CCJE(2019)1

Strasbourg, 14 March / mars 2019

           

CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL OF EUROPEAN JUDGES (CCJE)

CONSEIL CONSULTATIF DE JUGES EUROPEENS (CCJE)

Compilation of replies to the questionnaire

for the preparation of the CCJE Opinion No. 22 (2019) entitled

“The role of court clerks and legal assistants within the courts

and their relationships with judges”

Compilation des réponses au questionnaire

pour la préparation de l'Avis No. 22 (2019) du CCJE intitulé

« Le rôle des greffiers de justice et assistants juridiques

au sein des tribunaux et leurs relations avec les juges »


Table of Contents / Table des matières

Albania / Albanie. 3

Andorra / Andorre. 8

Austria / Autriche. 13

Azerbaijan / Azerbaïdjan. 19

Belgium / Belgique. 25

Bosnia and Herzegovina / Bosnie-Herzégovine. 44

Bulgaria / Bulgarie. 52

Croatia /Croatie. 58

Cyprus / Chypre. 65

Czech Republic / Republique Tchèque. 70

Denmark / Danemark. 74

Finland / Finlande. 78

France. 88

Georgia / Géorgie. 94

Germany / Allemagne. 100

Iceland / Islande. 107

Ireland / Irlande. 112

Italy / Italie. 115

Latvia / Lettonie. 124

Liechtenstein. 129

Lithuania / Lituanie. 133

Luxembourg. 138

Malta / Malte. 143

Republic of Moldova / République de Moldova. 145

Monaco. 152

Netherlands / Pays-Bas. 156

Norway / Norvège. 162

Poland / Pologne. 168

Romania / Roumanie. 174

Russian Federation / Fédération de Russie. 182

Slovenia / Slovénie. 189

Spain / Espagne. 198

Sweden / Suède. 203

Switzerland / Suisse. 209

Ukraine. 215

United Kingdom / Royaume-Uni 222

Albania / Albanie

I. How are judges supported?

1.         Are judges supported in their work by assistants who are not judges at that court (and also not members of the security or IT staff)?

a) by administrative assistants

b) by judicial assistants

All the judges are supported by administrative assistants, according to the duties set forth in the court's regulation and according to the law "On the Organisation of the Judicial Power in the Republic of Albania".

2.         What is the rationale for employing assistants in your system? If there are different rationales for employing administrative assistants and judicial assistants, please describe those rationales separately.

A Court Council shall be established and functioning in each court.

The Court Council shall consist of the following three members.

a. The chairperson of the court acting as chairperson of the Court Council;

b. The deputy chairperson of the court;

c. The chancellor of that court.

The Court Council shall have the following competences:

a. Approves job descriptions of all categories of judicial civil servants and court employees, according to the model adopted by the High Judicial Council, and in special cases adopts them to the needs of the court and the job criteria;

b. Takes decisions relating to the status of judicial civil servants as set out in this law;

c. Approves the structure and organogram of the court administration, according to the model adopted by the High Judicial Council, and in special cases adopts them to the needs of the court and the capabilities of the incumbents;

ç. Approves the court structure and the assignment of judges to sections and panels after having received the opinion of the general meeting of all judges, following general rules established by the High Judicial Council; "

d. Examines complaints linked to court infrastructure issues, auxiliary services in courts and other issues not related to the performance of judicial administration tasks and reports to the High Judicial Council on complaints and on the measures taken in accordance with the rules issued by the High Judicial Council;

dh. Assesses and revises the draft budget elaborated by the finance officer before submitting it to the High Judicial Council; "

e. Provides information, opinions or reports requested by other state institutions according to the law;

ë. Cooperates with the School of Magistrates and the High Judicial Council on issues relating to the initial and continuous training of judges and judicial civil servants; "

f. Organizes regular meetings with court users in order to enhance the efficiency and quality of justice;

g. Adopts specific rules on safekeeping and security matters in the court;

gj. Performs other task assigned by law.

3.         What kind of duties judicial assistants have at the courts in your member State? If they perform different duties in different courts, please explain these duties separately. Such duties may include:

Judicial assistants are provided only for the judges of the administrative courts. Our court is a court of the ordinary jurisdiction, therefore question 4,5,6,7,8,9 and 10 are not applicable for us.

·         Research, maybe summarised in a memo

·         Discussion with the judge(s)

·         Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law

·         Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law and a suggestion of the judicial assistant how the case should be decided

·         Memos summarising the facts and the relevant law and including a suggestion if a case should be accepted for appeal/constitutional review

·         Drafting parts of the judgment, if so which parts? Facts, certain points under discussion?

·         Drafting complete judgments

·         Proofreading of decisions, maybe including discussing certain points with the judge/pointing out inconsistencies etc. 

·         Reading draft judgments of other judges and discussing them with the judge

·         Crosschecking references

·         Drafting press releases

·         Drafting procedural decisions

·         Deciding procedural issues such as appointing an expert or deciding on costs of proceedings

·         Conducting hearings and deciding simple cases autonomously, for example concerning enforcement, or simple criminal cases. If so, please specify if a judge has to approve the decision or if the decision is taken by the judicial assistant alone.

·         In addition to tasks such as those mentioned above, judicial assistants may also perform administrative duties such as:

-       Writing protocols in hearings

-       Organisation of files

-       Correspondence with parties

-       Preparing the official copies of decisions, preparing decisions for publication

-       Collecting statistical data

4.         If judicial assistants help in the drafting process, how do they do it?

5.         Are judicial assistants present during deliberations? If yes, do they participate in the discussion?

6.         Are judicial assistants present in hearings? If so, what duties do they have during hearings? Are they allowed to ask questions?

7.         Is there a formal rule or an informal consensus among judges, what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake?

8.         Which duties belong exclusively to the judge? 

9.         How does the work of judicial assistants affect decisions and judicial decision making? How do judges ensure that the decision remains "their"?

10.      Is there any official data or - if not - do you have a view how useful judicial assistants actually are e.g. in saving judges’ time ?

II. Organisation of judicial assistants

11.      At which courts in your member State are judges supported by judicial assistants? First instance/second instance/third instance/constitutional court?

Judicial assistants are provided only for the judges of the administrative courts.

12.      If there are lay judges in your system, are they specifically supported by judicial assistants?

Judicial assistants are provided only for the judges of the administrative courts.

13.      How are judicial assistants organised? If there are different forms of organisation at different courts, please explain the different models. For example:

·         Are assistants assigned to one judge individually? If so, how many assistants work for each judge?  

·         Or are they assigned to a panel of judges? If so, how many judicial assistants work for each panel? 

·         Or are they part of a pool of judicial assistants serving the whole court? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

·         Or do they work in teams put together for certain cases? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

14.      Who pays them?

The judicial budget administration office

15.      What is their status? Are they considered as, for example, civil servants, seconded judges or just employees?

Judicial assistants are provided only for the judges of the administrative courts.

16.      How much do they earn compared to the judges for whom they work? You do not need to indicate exact amounts, but mentioning the proportion between the salaries of judges and assistants would be helpful. For example, how does the salary of a judicial assistant working at a first instance court compare to that of a judge at that court?

Judicial assistants are provided only for the judges of the administrative courts.

III. Background and selection of Judicial Assistants

17.      Is serving as a judicial assistant a necessary part of the legal education in your member State / a prerequisite for becoming a judge?

Judicial assistants are provided only for the judges of the administrative courts. Our court is a court of the ordinary jurisdiction, therefore question 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24 are not applicable for us.

18.      What kind of education do judicial assistants have? For example, studies of law, politics, service in the police or military etc., a special education?

19.      What kind of work experience do judicial assistants have? If they have a legal education, have they qualified for practice? Are they seconded judges? Have they gained practical experience, if so, in what areas?

20.      How are they selected?

21.      How long do judicial assistants usually work in that capacity? Just for one or a few months, or years? Or is it a long-term/permanent career? 

22.      If it is a short-term position, what do they do afterwards?

23.      If serving as a judicial assistant is not part of the legal education, why do applicants apply to work as judicial assistants?

24.      If being a judicial assistant is a long-term/permanent position, are there opportunities for advancement?

IV. Status and regulation of judicial assistants 

25.      Do judicial assistants swear an oath? Do they wear some form of official dress at certain occasions? E.g. gowns when in court?

No

26.      Are there formal regulations concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants? if so, is it a statute or internal regulation? If yes, what is regulated by them? Could you provide, as a separate attachment to your answers, the text of the regulation please?

Judicial assistants are provided only for the judges of the administrative courts. Our court is a court of the ordinary jurisdiction, therefore question 4,5,6,7,8,9 and 10 are not applicable for us.

27.      Are there informal rules governing the relationship between judge and judicial assistants?

28.      Are there any rules - formal or informal - concerning the independence and impartiality of judicial assistants?

29.      Can judicial assistants in your member State become members of an association of judges or is there a special association for them?

Yes.

V. General considerations about the support of judges

30.      Do you believe that judges in your system would need more or different support by personnel to work effectively? If yes, what kind of support?

31.      Are there certain challenges that your member State faces as regards the support for judges which have not been mentioned so far?


Andorra / Andorre

I. Quel soutien est apporté aux juges ?

1.         Les juges sont-ils assistés dans leur travail par des assistants qui ne sont pas juges dans cette juridiction (et qui ne font pas non plus partie du personnel informatique ou de sécurité) ? 

a)         par les assistants administratifs

b)         par les assistants de justice

Par  des assistants administratifs et par des assistants de justice.

2.         Quelle est la raison d'être du recours aux assistants dans votre système ? S'il existe des justifications différentes pour l'emploi d'assistants administratifs et d'assistants de justice, veuillez détailler ces justifications séparément.

Les assistants administratifs font des taches d’archive, convocations, correspondance, exécution, attention téléphonique et contrôle des délais.

Les assistants juridiques sont en charge de la documentation, la foi publique, ils dirigent le personnel, prêtent de l’assistance technique, sont responsables du dépôt judiciaire et des statistiques.

3.         Quelles sont les fonctions des assistants de justice auprès des tribunaux dans votre État? S'ils exercent des fonctions différentes dans différents tribunaux, veuillez détailler ces fonctions séparément. Ces fonctions peuvent comprendre :

•           Travaux de recherche, possiblement résumée dans une note

•           Discussion avec le(s) juge(s)

•           Notes avec un résumé des faits d'une affaire et du droit applicable 

•           Notes contenant un résumé des faits d'une affaire et du droit applicable ainsi qu'une proposition de l'assistant de justice sur la façon dont l'affaire devrait être décidée

•           Notes résumant les faits et le droit applicable et contenant une proposition si une affaire devait être acceptée pour un appel / une révision constitutionnelle

 

•           Rédaction de parties du jugement, et si oui, lesquelles ? Des faits, de certains points en discussion ?

Uniquement en ce qui concerne les faits, mais pas la motivation de la décision.

•           Rédaction de jugements complets

•           La relecture des décisions, y compris peut-être la discussion de certains points avec le juge, la mise en évidence d'incohérences, etc. 

•           Lire les projets de jugements d'autres juges et en discuter avec le juge

•           Vérification des références

•           Rédaction de communiqués de presse

•           Rédaction des décisions concernant la procédure

•           Décider des questions concernant la procédure telles que la nomination d’un expert ou les frais de procédure

•           Tenir des audiences et statuer de manière autonome sur des affaires simples, par exemple en matière d'exécution, ou sur des affaires pénales simples. Dans l'affirmative, veuillez préciser si un juge doit approuver la décision ou si la décision est prise par l'assistant de justice seul

•           En plus des tâches telles que celles mentionnées ci-dessus, les assistants de justice peuvent également accomplir des tâches administratives telles que :

-           Rédaction de protocoles au cours des audiences

-           Organisation des dossiers

-           Correspondance avec les parties

-           Préparation des copies officielles des décisions, préparation des décisions pour publication

-           Collecte de données statistiques

4.         Si les assistants de justice participent au processus de rédaction, comment le font-ils ?

5.         Les assistants de justice sont-ils présents pendant les délibérations ? Si oui, participent-ils à la discussion ?

Non, ils ne participent pas.

6.         Les assistants de justice sont-ils présents aux audiences ? Dans l'affirmative, quelles sont leurs fonctions pendant les audiences ? Ont-ils le droit de poser des questions ?  

Oui, ils sont charges de dresser le procès-verbal de l’audience, mais le juge est le seul à pouvoir poser des questions.

7.         Existe-t-il une règle formelle ou un consensus informel entre les juges, quant aux types de fonctions qu’un assistant de justice devrait ou non assumer ?

Les fonctions des assistants de justice sont prévues dans la loi et définies aussi dans le document de « définition de poste de travail »

8.         Quelles fonctions appartiennent exclusivement au juge ?

Rédiger les jugements (motivation), assister aux audiences, entendre les accusés, assister aux confrontations avec les témoins et participer aux délibérations.

9.         Comment le travail des assistants de justice influe-t-il sur les décisions et le processus décisionnel judiciaire ? Comment les juges s'assurent-ils que la décision reste bien leur propre décision ?

Le travail des assistants de justice ne devrait avoir aucune influence sur la décision que doit être prise uniquement par le juge.  L’assistant ne participe pas à la délibération, il se limite à rédiger suivant les instructions du juge dans le meilleur des cas, mais la plupart du temps se limite à assister au juge apportant les documents de support nécessaires pour prendre la décision.

10.       Existe-t-il des données officielles ou, sinon, disposez-vous d’une estimation de l'utilité réelle des assistants de justice, par exemple dans leur capacité à faire gagner du temps aux juges ?

II. Organisation des assistants de justice

11.       Dans quels tribunaux de votre État les juges sont-ils assistés par des assistants de justice ? Première instance/deuxième instance/troisième instance/cour constitutionnelle ?

Dans toutes les instances il y a des assistants de justice, mais ils sont plus nombreux en première instance ou chaque juge à un assistant.

12.       S'il y a des juges non professionnels dans votre système, sont-ils spécifiquement appuyés par des assistants de justice ?

Tous les juges sont professionnels.

13.       Comment les assistants de justice sont-ils organisés ? S'il existe différentes formes d'organisation dans les différents tribunaux, veuillez expliquer les différents modèles. Par exemple : 

•           Les assistants sont-ils affectés individuellement à un juge ? Si oui, combien d'assistants travaillent pour chaque juge ? 

En première instance chaque juge a un assistant affecté individuellement.

•           Sont-ils assignés à un collège de juges? Dans l'affirmative, combien d'assistants de justice travaillent pour chaque collège ? 

Dans la deuxième instance il y a un assistant pour chaque salle (3 juges).  Ils sont toujours rattachés aux juges.

•           Font-ils partie d'un groupe d'assistants de justice au service de l'ensemble du tribunal ? Dans l'affirmative, quel est le ratio juge/assistant de justice ?  

•           Travaillent-ils en équipes constituées pour certaines affaires ? Dans l'affirmative, quel est le ratio juge/assistant de justice ?

14.       Qui les paie ?

Le Conseil supérieur de la justice, comme pour les juges.

15.       Quel est leur statut ? Sont-ils considérés, par exemple, comme des fonctionnaires, des juges détachés ou simplement des employés ?

Ils sont fonctionnaires, et ont un statut prévue dans la loi.

16.       Combien gagnent-ils par rapport aux juges pour lesquels ils travaillent ? Il n'est pas nécessaire d'indiquer les montants exacts, mais il serait utile de mentionner la proportion entre le salaire des juges et celui des assistants. Par exemple, comment le salaire d'un assistant de justice travaillant dans un tribunal de première instance se compare-t-il à celui d'un juge de ce même tribunal ?

Le salaire d’un assistant de justice, au moment de l’incorporation est un 47% du salaire d’un juge au moment d’initier ses fonctions.

III. Contexte et sélection des assistants de justice

 

17.       Le fait de prendre la fonction d'assistant de justice est-il un élément nécessaire dans la formation juridique dans votre Etat / une condition préalable pour devenir juge ?

Ce n’est pas une condition préalable, mais dans un 69% des juges de première instance ont été assistant de justice avant.  Même dans les promotions des juges dans les instances supérieures, le fait d’avoir été assistant de justice et noté positivement.

18.       Quel est le niveau de formation des assistants de justice ? Par exemple, des études de droit, de politique, de service dans la police ou l'armée etc., une formation spéciale ?

Le niveau minimum exigé est un dégrée en droit (3 ans d’université).  Dans la pratique tous les assistants judiciaires qui ont passé le concours avez finis ses études de droit (5 ans)

19.       Quelle est l'expérience professionnelle des assistants de justice ? S'ils ont fait des études en droit, ont-ils les compétences nécessaires pour exercer la profession ? Sont-ils des juges détachés ? Ont-ils acquis une expérience pratique, et si oui, dans quels domaines ?

D’habitude les assistants judiciaires optent au poste juste après avoir fini leurs études de droit.  Ils acquièrent donc leur expérience professionnelle par le travail a cote du juge, ce qui leur donne une connaissance de la pratique judiciaire, et accéder à la formation continue de l’administration de justice.

20.       Comment sont-ils sélectionnés ?

Concours publique convoqué par le Conseil supérieur de la magistrature.  Le concours consiste en une preuve psychotechnique, un examen écrit de droit civil, pénal et administratif, un examen en langues (catalan, espagnol et français), et un examen oral devant un tribunal constitué de juges, procureurs et membres du conseil supérieur de la justice.

21.       Combien de temps les assistants de justice exercent-ils habituellement cette fonction ? Juste pour un ou quelques mois, ou quelques années ? S'agit-il d'une carrière de long terme/permanente ?

C’est une carrière de long terme, même si il n’y a pas un minimum, les assistants restent au moins 5-6 ans avant d’envisager un nouveaux concours, et d’autres restent en poste jusqu’à leur retraite.

22.       S'il s'agit d'un poste à court terme, que font-ils par la suite ?

23.       Si la fonction d'assistant de justice ne fait pas partie de la formation juridique, pourquoi les candidats postulent-ils pour travailler comme assistants de justice ?

C’est un poste de fonctionnaire, dans une catégorie de technique juridique, et des conditions intéressantes.

24.       Si le poste d'assistant de justice est un poste permanent ou de longue durée, existe-t-il des possibilités d'avancement ?

Uniquement par un nouveaux concours.  Il reste néanmoins des possibilités de déplacement dans d’autres postes de l’administration du même niveau technique.

