Strasbourg, 11 March 2003

CCJE (2003) 34
English only

Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)

Questionnaire on judges’ training: reply submitted by the delegation of United Kingdom

Questionnaire on Judges, Training

N.B. The answers to this questionnaire must, in the context of the United Kingdom, be read bearing in mind that

(a) judges in all three relevant jurisdictions (England, Northern Ireland and Scotland) are appointed from the ranks of experienced practititioners; there are statutory qualifications (set out in the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990) which stipulate the type and number of years’ experience required for appointment to each of the various judicial levels1;

b) all three jurisdictions permit practitioners who are not full-time judges to sit as part-time judges (known as “Recorders” or as “Deputy” Judges, Masters or Registrars) for at least one month each year (pursuant to five year appointments to sit as such); the very great majority of full-time judicial appointments are made from among practitioners who have so served.

In addition, there are many part-time lay appointments to sit as members of Tribunals (civil) and Magistrates Courts (mainly criminal). Separate training programmes (not the subject of this note) exist prior to any appointment and during its tenure. They are also funded by the Lord Chancellor’s Department, and the Judicial Studies Board or Committee (see answers 3 and 4 below) has an advisory role.

(a) Initial training for prospective judges

1. Are prospective judges given any initial training? If so, how long does this last?

Yes. First, (voluntary) “work shadowing” experience is offered to any practitioner who wishes it. This involves spending time with a full-time judge. Second and more importantly, any applicant who the Lord Chancellor is considering appointing as a Recorder or Deputy2 must first attend and complete an “induction course” of five days, and must after appointment sit in with a full-time judge for (at least) five and usually ten days before sitting in his own right. A Recorder who will be trying crime must also visit penal establishments. Appointments to most (though not the highest) judicial offices now take place by way of advertisement, assessment and competition.

Circuit judges will customarily be appointed to sit in fields in which they have sat as Recorders. High Court judges may find themselves on appointment expected to sit in fields (such as crime or civil) in which they have not had extensive experience. They will then be “volunteered” to attend a refresher course in that field. See also the note on “ticketing” in (b)(2) below.

2. Is the right to or requirement to undergo training stipulated in any law or regulation? If so, please specify.

Not as such. However, the Lord Chancellor has in recent years taken great care to make public the procedures which he follows and the requirements which he imposes before any appointment. They include the above. Fuller details appear from his website on Judicial Appointments at:

3. Is the training run and financed by the state or by other means?
By the state, through the Lord Chancellor’s Department, and the budget which it gives to the Judicial Studies Board, which is then independently administered under the chairmanship of a senior judge.

Is it free of charge for prospective judges and are the latter paid?
Yes in each case.

4. Is there a judges’ training organisation and is it a permanent public body?
Yes. The Judicial Studies Board (“JSB”) (or, in Scotland, Judicial Studies Committee – “JSC”). Fuller details appear in the case of England the JSB website:

5. If there is such an institution, please describe how is it organised, how it operates and who provides training?
See the annexed Memorandum of Understanding, taken from the English JSB website (above). The members of the JSB are appointed by the Lord Chancellor, with a majority coming from the judiciary, the magistracy and tribunals. Its Chairman is in practice always a member of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales. Its full-time Director is a Circuit Judge. Committees are appointed with responsibility for particular training areas (civil, criminal, family, equal treatment, magistrates and tribunals), and they run general training courses. Residential training courses are held normally at Warwick University. A wide range of judges is asked to prepare and present particular topics at such courses. Both academics and practising lawyers are also involved with judges in such presentations. The JSB also issues guides or “benchbooks” on such subjects as Specimen Jury Directions, Ethnic Minority issues, Equal Treatment, Family cases, Damages in Personal Injuries Actions and Magistrates Court and Youth Court practice. It also publishes a regular Journal, with articles or news of developments in particular areas.

The Scottish JSC follows similar lines, although on a smaller scale. The JSC is run by a committee of judges, a lawyer and a member of the Justice Department, which determines policy. A judge (usually a Sheriff) acts as full-time Director of Judicial Studies, devises policies and organises courses. Training is by judges or by professionals in the field.

