More and more EU legislation calls for the intervention of court staff. Therefore, their EU law training need is a reality. The 2014 study on court staff’s training on EU law and the 2015 Conference of the European Commission’s Directorate General of Justice and Consumers (DG Justice and Consumers) on court staff training underlined that court staff have specific training needs, which are different from the other branches of the judiciary. Their specific training needs depend on the individual tasks of each of the professionals. The situations are different in all the EU Member States.
An important new dimension in EJTN’s future endeavours contained in its Strategic Plan 2021–2027 adopted in 2019 will see the expansion of the EJTN to address court staff training and the welcoming of court staff training institutions into the EJTN fold. Changes to EJTN’s Articles of Association to accommodate this were subsequently approved at the General Assembly.
In 2019, the European Commission’s Directorate General of Justice and Consumers (DG Justice and Consumers) launched a ‘Study on the Training Needs of Court Staff on EU Law in the EU’. This study has been commissioned to the consortium led by the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN) in collaboration with the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA).
The general objective of the study, which is financed by DG Justice and Consumers, is to map in detail the training needs on EU law of the different types of court staff according to their respective tasks in the EU Member States. The expression ‘court staff’ for the purpose of the study means “the support staff of courts and tribunals and of prosecutors’ offices, whatever their education background or legal status in the countries”.
Building upon the 2014 study on court staff’s training on EU law, learnings and recommendations stemming from the different past and ongoing studies, conferences and projects dedicated to court staff’s training in the EU, previous grants’ projects and ongoing projects, the project relies on data collected at national level throughout 2020 using three rounds of questionnaires. A team of 34 national coordinators coming from 27 EU Member States has been appointed by national training providers and entrusted with the data collection. The data will then be analysed and used by the project’s Experts in Judicial Training to write the final study. An Experts Committee has also been created to advise on the content of the project.
The initiation phase of the project conducted in 2019 laid the foundations for the future project’s activities mainly by confirming the list of national coordinators, who will play a central role in the data collection, and by further developing the methodology that will be used to complete the project.
In January 2020, the national coordinators were invited to a kick-off Conference with the objective to raise ownership and involvement in the study. During plenary sessions and workshops, they received first-hand information on how to best complete their task and could discuss with each other and with the project’s team the strategies that will be used in their respective countries. Questionnaire 1, 2 and 3 will run successively in 2020.
The final study is intended to be delivered in June or July 2021.