IV. Statut et réglementation des assistants de justice

25.       Les assistants de justice prêtent-ils serment ? Portent-ils une tenue officielle à certaines occasions ? Par exemple, une tenue spécifique au tribunal ?

Les assistants de justice prêtent serment à la fin de leur période de formation, et portent une robe comme celle des juges quand ils assistent aux audiences pour en dresser le procès-verbal.

26.       Existe-t-il des règles formelles concernant le statut et les fonctions des assistants de justice ? Si oui, s'agit-il d'une loi ou d'un règlement interne ? Si oui, que réglementent-ils ? Pourriez-vous joindre le texte du règlement séparément du reste de vos réponses, s'il vous plaît ?

Leur statut est prévu à la Loi qualifié de la justice, mais aussi dans le code de procédure pénal et civile qui prévoit les actes ou l’assistant judiciaire doit comparaitre, comme par exemple les perquisitions.  Il existe aussi une description du poste de travail qui a été approuvé par le Conseil supérieur de la justice, avec les fonctions et dégrée de responsabilité.  Ces documents n’ont pas été traduits au français ni à l’anglais, et sont assez disperses (quelques articles parsemés dans différentes lois), pour cette raison je ne les joins pas.

(Si vous avez croyez que c’est d’intéressant de les recevoir quand même, merci de me le communiquer et je vous les faire parvenir avec une traduction libre).

 

27.       Existe-t-il des règles informelles régissant la relation entre le juge et les assistants de justice ?

Les assistants de justice sont adscrit a un juge o a un tribunal qui sont leur supérieur hiérarchique à tous les effets (disciplinaire,..).

28.       Existe-t-il des règles - formelles ou informelles - concernant l'indépendance et l'impartialité des assistants de justice ?

La Loi qualifié de la justice (Titol V) prévoit que les assistants de justice (secretaris judicials) ont les mêmes incompatibilités que les juges et magistrats.  Ils ne sont pas indépendants, puisque ils gardent toujours une dépendance du juge ou tribunal où ils sont adscrits.

29.       Les assistants de justice de votre État peuvent-ils devenir membres d'une association de juges, ou existe-t-il une association spéciale pour eux ?

Ils ne peuvent pas intégrer d’association de juges, puisque ils n’ont pas cette qualité, mais ils intègrent leur propre association.

V. Considérations générales sur le soutien apporté aux juges

30.       Croyez-vous que les juges de votre système auraient besoin d'un soutien plus important ou différent de la part du personnel pour travailler efficacement ? Si oui, pouvez-vous détailler le type de soutien auquel vous pensez ?

En première instance il faudrait renforcer les assistants de justice.  En pratique ils assument trop de tâches administratives et ne peuvent pas faire convenablement du soutien juridique.  Ils devraient pouvoir tenir plus à jour la jurisprudence.

31.       Y a-t-il des défis auxquels votre Etat est confronté concernant le soutien apporté aux juges qui n'ont pas été mentionnés jusqu'à présent ?

Non.

Austria / Autriche

I. How are judges supported?

by administrative assistants  Yes

a)         by judicial assistants at some courts

There is administrative staff (administrative assistants) at every court

At some administrative courts there are persons , who are employed as judicial assistants. Supreme Administrative Court, Federal Administrative Court, some of the administrative courts of the Federal States.

There are several judicial assistants at the Constitutional Court.

Sometimes based on an agreement with the university there was one or the other assistant professor assigned as judicial assistant to the Supreme Court , which is the highest instance for civil and criminal cases.

At the other (civil and criminal) courts there are no judicial assistants , who are employed as such, but as part of their initial training to become a judge , a notary or a lawyer candidates are trained at the courts for seven months (to become a judge for four years). These candidates are assigned to different judges for periods of two to four months and parts of their activity consists  of preparatory tasks, which normally is done by judicial assistants. 

1.         What is the rationale for employing assistants in your system? If there are different rationales for employing administrative assistants and judicial assistants, please describe those rationales separately.

Regarding administrative assistants the rational is to support the judge and free the judge from the pure administrative work

Regarding judicial assistance, who are employed as such, the main rational is to help the judge in preparing the judge´s decisions and his/her other judicial activities.

Regarding those who partly fulfil such tasks during their initial training´s assignment to the courts, the main rational is the training, judicial assistance is a side-effect, which depends on the quality of the candidate and the length of time of the assignment

2.         What kind of duties judicial assistants have at the courts in your member State? If they perform different duties in different courts, please explain these duties separately. Such duties may include:

•           Research, maybe summarised in a memo Yes

•           Discussion with the judge(s) Yes

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law Yes

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law and a suggestion of the judicial assistant how the case should be decided  Yes

•           Memos summarising the facts and the relevant law and including a suggestion if a case should be accepted for appeal/constitutional review Yes

•           Drafting parts of the judgment, if so which parts? Facts, certain points under discussion?  Yes

•           Drafting complete judgments Yes

•           Proofreading of decisions, maybe including discussing certain points with the judge/pointing out inconsistencies etc.  sometimes

•           Reading draft judgments of other judges and discussing them with the judge sometimes

•           Crosschecking references Yes

•           Drafting press releases No

•           Drafting procedural decisions Yes

•           Deciding procedural issues such as appointing an expert or deciding on costs of proceedings Not formally , but very often in practice (in the name of the judge, who is accountable , but does not check in detail when signing)

•           Conducting hearings and deciding simple cases autonomously, for example concerning enforcement, or simple criminal cases. If so, please specify if a judge has to approve the decision or if the decision is taken by the judicial assistant alone. No

•           In addition to tasks such as those mentioned above, judicial assistants may also perform administrative duties such as:

-           Writing protocols in hearings Yes

-           Organisation of files  Yes

-           Correspondence with parties Yes

-           Preparing the official copies of decisions, preparing decisions for publication No

-           Collecting statistical data normally not

3.         If judicial assistants help in the drafting process, how do they do it?

Same way as a judge would do him/herself

4.         Are judicial assistants present during deliberations? If yes, do they participate in the discussion?

Yes normally they are present, they participate only if they are asked.

5.         Are judicial assistants present in hearings? If so, what duties do they have during hearings? Are they allowed to ask questions?

Yes they can be present, sometimes they do the minutes, which otherwise sometimes is done by technical equipment or trained administrative assistants. They are not allowed to intervene or put questions

6.         Is there a formal rule or an informal consensus among judges, what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake? 

It is consensus and it is according to the law that it is the judge who decides. The concrete delegation of preparatory (drafting) work very much depends on the respective judge and the respective assistant.

7.         Which duties belong exclusively to the judge? 

The hearing and the decisions as such.

8.         How does the work of judicial assistants affect decisions and judicial decision making? How do judges ensure that the decision remains "their"?

Again it needs a certain basis of trust and understanding between the persons involved, which develops during the time of co-operation.

9.         Is there any official data or - if not - do you have a view how useful judicial assistants actually are e.g. in saving judges’ time ? No official data do not exist. Regarding well trained persons, who are employed as judicial assistance and selected following verain criteria and who work for a longer time it is obvious that they are of great help and save time.

Regarding those who perform the work of judicial assistants during their training the saving of time has to be checked against the time needed to train this persons. In the first months the latter will prevail, then it may be equalized and in the end (e.g. regarding candidates to become a judge after half of their training period, it will be a significant help for the judge to save time.

II. Organisation of judicial assistants

10.       At which courts in your member State are judges supported by judicial assistants? First instance/second instance/third instance/constitutional court?

See answer to question 1

11.       If there are lay judges in your system, are they specifically supported by judicial assistants? No

12.       How are judicial assistants organised? If there are different forms of organisation at different courts, please explain the different models. For example:

•           Are assistants assigned to one judge individually? If so, how many assistants work for each judge? 

•           Or are they assigned to a panel of judges? If so, how many judicial assistants work for each panel? 

•           Or are they part of a pool of judicial assistants serving the whole court? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

•           Or do they work in teams put together for certain cases? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

The candidates for becoming a judge a lawyer or a notary , who are assigned to the civil and criminal courts during their initial training are assigned to a concrete judge, who has to train them and to evaluate their performance, Of cause if this judge is member of a panel the candidate will also assist other judges of this panel. Everyone who finished the studies of law has the right to attend such a training. Therefore the number of candidates varies from month to month and not every judge has such a candidate.

The number of judicial assistants at the administrative courts , who are employed as such varies a lot from court to court.  There are no judicial assistants at the Federal Tax Court and some of the administrative courts of the Federal States at all. As an example at the Administrative Court of Vienna  2 to 3 judges share one judicial assistants. A similar situation is at the Federal Administrative Court. . At the Supreme Administrative Court there are  a little more then 60 judges and between 30 and 40 judicial assistants but they are not assigned to individual judges but form two pools specialized to certain areas of law like asylum law. At the supreme court , with about 65 judges there are four judicial assistants only. At the Constitutional Court every judge as at least one judicial assistant.

13.       What is their status? Are they considered as, for example, civil servants, seconded judges or just employees?

Civil servants, trainees or official candidates to become a judge see answers above

14.       How much do they earn compared to the judges for whom they work? You do not need to indicate exact amounts, but mentioning the proportion between the salaries of judges and assistants would be helpful. For examp.) may play a rolele, how does the salary of a judicial assistant working at a first instance court compare to that of a judge at that court?

Those who are trainees get a fixed amount of money during the seven months of training. This is not seen as a remuneration and an employment but only as some gratification. Candidates to become a judge after being appointed to this position as a candidate earn about 65 % of the first income of a judge of the lowest category.

Those who are civil servants are in a relatively high category of civil servants with corresponding remuneration but this is much less even compared with judges of the first instance.

III. Background and selection of Judicial Assistants

15.       Is serving as a judicial assistant a necessary part of the legal education in your member State / a prerequisite for becoming a judge?

Yes see above in the sense of “judicial assistants” activities as part of the mandatory initial training of judges, lawyers and notaries at court 

16.       What kind of education do judicial assistants have? For example, studies of law, politics, service in the police or military etc., a special education?

Studies of law

17.       What kind of work experience do judicial assistants have? If they have a legal education, have they qualified for practice? Are they seconded judges? Have they gained practical experience, if so, in what areas?

Studies of law are mandatory. For trainees everybody with finished studies has to be taken. To become a candidate to become a judge at a civil or criminal court one has to do an exam and the best are taken. For judicial assistants, who are employed there normally is a call for applications and a competition, during which previous practical experiences or additional qualification (studies etc. ) may play a role. Judicial assistants at the Supreme Court , the Supreme Administrative Court and the Constitutional Court normally already had worked at the university.

18.       How are they selected?

No selection for trainees; exam results for candidates to become a judge and appointment by the minister of justice; competition and appointment by the president of the respective administrative court.

19.       How long do judicial assistants usually work in that capacity? Just for one or a few months, or years? Or is it a long-term/permanent career?

Trainees seven months at three different position each 2 or three months, candidates to become a judge several different position each 2 to 4 months  altogether for four years till bonecoming a judge; persons, who are employed as judicial assistants normally start with a period of probation up to three years or shorter and could be appointed for a permanent position as judicial assistants like any other civil servant till  retirement, but normally the don´t stay as judicial assistants but change to other judicial professional positions.(see question 20).

20.       If it is a short-term position, what do they do afterwards?

Trainees try to become lawyers or notaries or lawyers at the public administration or at enterprises; for those who had been employed as judicial assistants this fact normally pays when applying for another judicial activity etc.. In the administration or at universities or even when applying for the position of a judge at an administrative court

21.       If serving as a judicial assistant is not part of the legal education, why do applicants apply to work as judicial assistants?

To have a job, to gain a job with possible long-time perspective,  to gain experience, to gain reputation

22.       If being a judicial assistant is a long-term/permanent position, are there opportunities for advancement?

Normally not within the position of judicial assistant, but like at all parts of the civil servants system, there is an advancement almost automatically every second year as far as payment and sometimes title is concerned.

IV. Status and regulation of judicial assistants 

23.       Do judicial assistants swear an oath? Do they wear some form of official dress at certain occasions? E.g. gowns when in court?

They swear an oath. They don´t wear special dresses.

24.       Are there formal regulations concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants? if so, is it a statute or internal regulation? If yes, what is regulated by them? Could you provide, as a separate attachment to your answers, the text of the regulation please?

There is no special regulation for judicial assistants. Candidates to become a judge have to follow the rules of the Law on Judges and Prosecutors. The code of ethics also is applied on them. Judicial assistants, who are employed as such, follow the general rules, which exist for civil servants.

25.       Are there informal rules governing the relationship between judge and judicial assistants? 

No, codes of ethics regarding the behaviour between judges and others especially the staff of the court apply.

26.       Are there any rules - formal or informal - concerning the independence and impartiality of judicial assistants?

The same as apply for all civil servants

27.       Can judicial assistants in your member State become members of an association of judges or is there a special association for them?

Candidates to become a judge can be member of the Association of Austrian Judges, others cannot.

V. General considerations about the support of judges

28.       Do you believe that judges in your system would need more or different support by personnel to work effectively? If yes, what kind of support?

More judicial assistance, especially some at the courts, where they don t exist so far.

Sufficient administrative staff. There is a tendency to reduce it due to budgetary constrains, which shifts more and more administrative work to judges.

Sufficient IT-support accepting that judges want to use the facilities easily and need technical support.

(Centralised) units , which offer support in international communication from the technical point of view, without interfering into the content,

29.       Are there certain challenges that your member State faces as regards the support for judges which have not been mentioned so far?

Budgetary arguments lead to a reduction of staff instead of increasing it due to the necessities created by new challenges and tasks.


Azerbaijan / Azerbaïdjan

I. HOW ARE JUDGES SUPPORTED?

1. Are judges supported in their work by assistants who are not judges at that court (and also not members of the security or IT staff)?

a) by administrative assistants

(b) by judicial assistants

Answer: Judges are supported in their works by both administrative assistants (secretaries) and judicial assistants in all three court instances (first, appellation and cassation) of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

2. What is the rationale for employing assistants in your system? If there are different rationales for employing administrative assistants and judicial assistants, please describe those rationales separately.

Answer: According to the domestic legislation administrative assistants (secretaries) and judicial assistants are civil servants. Their recruitment process is governing by the Law on “Civil Service”. It states that the citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan aged 16 owning professional skills in accordance with requirements of the relevant position and being fluent in state language of the Republic of Azerbaijan shall have the right to be recruited to the civil service regardless of race, nationality, religion, language, sex, social origin, property status, place of residence, beliefs, membership in social and other organizations. Any person shall not be recruited to the civil service in the following cases: if his/her incapability or limited capability is confirmed by court decision; if the convictions are not cancelled or expunged; in case of close or kin relationship (spouses, their parents, brothers, sisters, children) with civil servant subject to direct subordination or supervision; if there is available effective judicial decision on application to him/her coercive actions of the medical nature; in other cases determined by legislation. Possibility to recruit to civil service an applied person shall be preliminary checked. The check order shall be determined by the relevant executive power body. Private (family) life details shall not be checked.

Except of the Supreme and Constitutional Courts, administrative assistants (secretaries) and judicial assistants of all courts are recruited in accordance with the Law on Civil Service through exams consisted of a test and interview. Test exams are conducted in general order whereas interview is conducted by the officials of State Examination Center and the relevant court.

Distinctive rules in recruiting to the Supreme and Constitutional Courts are related to the fact that this Courts are included in the higher category list of state bodies. According to the Law, employing to state body with higher category as civil servant is exclusively under the authority of that court.

3. What kind of duties judicial assistants have at the courts in your member State? If they perform different duties in different courts, please explain these duties separately. Such duties may include:

·Research, maybe summarised in a memo

·Discussion with the judge(s)

·Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law

·Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law and a suggestion of the judicial assistant how the case should be decided

·Memos summarising the facts and the relevant law and including a suggestion if a case should be accepted for appeal/constitutional review

·Drafting parts of the judgment, if so which parts? Facts, certain points under discussion?

·Drafting complete judgments

·Proofreading of decisions, maybe including discussing certain points with the judge/pointing out inconsistencies etc. 

·Reading draft judgments of other judges and discussing them with the judge

·Crosschecking references

·Drafting press releases

·Drafting procedural decisions

·Deciding procedural issues such as appointing an expert or deciding on costs of proceedings

·Conducting hearings and deciding simple cases autonomously, for example concerning enforcement, or simple criminal cases. If so, please specify if a judge has to approve the decision or if the decision is taken by the judicial assistant alone.

·In addition to tasks such as those mentioned above, judicial assistants may also perform administrative duties such as:

-  Writing protocols in hearings

-  Organisation of files

-  Correspondence with parties

-  Preparing the official copies of decisions, preparing decisions for publication

-  Collecting statistical data

   Answer: Judicial assistants generally have similar duties in all court instances. But depending on court instance, duties of judicial assistants differ. However, general duties include: 

- Providing an organizational, legal, informational, documentary and other procedural assistance to the judges on their judicial activities.

- Assisting in the preparation and conducting of legal proceedings in cases pending before the judge, as well as collection of necessary regulatory legal acts, materials, documents and other information on relavant cases.

- Informs judges about the cases appointed to them by the Electronic Court information system, investigates cases pending before the judge (regarding civil, economic, administrative disputes and criminal cases)

- Judicial assistant of Supreme Court preparing the brief-informative reference for judges on examined cases. This referance includes a summary of the case, the main provisions of the acts (resolution, decision, judgment) of the courts of first and appeal instances (substantive and procedural norms are also mentioned), the main arguments of the appeal and cassation complaint, as well as information relating to the documents included in the case and presented after, significantly affecting the essence of the case (with the page number of them in the case file). The judicial assistants in the signed referance mention their opinion about substantive and procedural norms that should be applied to the case and present it to the judge, then send it to other judges – members of the same judicial composition and to the chairman of the board through the “Outlook”. According to the judge’s decision, the assistant takes measures to ensure that the case is considered by the judges of the judicial composition.

- On behalf of the judge, receiving and systematizing the decisions and judgments of the Plenum of the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, as well as the European Court of Human Rights.

- Drafting of judicial acts and submits them to judge.

According to judge’s assignments carries out preparation of letters, requests, other documents related to the pending cases and including these data into “E-Court” informational system;

- Draw up relevant executive sheets for the execution of the court decisions, and assist the judge in supervising their execution;

 - Performs other instructions and assignments of the judge and is responsible for their timely and quality execution.