6. What subjects does the initial training cover?
Substantive legal aspects and procedural aspects of the relevant area – as examples, taken from the criminal field: jury trials, equal treatment, handling of vulnerable witnesses, evidence, courtroom conduct, drugs and sentencing. Exercises and mock trials are undertaken in which participants learn how to handle difficult situations and (for example) seek to sum up to a jury or to arrive and pass an appropriate sentence.

b) In-service training
1. Is there an in-service training scheme, how is it organised and what subjects are covered?
Yes, the JSB organises both general periodic “refresher” courses (e.g. in crime, civil or family law) and seminars on particular topics ranging from human rights to procedural reforms or judgment writing. Courses are again usually held at Warwick University. Seminars are held in various centres, often after court hours for one and a half hours in the early evening.

2. Is in-service training optional or compulsory?
For Recorders and Circuit Judges, it is compulsory to attend a residential refresher course every three years. Further, there is an informal system of “ticketing” whereby Circuit Judges can only try certain more sensitive types of case (e.g. rape, murder, serious fraud; or family) if their local presiding judge (who is a High Court judge) gives them a “ticket” to do so – the grant of such a “ticket” being in practice increasingly dependant on attendance on a course in the relevant field.
For High Court and more senior judges attendance has to date always been voluntary. Very recently, however, the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice have extended a form of “ticketing” to High Court Judges in the field of rape (so that no High Court judge, however senior, will now be allocated a rape case, unless he has been on a JSB course on rape cases).
In practice, many High Court and Court of Appeal judges are involved in judicial training or attend courses and seminars. The programmes of the JSB are generally very popular opportunities for all levels of the judiciary to meet and exchange experiences and ideas.

3. Who runs such training?
The JSB or in Scotland JSC.

4. What approaches are adopted to impress upon judges the need to improve their professional skills?
The need to improve professional skills is the avowed aim of the JSB and JSC courses, seminars and its publications and journals. This aim is effectively achieved (a) by presenting interesting and topical courses and seminars and producing relevant publications and (b) by requiring participants in such courses to take part in exercises among their peers, in which as a matter of professional pride they will not wish to be found wanting (although there is no formal system of assessment)!

5. Is there a specific training scheme for judges at the beginning of their careers? If so, please describe it briefly.
See a) above.

About us
The Judicial Studies Board (JSB) was set up in 1979, following the Bridge Report which identified the most important objective of judicial training as being
"To convey in a condensed form the lessons, which experienced judges, have acquired from their experience...".
This remains the essence of the JSB's role. A Circuit Judge, currently Judge William Rose, is seconded to the JSB full-time as Director of Studies. The work of the Committees is supplemented by JSB publications.
The JSB has five objectives:

Objective 1:

To provide high quality training to full- and part-time judges in the exercise of their jurisdiction in Civil, Criminal and Family Law.

Objective 2:

To advise the Lord Chancellor on the policy for and content of training for lay magistrates, and on the efficiency and effectiveness with which Magistrates' Courts Committees deliver such training.

Objective 3:

To advise the Lord Chancellor and Government Departments on the appropriate standards for, and content of, training for judicial officers in Tribunals.

Objective 4:

To advise the Government on the training requirement of judges, magistrates, and judicial officers in Tribunals if proposed changes to the law, procedure and court organisation are to be effective, and to provide, and advise on the content of, such training.

Objective 5:

To promote closer international co-operation over judicial training.

General Enquiries
Judicial Studies Board
9th Millbank Tower
London SW1P 4QU
United Kingdom
Telephone: 020 7217 4736
Facsimile: 020 7217 4779


The Judicial Studies Board (JSB) was set up in 1979, following a review by Lord Justice Bridge, to provide training for judges in the criminal jurisdiction. In 1985 its role was extended to cover the provision of training in the civil and family jurisdictions and the supervision of training for magistrates and judicial chairmen and members of tribunals.


