The Ministry of Justice obtains the lectors.
The activities of the Institute are managed by biannual educational projects which are prepared by the Ministry of Justice.
The director of the Institute is appointed straight by the Minister of Justice.
6. What subjects does judges´ training cover?
Special preparation for prospective judges is composed of two parts:
i) theoretical preparation,
ii) practical preparation.
i) Theoretical preparation is organized by forms of several one week lasting meetings in the Institute of Education. This preparation is realized by forms of talks, seminars and exercises of the following subjects:
- constitutional law,
- criminal law,
- administrative law,
- organization of courts,
- psychology and ethics.
The purpose of this praparation is an extension of knowledge received at the time of study at the faculties of law and to gain capability to solve various modelling situations of the legal proceedings.
ii) Practical preparation is realized at the district courts to which candidates for judges are assigned for the preparatory service. Each candidate has an assigned trainer who is responsible for specialized preparation of a candidate. The goal of this practical preparation is to gain required experiences in the decision making process in the legal proceedings on the level of district courts.
7. Is there an and-of-training examination to assess ability to perform the duties of judge?
One of the conditions for appointment a judge is to pass a specialized judicial examination in the face of a committee appointed by the Minister of Justice.
b) In-service training
1. Is there an in-service judges´ training scheme?
If so, how is it organized and what subjects are covered?
Education activities for judges are realized according to the biannual educate projects which prepares the Ministry of Justice in cooperation with the Association of Judges of the Slovak Republic and with regional courts.
The Association of Judges of the Slovak Republic is in a position to vote some topics of education and training as well as is also allowed to manage an education undertaking itself.
The training imply above all specialistic sessions, seminars, courses workshops, consultations and discussions assigned for groups of judges according to the sorts of the agendas which they execute.
In addition there are organized seminary and courses which include the topics common for all judges namely about such subjects as they are:
- the law of the European Union,
- application of the European Convention on Human Rights,
- communication abilities and contact with the media,
- language courses.
Under the Act No. 185/2002 Coll. on Judicial Council of the Slovak Republic it belons to sphere of competence of the Judicial Council to determine the content of judges´ training.
2. Is in-service training optional or compulsory?
Education and training of judges are voluntary. But on the other side there is stated in the article 30 paragraph 7 of the Act on Judges and Lay Judges No. 385/2000 Coll. that:
“A judge shall be responsible for deepening his/her specialist knowledge and, according to circumstances, for using offered possibilities for training. A judge is obliged to contribute through his/her own expertise and skills to the professional preparation of apprentice judges and working younger judges. These uses of his/her expertise and skills in professional preparation towards raising and deepening the professional level of the judiciary, of apprentice judges and other court employees is only with his/her consent and if it does not interfere with his/her duties in performing his/her function.”
Participation in the training for judges is considered as a part of judges´ work.
A judge has the right to provision of conditions for systematic and cost-free education throughout the entire period of exercising his/her function, to cost-free provision of legal regulations, professional literature and documents necessary for the correct exercise of his/her function.
A judge shall be entitled to a study leave in the needed extent for deepening His/her qualification; he/she shall be entitled to his/her function salary for this period.
3. Who runs such training?
In fact the Ministry of Justice and occasionally the Association of Judges. It is stated under the law that the education of judges is provided by the Ministry of Justice, universities and other further education institutions after agreement with the Ministry of Justice. The basic direction of the content of professional education of judges for a relevant calendar year is determined by the Judicial Council of the Slovak Republic (article 35 par. 2 of the Act on Judges and Lay Judges).
Regional and district courts organize training on the regional level.
4. What approaches are adopted to impress upon judges the need to improve their professional skills?
Participation in the educational activities shall be a part of evaluation of a judge. Evaluation of a judge has to be performed under the new Act on Judges and Lay Judges (from the year 2000) ever after each five years of performance of this function, and always in connection with selection procedure and also if the judge asks for the evaluation.
A judge is evaluated by the President of a Court where the judge performs his/her function.
5. Is there a specific training scheme for judges at the beginning of their careers?
If so, please describe it briefly.
Exactly determinated training scheme for each individual judge at the beginning of his/her career does not exist, but the Ministry of Justice organizes for the functionally young judges particular seminars during the first four years of the performance of their functions. Participation in such seminars is voluntary.