4. If judicial assistants help in the drafting process, how do they do it?

Answer: Judicial assistants get acquainted with the case, give their opinions to the judge related to case and discuss case together with a judge. The opinion of judicial assistant has only recommendational character and the decisions are made exclusively by the judge. The preparation of drafts carring out based on consultations of judges. Before starting of drafting process judge advising the assistant on what substantional and procedural legal norms should apply during the preparation of the decision. Judicial assistant taking into account of this recommendations makes a draft and then presenting it to the judge.

5. Are judicial assistants present during deliberations? If yes, do they participate in the discussion?

Answer: According to the requirements of domestic legislation, exceptional of judges, any person including judicial assistant is prohibited to be in the deliberation room during the decision-making process. Judicial assistants may participate in the discussions helding before the court hearings and they may express their opinion during this discussions.

6. Are judicial assistants present in hearings? If so, what duties do they have during hearings? Are they allowed to ask questions?

Answer: Judicial assistants may participate on court hearings and make some notes wich would be useful in drafting proses. But they have no right to ask a question, or express an opinion related to any issue, to give explanation and to interfere in other form.

7. Is there a formal rule or an informal consensus among judges, what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake?

Answer: Duties of judicial assistants are not listed specifically in the legislation. Depending on the case, the judge determines which duties they will fulfill. This issue This issue is mostly solved by the judges unofficially by common consensus.There are general consesus among judges related to assistants’ duties. There is a Resolution on the Right and Duties of Employees adopted by Supreme Court where listed the duties which should be fulfilled by judicial assistants and secretaries. 

8. Which duties belong exclusively to the judge? 

Answer: Main duties related to implementation of justice, the admission of the cases to the proceeding, appointment of specific dates for consideration, amount of correspondences and preparatory acts with parties, adopting court acts related to disputes, and making a final form of this act are exclusively duty of the judge. Judicial assistants support to judges in fulfillment of these duties.

9. How does the work of judicial assistants affect decisions and judicial decision making? How do judges ensure that the decision remains "their"?

Answer: It is unacceptable for anyone including judicial assistants to interfere to the judge's decision. Judicial assistants just has the right to express his/her own opinion on the case to the judge. But if judge disagree with approachment of the judicial assistant on the case, the assistant is obliged to draft a decision in accordance with the opinion of judge. Belonging of adopted decisions to the judge is provided through this manner.

10. Is there any official data or - if not - do you have a view how useful judicial assistants actually are e.g. in saving judges’ time ?

Even though there is no clear official information, it should be mentioned that the presence of judicially assistants generally facilitate the work of judges. Thus, the pre-study of works by them and the drafting of decisions help judges to work more quickly and efficiently. Besides, it should be emphasized that judicial assistants could help the judge to avoid the loss of time, only when they are quite experienced and skilled. Otherwise, incorrect learning and compilation of poor quality and confused drafts may result in even more complication of the judge's work and ultimately the loss of time.

II.                ORGANISATION OF JUDICIAL ASSISTANS

11. At which courts in your member State are judges supported by judicial assistants? First instance/second instance/third instance/constitutional court?

Answer: There are judicial assistants in all court instances existing in the country (first, appellation, cassation and constitutional courts).

12. If there are lay judges in your system, are they specifically supported by judicial assistants?

Answer: The lay judges are not provided by the legislation of Azerbaijan.

13. How are judicial assistants organised? If there are different forms of organization at different courts, please explain the different models.

Answer: All judicial assistants have the same status of civil servants and belongs to the staff of the court. In all the courts one judicial assistant is appointed for each judge indiviually. The judge usually works with that assistant. But sometimes, in special cases, assistants may work within the groups on concrete cases. This occurs mainly in the courts of higher instance (appellate or cassation instance courts) where cases are being considered in collegial form.

14. Who pays them?

Judicial assistants as the civil servants are paid from state budget for their work. State salary is a salary which is paid to the civil servant in the form of money. The amount of state salary depends on the frame of duties, range of responsibilities, required level of professionalism, and working experience. State salary consists of wages, bonuses and additions to the wages (additions which are paid for the civil servant’s qualification, service experience and etc.). Salary of judicial assistants differ depending on working in the first, appellation and cassation courts.

15. What is their status? Are they considered as, for example, civil servants, seconded judges or just employees?

Answer: Judicial assistants are the civil servants.

16. How much do they earn compared to the judges for whom they work? You do not need to indicate exact amounts, but mentioning the proportion between the salaries of judges and assistants would be helpful. For example, how does the salary of a judicial assistant working at a first instance court compare to that of a judge at that court?

Answer: Salaries of judicial assistants consist of sum of several amounts (salary, addition paid for work experience, addition paid for specialty degree and so on). Judicial assistants who work in the first instance courts are paid less salary than those who work in upper courts. Assistants working in the appellation courts are paid less salary than those who work in the cassation court.

The sum of salaries of judicial assistants of the first instance courts  is equal to 25%, judicial assistants of the appellate courts is equal to 30% and the judicial assistants of the cassation courts is equal to 40% of salaries of the judges of same courts.

III.              BACKROUND AND SELECTION OF JUDICIAL ASSISTANTS

17. Is serving as a judicial assistant a necessary part of the legal education in your member State / a prerequisite for becoming a judge?

Answer: To work as a judicial assistant isn’t a necessary part of the legal education in our state. At the same time it is not a prerequisite for becoming a judge.

18. What kind of education do judicial assistants have? For example, studies of law, politics, service in the police or military etc., a special education?

Answer: Only graduated from the law faculty can be a judicial assistant.

19. What kind of working experience do judicial assistants have? If they have a legal education, have they qualified for practice? Are they seconded judges? Have they gained practical experience, if so, in what areas?

Answer: After graduating a law faculty, there is no any particular specialization course for judicial assitants. Any person with higher law education passed above mentioned examination process may occupy the position of judicial assistant. Afterwards, his/her knowledge and experience are developing developing through trainings and conferences held by the Academy of Justice and the courts themselves. Besides it, they also practice in judicial, executive, and prosecutorial bodies while studying law.

20. How are they selected?

According to the domestic legislation administrative assistants (secretaries) and judicial assistants are civil servants. Their recruitment process is governing by the “Law on Civil Service”. Except of the Supreme and Constitutional Courts judicial assistants of all courts are recruited in accordance with the “Law on Civil Service” through exams consisted of a test and interview. Test exams are conducted in general order whereas interview is conducted by the officials of State Examination Center and the relevant court. Distinctive rules in recruiting to the Supreme and Constitutional Courts is related to the fact that this Courts are included in the higher category list of state bodies. According to the Law, employing to state body with higher category as civil servant is exclusively under the authority of that court.

21. How long do judicial assistants usually work in that capacity? Just for one or a few months, or years? Or is it a long-term/permanent career?

Answer: There is no specific time limit for judicial assistants to work in this position. This is a permanent career. According to the Law, it is possible to work in this position till the pension age (retirement) termed for all civil servants.

22. If it is a short-term position, what do they do afterwards?

Answer: It is a permanent career.

23. If serving as a judicial assistant is not part of the legal education, why do applicants apply to work as judicial assistants?

Answer: Actually the majority of judicial assistants participate in a judge selection examinations and working at that position gives a best opportunity to get a relevant knowledge and experience required to be a judge.

24. If being a judicial assistant is a long-term/permanent position, are there opportunities for advancement?

Answer: It should be noted that judicial assistants have more chances to be selected as judges, than other legal professionals.  Besides it,  getting an experience in a court system also gives them an opportunity to work in a other upper civil service positions.

IV.              STATUS AND REGULATION OF JUDICIAL ASSISTANTS

25. Do judicial assistants swear an oath? Do they wear some form of official dress at certain occasions? E.g. gowns when in court?

Answer: Before starting work, as well as all civil servants judicial assistants take an oath, and oath with their signature is adding to their personal file. For them there is no uniform official form.

26. Are there formal regulations concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants? if so, is it a statute or internal regulation? If yes, what is regulated by them? Could you provide, as a separate attachment to your answers, the text of the regulation please?

Answer: There are no special rules governing status of judicial assistants. Taking into account that they are civil servants, issues related to the status of a civil servant arising from the “Law on Civil Service” are generally applicable to them too. 

27. Are there informal rules governing the relationship between judge and judicial assistants?

Answer: Duties of judicial assistants are not specifically listed in the Law. Their duties are determining by the judges, depending on a case. This issue is solved by judges through non-official consensus. There are general consensus among judges related to duties of the assistants. At tje same time Regulation on Rights and Duties of Employees adopted by the Supreme Court lists the duties which are fulfilled by judicial assistants and secretaries.

28. Are there any rules - formal or informal - concerning the independence and impartiality of judicial assistants?

Answer: There are no separate official or unofficial rules regarding the independence and impartiality of judicial assistants. But the “Law on Civil Service” states that civil servants should consider applications of citizens, enterprise, organizations and institutions and they should solve these applications impartially within the limits of their authorizations. Taking into account that judicial assistants are civil servants above mentioned norms regarding impartiality are applicable to them too. There is no any principle in the “Law on Civil Service”related to independence of civil servants.

29. Can judicial assistants in your member State become members of an association of judges or is there a special association for them?

Answer: In our country judicial assistants have no right to be a member of association of judges and there is no any special association of their. But their have a right as all citizens to settle their professional associations.

V.               GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS ABOUT THE SUPPORT OF JUDGES

30. Do you believe that judges in your system would need more or different support by personnel to work effectively? If yes, what kind of support?

Answer: Professional support is very important for judges in order to work more efficiently. That’s why it is required to select the judicial assistants from professional, experienced and erudite personnel. We are increasingly seeking to employ persons with good background to the position of judicial assistant. There is also a need to develop of their financial support. At the same time it is also required to organize the regular trainings to them as applied to judges. Improving an international cooperation in this area may also be helpful.

31. Are there certain challenges that your member State faces as regards the support for judges which have not been mentioned so far?

Answer: No, There is no such case.


Belgium / Belgique

I. Quel soutien est apporté aux juges ?

1.         Les juges sont-ils assistés dans leur travail par des assistants qui ne sont pas juges dans cette juridiction (et qui ne font pas non plus partie du personnel informatique ou de sécurité) ? 

a)         par les assistants administratifs :

A chaque juridiction est attaché un greffe, qui est composé de deux catégories de  personnel :

         les greffiers, qui exercent deux types de mission : des missions administratives et des missions judiciaires.

Les missions administratives des greffiers sont notamment les suivantes : assurer l'accès du greffe au public ; tenir la comptabilité du greffe ; garder les minutes des décisions du juge (ordonnances, jugements, arrêts etc.) ; délivrer les expéditions des décisions judiciaires et les revêtir de la formule exécutoire au nom du Roi ; délivrer des  extraits ou des copies des décisions ; conserver la documentation législative, jurisprudentielle et doctrinale à l'usage des juges ; établir les statistiques du tribunal ; assurer la conservation des valeurs, documents et objets déposés au greffe en vertu de la loi etc.

Les missions judiciaires des greffiers sont décrites dans la réponse à la question n° 3, dans le cadre de la partie « assistant de justice » de ce questionnaire.

         les membres du personnel administratif : ils assurent la gestion administrative des dossiers attribués à la juridiction, ainsi que l'encodage informatique des données dans les fichiers de données. Ces collaborateurs traitent également le courrier, le classement et assurent l'accueil du public et des professionnels externes (avocats, huissiers de justice, policiers, divers services publics) au greffe de la juridiction.

b) par les assistants de justice :

         les greffiers (aspect judiciaire de leur fonction) ;

         les référendaires.

2.         Quelle est la raison d'être du recours aux assistants dans votre système ? S'il existe des justifications différentes pour l'emploi d'assistants administratifs et d'assistants de justice, veuillez détailler ces justifications séparément.

ASSISTANTS ADMINISTRATIFS :

Les juges ne pourraient, raisonnablement, accomplir les tâches administratives liées à la fonction de juger. Cela aurait pour effet de distraire le juge de la fonction pour laquelle il est nommé et, par voie de conséquence, de l’empêcher d’exercer sa mission durant une partie importante de son temps ou de diminuer le nombre d’affaires jugées. En outre, l’exercice de tâches administratives aurait pour effet de mettre le juge en contact avec le public en dehors de l’exercice de sa fonction et, ainsi, de mettre en danger l’indépendance et l’impartialité inhérentes à sa fonction.

ASSISTANTS DE JUSTICE :

Greffier :

Le juge ne saurait assumer lui-même la fonction du greffier : chargé d’authentifier les actes et les décisions du juge, le greffier est le témoin indépendant de l’exercice par le juge de sa fonction. Le greffier a pour mission de constater et de relater les actes du juge, ce qui constitue une garantie contre l’arbitraire ainsi qu’une sécurité pour le juge. A cet égard, le greffier devra éventuellement, à la requête d’une partie, acter au procès-verbal de l’audience la déclaration d’une autre partie, voire acter la déclaration ou le comportement du juge lui-même, même si ce dernier s’y oppose ou reste passif. Les fonctions de juge et de greffier sont donc essentiellement différentes et complémentaires.

Référendaire :

L’objectif du législateur est de fournir aux juges une assistance juridique dans le cadre de la rédaction des jugements et des arrêts. L’intention du législateur est également de contribuer à une plus grande uniformité de la jurisprudence au sein d’un tribunal.

3.         Quelles sont les fonctions des assistants de justice auprès des tribunaux dans votre État ? S'ils exercent des fonctions différentes dans différents tribunaux, veuillez détailler ces fonctions séparément. Ces fonctions peuvent comprendre :

Remarque préalable :

Pour chaque question, une réponse séparée est donnée pour les greffiers et les référendaires. En effet, les missions légales de ces deux catégories de membres du personnel judiciaire ne peuvent être confondues.

Greffier (aspect judiciaire de leur fonction) :

La fonction judiciaire du greffier consiste à assister le juge dans tous les actes de son ministère : préparer les tâches du magistrat, être toujours présent à l'audience aux côtés du juge et dans tous les actes de sa fonction, dresser le procès-verbal des instances et des décisions ; prendre acte de l’accomplissement des formalités légales ; conférer l'authenticité aux jugements ; élaborer les dossiers et veiller au respect des règles de la procédure. En outre, le greffier est le témoin indépendant de tous les actes du juge.

Référendaire :

La loi a créé la fonction de référendaire près la Cour de cassation en 1997, et la fonction de référendaire près les cours d’appel, les cours du travail et les tribunaux, en 1999.

Les référendaires préparent le travail des magistrats sur le plan juridique, sous leur autorité et selon leurs indications, à l’exclusion des tâches attribuées aux greffiers.

Cfr. aussi la réponse à la question n° 7, et les « descriptions de fonction » officielles mentionnées dans la réponse à la question n° 26.

•           Travaux de recherche, possiblement résumée dans une note :

Greffier :

Non, sauf exception, par exemple sur des questions de procédure..

Référendaire :

Oui.

•           Discussion avec le(s) juge(s) :

Greffier :

Oui, il existe généralement un dialogue et une proximité professionnelle importante entre le juge et le greffier. Ce dialogue portera essentiellement sur les questions de procédure, la préparation de l’audience, la révision et le contrôle par le juge des projets de jugement que dans certains cas le greffier peut établir lui-même, et sur la mise en forme des jugements en général.

Référendaire :

Oui, il existe généralement un dialogue et une proximité professionnelle importante entre le juge et le référendaire. Ce dialogue portera sur des questions juridiques de fond posées par le litige et sur la solution qu’il convient de lui donner.

•           Notes avec un résumé des faits d'une affaire et du droit applicable :

Greffier :

Généralement, non. Mais il n’est pas rare que le greffier rédige la partie du jugement qui relate les antécédents de la procédure de l’affaire et les demandes des parties telles qu’elles figurent dans la citation introductive d’instance ou dans leurs conclusions. En outre, le greffier peut aussi, sous le contrôle du juge, veiller à la mention dans le jugement des dispositions légales applicables.

           

Référendaire :

Oui.

•           Notes contenant un résumé des faits d'une affaire et du droit applicable ainsi qu'une proposition de l'assistant de justice sur la façon dont l'affaire devrait être décidée :

Greffier :

Dans certains contentieux, le greffier peut être amené à établir des projets de décision selon les directives du juge et la jurisprudence habituelle du tribunal dans des cas similaires (contentieux de la circulation routière, règlement collectif de dettes, condamnations au paiement de sommes d’argent non contestées, jugements par défaut sur des demandes simples, décisions de « routine » etc.).

La description de fonction de la fonction de greffier (document joint à la réponse au questionnaire comme demandé par la question n° 26) indique, à cet égard :

« Dans des dossiers simples, rédiger un projet de décision judiciaire suivant l'orientation donnée par un (ou plusieurs) magistrat(s) ; dans des dossiers plus complexes sur le plan technico-juridique, rédiger une partie d’un projet de décision judiciaire suivant l'orientation donnée par un (ou plusieurs) magistrat(s). »

Référendaire :

Oui ; généralement, le juge souhaite que le référendaire ne se limite pas à un travail de recherche juridique abstrait, mais qu’il formule une proposition d’orientation sur la solution possible du litige, en rédigeant un projet de jugement ; bien entendu, la solution donnée au litige est du ressort exclusif du juge et celui-ci prend la décision finale seul.

•           Notes résumant les faits et le droit applicable et contenant une proposition si une affaire devait être acceptée pour un appel / une révision constitutionnelle :

Greffier :

Non.

Référendaire :

Non.

En Belgique, il n’existe pas un régime dans lequel les parties doivent demander l’autorisation d’interjeter appel.

•           Rédaction de parties du jugement, et si oui, lesquelles ? Des faits, de certains points en discussion ?

Greffier :

Cfr. ci-dessus.

Référendaire :

Oui, tant en ce qui concerne l’exposé des faits que les points décisoires du jugement.

En règle, le référendaire rédige un projet de jugement, le cas échéant accompagné d’une note explicative sur l’état actuel de la jurisprudence et de la doctrine sur un point de droit déterminé..

•           Rédaction de jugements complets :

Greffier :

Cfr. ci-dessus.

Référendaire :

Oui (cf. la réponse précédente).

•           La relecture des décisions, y compris peut-être la discussion de certains points avec le juge, la mise en évidence d'incohérences, etc. :

Greffier :

Le greffier peut effectuer un travail de relecture, ou de lecture conjointe de la décision avec le(s) juge(s), du point de vue du respect de la procédure et de la forme ou en vue de corriger des erreurs matérielles ou des incohérences structurelles manifestes.

