Centre For Judicial Studies
Created in 1979, and under the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice, although with legal personality and administrative autonomy, the Centro de Estudos Judiciários is the Portuguese institution responsible for both the initial and on-going training of judges and public prosecutors, as well as training initiatives at an international level.
Initial training consists of a theoretical and practical phase, as well as a probationary stage. The theoretical and practical phase comprises two successive cycles of 11 months each. The first cycle takes place at the CEJ premises and its main objective is to assist the trainees in developing the qualities and acquiring the technical skills fundamental to the judicial functions, not disregarding the human dimension of such functions. The subjects of the theoretical and practical phase have been divided into three groups: General, that deals with matters like Constitutional Law, Ethics and Deontology, Judicial organization and Judicial Institutions and Foreign Languages; Specialized, approaching subjects such as European and International Law, Administrative Law, Forensic Medicine, Judicial Psychology and Judicial Sociology; Professional, dealing with Civil Law and Civil Procedure, Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure, Family and Children’s Law and Labour Law and Labour Procedure
The training activities of this first cycle, delivered by trainers, include regular group training sessions, case discussion, mock trials and seminars and the trainees’ participation is assessed by trainers regarding their aptitude to perform the functions of judges or public prosecutors. To that end, two reports with qualitative assessments are written at the end of the first and second trimester, those assessments becoming quantitative in the moment of the final grading of the cycle.
The second cycle takes place at the courts, in which the trainees are placed taking into consideration their previous option to become judges or public prosecutors. Here, the training is supervised by mentor judges and prosecutors and involves the participation of the trainees in judicial tasks; they are expected to take part in acts regarding the preparation of cases, to help in preparing drafts of documents for a case and to assist with the gathering of evidence and judicial decisions.
Upon completion of the theoretical and practical phase, trainees begin the probationary period and are appointed as trainee judges or public prosecutors by the respective High Council. The probationary period lasts for 18 months, during which the trainees perform their respective functions with the assistance of supervisors, but with full responsibility for their acts. After this period, the judges and prosecutors are granted tenure.
Here arrived, the now appointed judges and prosecutors may maintain their attachment to the CEJ by attending on-going training, which is another attribution of the CEJ in the framework of the professional training of magistrates.
The on-going training plan is drafted yearly by the CEJ in direct cooperation with the High Councils of Judges, Administrative Judges and Public Prosecutors, so as to enhance the deepening of knowledge, facilitating the contact and the exchange of experiences through the organization of seminars, conferences, workshops, meetings, debates and lectures.
Finally, concerning training at an international level, CEJ has developed several training activities on a bilateral basis, with training schools from other countries, and in partnership with other institutions, among which are the Academy of European Law from Trier (ERA) and the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN), the CEJ being a member of both of them.
The carrying out of the international training activities is an attribution of the International Department that operates as part of the CEJ. Under the direct supervision of the CEJ Director, it is responsible for the planning, coordination, provision of information and technical support in matters relating to judicial training, within the context of European affairs, international relations and cooperation agreements.
At present, the CEJ employs 35 trainers and 45 staff members.