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7 July 2023

Team Netherlands wins THEMIS Competition semi-final on judicial ethics and professional conduct in Krakow, Poland


Team Netherlands won the last of the semi-finals of the 2023 THEMIS Competition that was held between 4 and 7 July at the National School of the Judiciary and Public Prosecution (KSSIP) in Krakow, Poland.

The winning team of Dutch trainee judges and prosecutors delivered a detailed and insightful presentation on the Dutch Childcare Allowance Case and its ethical implications for the judiciary. Team France took the second position with a presentation on judicial workload, whilst Team Greece was proclaimed third, with a presentation on the ethical implications of judges standing up for themselves and protesting.

Team Serbia and Team Moldova were awarded Special Jury Awards, whilst Team Moldova received the honorary Audience Award after a vote amongst the participants was held.

The most attended of all THEMIS semi-finals

This THEMIS semi-final was the most-disputed event of this year’s competition. A total of ten teams had travelled to Krakow to attend the event that addressed the delicate interplay between judicial ethics and professional conduct.

The ten teams delivered presentations before a panel that included Judge Christa Christensen (UK), Prosecutor Manuel Martinez de Aguirre Aldaz (Spain) and Tatiana Veress, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer and Coordinator (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Global Judicial Integrity Network).

Following their interventions, they engaged in an interesting and lively debate with their fellow participants and jury members.

Next stop: Bucharest

The first two teams of the Krakow semi-final, Team Netherlands and Team France, will make it to the THEMIS Grand Final in Bucharest, Romania, which is planned for December 2023.

There, they will meet the teams that qualified in the previous events on EU and European Criminal Procedure (Budapest), EU and European family law (Naples), and EU and European civil procedure (Budapest).

All in all, the THEMIS 2023 Grand Final will bring together teams from France, Italy, Romania, Netherlands, and Germany.


EJTN extends its gratitude to all participating teams, the Polish National School for the Judiciary and Public Prosecution for hosting and flawlessly organising this THEMIS semi-final, and to our jury members for making themselves available for this important event, and engaging in lively discussions with the young members of the European judiciary.


In his welcome speech, the Chairman of EJTN’s Steering Committee and Vice Chairman of the Board of the Dutch Training and Study Centre for the Judiciary (SSR), Remco van Tooren, said:

“THEMIS aims to offer a discussion forum on European law and promote the exchange of experiences between participants. We also want to encourage the development of critical thinking and communication skills among a promising audience who will have the duty to build Europe further”.

“Indeed, as a young generation of judges and prosecutors, it will be your duty to apply European Union law. You will be the first instance judges and prosecutors of the European Union”.

EJTN’s Secretary General Ingrid Derveaux said:

“Judicial ethics and professionalism are at the heart of justice. As judges and prosecutors, we must abide by solid guiding principles clearly outlined in the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct. I hope this event has helped young members of the European judiciary to understand the importance of upholding these values throughout their entire careers”.

“I also would like to thank our jury panel as well as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for their support and commitment to this important initial training activity. The THEMIS semi-final would not have been possible without their valuable contribution”.

The Chair of the Jury, Judge Christa Christensen, noted:

“It has been a privilege to be part of the jury in the Semi-Final D on Judicial Ethics and Professional Conduct in Krakow. All ten teams exhibited the qualities of vibrancy, curiosity, professionalism, collegiality and open-mindedness to challenge and discuss across a wide range of key ethical themes”.

“These included: the challenges of workload pressure and how to avoid becoming disconnected from qualitative decision-making and the human realities of the parties in our courtrooms; how well are judges equipped to exercise judicial discretion when faced with determining issues in the context of cases involving multi-cultural, environmental and political complexities and pressures; judges forming associations, trade unions and striking to protect themselves in the face of the lack of adequate institutional protection; how to measure a judge’s moral charter and integrity; what protections exist for and what pressures might be created by judges’ speaking out’; what measures exist to strengthen judiciaries as institutions and to resist corruption and vulnerability”.

“The competition has left me confident that all of these issues are in safe hands, with these very talented and highly dedicated trainee judges and prosecutors. Thank you to all, and good luck for the future”.

Note for editors

EJTN has organised the highly acclaimed THEMIS Competition annually since 2010. This activity is open to future EU magistrates undergoing entry-level training and provides a platform for debating EU law, practising judicial skills, and exchanging experiences and perspectives.

During the semi-final, the teams must deliver a written paper on a topic of their choice, then give a 30-minute presentation, reply to audience questions and participate in a 45-minute discussion with the jury.

Between 2006 and 2009, the event was organised and financed by the Portuguese Centre of Judiciary Studies and the National Institute of Magistracy of Romania.

The 2023 THEMIS Competition will consist of four semi-finals:

• Semi-final A: EU and European criminal procedure: 16-19 May, Budapest, Hungary.

• Semi-final B: EU and European family law: 6-9 June 2023, Naples, Italy.

• Semi-final C: EU and European civil procedure: 14-16 June 2023, Budapest, Hungary.

• Semi-final D: Judicial ethics and professional conduct: 3-7 July 2023, Krakow, Poland. The winner and runner-up of each semi-final qualify for the grand final on Access to Justice, which will be held in Bucharest in December.

The best-written papers will be published in the THEMIS Annual Journal. The competition winners will be awarded a 5-day study visit hosted by an EJTN Member.