Référendaire :

Oui, il est possible que le référendaire soit chargé d’un tel travail. L’existence de cette pratique dépend de chaque situation concrète et de la manière dont le référendaire et le juge travaillent ensemble. 

•           Lire les projets de jugements d'autres juges et en discuter avec le juge :

Greffier :

Non.

Référendaire :

Non.

 

•           Vérification des références :

Greffier :

En principe, non.

Référendaire :

Oui, si cela est souhaité par le juge.

•           Rédaction de communiqués de presse :

Greffier :

Non.

Référendaire :

C’est possible, par exemple si le référendaire assiste le « magistrat de presse » de la juridiction.

•           Rédaction des décisions concernant la procédure :

Greffier :

Oui, selon les indications et la décision du magistrat. On pense notamment aux ordonnances déterminant les délais pour déposer des conclusions et la date de l’audience des plaidoiries, aux jugements de désignation d’un expert, à la rédaction des parties formelles d’ordonnances du juge d’instruction etc.

Référendaire :

Non.

•           Décider des questions concernant la procédure telles que la nomination d’un expert ou les frais de procédure :

Greffier :

Non. Pareilles décisions sont prises exclusivement par le juge. Mais le greffier établira le texte de telles décisions sous la direction et selon les indications du juge – cf. la réponse précédente.

Référendaire :

Non.

•           Tenir des audiences et statuer de manière autonome sur des affaires simples, par exemple en matière d'exécution, ou sur des affaires pénales simples. Dans l'affirmative, veuillez préciser si un juge doit approuver la décision ou si la décision est prise par l'assistant de justice seul.

Greffier :

Non.

Référendaire :

Non.

Pareille fonction n’est jamais assumée par le référendaire, qui ne dispose d’aucun pouvoir de décision autonome. Seul le juge possède le pouvoir de juger. L’homologue du référendaire qui officie au parquet (ministère public), le ‘juriste de parquet’, peut, par contre, selon les modalités énoncées à l’article 162, § 2, al. 3 et suiv. du Code judiciaire, être chargé de missions judiciaires officielles dans le cadre de l’exercice des fonctions du ministère public. Mais cet aspect est étranger au présent questionnaire, qui concerne les juristes qui assistent les juges dans leur travail judiciaire et non les juristes qui assistent les magistrats du parquet.  

•           En plus des tâches telles que celles mentionnées ci-dessus, les assistants de justice peuvent également accomplir des tâches administratives telles que :

         Rédaction de protocoles au cours des audiences :

Greffier :

La notion de ‘protocole’ n’étant pas explicitée dans le questionnaire, il est difficile de répondre à cette question. Si on entend par ‘protocole’, un procès-verbal de l’audience ou le fait de prendre acte d’un accord entre les parties à l’audience ou de leurs déclarations, la réponse est « oui ».

Référendaire :

Non. Contrairement au greffier, le référendaire n’a pas le pouvoir d’établir de actes officiels de la procédure.

         Organisation des dossiers :

Greffier :

Oui.

Référendaire :

Non, cette mission incombe aux greffiers et aux membres du personnel administratif.

         Correspondance avec les parties :

Greffier :

Oui.

Référendaire :

Non, la correspondance est du ressort des greffiers et des membres du personnel  administratif.

         Préparation des copies officielles des décisions, préparation des décisions pour publication :

Greffier :

Oui.

Référendaire :

Non.

         Collecte de données statistiques :

Greffier :

Oui.

Référendaire :

Non.

4.         Si les assistants de justice participent au processus de rédaction, comment le font-ils ?

Référendaire :

Soit le référendaire reçoit la mission de rédiger un projet de jugement conforme aux motifs et au résultat du délibéré, soit il est chargé de rédiger un projet de jugement qui fait l’objet ensuite d’un examen par le juge et, si la chambre est collégiale, d’une discussion entre les magistrats qui composent le siège. Le cas échéant, ce projet de décision est modifié ou adapté.

La méthode de travail peut varier d’un tribunal à l’autre, et être plus ou moins organisée selon une canevas précis.

Ainsi, il a été communiqué au rédacteur de cette réponse que la méthode suivante est suivie dans une cour d’appel déterminée :

-           d’abord, le référendaire complète un modèle d’arrêt avec les données suivantes:

         la procédure

         les demandes des parties

         les faits pertinents

         les griefs élevés contre le jugement dont appel

         les antécédents de la procédure

-           ensuite, le référendaire met en évidence les points litigieux (remarques de fond) et indique les éventuelles pièces manquantes et les problèmes de procédure (dépassements de délais, droit applicable en cas de dimension internationale etc.)

-           enfin, le référendaire rédige éventuellement, mais pas toujours, les motifs de l’arrêt et le dispositif, selon les instructions préalablement communiquées par le(s) magistrat(s) ; il va de soi que, dans ce cas, le juge pourra encore adapter ou modifier le texte du projet d’arrêt ainsi rédigé.

5.         Les assistants de justice sont-ils présents pendant les délibérations ? Si oui, participent-ils à la discussion ?

Greffier :

Généralement oui, mais seulement en tant que «secrétaire » du juge, sans aucune participation au délibéré proprement dit, ni à la prise de décision.

Référendaire :

Si la chambre siège à juge unique, la question ne se pose pas puisqu’il n’y a pas de ‘délibération’ en tant que telle et, dans ce cas, le référendaire rencontre le juge de manière informelle. Si la chambre est collégiale, la pratique existe que le référendaire assiste au délibéré, sans participer à celui-ci ni à la prise de décision.

6.         Les assistants de justice sont-ils présents aux audiences ? Dans l'affirmative, quelles sont leurs fonctions pendant les audiences ? Ont-ils le droit de poser des questions ? 

Greffier :

Oui. La présence du greffier à l’audience est une condition de validité de la procédure. Il veille à la régularité de la procédure, tient le procès-verbal de l’audience et prend acte, à la demande du juge ou des parties, des déclarations des parties, des experts ou des témoins. Il ne pose aucune question, sauf éventuellement sur des questions de procédure.

Référendaire :

Généralement, les référendaires sont présents à l’audience. Mais la pratique, à cet égard, varie d’un tribunal à l’autre et parfois même entre les chambres d’un même tribunal.

Si le référendaire assiste à l’audience, sa présence n’est pas officielle et il n’intervient pas. Il ne pose pas de questions de manière directe, mais seulement par l’intermédiaire du juge, en lui ayant soumis la question avant le début de l’audience ou à l’occasion d’une interruption.

7.         Existe-t-il une règle formelle ou un consensus informel entre les juges, quant aux types de fonctions qu’un assistant de justice devrait ou non assumer ?

Référendaire :

La fonction de référendaire est décrite formellement à l’article 162 du Code judiciaire : « Les référendaires assistent les magistrats des cours d’appel, des cours du travail et des tribunaux. Ils préparent le travail des magistrats sur le plan juridique, sous leur autorité et selon leurs indications, à l’exclusion des tâches attribuées aux greffiers ou aux secrétaires en vertu du présent Code ».

Ainsi qu’il est indiqué en réponse à la question n° 26 , il existe aussi des « descriptions de fonction » officielles de la fonction de référendaire.

De manière générale, les juges conçoivent les fonctions de ces derniers comme suit :

-           la rédaction d’un projet de jugement ou de parties d’un jugement et, si nécessaire, la rédaction d’une note d’étude sur un point de droit particulier du dossier concerné ;

-           la rédaction d’une note de synthèse dans une affaire concrète en vue de l’audience, indiquant le cas échéant des questions pertinentes que le(s) juge(s) pourraient poser aux parties à l’audience ;

-           la rédaction d’une étude sur une question juridique relative à un contentieux, à un groupe de dossiers ;

-           assister à des réunions de concertation au sein du tribunal et rédiger un rapport de la réunion, par exemple pour contribuer à l’unité de la jurisprudence ou pour concilier des divergences d’interprétation entre les chambres d’un même tribunal.

8.         Quelles fonctions appartiennent exclusivement au juge ?

La fonction de juger. Toute prise de décision est du ressort exclusif du juge. Ni le greffier ni le référendaire n’ont un pouvoir de décision autonome.

9.         Comment le travail des assistants de justice influe-t-il sur les décisions et le processus décisionnel judiciaire ? Comment les juges s'assurent-ils que la décision reste bien leur propre décision ?

Référendaire :

Il est certain que le travail des référendaires exerce une influence sur l’exercice de la fonction de juger et sur les décisions rendues. C’est le but du législateur, puisqu’il a expressément souhaité, dans les travaux préparatoires de la loi qui instauré la fonction de référendaire, que ce dernier contribue à la ‘motivation suffisante’ des jugements et arrêts. Un juge bien documenté sur le plan juridique grâce au travail de l’assistant de justice produit un travail de meilleure qualité qu’un juge qui est dépourvu de cet apport et qui est surchargé en raison de l’absence d’assistance juridique.

Les juges sont généralement très attentifs à préserver les prérogatives légales de prise de décision dans le cadre de leur fonction de juger. D’autre part, les référendaires veillent également à ne pas s’immiscer dans cette fonction. Dans la pratique, les relations entre les juges et les référendaires sont bonnes et empreintes de respect mutuel quant aux limites et caractéristiques propres de leurs fonctions respectives.

10.       Existe-t-il des données officielles ou, sinon, disposez-vous d’une estimation de l'utilité réelle des assistants de justice, par exemple dans leur capacité à faire gagner du temps aux juges ?

Il n’existe pas de telles données officielles.

Mais, dans l’ensemble, même si des opinions divergentes existent, l’opinion dominante est que les référendaires apportent une réelle plus-value qualitative et quantitative aux décisions judiciaires.

II. Organisation des assistants de justice

11.       Dans quels tribunaux de votre État les juges sont-ils assistés par des assistants de justice ? Première instance/deuxième instance/troisième instance/cour constitutionnelle ?

Greffier :

Tous les juges sont assistés d’un greffier. Un greffier peut être au service de plusieurs juges.

Référendaires :

Il faut distinguer les quatre catégories suivantes de « référendaires » :

1° les référendaires près les cours et tribunaux :

Cette catégorie de référendaires a été instaurée par la loi en 1999. L’article 162, § 3 du Code judiciaire prévoit que chaque référendaire est nommé par le Roi dans un ressort d’une cour d’appel déterminée et, ensuite, le ministre de la justice le désigne soit près d’une cour d’appel ou une cour du travail, soit près d’un tribunal de première instance , d’un tribunal de l’entreprise  ou d’un tribunal du travail.

Nombre de référendaires : il y a actuellement 66 (soixante-six) référendaires répartis dans les cours et tribunaux du Royaume.

Ces 66 référendaires sont distribués comme suit parmi les 5 cours d’appel, 5 cours du travail, 13 tribunaux de première instance, 9 tribunaux de l’entreprise et 9 tribunaux du travail du pays :

 

Tribunal ou cour d’appel/cour du travail

Nombre de référendaires

                 %

Cours d’appel

                 24

          36,5 %

Cours du travail

                   0

               0 %

Tribunaux de première instance

                 35

             53 %

Tribunaux du travail

                   5

            7,5 %

Tribunaux de l’entreprise

                   2

               3 %

Total

                 66

           100 %

Aucun référendaire n’est affecté dans les 187 justices de paix (juges de paix) et 15 tribunaux de police.

Ainsi qu’il ressort du tableau ci-dessus, les cours du travail ne disposent actuellement pas de l’assistance de référendaires.

2° les référendaires près la Cour de cassation :

Cette catégorie distincte de référendaires a été instaurée par la loi du 6 mai 1997.

L’article 135bis du Code judiciaire dispose que les référendaires préparent le travail des conseillers  de la Cour de cassation et des avocats généraux près la Cour de cassation.

Il y a actuellement 13 référendaires à la Cour de cassation. Il sont répartis, en fonction de leur spécialité, entre les chambres civiles, pénales, sociales et fiscales de la Cour.

3° les référendaires près la Cour constitutionnelle :

L’article 35 de la loi spéciale du 6 janvier 1989 sur la Cour constitutionnelle prévoit que la Cour constitutionnelle est assistée par vingt-quatre référendaires au maximum. Le site internet de la Cour constitutionnelle renseigne actuellement un nombre de 17 référendaires.

12.       S'il y a des juges non professionnels dans votre système, sont-ils spécifiquement appuyés par des assistants de justice ?

Il existe des juges non professionnels. Ils ne sont pas spécifiquement appuyés par les référendaires, dont les interlocuteurs sont les juges professionnels.

13.       Comment les assistants de justice sont-ils organisés ? S'il existe différentes formes d'organisation dans les différents tribunaux, veuillez expliquer les différents modèles. Par exemple : 

•           Les assistants sont-ils affectés individuellement à un juge ? Si oui, combien d'assistants travaillent pour chaque juge ? 

Greffiers :

Cfr. la réponse à la question n° 11.

Référendaires :

Les référendaires travaillent tantôt pour un seul juge, tantôt pour deux juges, et  le plus souvent pour une ou plusieurs chambres.

•           Sont-ils assignés à un collège de juges? Dans l'affirmative, combien d'assistants de justice travaillent pour chaque collège ? 

Cf. réponse précédente. Même si le référendaire assiste en principe un ou deux juges, il peut arriver que des missions ponctuelles soient confiées par d’autres juges de la même section du tribunal.

•           Font-ils partie d'un groupe d'assistants de justice au service de l'ensemble du tribunal ? Dans l'affirmative, quel est le ratio juge/assistant de justice ?  

Référendaires :

Il y a actuellement 66 référendaires pour l’ensemble des cours et tribunaux belges (hors cour de cassation). Sur 1571 juges des cours et tribunaux (hors cour de cassation) , cela représente une proportion d’environ 4 référendaires pour cent juges. Si on ajoute aux juges des cours et tribunaux les 13 référendaires à la Cour de cassation, qui compte 29 juges, la proportion est de 5 référendaires pour cent juges.

Il est clair que vu le nombre relativement faible de référendaires, seule une minorité de juges disposent de l’assistance d’un référendaire.

Ce nombre pourrait être supérieur, puisque l’article 162, § 3, du Code judiciaire dispose que le nombre de référendaires et de juristes de parquet est déterminé en fonction des nécessités du service, lesquelles doivent ressortir d'un rapport motivé rédigé par le chef de corps à l'intention du ministre de la Justice. Cette disposition légale énonce aussi que leur nombre par ressort ne peut excéder 35 % du nombre total de magistrats du siège de la cour d'appel, du siège des tribunaux de première instance et des parquets du procureur du Roi dans ce ressort de la cour d'appel.

•           Travaillent-ils en équipes constituées pour certaines affaires ? Dans l'affirmative, quel est le ratio juge/assistant de justice ?

Un travail par équipe de plusieurs référendaires est possible.

Ainsi, dans une cour d’appel déterminée, deux référendaires travaillent avec les juges professionnels dans le contentieux de la famille, dans un esprit d’équipe, avec des réunions régulières sur des questions d’actualité, l’évolution de la jurisprudence dans les différents tribunaux du ressort, la gestion des flux etc.

14.       Qui les paie ?

Le Service public fédéral Justice (ministère de la Justice).

15.       Quel est leur statut ? Sont-ils considérés, par exemple, comme des fonctionnaires, des juges détachés ou simplement des employés ?

Greffier :

Ils sont nommés par le Roi et sont membres du personnel judiciaire, exerçant une fonction judiciaire. Ils travaillent sous la direction du greffier en chef.

Référendaire :

La fonction de référendaire est prévue par la loi et les référendaires sont nommés par le Roi. Ils sont membres du personnel judiciaire. Les référendaires ne sont ni « juges détachés », ni de simples employés sous contrat de travail. Dès lors qu’ils sont nommés par le Roi, on peut les considérer comme des « fonctionnaires ». Mais ils travaillent sous l’autorité et la surveillance du président du tribunal ou de la cour auxquels ils sont attachés et non sous l’autorité du ministre de la justice. Dans le travail quotidien, les référendaires exercent leur fonction sous la direction d’un juge ou de plusieurs juges.

16.       Combien gagnent-ils par rapport aux juges pour lesquels ils travaillent ? Il n'est pas nécessaire d'indiquer les montants exacts, mais il serait utile de mentionner la proportion entre le salaire des juges et celui des assistants. Par exemple, comment le salaire d'un assistant de justice travaillant dans un tribunal de première instance se compare-t-il à celui d'un juge de ce même tribunal ?

Greffier :

Le traitement d’un greffier-chef de service en début de carrière (NA11) correspond à 56,40 % du traitement d’un juge au tribunal de première instance en début de carrière.

Le traitement d’un greffier en début de carrière (NBJ1) correspond à 44,52 % du traitement d’un juge au tribunal de première instance en début de carrière.

Avertissement : les deux pourcentages précités sont donnés à titre purement indicatif, à seule fin de la réponse au présent questionnaire ; ils sont le résultat d’une comparaison des montants applicables à des personnes débutant leur carrière sans ancienneté et ne reflètent pas nécessairement les situations différentes qui peuvent se présenter sur le terrain.

Référendaire près les cours d’appel et les tribunaux :

Le traitement d’un référendaire près un tribunal ou une cour d’appel en début de carrière (NA11) correspond à 56,40 % du traitement d’un juge au tribunal de première instance en début de carrière.

Les référendaires ne sont pas magistrats et ne font pas partie du cadre des magistrats. Leur statut pécuniaire n’est pas celui des magistrats mais celui du personnel judiciaire. Ils sont nommés comme personnel judiciaire de niveau A, dont font également partie les greffiers en chef, greffiers-chef de service et les attachés.

Leur statut pécuniaire est fixé selon l’ancienneté et l’évolution dans des échelles de traitement. Celles-ci dépendent des promotions barémiques et administratives qui sont accordées en fonction des réussites de formations certifiées, de sélections comparatives et des évaluations.

Le régime pécuniaire des juges est fondamentalement différent de celui des référendaires. Il dépend essentiellement de deux facteurs : d’une part la fonction exercée, à laquelle est attaché un montant de base propre à cette fonction, et, d’autre part, l’ancienneté.

