On 17 and 18 October, EJTN organised a Conference of Directors on “Training Judicial Professionals in the Attention to Diversity”. The event took place in a hybrid format within the framework of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU and was hosted by the Centro de Estudios Jurídicos (CEJ, Centre for Legal Studies Judicial School, Spanish Ministry of Justice), with the support of the Escuela Judicial (Spanish Judicial School, General Council of the Judiciary).
Diversity in judicial training was the main theme of this Conference of Directors, a particularly important topic given that diversity is a founding value of the Union (Articles 2 and 3 of the Treaty on European Union).
The Conference of Directors was structured around four workshops that addressed different aspects of diversity, namely breaches or gaps in access to justice, with special attention paid to the language gap, people with disabilities, child-friendly justice systems and the inclusion of a gender perspective in judicial training.
High-level representatives from EJTN Members’ judicial schools, Associate Members and Observers learnt first-hand. They exchanged views about the multifaceted dimensions of diversity in the training content for justice professionals, a major imperative in today’s complex societies. Discussions involved experience sharing and highlighted the challenges of ensuring that diversity is properly addressed in Europe’s justice systems, whilst ensuring that everyone remains equally subject to the law.
In particular, the Conference of Directors enabled the Network to identify a series of training topics on diversity, on the basis of the experiences of national judicial training. EJTN has set itself the goal of mainstreaming diversity considerations, whenever relevant, in its activities through the training of its activity coordinators to achieve a multiplying effect.
EJTN activities in the area of diversity
The Conference of Directors was also an opportunity for participants to learn about ongoing EJTN activities in the area of training on cultural diversity, an important topic as European societies are continuously evolving.
EJTN’s close partnership with the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology enables the Network to organise regular study visits and seminars on cultural diversity in the courtroom. These activities aim to help justice professionals learn about cultural anthropology concepts that are helpful in effectively addressing cultural and religious diversity in the courtroom (video available here).
EJTN launches new Working Group on Digitalisation
In addition to its Conference of Directors, EJTN organised an extraordinary General Assembly, which was required to establish a new working group dedicated to digitalisation, an area that presents important challenges but also opportunities for Europe’s justice systems.
During the Extraordinary Assembly, 17 Members and 3 Associate Members were elected to the new Working Group on Digitalisation. The French National School for the Judiciary (ENM), represented by its Deputy Director Haffide Boulakras, was elected as Convener of the group. The EJTN Extraordinary Assembly also approved a new action plan that will steer EJTN’s work in the digitalisation field.
This new working group will be instrumental in promoting the training of European judges, public prosecutors and court staff on all subjects linked to digital transformation and relevant to the way they perform their responsibilities, including training on digital resources and capabilities as applied to European judicial systems, and the development of new digital training tools.
EJTN’s Secretary General, Judge Ingrid Derveaux, said: “As we gather here, we acknowledge that diversity encompasses not only race, ethnicity, and gender but also differences in thought, perspective, and experience. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the judiciary and court staff possess the skills, awareness, and understanding required to address the challenges that come with an increasingly diverse society. You are the directors and in that capacity multipliers. You therefore have a key role to play in this area”.
The Spanish Secretary of State for Justice, Tontxu Rodríguez Esquerdo, stressed that “the importance of training to achieve a Public Justice Service of the highest possible quality is unquestionable” and highlighted “the European dimension of judicial training which along with other policies, contributes to reinforcing the space of trust, security and understanding that constitutes the EU”. He also stressed that the creation of a working group on digitalisation “will contribute to providing more and better skills to judges, prosecutors and court and prosecution staff”, one of the priorities of the Ministry of Justice led by Pilar Llop.
CEJ Director, Abigail Fernández, stressed that the event “will enable judicial training institutions to share the different strategic training lines that are being developed on a European level to move towards a Justice better adapted to society’s expectations”.
To conclude, EJTN reiterates its sincere gratitude to the Centro de Estudios Jurídicos (CEJ) and the Escuela Judicial for their efforts in organising a very successful Conference of Directors and Extraordinary General Assembly.
Both events have not only enriched the EJTN community but also advanced the cause of diversity and inclusion within judicial systems and laid a strong foundation for future European cooperation in the area of digital judicial training.
As a result of the vote that took place during the 2023 EJTN Extraordinary Assembly of the EJTN, the Working Group on Digitalisation will be composed as follows
France – National School for the Judiciary
Belgium – Judicial Training Institute
Bulgaria – National Institute of Justice
Croatia – Judicial Academy
Estonia – Office of the Prosecutor General
Germany – Federal Ministry of Justice
Greece – National School of Judiciary
Italy – High Council for the Judiciary
Italy – School for the Judiciary
Latvia – Latvian Judicial Training Centre
Netherlands – Training and Study Centre for the Judiciary
Poland – National School of Judiciary and Public Prosecution
Portugal – Centre for Judicial Studies
Romania – National Institute of Magistracy
Spain – Judicial School
Spain – Centre for Legal Studies
Sweden – Prosecution Authority
France – National School of Clerks
Portugal – Directorate General for the Administration of Justice
Romania – National School of Clerks