Strasbourg, 14 February 2002
CCJE (2003) 8
Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)
Questionnaire on judges’ training: reply submitted by the delegation of Italy
A. 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?
2. Is the right to or requirement to undergo training stipulated in any law or regulation?
If so, please specify.
The answers to the questionnaire are referred only to judges of the "ordre judiciarie". Royal Decree 30 Jan. 1941, n. 12, as amended, shall be hereinafter cited as "Rules governing the judicial organisation".
According to art. 121 of the "Rules governing the judicial organisation", in order to be recruited as a member of the "ordre judiciare" (including in Italy both judges and public prosecutors) a candidate must have successfully served an apprenticeship as a "judicial auditor". According to art. 123, candidates for posts of judicial auditors must pass a competitive examination. After a successful apprenticeship - as ascertained through an evaluation made by the Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura (C.S.M. - in English, hereinafter, Higher Council for the Judiciary) on the basis of a complex procedure involving tutors, local Judicial Councils and supervising judges appointed by the same Judicial Councils - a judicial auditor is given judicial functions and assigned to a judicial post. After a year of exercise of judicial functions (with the assistance of two tutors and participation to national and local "complementary" training activities), the judicial auditor is further evaluated and finally appointed as "tribunal judge" (or prosecutor).
The present discipline of training of judicial auditors has been deliberated by C.S.M. on 11th June 1998 and reproduced in the Decree of the President of the Republic of 17th July 1998.
Concerning the duration of training, Art. 3 of the above cited D.P.R. 17th July 1998 provides that total duration of the "apprenticeship" as a judicial auditor without judicial functions be determined for each judicial competition by C.S.M., ordinarily not below eighteen months. For the apprentice judges who started their initial training in February 2002, the duration has been exceptionally reduced to fifteen months, in order to fill up in a reasonable time vacancies that have been created by the lack of judicial competitions in the past few years. After the said initial training, complimentary training takes place during the period of service of "judicial auditors with judicial functions".
The examination to obtain a post as "judicial auditor" represents the ordinary way to access the judicial career (see answers to the previous questionnaire concerning recruitment of the Judiciary). However, art. 14 of Law 13 February 2001, n. 481 has added a new article in the "Rules governing the judicial organisation" (art. 126-ter), according to which lawyers with five years of practice or having served five years as honorary judges, aged less than 45, may be appointed judges after passing a competitive examination (in which more relevance is attributed to practical knowledge), parallel to the one for judicial auditors and regarding a number of posts not exceeding 1/10 of those to be covered by judicial auditors. Successful applicants in this competition must serve an apprenticeship period of only one year, at the end of which they are placed in seniority order after judges with three years of practice (plus apprenticeship). So far, this system of recruitment has not yet been applied.
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?
Initial training is run by the Higher Council for the Judiciary and is financed, for what concerns national initiatives, by the same Council. Specific financial arrangements govern local training initiatives.
Judicial auditors are obliged to attend initial training, which is free of charge for them. They are paid and enjoy a status which is similar to that of civil servants.
Judicial auditors with judicial functions, while they enjoy full judicial status, also with reference to compensation, are obliged to attend complementary training.
4. Is there a judges’ training institution?
If so, is it a permanent public body?
5. If there is such an institution, please describe briefly how it is organised, how it operates and who provides the training.
The "Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura" (CSM - in English, Higher Council for the Judiciary) is the self-governing body for Italy's "ordre judiciaire". Its competences, based upon Articles 104 and 105 of the Italian Constitution as well as on Law n. 195 of 24th March 1958 concerning "Establishment and organisation of the Higher Council for the Judiciary", comprises responsibility for recruitment and initial training of "judicial auditors", permanent training of judges and prosecutors, and international co-operation in the field of judicial training.
Decisions concerning initial and permanent training are discussed within one of the several Commissions formed by Council members within the C.S.M. This Commission (the IX Commission) avails itself of a consultative Scientific Committee (composed of judges and public prosecutors as well as University professors), having the tasks of analysing and identifying training needs, as well as designing programmes and methods for judicial training. The C.S.M. in its plenary assembly decides on proposals from the IX Commission and the Scientific Committee.
According to C.S.M.’s resolution of 26 November 1998, a decentralised judicial training network has been established, with the aim of complementing training actions performed at the national level. C.S.M. appoints in each district one or more members of the judiciary as responsible for training to be delivered at the local level.
The IX Commission avails itself of "magistrati segretari" (members of the judiciary working on a full-time basis at the Council's Secretariat General), as well as of a secretarial staff (composed of 12 people). Members of the Scientific Committee as well as rapporteurs within the several initiatives are asked to participate on a part-time basis in the training process.
The annual budget of IX Commission is 5,995,186 Euro.
6. What subjects does judges’ initial training cover?
The content of initial training is implicitly defined by Articles 4 and 5 of the above D.P.R., with reference to the entire range (the details of which are given in the Articles) of judicial professional abilities. During the practical apprenticeship, served by judicial auditors under the supervision of tutors, the above abilities must be acquired.
An explicit list of themes is contained in Art. 12 of the Decree, which provides the discipline of theoretical training through seminars, conferences and lectures organised at a national and a local level. These subjects include substantive and procedural law, judicial organisation, professional ethics, and court management.
7. Is there an end-of-training examination to assess ability to perform the duties of judge?
Please see answer to question A.a).2, above.
As has been made clear above, an "examination" in the narrow sense of the term is administered before the apprenticeship (competition to be appointed judicial auditor).
After the training starts, an "evaluation" is done by C.S.M. twice (once at the end of apprenticeship, once at the end of the period of provisional appointment in judicial functions) on the basis of results attained by trainee.
b) In-service training
1. Is there an in-service judges’ training scheme?
If so, how is it organised and what subjects are covered?
2. Is in-service training optional or compulsory?
3. Who runs such training?
4. What approaches are adopted to impress upon judges the need to improve their professional skills?
As said above, C.S.M. is responsible for in-service training as well.
Each year, C.S.M. organises about 50 training events at a centralised level, each of them involving about 100 participants, p1us a number of other activities at a decentralised level as well as in favour of "judicial auditors". The training events comprise the all range of subjects concerning the judicial activity, as well as cultural and social aspects that are relevant for justice. Each year more than 50 per cent of the members of the judiciary apply for participation in at least one training activity.
Participation in courses and seminars is open to other legal professionals, who are also employed as rapporteurs or experts within several training initiatives.
In-service training is optional. C.S.M. is, however, debating the possibility to impose participation to training as a pre-requisite for change of judicial positions. This might characterise a new approach to make judges aware of the need of training. Training is at present perceived as a right of the judge.
From an ethical and disciplinary point of view, training is to be considered also an obligation.
5. Is there a specific training scheme for judges at the beginning of their careers? If so, please describe it briefly.
Please see above the remarks concerning "complementary training".