Avertissement : le pourcentage précité est donné à titre purement indicatif, à seule fin de la réponse au présent questionnaire ; il est le résultat d’une comparaison des montants applicables à des personnes débutant leur carrière sans ancienneté et ne reflète pas nécessairement les situations différentes qui peuvent se présenter sur le terrain.

Référendaires près la Cour de cassation :

Le référendaire près la Cour de cassation reçoit un traitement de substitut du procureur du Roi pendant sa période de stage de trois ans, pendant les dix années suivantes il bénéficie du traitement d’un substitut du procureur général et à l'expiration de la treizième année, son traitement est identique à celui d'un avocat général près la cour d'appel.

Ainsi, durant les trois années de stage, le référendaire perçoit un traitement qui correspond à 54,96 % du traitement d’un juge à la Cour de cassation qui, par exemple, a 18 ans d’ancienneté en tant que magistrat. La quatrième année, son traitement correspondra à 67,16 % du traitement d’un tel juge à la Cour de cassation.

Avertissement : les deux pourcentages précités sont donnés à titre purement indicatif, à seule fin de la réponse au présent questionnaire ; ils sont le résultat d’une comparaison des montants applicables à des personnes débutant leur carrière sans ancienneté et ne reflètent pas nécessairement les situations différentes qui peuvent se présenter sur le terrain.

 

III. Contexte et sélection des assistants de justice

 

17.       Le fait de prendre la fonction d'assistant de justice est-il un élément nécessaire dans la formation juridique dans votre Etat / une condition préalable pour devenir juge ?

Greffier :

Non.

Référendaire :

L’exercice de la fonction de référendaire pendant cinq ans permet d’accéder à la fonction de juge, à condition d’avoir, en outre, réussi « l’examen d’aptitude professionnelle » organisé par le Conseil supérieur de la Justice.

18.       Quel est le niveau de formation des assistants de justice ? Par exemple, des études de droit, de politique, de service dans la police ou l'armée etc., une formation spéciale ?

Greffier

Pour pourvoir être nommé greffier-chef de service par recrutement, il faut être porteur d’un diplôme universitaire ou équivalent, et être lauréat d'une sélection comparative pour la fonction concernée. L’accès à cette fonction est également possible par promotion, sans être porteur d’un diplôme universitaire ou équivalent, moyennant d’autres conditions dont notamment celle d’être lauréat d'une sélection comparative pour la fonction concernée.

Pour pouvoir être nommé greffier par recrutement, il faut, outre être lauréat d’une sélection comparative, être porteur d’un diplôme d’enseignement supérieur de type court (bachelor). 

Référendaire :

Pour pouvoir être nommé référendaire, il faut être titulaire d’un Master en droit, c’est-à-dire la même formation universitaire que les juges professionnels. En outre, il faut être lauréat d'une sélection comparative pour la fonction concernée, qui est organisée par le Bureau de sélection de l’administration fédérale (« Sélor »).

La nomination devient définitive après l’accomplissement d’un stage d’un an qui doit permettre d'évaluer l'aptitude du candidat pour la fonction.

Le candidat référendaire près la Cour de cassation doit être âgé d’au moins 25 ans. Pour pouvoir être nommé, il doit participer à un concours organisé par la Cour de cassation et être classé en ordre utile. Le stage est de trois ans.

19.       Quelle est l'expérience professionnelle des assistants de justice ? S'ils ont fait des études en droit, ont-ils les compétences nécessaires pour exercer la profession ? Sont-ils des juges détachés ? Ont-ils acquis une expérience pratique, et si oui, dans quels domaines ?

Référendaire :

Pouvoir être nommé, le candidat référendaire ne doit pas avoir d’expérience professionnelle.

20.       Comment sont-ils sélectionnés ?

Greffier :

Par une sélection comparative.

Référendaire :

Par une sélection comparative.

21.       Combien de temps les assistants de justice exercent-ils habituellement cette fonction ? Juste pour un ou quelques mois, ou quelques années ? S'agit-il d'une carrière de long terme/permanente ?

Greffiers :

Cette fonction est généralement exercée à long terme.

Référendaire :

           

Il n’existe pas de statistiques sur ce point. Sur le terrain, tous les cas de figure se présentent, mais, de manière générale, on constate que les référendaires exercent leur fonction pendant plusieurs années.

           

22.       S'il s'agit d'un poste à court terme, que font-ils par la suite ?

Ceux qui quittent la fonction deviennent généralement juge.

23.       Si la fonction d'assistant de justice ne fait pas partie de la formation juridique, pourquoi les candidats postulent-ils pour travailler comme assistants de justice ?

La fonction de référendaire est perçue par les candidats comme un métier intéressant qui leur permet de prendre part, au travers de l’assistance donnée aux juges des cours et tribunaux, à la fonction de juger. Cette profession est également vue comme une mise en pratique très concrète de l’enseignement théorique que le jeune diplômé a reçu à l’université. En outre, le métier de référendaire permet de consacrer sa vie professionnelle au service de la société et des citoyens en étant confronté à des questions juridiques complexes et intéressantes.

24.       Si le poste d'assistant de justice est un poste permanent ou de longue durée, existe-t-il des possibilités d'avancement ?

Greffier :

Il existe diverses possibilités d’avancement.

Référendaire :

            Il n’existe pas de possibilité d’avancement à l’intérieur de la profession de référendaire.

Toutefois, le référendaire peut, s’il réussit « l’examen d’aptitude professionnelle à la fonction de magistrat », postuler la fonction de juge après 5 ans d’expérience comme référendaire, ou postuler la fonction de substitut du procureur du Roi après 4 ans d’expérience comme référendaire.

           

            Le référendaire peut également participer au « concours d’admission au stage judiciaire », qui lui permettra d’être nommé juge ou substitut du procureur du Roi après un stage judiciaire de deux ans. Pour participer au concours et être nommé stagiaire et ensuite magistrat, il doit satisfaire aux mêmes conditions que les autres juristes. 

           

IV. Statut et réglementation des assistants de justice

25.       Les assistants de justice prêtent-ils serment ? Portent-ils une tenue officielle à certaines occasions ? Par exemple, une tenue spécifique au tribunal ?

Greffier :

Le greffier prête serment et porte une toge.

Référendaire :

Il prête serment mais ne porte pas une toge.

26.       Existe-t-il des règles formelles concernant le statut et les fonctions des assistants de justice ? Si oui, s'agit-il d'une loi ou d'un règlement interne ? Si oui, que réglementent-ils ? Pourriez-vous joindre le texte du règlement séparément du reste de vos réponses, s'il vous plaît ?

Greffier :

Il existe des descriptions de la fonction de greffier établies par le Service public fédéral Justice : la description de fonction de greffier est jointe au questionnaire.

Le statut des greffiers est réglé par des dispositions du Code judiciaire et divers autres textes réglementaires. Seules les dispositions du Code judiciaire sont énumérées ci-après :

-           fonctions : art. 163 et 171

-           conditions de sélection et de nomination : art. 262 à 264

-           recrutement : 273 à 275

-           évolution dans la carrière : 276 à 278

-           évaluation : 287ter et 287quater

-           installation et prestation de serment : 288 à 291

-           incompatibilités et interdictions : 293 à 299bis ; 301 et 302

-           mobilité et mutation : 330quater et 330 sexies

-           absences et congés : 331 et 332

-           traitement (rémunération) : 366 à 377

-           discipline : 398 à 423.

Le texte de ces dispositions est joint au questionnaire.

Référendaire :

Trois descriptions de fonction spécifiques ont été établies par le Service public fédéral Justice: « référendaire-junior principalement actif dans les processus primaires », « référendaire-senior principalement actif dans les processus primaires » et « référendaire-senior principalement actif dans les processus de soutien ».

Ces descriptions de fonction sont jointes au questionnaire.

Le statut des référendaires est réglé par plusieurs dispositions du Code judiciaire et divers autres textes réglementaires. Seules les dispositions du Code judiciaire sont énumérées ci-après :

           

-           fonction : art. 162, § 1er et § 2

-           conditions de sélection et de nomination : art. 261

-           évolution dans la carrière : 276 et 277

-           évaluation : 287ter et 287quater

-           installation et prestation de serment : 288 à 291

-           incompatibilités et interdictions : 293 à 299bis ; 301 et 302

-           mobilité et mutation : 330quater et 330sexies

-           absences et congés : 331, 332, 333 et 353bis

-           traitement (rémunération) : 366 à 367quinquies, 368, 370, 372bis, 372quater, 372sexies, 372septies, 373, 373bis et 375

-           pension : 397bis

-           discipline : 398 à 423.

Le texte de ces dispositions est joint au questionnaire.

En ce qui concerne le travail des référendaires sur le terrain, la « version actualisée des instructions générales concernant les référendaires [près la Cour de cassation] » est également jointe au questionnaire.

27.       Existe-t-il des règles informelles régissant la relation entre le juge et les assistants de justice ?

Respecter le champ d’action différent et la spécificité de chacune des fonctions de greffier, référendaire et juge.

28.       Existe-t-il des règles - formelles ou informelles - concernant l'indépendance et l'impartialité des assistants de justice ?

Oui, tant pour les greffiers que pour les référendaires.

Règles formelles :

-           les règles relatives aux incompatibilités et interdictions applicables aux greffiers et aux référendaires sont énoncées aux articles 293 à 302 du Code judiciaire, ainsi qu’à l’article 1597 du Code civil.

Règles informelles :

Référendaires :

-           dès lors qu’il prête une assistance juridique à des juges indépendants et impartiaux, le référendaire doit veiller à ce que cette assistance ne compromette pas ces deux qualités ; ainsi, les relations personnelles, les amitiés et les affinités politiques du référendaire ne peuvent avoir aucune influence sur son travail  ;

-           les référendaires doivent examiner les dossiers de manière objective et professionnelle et rédiger leurs notes ou avis sans avoir égard à des éléments factuels de science personnelle qui sont étrangers aux pièces de la procédure.

29.       Les assistants de justice de votre État peuvent-ils devenir membres d'une association de juges, ou existe-t-il une association spéciale pour eux ?

Ils ne font pas partie d’associations de juges, puisqu’ils ne sont pas juges.

Il existe des associations spécifiques. Le rédacteur de cette réponse a connaissance de l’existence des associations suivantes :

-           pour les greffiers : CENEGER (Fédération nationale des greffiers près les cours et tribunaux) ;

-           pour les référendaires : AJUREF (Association des juristes de parquet et des référendaires près les cours et tribunaux).

V. Considérations générales sur le soutien apporté aux juges

30.       Croyez-vous que les juges de votre système auraient besoin d'un soutien plus important ou différent de la part du personnel pour travailler efficacement ? Si oui, pouvez-vous détailler le type de soutien auquel vous pensez ?

31.       Y a-t-il des défis auxquels votre Etat est confronté concernant le soutien apporté aux juges qui n'ont pas été mentionnés jusqu'à présent ?

Réponse commune aux questions 30 et 31 :

Ainsi qu’il est exposé en réponse aux questions 11 et 13, le nombre actuel de référendaires – 66 référendaires pour 1571 juges – est faible.

En outre, ce chiffre a tendance à diminuer, dès lors que les référendaires qui sont nommés juge ou quittent leur fonction ne sont pas systématiquement remplacés.

Pour avoir un impact plus important sur la qualité de la justice et pour assurer des délais de traitement plus courts, le nombre de référendaires devrait augmenter de manière significative.

Pareille augmentation devrait être accompagnée d’une réelle volonté de la part des juges et de leurs chefs de corps d’impliquer les référendaires dans le travail de rédaction des décisions judiciaires, dans le cadre d’une relation étroite entre le juge et son assistant.

A cet égard, il est indispensable que les référendaires et les juges aient des contacts réguliers et suffisamment structurés dans le processus d’élaboration de la décision judiciaire, et que les uns comme les autres s’investissent personnellement et de manière proactive dans la construction d’une relation de qualité orientée vers la recherche de l’excellence.

L’établissement, à l’attention des juges et des référendaires, soit au niveau local, soit au niveau national, de directives relatives aux fonctions respectives des référendaires et des juges, et à l’organisation de leur relation de travail (méthode de travail, objectifs à atteindre, recherche de l’excellence, réunions régulières, feed-back etc.), peut être un facteur important d’une plus grande plus-value du travail d’assistance juridique des référendaires.

Il va de soi que la nomination de référendaires ou l’augmentation de leur nombre ne constituent en aucun cas une alternative valable à la nomination d’un juge ni ne peuvent compenser le fait que le cadre des juges, qui en Belgique est fixé par la loi, n’est pas entièrement rempli.

  


Bosnia and Herzegovina / Bosnie-Herzégovine

I. How are judges supported?

1.         Are judges supported in their work by assistants who are not judges at that court (and also not members of the security or IT staff)?

a) by administrative assistants

b) by judicial assistants

In majority of basic/municipal courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) judges are supported only by administrative assistants. In higher level Courts, such as Cantonal/District Courts, Supreme Courts, Court of BiH and Constitutional Courts - judges are supported by both administrative and judicial assistants.

2.         What is the rationale for employing assistants in your system? If there are different rationales for employing administrative assistants and judicial assistants, please describe those rationales separately.

All judges have administrative assistants, who work as typist – typing decisions, orders, invitations, letters, statements, records etc., who work on case management, sending and sorting correspondence with the parties, etc. Administrative assistants mostly are not lawyers or legal staff. All courts in BiH employ own administrative assistants who support judges in their everyday work.

In regard to judicial assistants – we have three categories.

1.         Legal associates in Municipal courts of the Federation of BiH – who are appointed by High Judicial and Prosecutorial Counsel (HJPC) and they act independently in simple civil and execution cases, what is prescribed by Law.

2.         Legal associates/advisors in Cantonal courts of Federation of BiH, Supreme Court of Federation of BiH and Constitutional Court of Federation of BiH – they assist judges in their work and they are employed as Civil servants.

3.         Legal associates/advisors that support judges in their work – who work as employees of the Courts. We have this category of legal staff in District courts of Republika Srpska, Court of Bosnia and Hrezegovina, Constitutional Courts of BiH and Republika Srpska, Supreme Court of Republika Srpska, High Commercial courts and District Commercial courts of Republika Srpska.

Judicial assistants in Bosnia and Herzegovina have different rankings such as Legal Associates, Senior Legal Associates, Legal Adviser – Assistant, Legal Advisers and Legal Trainees. They act as Civil servants or Court’s employees, depending in which Court they work, and they are not elected by HJPC.

3.         What kind of duties judicial assistants have at the courts in your member State? If they perform different duties in different courts, please explain these duties separately. Such duties may include:

•           Research, maybe summarised in a memo

•           Discussion with the judge(s)

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law and a suggestion of the judicial assistant how the case should be decided

•           Memos summarising the facts and the relevant law and including a suggestion if a case should be accepted for appeal/constitutional review

•           Drafting parts of the judgment, if so which parts? Facts, certain points under discussion?

•           Drafting complete judgments

•           Proofreading of decisions, maybe including discussing certain points with the judge/pointing out inconsistencies etc. 

•           Reading draft judgments of other judges and discussing them with the judge

•           Crosschecking references

•           Drafting press releases

•           Drafting procedural decisions

•           Deciding procedural issues such as appointing an expert or deciding on costs of proceedings

•           Conducting hearings and deciding simple cases autonomously, for example concerning enforcement, or simple criminal cases. If so, please specify if a judge has to approve the decision or if the decision is taken by the judicial assistant alone.

•           In addition to tasks such as those mentioned above, judicial assistants may also perform administrative duties such as:

-           Writing protocols in hearings

-           Organisation of files

-           Correspondence with parties

-           Preparing the official copies of decisions, preparing decisions for publication

-           Collecting statistical data

In the Federation of BiH we have legal associates in Municipal courts, Cantonal Courts, Supreme Court of Federation of BiH and Constitutional Court of Federation of BiH.

o          Legal Associates in Municipal Courts are elected by HJPC and they act independently in civil proceedings (small value claims in which the subject matter is monetary claims or damages), enforcement matters, non-disputed proceedings, as well as other proceedings if it is prescribed by law. Legal associates also assist judge in its work, study legal issues, prepare cases for trial and perform other professional activities independently or under the supervision and the direction of the judge.

o          Legal Associates in Cantonal courts of Federation of BiH are Civil servants who assist judges in their work, study legal issues, prepare cases for Council sessions, do researches, draft decisions and perform other professional activities independently or under the supervision and the direction of the judge.

o          Legal Advisors in Supreme Court of Federation of BiH are Civil servants. They also assist judges in their work, analyse legal issues, prepare cases for trials, analyse and prepare cases for chamber sessions, draft judicial decisions and perform other professional activities independently or under the supervision and the direction of the judge.

o          Legal Advisors in Constitutional Court of Federation of BiH are also Civil servants. They assist judges in their work, analyse legal issues, research legal rules and jurisprudence, prepare draft opinions, judgements, decisions and other relevant acts, keep minutes and records of public and closed sessions, prepare reports and analysis, acts in working groups and perform other professional activities independently or under the supervision and the direction of the judge.

In the Republika Srpska we have legal associates in Basic courts, District courts, High Commercial courts, District Commercial courts, Supreme Court of Republika Srpska and Constitutional Court of Republika Srpska. They all are employees of the courts and appointed by the court’s president, after completion of public competition procedure.

o          Legal Associates in Basic and District Commercial courts may, upon authorisation and under immediate supervision of the judge, carry out the following proceedings:

         In the civil proceedings in the small value claims in which the subject matter is monetary claims or damages,

         In enforcement matters,

         In non-disputed proceedings, except legal capacity proceedings, dissolution of co-ownership and land borders,

         In probate proceedings,

         In misdemeanour proceedings.

When the proceeding is completed, legal associate draft and submits the draft judicial decision to the judge.

o          Higher legal associates in District courts, Higher Commercial courts and Supreme Court assist the judge in its work, draft judicial decisions, study legal issues, case law and legal literature, draft legal opinions and perform other professional activities independently or under the supervision and the direction of the judge.

o          Legal Advisors in Constitutional Court of Republika Srpska assist judges in their work, analyse legal issues, research legal rules and jurisprudence, prepare draft opinions, judgements, decisions and other relevant acts, prepare reports and analysis and perform other professional activities independently or under the supervision and the direction of the judge.

