Cultural diversity in the courtroom - judges in Europe facing new challenges (HFR/2021/09)

Start Date: Thursday, November 18, 2021
End Date: Friday, November 19, 2021
Category: EU Civil Law, Society Issues, Human Rights
Venue: Barcelona, Spain
Language(s): English
Training level: Introductory
Type EJTN-funded activities






This two-day training workshop aims to create a platform to address cultural (including religious) diversity and the challenges it poses to judicial institutions (prosecutors as well as judges) throughout Europe today. It follows a survey conducted among judges from 14 European countries by the (ENCJ)  European Network of Councils of the Judiciary in cooperation with the Law & Anthropology Department of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (Halle, Germany). The survey revealed a clear demand for appropriate training as well as a need for cooperation with non-legal experts with knowledge of diverse sociocultural backgrounds. The training addresses these two dimensions. Guided by a team consisting of an experienced judge and an academic with the relevant sociocultural expertise, participants will discuss and intensively work on selected cases in four subject areas:

labour law

family law/asylum law

criminal law

Participants will be split up into three working groups according to their practical experience in one of these four fields of law.

The question of accommodation of religious and cultural diversity is an integral part of the new reality of judicial practice in each Member State of the European Union, and the EJTN is the only network that undertakes organizing training to judges across Europe. Therefore, this training offers a unique opportunity to conduct comparative legal exercises and to engage in discussions among judges from different EU countries on delicate questions they increasingly face in their daily practice.

The learning objectives of this workshop are an increased awareness of and sensitivity to cultural diversity, and a comparative exploration of how this can be incorporated into judgments, leading to better legal outcomes. Participants will learn how to access relevant sources of information/expertise on issues of cultural diversity and gain familiarity with a range of techniques that facilitate reflection on cultural diversity and how it can be incorporated into individual decision-making processes. The training complements existing trainings on ‘law in context’ on a national level by providing practical exercises on how to grasp diverse lived realities and normative worldviews in increasingly plural societies. In addition, participants have the unique opportunity to directly engage with academics and to learn about the current state of social scientific research about law and diversity


Target audience: 

Target group: Judges (of all levels) and prosecutors active in labour, family, criminal and welfare law with a keen interest in questions of sociocultural and religious diversity in legal practice.


Note: Each applicant must indicate in which of the four abovementioned fields of law he or she has practical experience, as the selection process depends on an even distribution of participants to the three working groups. Participation without practical experience and knowledge in one of the four fields is not possible.

Level: Introductory, but knowledge in at least one of the abovementioned fields of law is necessary.

Total number of participants: max. 40

Language regime: English

Draft programme and further information:

See separate programme.

Case materials for the working groups will be distributed in advance and participants are expected to familiarize themselves with these before the training. Participants are encouraged to submit at least one decision/case summary from their own jurisdiction dealing with a similar constellation 2 weeks in advance of the training to the organizing team.





Application procedure: 

All applications must be submitted through the candidates' national EJTN member institution.


Upon invitation by EJTN, participants register via EJTN online  platform to which they receive access.
After the event, reimbursement is processed via EJTN online platform.

Number of places:

40 judges

Deadline for online registration

29 october 2021







Will be sent to the participants.


EJTN Secretariat:

Arno Vinkovic