Purpose of Memorandum


This memorandum sets out how the JSB will operate its business and how its relationship with the Lord Chancellor and Parliament will be conducted. The JSB will enjoy a level of autonomy in its financial affairs ( subject to the usual government accounting rules on financial accountability and in accordance with the financial framework at Annex C) consistent with its independence in assessing the need for, and providing, judicial training.


This memorandum will be effective from 1 April 1999 and supersedes that dated 6 June 1996.


This document will be reviewed by the JSB and the Lord Chancellor after it has been in force for five years. Amendments may be made at any time by agreement between the JSB and the Lord Chancellor.


Appointment of Judicial Studies Board


The Chairman and members of the JSB are appointed by the Lord Chancellor. The Board may have up to 18 members, but no fewer than 10, who may be appointed on a personal basis or ex officio. Representatives from the judiciary, the magistracy and tribunals will constitute a majority of the JSB's members. The Chairman and members are normally appointed for 3 years and may be reappointed for a further 2 years. The Lord Chancellor will consult the Chairman before appointing members to the JSB.




The JSB may set up and appoint Committees to advise it on its functions and to assist in carrying out agreed programmes. Existing JSB Committees are listed in Annex A. The Chairman of the Board will consult the Lord Chancellor before appointments as Chairmen of Committees are made, or any lawyers are appointed as members.


The JSB may delegate responsibilities to an Executive Committee.


Director of Studies
The Director of Studies of the JSB will be a circuit judge attached to the JSB on secondment. The Director of Studies attends meetings of the Board and all committees.


The Work and Plans of the JSB


The aim of the Lord Chancellor’s Department is Justice. The work of the JSB contributes directly to this aim. The current Operational Objectives of the JSB are set out below and are reviewed annually:

a)    to provide high quality training to full- and part-time judges in the exercise of their judicial function in civil, criminal and family law.
b)    to advise the Lord Chancellor on the policy for and content of training for lay magistrates, and on the efficiency and effectiveness with which Magistrates’ Courts’ Committees deliver such training.
c)    to advise the Lord Chancellor and Government Departments on the appropriate standards for, and content of, training for judicial officers in Tribunals.
d)    to advise the Government on the training requirements of judges, magistrates and judicial officers in Tribunals if proposed changes to the law are to be effective and to provide, and to advise on the content of, such training.


The Operational Objectives will be agreed annually between the Lord Chancellor and the Board and will be supported by Quality and Timing performance targets which will be set out in the Management Plan


Planning and the Annual Report


The JSB will draw up an annual strategy, covering three forward years, which will include an assessment of judicial training needs. In the light of the strategy, the JSB will draw up spending plans for each financial year in good time to meet LCD’s public expenditure timetable. The strategy and spending plans may need to be amended in the light of the allocations made to the JSB.


Both the strategy and annual plan will contain specific performance targets for value for money in the JSB’s activities. The strategy and annual plan will be sent to the Director General Policy, who will consider the performance targets and allocate resources to the JSB in the light of the plans and the overall resources available to him. The strategy and annual plan will take account of the availability of judges to attend courses, in the light of discussions with the Senior Presiding Judges and the Chief Executive of the Court Service.


The JSB will draw up and publish by 30 June each year a report to the Lord Chancellor on its activities. Copies will be placed in the libraries of both Houses. The Report will cover the JSB’s achievement of its performance targets and will also include details of the their future activities. The LCD and the Home Office will, as far as practicable, keep the JSB informed of any proposed changes in the law (either within the LCD or elsewhere in government) which may have training implications for judges.




The Lord Chancellor will continue to be responsible for allocating resources to the JSB.


The Permanent Secretary of the Lord Chancellor's Department is the Lord Chancellor’s principle adviser on matters affecting the LCD as a whole, including resource allocation and expenditure. He is responsible for advising the Lord Chancellor how the JSB's plans fit into the Lord Chancellor's overall strategy. He is the Principal Accounting Officer for the LCD and must be satisfied that the JSB has adequate financial systems and procedures in place both to promote the economic,

efficient and effective conduct of its business within available resources and to safeguard financial propriety and regularity. He also sets the financial framework for the Secretary of the JSB which is described in Annex C.