In Brčko Distrikt we have legal associates in Basic and Appellate courts. They are appointed by Judicial Commission of Brčko Distrikt.

o          Legal Associates in Basic Court act and bring the decision independently in certain non-disputed proceedings, enforcement matters and small value claims in civil proceedings assigned by the President.

o          Legal associates assist judge in its work, study legal issues in certain cases, draft judicial decisions, keep records of appeals, motions, proposals and requests of the parties and perform other professional activities independently or under the supervision and the direction of the judge.

At the State level, we have legal associates and legal advisors in Court of BiH and Constitutional Court. They all are employees of the courts and appointed by the court’s president, after completion of public competition procedure.

o          Legal Associates/advisors in Court of BiH are organized in teams. Each Trial chamber has its own team of assistants that include up to two legal advisors, two legal associates and legal trainee.

         Legal Advisor coordinates and supervise the work of the team, review all documents in assigned cases, take care about all deadlines, draft judicial decisions, analyse legal issues, jurisprudence and other relevant documents in international law, collect statistic data in cases, prepare reports for judges, etc.

         Legal Associate assist judges and chamber with case management and preparations for trial, correspond with parties and other services, take notes and records of trial, assist in drafting judicial decisions, prepare reports and memos for judges, etc.

         Legal trainee study legal issues in the relevant legal field, assist in drafting judicial decisions, assist in case management and preparations for trials, etc.

o          Legal Associates in Constitutional Court of BiH drafts reports, elaborates, analysis, notifications and information, analyse appeals under the supervision of Legal Advisor, analyse other disclosures and perform other activities under the supervision of chief of department or the Registrar

o          Legal Advisors in Constitutional Court of BiH assist judge in its work, study legal issues, case law and legal literature, draft legal opinions and judicial decisions, participate in court’s sessions, participate in discussions and deliberations and perform other professional activities independently or under the supervision and the direction of the judge.

4.         If judicial assistants help in the drafting process, how do they do it?

If Legal assistant is involved in drafting process, usually drafts whole decision or part of it, in accordance with the agreement with the judge or the chamber.

5.         Are judicial assistants present during deliberations? If yes, do they participate in the discussion?

Legal assistant who is involved in drafting process is usually present during deliberations. They prepare materials for discussion and in that regard they participate.

6.         Are judicial assistants present in hearings? If so, what duties do they have during hearings? Are they allowed to ask questions?

Legal assistants may be present during hearings and in that case they usually take notes and records. They are not allowed to ask questions.

7.         Is there a formal rule or an informal consensus among judges, what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake?

It depends on judges. Their duties are prescribed by laws, but the scope and way of how they do it depends on informal agreement with judges.

8.         Which duties belong exclusively to the judge? 

Judge exclusively leads hearings and sessions and in the end brings the decision.

9.         How does the work of judicial assistants affect decisions and judicial decision making? How do judges ensure that the decision remains "their"?

It depends on judge. Work of judicial assistant needs to assist the judge, but final decision should be of the judge itself.

10.       Is there any official data or - if not - do you have a view how useful judicial assistants actually are e.g. in saving judges’ time?

Their role is very important in saving judges’ time. They do most of the case management, research, analysing and drafting, so judges can focus on deliberations and decision making.

II. Organisation of judicial assistants

11.       At which courts in your member State are judges supported by judicial assistants? First instance/second instance/third instance/constitutional court?

At the first instant courts (Municipal courts in Federation of BiH and Basic Court of Brčko District), judicial assistants work autonomously/independently in simple cases and they rarely assist judges.

In Basic courts in Republika Srpska, they work upon authorisation and under immediate supervision of the judge and carry out some proceedings in simple cases (explained above), after which they draft and submits the draft judicial decision to the judge. They rarely assist judges in their everyday work.

At second instant courts (Cantonal courts in Federation of BiH, District courts in Republika Srpska and Appellate Court of Brčko District), some of judges are supported by legal assistants, but definitely not all of them.

At the Entities Supreme courts, some of judges are supported by legal advisers, but definitely not all of them.

At the Entities Constitutional courts, all judges are supported by legal advisers.

At the Court of BiH, all judges are supported by legal staff.

At the Constitutional Court of BiH all judges are supported by legal associates and legal advisors.

12.       If there are lay judges in your system, are they specifically supported by judicial assistants?

In proceedings that started after judiciary reform in 2003, we don’t have lay judges. In some “old” cases that started before 2003, we still have some, but they are not supported by legal assistants.

13.       How are judicial assistants organised? If there are different forms of organisation at different courts, please explain the different models. For example:

•           Are assistants assigned to one judge individually? If so, how many assistants work for each judge? 

•           Or are they assigned to a panel of judges? If so, how many judicial assistants work for each panel? 

•           Or are they part of a pool of judicial assistants serving the whole court? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

•           Or do they work in teams put together for certain cases? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

Only in Court of BiH and Constitutional Courts in BiH all judges have legal assistants, either assistants assigned to one judge individually or team of assistants assigned to a panel of judges.

In all other courts, legal assistants work for whole court and they assist in cases assigned to them.

14.       Who pays them?

They are all paid from Court’s Budget.

15.       What is their status? Are they considered as, for example, civil servants, seconded judges or just employees?

It depends in which court they work, as explained above.

Legal Associates in Municipal Courts are elected by HJPC and they are considered as seconded judges.

Legal Associates in Cantonal courts of Federation of BiH, Supreme Court of Federation of BiH and Constitutional Court of Federation of BiH are Civil servants.

Legal Assistants in Republika Srpska, Brčko District, Court of BiH and Constitutional courts of BiH and Republika Srpska are considered as employees of courts.

16.       How much do they earn compared to the judges for whom they work? You do not need to indicate exact amounts, but mentioning the proportion between the salaries of judges and assistants would be helpful. For example, how does the salary of a judicial assistant working at a first instance court compare to that of a judge at that court?

At the basic and second level instance, legal assistants earn approximately 50% of salary of the judges at the same court.

At the Supreme courts, Constitutional courts and the Court of BiH, legal assistants earn more than assistants from basic and second level instances, but less than 50% of the judges’ salary.

III. Background and selection of Judicial Assistants

17.       Is serving as a judicial assistant a necessary part of the legal education in your member State / a prerequisite for becoming a judge?

It is considered as an advantage (not written), but not as necessary part of legal education. For becoming a judge all legal experience is relevant.

18.       What kind of education do judicial assistants have? For example, studies of law, politics, service in the police or military etc., a special education?

For position of judicial assistant, studies of law are necessary.

19.       What kind of work experience do judicial assistants have? If they have a legal education, have they qualified for practice? Are they seconded judges? Have they gained practical experience, if so, in what areas?

In order to become a Legal Associate at the first instance courts – one needs to be a graduated lawyer with passed Bar exam and to have a minimum two years of legal experience.

For second instance courts – legal associate needs to be a graduated lawyer with a passed Bar exam and three years of legal experience.

For Supreme and Constitutional courts – Legal advisor needs to be a graduated lawyer with a passed Bar exam and five years of legal experience.

For Court of BiH

o          Legal associate – graduated lawyer with minimum one year of legal experience.

o          Legal advisor – assistant – graduated lawyer with a passed Bar exam and minimum one year of legal experience after Bar exam.

o          Legal advisor – graduated lawyer with a passed Bar exam and minimum three years of legal experience after Bar exam.

For Constitutional Court of BiH

o          Legal associate needs to be a graduated lawyer with passed Bar exam

o          Legal advisor needs to be a graduated laywer with passed Bar exam and minimum five years of legal experience

20.       How are they selected?

They are (mostly) selected in public competition procedure.

21.       How long do judicial assistants usually work in that capacity? Just for one or a few months, or years? Or is it a long-term/permanent career? 

Legal assistant positions are permanent, so they can do that as long as they want, either as permanent career or as long as it is necessary to apply for judicial or prosecutorial position.

22.       If it is a short-term position, what do they do afterwards?

Not applicable.

23.       If serving as a judicial assistant is not part of the legal education, why do applicants apply to work as judicial assistants?

Because it is relevant experience and it is considered as an advantage to become a judge or a prosecutor.

24.       If being a judicial assistant is a long-term/permanent position, are there opportunities for advancement?

Within the same institution usually not, except in Court of BiH where you can start as a legal trainee and end up as a legal advisor.

IV. Status and regulation of judicial assistants 

25.       Do judicial assistants swear an oath? Do they wear some form of official dress at certain occasions? E.g. gowns when in court?

Only Legal associates appointed by HJPC swear an oath.

Some Legal assistants wear gowns in court, for example in Court of BiH.

26.       Are there formal regulations concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants? if so, is it a statute or internal regulation? If yes, what is regulated by them? Could you provide, as a separate attachment to your answers, the text of the regulation please?

Status and duties of judicial assistants are prescribed either by Laws or by internal regulations of each institution (prescribed status and duties were explained above), but unfortunately the text of them is not available in English or French. 

27.       Are there informal rules governing the relationship between judge and judicial assistants?

There may be, from time to time, general directions in order to improve work of judicial assistants.

28.       Are there any rules - formal or informal - concerning the independence and impartiality of judicial assistants?

B&H Association of court and prosecutor’s professional associates and assistants adopted “Model Code of Ethics for Legal Associates and Advisors in Courts and Prosecutor's Offices in Bosnia and Herzegovina” (text available in English and attached as a separate document)

29.       Can judicial assistants in your member State become members of an association of judges or is there a special association for them?

There is B&H Association of court and prosecutor’s professional associates and assistants.

V. General considerations about the support of judges

30.       Do you believe that judges in your system would need more or different support by personnel to work effectively? If yes, what kind of support?

It should be more legal assistants in lower level courts, so that more judges have assistants in their work.

31.       Are there certain challenges that your member State faces as regards the support for judges which have not been mentioned so far?

The greatest challenge is shortage of resources, so the number of legal assistants is lower than it would be appropriate. 


Bulgaria / Bulgarie

I. How are judges supported?

1.         Are judges supported in their work by assistants who are not judges at that court (and also not members of the security or IT staff)?

a) by administrative assistants – yes, in all courts;

b) by judicial assistants – yes, but not in all courts - there might be judicial assistants at the courts should Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) Judges College decide so on the basis of the workload level of the respective judiciary body. At present judicial assistants are working at the Supreme Court of Cassation, the Supreme Administrative Court, the Constitutional Court – and at administrative, appellate and first instance courts with high workload level.

2.         What is the rationale for employing assistants in your system? If there are different rationales for employing administrative assistants and judicial assistants, please describe those rationales separately.

Administrative assistants provide judges administrative support. They work on the organisation of files, correspondence, communication with parties/checks/providing information on various procedural issues, preparation of decisions/orders/judgements official versions, collecting documents and statistical data.

Judicial assistants support judges in their adjudicative work. They are assigned tasks as legal research, summary of case-law and opinions in the legal doctrine, preparing memos/summary of facts, drafting judicial instruments. Their work allows judges to save time and concentrate on more complex issues/deliver decisions in shorter terms. On the other hand it provides valuable experience in that field and is often seen as a step to judge’s career.

3.         What kind of duties judicial assistants have at the courts in your member State? If they perform different duties in different courts, please explain these duties separately. Such duties may include:

·         Research, maybe summarised in a memo - yes

·         Discussion with the judge(s) – yes - as far as needed for dealing with the task assigned and following the instructions of the judge in charge

·         Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law - yes

·         Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law and a suggestion of the judicial assistant how the case should be decided - no

·         Memos summarising the facts and the relevant law and including a suggestion if a case should be accepted for appeal/constitutional review - no

·         Drafting parts of the judgment, if so which parts? Facts, certain points under discussion?- yes (see answer to question N.4)

·         Drafting complete judgments - yes

·         Proofreading of decisions, maybe including discussing certain points with the judge/pointing out inconsistencies etc.  - no

·         Reading draft judgments of other judges and discussing them with the judge - no

·         Crosschecking references -no

·         Drafting press releases - no

·         Drafting procedural decisions -yes

·         Deciding procedural issues such as appointing an expert or deciding on costs of proceedings -no

·         Conducting hearings and deciding simple cases autonomously, for example concerning enforcement, or simple criminal cases. If so, please specify if a judge has to approve the decision or if the decision is taken by the judicial assistant alone - no.

·         In addition to tasks such as those mentioned above, judicial assistants may also perform administrative duties such as:

-       Writing protocols in hearings - no

-       Organisation of files - no

-       Correspondence with parties - no

-       Preparing the official copies of decisions, preparing decisions for publication - no

-       Collecting statistical data – no

-      

4.         If judicial assistants help in the drafting process, how do they do it?

Judicial assistants carry out comparative legal research in a specified matter, assigned by a judge, administrative head or deputy administrative head, draft summary of the facts and relevant law memos, draft orders/decisions/parts of judgements (usually factual ones)/judgements (more rarely-prevailingly of not complex/repetitive cases with well-established case law) – after discussion with and following the instructions of the judge in charge. Even in case they draft the entire decision/judgement, it is the judge in charge who decides whether to use the draft or not, to redraft or to edit it until the final text fits his/her understanding and ruling in the case. Judicial assistants shall draft only if a judge assigns them a case (not all cases of the judge). In fact in all courts several judges share one judicial assistant and usually the number of cases which could be assigned is established in internal rules, issued by the President of the respective court (ex. at the Supreme Court of Cassation, following the internal rules, one judicial assistant shall help up to three judges and shall be assigned no more than 3 cases per week/14 cases per month). Judicial assistants shall also draw up opinions on letters and alerts concerning legal matters received at the court and assist the administrative heads and the chairpersons of divisions upon the institution of cases.

5.         Are judicial assistants present during deliberations? If yes, do they participate in the discussion?

No.

6.         Are judicial assistants present in hearings? If so, what duties do they have during hearings? Are they allowed to ask questions?

No, they are not present (if they are interested in a case, they can attend an open public hearing just as anyone else can do it).

7.         Is there a formal rule or an informal consensus among judges, what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake?

There are formal rules – in law /Judiciary System Act (JSA)/ and in Internal Presidents of Courts Rules - which outline judicial assistants’ duties.

8.         Which duties belong exclusively to the judge?

It is within the exclusive judges’ competence to preside hearings/sit in a panel, to decide the case/participate in panel deliberations and decide the case, to write/decide which is the final version of a decision/judgement and sign it.

9.             How does the work of judicial assistants affect decisions and judicial decision making? How do judges ensure that the decision remains "their"?

Judicial assistants are prevailingly involved in the stage when preparation of the decision making is conducted as far as the main part of their work consists in research and finding relevant case law/preparing memos and summaries/drafting decisions in repetitive not complex cases with well-established case law. It’s judges’ responsibility to hold a hearing (presiding it or sitting in a panel), to examine the case, to admit and evaluate evidence, to decide which facts have been established and to apply the relevant law – thus deciding on the outcome of the proceedings /following deliberations within (and only) the members of the panel/. Judicial assistants cannot affect the decision making process. Even when they are assigned the drafting of a decision/judgement or parts thereof, they are following the instructions of and the decision taken by the judge/panel in charge. However, their draft is later corrected by the judge reporter who in most of the cases gives own reasoning.

10.         Is there any official data or - if not - do you have a view how useful judicial assistants actually are e.g. in saving judges’ time?

   No statistical data - but judicial assistants facilitate judges’ work and make it more productive and speedy.

II. Organisation of judicial assistants

11.     At which courts in your member State are judges supported by judicial assistants? First instance/second instance/third instance/constitutional court? - see answer to question N.1

12.   If there are lay judges in your system, are they specifically supported by judicial assistants?

There are lay judges but they are not supported by judicial assistants.

13.    How are judicial assistants organised? If there are different forms of organisation at different courts, please explain the different models. For example:

·         Are assistants assigned to one judge individually? If so, how many assistants work for each judge? 

·         Or are they assigned to a panel of judges? If so, how many judicial assistants work for each panel? 

·         Or are they part of a pool of judicial assistants serving the whole court? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant? – Yes – the organisation of the assistants is set in the internal rules of the President of the respective court; it’s different for the different courts and depends on the number of the judges, the number of the assistants, the special temporary needs of certain judges to be assisted (for example because of a large backlog cases), etc.

·         Or do they work in teams put together for certain cases? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

14.       Who pays them?

The court at which they work.

15.     What is their status? Are they considered as, for example, civil servants, seconded judges or just employees? servants (they don’t have magistrates’ status)

16.        How much do they earn compared to the judges for whom they work? You do not need to indicate exact amounts, but mentioning the proportion between the salaries of judges and assistants would be helpful. For example, how does the salary of a judicial assistant working at a first instance court compare to that of a judge at that court?

Judicial assistants shall receive basic monthly remuneration amounting to 90 per cent of the basic remuneration for the lowest judicial position.

III. Background and selection of Judicial Assistants

17.     Is serving as a judicial assistant a necessary part of the legal education in your member State /a prerequisite for becoming a judge?

No. The law (Judiciary System Act, Art.294) provides that holders of a university degree in law shall be licensed to practise law after a six-month internship as legal interns and sitting for an examination – but the intern position is totally different from the judicial assistant position.

18.     What kind of education do judicial assistants have? For example, studies of law, politics, service in the police or military etc., a special education?

University degree in lawis a must.

19.     What kind of work experience do judicial assistants have? If they have a legal education, have they qualified for practice? Are they seconded judges? Have they gained practical experience, if so, in what areas? 

Eligibility for appointment as a judicial assistant shall be limited to persons who meet the Article 162 JSA requirements for becoming judges - i.e. persons who hold Bulgarian citizenship only and: hold a university degree in law; have undergone the internship provided in Judicial System Act and is licensed to practise law; possess the required moral integrity and professional standing complying with the Code of Ethical Conduct of Bulgarian Magistrates; have not been sentenced to deprivation of liberty for an intentional criminal offence, notwithstanding any subsequent rehabilitation; are not elective member of the Supreme Judicial Council who have been released from office on disciplinary grounds for damaging the prestige of the Judiciary; do not suffer from a mental illness - and who have successfully passed a competition for a judicial officer. Work experience is not required – but, as already mentioned, judicial assistants have to be qualified for practice (see answer to question N.17). They are not seconded judges.

20.     How are they selected?

   Judicial assistants shall pass successfully a competition. The recruitment procedure is organised by the court at which the assistants will work. Usually there is a written exam/test and an interview carried out by a competition commission. Candidates shall be appointed in the order of the ranking thereof by the competition commission. Judicial assistants shall be appointed by the administrative head of the respective court.

