Judicial Training

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Background: The Judicial Studies Committee [1997-2012]
Formal judicial training has existed in Scotland since 1997, when the Judicial Studies Committee was set up in order to “promote training for the judiciary both in the Supreme Courts and in the Sheriff Court.”

In 2007, the Judicial Studies Committee took on responsibility for the delivery of the training requirements for Justices of the Peace as approved by the Lord President and now set out in the Justices of the Peace (Training and Appraisal) Scotland Order 2016. All training for JPs will follow a new set of learning objectives, set out in the National Curriculum for Justices of the Peace

The Lord President of the Court of Session became Head of the Scottish Judiciary on 1 April 2010, with the implementation of the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008. That legislation placed upon the Lord President responsibility for “making and maintaining appropriate arrangements for the welfare, training and guidance of judicial office holders.” This involves the making and maintaining of arrangements which are sufficient for the needs of an independent judiciary in a modern Scotland.

The Lord President delegates responsibility for judicial training to the Judicial Institute, of which he is President. The governing body of the Judicial Institute is comprised of judicial office holders from all levels of the judiciary and lay members, one from an educational background.

Members of the governing body of the Judicial Institute

The Judicial Institute [founded 2013]
The Judicial Institute for Scotland was formed on 1st January 2013 and implements the training objectives agreed by the governing body under the overall supervision of the Lord President.

The Lord President has agreed the terms of the Judicial Institute Governance Framework, which came into effect on 29 June 2018.

The Hon Lady Stacey is the Chair of the governing body of the Judicial Institute, and The Hon Lord Armstrong is Vice-Chair. Operational responsibility for the delivery of training rests with the Director of the Judicial Institute Sheriff Alistair JM Duff, Deputy Director Sheriff Susan A Craig and Head of Education Collette Paterson.

The Judicial Institute is based in Parliament House and virtually all training and education takes place in a modern learning suite. The guiding philosophy of the Judicial Institute is that judicial training is judge-led, judge-devised and judge-delivered. 

Training covers a variety of relevant, topical courses on specific subjects, including topics such as sentencing, criminal law, family law and private law.

Emphasis is also placed on bench-specific skills, including court and case management. The Judicial Institute has developed specific training modules in relation to domestic abuse; diversity awareness; equal treatment; and judicial ethics in public life.

The Judicial Institute will continue the outreach work commenced and developed by the Judicial Studies Committee in order that the Scottish judiciary have access to modern, relevant, practical training and education.

The Judicial Institute plays an active role in the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN) and has formed a judicial training partnership with the National Judicial Institute based in Ottawa, Canada. These associations enable the Scottish Judiciary to have access to extensive resources, and training exchanges on an international level. The Judicial Institute also provides a contact point with government and other interested parties.

The Judicial Institute prepares and publishes a variety of papers on new legislation and complex areas of law, as well as producing training materials to support the training events.

Judicial Institute Publications - Annual Reports and Equal Treatment Bench Book

Links to information on other national and international judicial training bodies  

Contact the Judicial Institute for Scotland:

Judicial Institute for Scotland
Parliament House
11 Parliament Square
Edinburgh EH1 1RQ

Telephone: +44 (0)131 240 6930

Email:  judicialinstitute@scotcourts.gov.uk