The Director General, Policy, who is accountable to the Permanent Secretary, will be the normal channel for consultation on the strategy and annual plans, and will have the responsibility of maintaining contact with the JSB, and its Secretary, as necessary.


The Secretary to the JSB will be treated as an Accounting Officer, directly responsible for JSB expenditure and for following the financial framework set out in Annex C. The Secretary attends meetings of the Board and all committees.


The JSB as an independent body, will be responsible for its own relations with the media. It will advise the LCD of any potentially controversial announcements or developments; it may use the facilities of the LCD Press Office in its dealings with the media.


The Lord Chancellor and the Minister of State are answerable to Parliament on matters relating to the JSB. Members of Parliament and Peers may be encouraged to deal directly with the JSB on those matters which are the JSB's responsibility (e.g. the content and nature of JSB training) if it appears to the Lord Chancellor that this would be appropriate. In such cases the Lord Chancellor or the Minister of State may respond that the JSB will deal directly with such questions. When members of either House write to the Lord Chancellor or the Minister of State about JSB operational matters, they may, in the same way, be encouraged to deal with the JSB directly. The JSB will inform the LCD of' any potentially controversial issues arising with members of either House of Parliament.


If an invitation is received to attend a meeting of a Parliamentary Select Committee, the Lord Chancellor will discuss attendance with the Chairman of the Board. If the subject is the operations of the JSB, the Chairman, the Director of Studies and the Secretary will normally attend. Where appearance is before the Public Accounts Committee, the Secretary, in respect of his accounting officer responsibilities for the JSB will accompany the Permanent Secretary of LCD.




The Director General, Policy will notify the JSB of the budget allocated to it from LCD’s vote prior to the start of the relevant financial year. The JSB will inform LCD of its expenditure through the Departmental Accounting System.


The JSB will prepare a receipts and payments account in accordance with the format specified in the Financial Framework at Annex C. The account will be included in the Annual Report and will be produced on a cash basis until such time as the Department moves to accrual accounting based budgeting and reporting.


The JSB will ensure that its accounting and other procedures incorporate adequate safeguards against theft and fraud. All purchases of goods and services must be based on value for money and contracts should be placed on a competitiveness basis unless there are sound reasons to the contrary.


The JSB will develop and maintain an adequate risk management strategy to assess the value of and threat to key assets and how any risks might be minimised. It may not insure against any such risk without the agreement of LCD (with the exception of the third party insurance required by the Road Traffic Acts).


The JSB will have regard to the requirements of the code of Open Government, as appropriate, in its work.


The Director General, Policy will inform the Secretary of the JSB of the framework for the JSB delegations. The Secretary must ensure that financial limits are not breached and that adequate management controls are in place to enable the JSB to meet Government Accounting requirements and those of LCD’s Finance Manual.


The JSB will be subject to internal audit by the LCD Internal Assurance Division and to external audit by the National Audit Office.




Members of the JSB staff will be civil servants within the LCD or on secondment from other Government departments.


All staff including those on secondment, will be employed on the terms and conditions of service set in the LCD Personnel Management Manual, as amended from time to time, with certain exceptions for staff recruited on fixed term contracts who will normally be neither mobile nor promotible.


Postings to the JSB will be on career development, promotion and posting opportunities that are open to other staff of the Department.


Support Services
The LCD currently supplies the services listed at Annex D to the JSB. In due course, a budget for such services will be transferred, where appropriate, from LCD to the JSB, which will then be fully responsible for purchasing the service. In other cases a service level agreement will be set up between the LCD and the JSB, and costings established for the service. No date has been set to introduce these changes.

1 For example, in England a circuit judge must have 10 years’ right of audience in the Crown or County Court or be a Recorder or have held another judicial office for 3 years). A High Court judge must have had 10 years’ right of audience in the High Court or have been a circuit judge for at least 2 years. A Judge of the Court of Appeal must have 10 years’ right of audience in the High Court or be a High Court judge.
2 There are rare exceptions. Deputy High Court judges (appointed only from the most experienced practitioners) do not at present have to do this.



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