21.    How long do judicial assistants usually work in that capacity? Just for one or a few months, or years? Or is it a long-term/permanent career?

There is no term of office prescribed by law – so it could be a long term or permanent career. Usually judicial assistants work in that capacity for several years. The position is very attractive for young lawyers as it provides valuable experience and is often seen as a starting point of a judicial career and a step towards judges’/prosecutors’ positions (judicial assistants usually later apply in judges’ and prosecutors’ competitions). In practice the number of the judicial assistants who permanently remain at that position is not large.

22.     If it is a short-term position, what do they do afterwards? - see answer to question N.21

23.    If serving as a judicial assistant is not part of the legal education, why do applicants apply to work as judicial assistants?

The position of the judicial assistant is attractive because of the valuable experience it provides; thesalary is also acceptable, especially for young lawyers.

24.   If being a judicial assistant is a long-term/permanent position, are there opportunities for advancement?

A judicial assistant can’t advance as such, but the position increases the chances of becoming a judge because of the valuable experience and practical skills it provides.

IV. Status and regulation of judicial assistants 

25.   Do judicial assistants swear an oath? Do they wear some form of official dress at certain occasions? E.g. gowns when in court?

No, judicial assistants don’t swear an oath and don’t wear official dresses. However, according to law (Art.246b JSA) they shall be bound to keep as official secret the information of which they have become aware in the course of their work and which affects the interests of citizens, legal persons, the administrative authorities and the State; they shall not have the right to give legal advice and opinions to the parties, to the procedural agents thereof or to third parties in connection with the official work thereof; when discharging the official duties thereof and in public life, judicial assistants must behave in conformity with professional ethics and not damage the prestige of the Judiciary.

26.    Are there formal regulations concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants? if so, is it a statute or internal regulation? If yes, what is regulated by them? Could you provide, as a separate attachment to your answers, the text of the regulation please?

There is a special section in Judiciary System Act dedicated to judicial assistants. It mainly regulates eligibility, appointment, duties and obligations, remuneration (see the Appendix). The law also prescribes that the Labour Code shall apply to matters that have not been provided for in the section and that administrative heads of courts shall endorse and publish on the website of the respective judicial authority rules of organisation of the operation of judicial assistants. These rules contain information about distribution of judicial assistants among judges (how many judges shall be assisted by one judicial assistant), tasks/total number of cases which shall be assigned per week/month, evaluation and accountability, duties and obligations, leave.

27.     Are there informal rules governing the relationship between judge and judicial assistants?

No.

28.    Are there any rules - formal or informal - concerning the independence and impartiality of judicial assistants?

No rules concerning independence. There are rules (Art.246b JSA) according to which judicial assistants shall be bound to keep as official secret the information of which they have become aware in the course of their work and which affects the interests of citizens, legal persons, the administrative authorities and the State; they shall not have the right to give legal advice and opinions to the parties, to the procedural agents thereof or to third parties in connection with the official work thereof; when discharging the official duties thereof and in public life, judicial assistants must behave in conformity with professional ethics and not damage the prestige of the Judiciary.

29.     Can judicial assistants in your member State become members of an association of judges or is there a special association for them?

No.

V. General considerations about the support of judges

30.    Do you believe that judges in your system would need more or different support by personnel to work effectively? If yes, what kind of support?

 In general judges need more support. As stated in 2017 Courts Activity Annual Report the support of judges has to be improved, including by increasing the number of judicial assistants and by changes in the concept of allocation of tasks between judges and assistants; some courts are still overloaded, others (although few) lack enough space, courtrooms and judges’ offices; information and technical support can also be improved. Similar conclusions are drawn by SJC Judicial Administration Commission which has proposed increasing the number of specialized administration servants (including judicial assistants - who are mostly needed, information security servants, press attaches) and changes in the judicial assistants concept with respective legislative amendments.

31.    Are there certain challenges that your member State faces as regards the support for judges which have not been mentioned so far?

In February 2019 (following SJC Judicial Administration Commission proposal - based on judges’ workload and possible reforms to ensure efficiency of justice analysis) Supreme Judicial Council Judges Colleges adopted a decision a new concept about the role and the functions of the judicial assistants to be elaborated. The aim is reallocation of tasks between judges and well-trained administration in order to relieve judges from elementary but time consuming activities. One of the ideas is to delegate judicial assistants administration of cases functions, which could not be appealed against (ex. exchange of documents and notifications, archiving cases) – thus allowing judges to concentrate on their real adjudicative work– to assess the regularity of an action/appeal lodged, to admit evidence and schedule a hearing, to hold a hearing, to decide on the outcome of the case/deliver a decision/judgement. The future changes shall be subject to discussion among judges and SJC working group to summarize the results and propose legislative amendments shall be appointed.


Croatia /Croatie

I. How are judges supported?

1.         Are judges supported in their work by assistants who are not judges at that court (and also not members of the security or IT staff)?

a) by administrative assistants

b) by judicial assistants

A: Both.

Judges at first instant courts are supported by administrative assistants who are taking care about all administrative work of a judge but under supervision and judge’s control. Also they are writing everything what goes out from judges office including judgments but without any autonomy / usually they write down what judges are dictating/.

First instant courts have also judicial assistants /JA/ but usually they are not attached to judges as their assistants but they work on their own cases under the judge’s supervision. The duty of JA is to conduct hearings ,establish facts and propose decision to a judge, draft decision and its reasoning. Final decision to accept the proposal is responsibility of a judge. 

Appellate and Supreme Courts have judicial assistants who have more assistant-advisory role.

2.         What is the rationale for employing assistants in your system? If there are different rationales for employing administrative assistants and judicial assistants, please describe those rationales separately.

A: Rationale to employ JA is to make system more efficient and not to burden judges with less demanding duties .

Rationale for engagement administrative assistants is to provide judges with secretarial support . 

3.         What kind of duties judicial assistants have at the courts in your member State? If they perform different duties in different courts, please explain these duties separately. Such duties may include:

•           Research, maybe summarised in a memo,  Yes if required by a judge, but more likely that reserch will include providing domestic and foreign courts case law.

•           Discussion with the judge(s)  Yes if judge is a mentor to assistant

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law Yes if required by a judge

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law and a suggestion of the judicial assistant how the case should be decided Yes if required by a judge to whom assistant is attached to

•           Memos summarising the facts and the relevant law and including a suggestion if a case should be accepted for appeal/constitutional review Yes if required by a judge to whom assistant os attached to

•           Drafting parts of the judgment, if so which parts? Facts, certain points under discussion? Yes,

•           Drafting complete judgments Yes if a judge makes such request and when assistant has his/hers own cases allocated to them

•           Proofreading of decisions, maybe including discussing certain points with the judge/pointing out inconsistencies etc. 

•           Reading draft judgments of other judges and discussing them with the judge Yes but at very limited scope and only few assistants in the courts have such duty always supervised by judges

•           Crosschecking references No

•           Drafting press releases Yes if assistants are attached to spokesperson of the court. In some courts assistants are spokespersons of the courts if president of particular court decides so.

All above mentioned duties court assistants perform at courts of appeal and Supreme Court . Duties are not strictly divided as in the questionnaire but concrete duties depend mostly on the organization of the court and how duties are distributed upon annual act of the president of courts 

•           Drafting procedural decisions Yes

•           Deciding procedural issues such as appointing an expert or deciding on costs of proceedings Yes

•           Conducting hearings and deciding simple cases autonomously, for example concerning enforcement, or simple criminal cases. If so, please specify if a judge has to approve the decision or if the decision is taken by the judicial assistant alone. Yes

Three above mentioned duties assistants have at first instant courts where role of assistants is completely different from those at second and third instant courts .

•           In addition to tasks such as those mentioned above, judicial assistants may also perform administrative duties such as:

-           Writing protocols in hearings No

-           Organisation of files No

-           Correspondence with parties No

-           Preparing the official copies of decisions, preparing decisions for publication No in principle but possible

-           Collecting statistical data No

4.         If judicial assistants help in the drafting process, how do they do it?

A: Role and tasks of JA are different regarding level of courts.

First instant courts: JA have their own cases, they are conducting hearings and they draft decision as proposal to a judge. Tipe of cases where JA can take described responsibility are prescribed in the Law on Courts and in the Constitution there is a provision which says that JA are participating in judging.

Appellate and Supreme Court: JA are helping judges to prepare case for reporting at the panel, drafting some of the decisions, doing research job and collection case law. Most of work is matter of organization with a judges to whom JA is attached.

To understand role of JA at this level it must be stressed that there are not public hearings at appellate or Supreme court level with very limited exceptions in penal cases.

5.         Are judicial assistants present during deliberations? If yes, do they participate in the discussion?

A: Yes. They are free to speak and encouraged  to give comments and opinions.

6.         Are judicial assistants present in hearings? If so, what duties do they have during hearings? Are they allowed to ask questions?

A: Yes they are present at appellate level in penal cases where they take notes and record the deliberations of the parties. They are not allowed to ask questions.

As described above at first instance level they are acting in full capacity, almost like judges with no authority to deliver final decision without approval of a judge

7.         Is there a formal rule or an informal consensus among judges, what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake?

A: There is formal rule in the Law on Courts what judicial assistants are allowed to do but this role is limited to assistants at first instance courts ( what is not first interest of this questionnaire). Other duties described in answers under 3.are more matter of the organization of the court procedures.

8.         Which duties belong exclusively to the judge? 

A: Judges have exclusive duty and right to decide about all procedural and material law issues in the cases and decide all questions as listed in Article 6. of ECHR.

9.         How does the work of judicial assistants affect decisions and judicial decision making? How do judges ensure that the decision remains "their"?

A:Simply by “controlling”  assistants because responsibility for the decision is always on judges regardless was all preparatory work and draft of the decision performed by assistant.

10.       Is there any official data or - if not - do you have a view how useful judicial assistants actually are e.g. in saving judges’ time ?

A: No in such manner as posed in this question. But performance of courts and judges are followed and judges and courts who have assistants have better performance rate that those courts and judges who do not have assistants.

II. Organisation of judicial assistants

11.       At which courts in your member State are judges supported by judicial assistants? First instance/second instance/third instance/constitutional court?

A: Please see data in the previous answers. In Croatia judges of appellate, Supreme and Constitutional court are supported by judicial assistants and at first instant courts assistants have their own cases and judges are only supervising decision making process.

12.       If there are lay judges in your system, are they specifically supported by judicial assistants?

A.: Lay judges in Croatia exist only in some penal cases . All other cases are conducted by professional judge or panel of professional judges. Lay judges have no support from assistants.

13.       How are judicial assistants organized? If there are different forms of organization at different courts, please explain the different models. For example:

•           Are assistants assigned to one judge individually? If so, how many assistants work for each judge?  Yes, usually not more than one assistant

•           Or are they assigned to a panel of judges? If so, how many judicial assistants work for each panel?   No

•           Or are they part of a pool of judicial assistants serving the whole court? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant? No

•           Or do they work in teams put together for certain cases? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant? No

14.       Who pays them?

A: The State because they are court/civil servants.

15.       What is their status? Are they considered as, for example, civil servants, seconded judges or just employees?

A: JA are civil servants and all rules and laws which regulate positions and rights and duties of civil servants affect court assistants as well.

16.       How much do they earn compared to the judges for whom they work? You do not need to indicate exact amounts, but mentioning the proportion between the salaries of judges and assistants would be helpful. For example, how does the salary of a judicial assistant working at a first instance court compare to that of a judge at that court?

A: In general rule is that salaries of  court assistants depend on level of the court where they serve.

It could be said that JA’ salaries are one half of judge’s salary.

III. Background and selection of Judicial Assistants

17.       Is serving as a judicial assistant a necessary part of the legal education in your member State / a prerequisite for becoming a judge?

A:Yes. Exception is only judges of Supreme Court.

18.       What kind of education do judicial assistants have? For example, studies of law, politics, service in the police or military etc., a special education?

A: To become JA one has to have law degree  from faculty of law and bar exam.

19.       What kind of work experience do judicial assistants have? If they have a legal education, have they qualified for practice? Are they seconded judges? Have they gained practical experience, if so, in what areas?

A: most of JA are employed in courts from rank of judges’ trainees or prosecutorial and  lawyers trainee after having at least two years of experience in that capacity and after passing the bar exam.

Other lawyers will need for year of experience in legal field and bar exam.

  

20.       How are they selected?

A: Ministry of justice decides how many JA can be  employed in the particular court . When there is vacancy courts are announcing it and after the procedure which includes skills and law knowledge test and the interview commission in the court formed from president of court and two other judges  decides which of the candidates will be engaged.

Decision on engagement  can be challenged before the court.

21.       How long do judicial assistants usually work in that capacity? Just for one or a few months, or years? Or is it a long-term/permanent career? 

A: It depends on the circumstances in particular court. But in principle it can be long term permanent career especially in nowadays when   there is very few vacancies for appointing new judges.

Most of assistants will apply for vacant judges position at first instant courts because JA can apply if they pass so called “School for Judges” within Judicial Academy or they pass special exam instead, but with more  years of work  experience ( 4 years in comparison with two years in School)

22.       If it is a short-term position, what do they do afterwards?

A: No.

23.       If serving as a judicial assistant is not part of the legal education, why do applicants apply to work as judicial assistants?

A: Not applicable

24.       If being a judicial assistant is a long-term/permanent position, are there opportunities for advancement?

A: Yes. Firs of all there are three levels of assistants: court adviser, senior court adviser ( after 2 years of experience)  and senior  court adviser- specialist ( 4 years of experience)

IV. Status and regulation of judicial assistants 

25.       Do judicial assistants swear an oath? Do they wear some form of official dress at certain occasions? E.g. gowns when in court?

A: No

26.       Are there formal regulations concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants? if so, is it a statute or internal regulation? If yes, what is regulated by them? Could you provide, as a separate attachment to your answers, the text of the regulation please?

A: Yes. Their status is regulated in Constitution and in Law on Courts.

Constitution: “ Lay  judges and judges assistants  also participate in judging” ( Article 117)

Law on Courts:

“1. Judicial Counselors

Article 109

(1) The court may have court counselors, more counselors and more counselors - specialists.

(2) A court counsel may be a person who has completed a graduate university degree program or an undergraduate undergraduate and graduate university degree in law and passed a bar examination.

(3) A Senior Judicial Advisor and Judicial Advisor to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia may be a person who holds a Bachelor's Degree in Law or an Integrated Undergraduate and Graduate University Degree in Law, has passed a Bar examination and has worked for at least two years as a Judicial or State Adviser, an official, a lawyer or a notary public, or a person who has worked on other legal affairs after having passed a bar exam for at least five years.

(4) A Senior Counselor - a Specialist may be a person who has completed a graduate university degree program or an integrated undergraduate and graduate university degree program, has passed a bar examination, which has worked for at least four years as a court or state attorney, a judicial officer, a lawyer or notary public or a person who has been engaged in other legal affairs after having passed the bar exam for at least eight years.

(5) A Senior Judicial Advisor to the Supreme Court may be a person who has completed a graduate university degree program or an integrated undergraduate and graduate university study of law, has passed a bar examination, which has worked for at least four years as a court or state attorney adviser, a judicial officer, a lawyer or a public a notary or a person who has worked for other legal affairs for at least eight years after passing a bailiff's examination.

(6) A Senior Judicial Advisor - a Specialist at the Supreme Court may be a person who has completed a graduate university degree program or an undergraduate undergraduate and graduate university study of law, has passed a bar examination, which has been a judicial or state attorney for at least six years, a judicial officer, a lawyer or a public notary or a person who has worked at other legal professions for at least ten years after passing a bar exam.

Article 110.

(1) Judicial counselors, senior court counselors and senior court counselors - specialists participate in the trial and have the authority to conduct specific court proceedings, evaluate the evidence, and determine the facts.

(2) Based on this procedure, a court counselor, senior court counselor and senior court counselor - specialist shall submit to the judge, authorized by the president of the court, a draft based on which the judge makes the decision. By a court judge's mandate, a higher court counselor or senior court counselor - a specialist publishes this decision.

(3) If he does not accept the draft submitted by a Judicial Advisor, a Senior Judicial Advisor or Senior Judicial Advisor - a Specialist, the Judge will conduct the proceeding itself.

(4) Judicial counselors, senior court counselors or senior court counselors - specialists are authorized to conduct the proceedings and to propose draft decisions within the meaning of paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article:

1. in civil proceedings in claims for payment of damages or damages in which the value of the subject matter of the dispute does not exceed HRK 100,000.00 and in commercial disputes where the value of the case does not exceed HRK 500,000.00,

2. in labor disputes arising from collective agreements,

3. in administrative disputes in which decisions are made on claims in cases resolved on the basis of a final judgment rendered in the trial, on actions for damages or for failure to comply with the proceedings of a public law body and administrative disputes where the value of the case does not exceed 100,000.00 kuna,

4. in enforcement proceedings,

5. in the forensic proceedings,

6. In Land Registry Procedures,

7. in misdemeanor proceedings,

8. in non-contentious proceedings, other than in the procedures for the abolition of legal capacity, the dissolution of the co-owners, the arrangement of the bargaining and the procedures according to the Family Law,

9. in the registration procedures,

10. in short-term bankruptcy proceedings,

11. on costs of court proceedings.

(5) Judicial counselors, senior court counselors or senior court counselors - specialists are authorized to handle and make decisions in specific procedures when required by special laws.[1]

(6) Judicial counselors, senior court counselors and senior court counselors - specialists report on the status of the file and prepare a draft decision in the second instance and extraordinary remedies procedure.

27.       Are there informal rules governing the relationship between judge and judicial assistants?

No particularly.

28.       Are there any rules - formal or informal - concerning the independence and impartiality of judicial assistants?

A:The independence of JA are limited and protected by the independence and impartiality of a judge they are attached to.

29.       Can judicial assistants in your member State become members of an association of judges or is there a special association for them?

B: No. They have their own association. At the beginning of the Association assistants for few years  were also members of judges’ association but at those times (1991.) there was very few assistants at the courts in Croatia.

V. General considerations about the support of judges

A:JA are, at this situation necessary to support and help judges in their work because challenges which national judges are facing now with such vide scope of legislation and vide  kind of cases can be properly answer only if judges will be supported with sufficient staffing where JA have an mayor role. 

To deliver justice and serve citizens it is necessary for judges to have assistant support.

30.       Do you believe that judges in your system would need more or different support by personnel to work effectively? If yes, what kind of support?

A: The goal which our judiciary is looking to achieve is that all judges will be supported by at least one JA. But beside this other assistance is necessary like skilled secretaries and support from IT sector.

31.       Are there certain challenges that your member State faces as regards the support for judges which have not been mentioned so far?

A: IT equipment and logistical support

     Secretaries,

      Access to case law and  access to engines which provide case law electronically

Translation services


Cyprus / Chypre

Please find below the answers of the Supreme Court of Cyprus on the questionnaire for the preparation of the CCJE Opinion No. 22 (2019) under the title: “The role of court clerks and legal assistants within the courts and their relationships with judges”

Part I.

I. How are judges supported?

1.         Are judges supported in their work by assistants who are not judges at that court (and also not members of the security or IT staff)?

According to the Courts’ Procedural Rules of 2002 (regulating the administration of the courts and the duties of the civil servants), only Supreme Court Judges are supported in their work by Legal officers /assistants. Such legal assistants are not judges themselves but are enrolled lawyers who are employed as civil servants.

2.         What is the rationale for employing assistants in your system? If there are different rationales for employing administrative assistants and judicial assistants, please describe those rationales separately.

 

There are clear different rationales for employing administrative assistants and Judicial assistants. The administrative assistants are assistants who carry out the administrative duties of the court, organising the filing, correspondence, collecting documents and statistical data while Judicial assistants support judges in their adjudicative work, by performing legal duties.

3.         What kind of duties judicial assistants have at the courts in your member State? If they perform different duties in different courts, please explain these duties separately. Such duties may include:

The duties of judicial assistants in the Supreme Court are diverse. They may help in the overall work of the court as a whole while they are also assigned to individual judges.

Among the duties that benefit the entire court work are the preparation of rubrics of judgments for publication in the Cyprus Law Reports, anonymization of courts decisions, answering questionnaires, drafting courts’ rules and legal research. They also attend various committees regarding the administration of the courts.

As regards the assistant assigned to an individual judge, it must be noted that, not all judges appear to use their judicial assistants in the same way. So, the assistance offered by the judicial officer may vary from judge to judge.

Their duties include, among others, to perform legal research, prepare memos with summary of the facts of a case and/or the relevant case law, translate courts decisions, laws and legal documents, crosscheck references, correct decisions (only in terms of spelling mistakes) or even draft parts of the judgment (facts or certain legal points discussed).

4.         If judicial assistants help in the drafting process, how do they do it?

Judicial assistants may draft part of the judgments only after strict guidance and within the framework defined by the judge.

5.         Are judicial assistants present during deliberations? If yes, do they participate in the discussion?

No, judicial assistants are not present during deliberations.

6.         Are judicial assistants present in hearings? If so, what duties do they have during hearings? Are they allowed to ask questions?

Judicial assistants may or may not be present during hearings depending on the judge/judges they assist.

7.         Is there a formal rule or an informal consensus among judges, what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake?

There are both formal and informal consensus among judges, of what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake. Formal duties are defined by the Courts’ Procedural Rules of 2002 (regulating the administration of the courts and the duties of the civil servant) and also by the Schemes of Service prepared by the Council of Ministers and approved by the House of Representatives. The Supreme Council of Judicature (which is consisted by the 13 Judges of the Supreme Court) also has the power to delegate any duty (informal consensus) relevant to the position of judicial assistants and this may take the form of a formal letter or an administrative circular or even an oral announcement. Moreover, based on the framework defined by the formal rules and the nature of the position, each judge can also delegate a number of duties to his judicial assistant.     

8.         Which duties belong exclusively to the judge?

The judge has the exclusive duty to adjudicate, oversee the proceedings, decide for the case and prepare/write the judgement.  

9.         How does the work of judicial assistants affect decisions and judicial decision making? How do judges ensure that the decision remains "their"?

The decision always remains that of the judge. Judicial assistants only assist the judge and in no way, interfere with the content of a decision. However, depending on the individual judge they may discuss the case and its possible outcome with the judge.

10.       Is there any official data or - if not - do you have a view how useful judicial assistants actually are e.g. in saving judges’ time?

There is no any official data as to the extent of the help provided by the judicial assistants. Without any doubt, however, by providing background work such as legal research, considerable time is saved.

II. Organisation of judicial assistants

11.       At which courts in your member State are judges supported by judicial assistants? First instance/second instance/third instance/constitutional court?

According to the Courts’ Procedural Rules of 2002 (regulating the administration of the courts and the duties of the civil servant), only Supreme Court Judges’ are supported by judicial assistants.

12.       If there are lay judges in your system, are they specifically supported by judicial assistants?

No, there are not any lay Judges in the Cyprus legal system.

13.       How are judicial assistants organised? If there are different forms of organisation at different courts, please explain the different models. For example:

Judicial assistants are assigned to one judge individually and each judge has only one assistant working for him.  There is no collective pool of legal assistants but a legal assistant may help any other judge provided the judge to whom the legal assistant is assigned, consents.

14.       Who pays them?

Judicial assistants are civil servant and are paid by the Government Budget

15.       What is their status? Are they considered as, for example, civil servants, seconded judges or just employees?

Judicial assistants are civil Servants.

16.       How much do they earn compared to the judges for whom they work? You do not need to indicate exact amounts, but mentioning the proportion between the salaries of judges and assistants would be helpful. For example, how does the salary of a judicial assistant working at a first instance court compare to that of a judge at that court?

Judicial assistants are paid around 1/3 of the Supreme Court Judges’ salaries. 

III. Background and selection of Judicial Assistants

17.       Is serving as a judicial assistant a necessary part of the legal education in your member State / a prerequisite for becoming a judge?

No, serving as a judicial assistant is not a necessary part of the legal education/a prerequisite for becoming a judge. On the contrary, judicial assistants cannot become judges since they are considered to be public servants and not practising lawyers. Judges are appointed form among practising advocates.   

18.       What kind of education do judicial assistants have? For example, studies of law, politics, service in the police or military etc., a special education?

Judicial assistants must be law graduates and also lawyers having at least one-year practice in the profession.

19.       What kind of work experience do judicial assistants have? If they have a legal education, have they qualified for practice? Are they seconded judges? Have they gained practical experience, if so, in what areas?

Judicial assistants must have at least one-year practice in the legal profession.

20.       How are they selected?

The Public Service Commission is responsible for the selection and the appointment of judicial assistants. The Commission is comprised of a President and four other members, appointed by the President of the Republic. The Public Service Law also provides for the establishment of an Advisory Committee that assist the Commission, by executing the first screening of candidates. This Advisory Committee for appointing a judicial assistant, is comprised of high level public employees of the Supreme Court. The candidates must also pass a written examination on legal issues (constitutional, administrative and European law).

21.       How long do judicial assistants usually work in that capacity? Just for one or a few months, or years? Or is it a long-term/permanent career? 

Judicial assistants are civil servants holding a permanent position.

22.       If it is a short-term position, what do they do afterwards?

Not applicable.

23.       If serving as a judicial assistant is not part of the legal education, why do applicants apply to work as judicial assistants?

Not applicable

24.       If being a judicial assistant is a long-term/permanent position, are there opportunities for advancement?

There is no opportunity for advancement since judicial assistants cannot become judges as they are considered to be public servants and not practising lawyers.  There is however, the position of Senior Legal Assistant to which one may be promoted. 

IV. Status and regulation of judicial assistants 

25.       Do judicial assistants swear an oath? Do they wear some form of official dress at certain occasions? E.g. gowns when in court?

Judicial assistants do not swear an oath or wear any form of official dress.

26.       Are there formal regulations concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants? if so, is it a statute or internal regulation? If yes, what is regulated by them? Could you provide, as a separate attachment to your answers, the text of the regulation please?

The status and the duties of judicial assistants are defined by the Courts’ Procedural Rules of 2002 (regulating the administration of the courts and the duties of the civil servant) and also by the Schemes of Service prepared by the Council of Ministers and approved by the House of Representatives. The Supreme Council of Judicature (which consists of the 13 Judges of the Supreme Court) also has the power to delegate duties that are relevant to the position of the judicial assistant and this delegation may take the form of a formal letter or an administrative circular. The Schemes of Service are not available in English or French.

27.       Are there informal rules governing the relationship between judge and judicial assistants?

There may be general directions given to further the work of judicial assistants from time to time.

28.       Are there any rules - formal or informal - concerning the independence and impartiality of judicial assistants?

Judicial assistants are public servant. They are obliged to conform to the Public Service Laws 1990 to 2006 which provide among others, rules for impartiality; serving public interest; avoiding conflicts of interest; Also, to abide by the Constitution and follow the law and orders, serve citizens objectively, fairly, impersonally and impartially and act with dignity. In case a public servant disobeys these rules, the Law provide various sanctions

Moreover, judicial assistants are also obliged to conform to the Code of Conduct for Civil Servants which also codify the responsibilities and obligations of civil servants.

29.       Can judicial assistants in your member State become members of an association of judges or is there a special association for them?

Judicial assistants cannot become members of an association of judges and there is no special association for them.

V. General considerations about the support of judges

30.       Do you believe that judges in your system would need more or different support by personnel to work effectively? If yes, what kind of support?

Currently, judicial assistants work in an efficient way and support adequately their judges. Nevertheless, the possibility of creating work teams consisting of judicial assistants specialized in different fields of law, could be considered, in order to support judges in complicated cases. Moreover, the appointment of judicial assistants to specialised or lower courts, might be a good step. 

31.       Are there certain challenges that your member State faces as regards the support for judges which have not been mentioned so far?

No.


Czech Republic / Republique Tchèque

I. How are judges supported?

1.         Are judges supported in their work by assistants who are not judges at that court (and also not members of the security or IT staff)?

a) by administrative assistants

b) by judicial assistants

Yes, we have both in Czech

2.         What is the rationale for employing assistants in your system? If there are different rationales for employing administrative assistants and judicial assistants, please describe those rationales separately.

3.         Assistants are organised within judicial section (every judge or panel of judges is considered to be a section) teamwork. Judicial assistant is nominated by concrete judge to support the legal service.

4.         What kind of duties judicial assistants have at the courts in your member State? If they perform different duties in different courts, please explain these duties separately. Such duties may include:

•           Research, maybe summarised in a memo Y

•           Discussion with the judge(s) Y

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law Y

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law and a suggestion of the judicial assistant how the case should be decided Y

•           Memos summarising the facts and the relevant law and including a suggestion if a case should be accepted for appeal/constitutional review Y

•           Drafting parts of the judgment, if so which parts? Facts, certain points under discussion? Y

•           Drafting complete judgments Y

•           Proofreading of decisions, maybe including discussing certain points with the judge/pointing out inconsistencies etc.  Not ussually

•           Reading draft judgments of other judges and discussing them with the judge Not ussually

•           Crosschecking references Not ussually

•           Drafting press releases No

•           Drafting procedural decisions Y

•           Deciding procedural issues such as appointing an expert or deciding on costs of proceedings Y

•           Conducting hearings and deciding simple cases autonomously, for example concerning enforcement, or simple criminal cases. If so, please specify if a judge has to approve the decision or if the decision is taken by the judicial assistant alone.  Just procedural issues, no hearings, no taking evidence. Autonomously can make decision like clerks (payment order, enforcement decisions), but ussually don’t have their autonomous agenda.

•           In addition to tasks such as those mentioned above, judicial assistants may also perform administrative duties such as:

-           Writing protocols in hearings No

-           Organisation of files No

-           Correspondence with parties Y

-           Preparing the official copies of decisions, preparing decisions for publication Not ussually

-           Collecting statistical data, not ussually

5.         If judicial assistants help in the drafting process, how do they do it?

6.         It depense on concrete condition of collaboration between judge and j.assistant (it is about concrete competence of JA). J.A. can prepare a draft of the final decision, or prepare summary of facts or law suggestion.

7.         Are judicial assistants present during deliberations? If yes, do they participate in the discussion? No. They can discuss with judge after making decision about his reasons, evaluation of fact etc.

8.         Are judicial assistants present in hearings? If so, what duties do they have during hearings? Are they allowed to ask questions? Ussualy not, but only for their own practising.

9.         Is there a formal rule or an informal consensus among judges, what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake? There is a lot of possibilities, competence of J.A. is wide (derived from clerk competences),  in law is only negative enumeration (not to hold hearings, not to make some types of decisions -verdicts, etc.)

10.       Which duties belong exclusively to the judge?  See before.

11.       How does the work of judicial assistants affect decisions and judicial decision making? How do judges ensure that the decision remains "their"?

12.       In fact, assistants do ussually decide procedural matters, prepare written draft of decision or prepare all evidence from parties to the hearings. Some types of procedural decisions they can make on their´s own responsibility. Then is possibility for parties to plea to the judge to consider that decision.

13.       Is there any official data or - if not - do you have a view how useful judicial assistants actually are e.g. in saving judges’ time ?

14.       There were some studies in 2006-2008 making by judicial initiative and it was concluded, that J.A. can save 0,25 -0,33 judge´s work time. That was the reason, why was decided by government to strenghten this support (and to fixate number of judges).

II. Organisation of judicial assistants

15.       At which courts in your member State are judges supported by judicial assistants? First instance/second instance/third instance/constitutional court?

All instances.

16.       If there are lay judges in your system, are they specifically supported by judicial assistants? We have lay judges. But no J.A. support for them.

17.       How are judicial assistants organised? If there are different forms of organisation at different courts, please explain the different models. For example:

•           Are assistants assigned to one judge individually? If so, how many assistants work for each judge? 

•           Or are they assigned to a panel of judges? If so, how many judicial assistants work for each panel? 

•           Or are they part of a pool of judicial assistants serving the whole court? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

•           Or do they work in teams put together for certain cases? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

in courts of first instance is ussual to share one J.A. by two judges, in appeal instance is ussual one J.A. for a panel of judges and in supreme courts is ussual more J.A. per one judge.

18.       Who pays them? Their income is summoned in court budget

19.       What is their status? Are they considered as, for example, civil servants, seconded judges or just employees? Just employees.

20.       How much do they earn compared to the judges for whom they work? You do not need to indicate exact amounts, but mentioning the proportion between the salaries of judges and assistants would be helpful. For example, how does the salary of a judicial assistant working at a first instance court compare to that of a judge at that court? It is about 25-30%

III. Background and selection of Judicial Assistants

21.       Is serving as a judicial assistant a necessary part of the legal education in your member State / a prerequisite for becoming a judge? Not necessary, but it is a credit practise for judicial exam.

22.       What kind of education do judicial assistants have? For example, studies of law, politics, service in the police or military etc., a special education? Law studies

23.       What kind of work experience do judicial assistants have? If they have a legal education, have they qualified for practice? Are they seconded judges? Have they gained practical experience, if so, in what areas? They have no added qualification.

24.       How are they selected? It is a competition on assigned job position.

25.       How long do judicial assistants usually work in that capacity? Just for one or a few months, or years? Or is it a long-term/permanent career?  1-5 years. They can past judicial exam after 3 years of practise and since 30 they can take part in public tender for judge position.

26.       If it is a short-term position, what do they do afterwards?

27.       If serving as a judicial assistant is not part of the legal education, why do applicants apply to work as judicial assistants? Good practise.

28.       If being a judicial assistant is a long-term/permanent position, are there opportunities for advancement? It should be long- term position, but ussually after 30 years JA try to became judges. If not succeed, they have (after passing judicial exam) possiblity to ask Bar Association to be barristers.

IV. Status and regulation of judicial assistants 

29.       Do judicial assistants swear an oath? Do they wear some form of official dress at certain occasions? E.g. gowns when in court? No

30.       Are there formal regulations concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants? if so, is it a statute or internal regulation? If yes, what is regulated by them? Could you provide, as a separate attachment to your answers, the text of the regulation please? Only law – clerk competences for J.A. in § 36a zák. č. 6/2002 Sb. (law about judges has an article about status and competences of J.A.)

31.       Are there informal rules governing the relationship between judge and judicial assistants? No

32.       Are there any rules - formal or informal - concerning the independence and impartiality of judicial assistants? If only make their own procedural decision, they are obliged by rules for judicial clerks.

33.       Can judicial assistants in your member State become members of an association of judges or is there a special association for them? They can.

V. General considerations about the support of judges

34.       Do you believe that judges in your system would need more or different support by personnel to work effectively? If yes, what kind of support? I does work well.

35.       Are there certain challenges that your member State faces as regards the support for judges which have not been mentioned so far? There are discused judicial training conditions in Czech judiciary. F.ex. how increase study conditions or practice for JA, traineeship.

Asistenti soudců vrchních, krajských a okresních soudů

§ 36a

                (1) Soudci vrchního, krajského nebo okresního soudu může být jmenován asistent soudce. Pracovní poměr asistenta soudce vzniká jmenováním a řídí se zákoníkem práce, pokud tento zákon nestanoví jinak. 

 

                (2) Asistenta soudce jmenuje předseda příslušného soudu na návrh soudce, o jehož asistenta se jedná; asistenta odvolává předseda soudu i bez návrhu. Funkce asistenta soudce se považuje za zrušenou, zanikne-li funkce příslušného soudce.

 

                (3) Asistentem soudce může být jmenován bezúhonný občan, který má vysokoškolské vzdělání v magisterském studijním programu v oblasti práva na vysoké škole v České republice. Podmínku bezúhonnosti nesplňuje ten, kdo byl pravomocně odsouzen za trestný čin, pokud se na něj nehledí, jako by odsouzen nebyl.

 

                (4) Asistent soudce vykonává jednotlivé úkony soudního řízení z pověření soudce, pokud tak stanoví zvláštní zákon nebo rozvrh práce.

 

                (5) Asistent soudce je oprávněn podílet se na rozhodovací činnosti soudu v rozsahu stanoveném zvláštním právním předpisem pro vyšší soudní úředníky; na jeho postavení se přiměřeně použijí ustanovení upravující postavení vyšších soudních úředníků.

 


Denmark / Danemark

I. How are judges supported?

1.         Are judges supported in their work by assistants who are not judges at that court (and also not members of the security or IT staff)?

a) by administrative assistants Yes, throughout the Danish court system.

b) by judicial assistants Yes, but only in the Supreme Court.

Functions as a judge are in the District courts exercised also by deputy judges. Formally they are not judges, but when sitting as a judge they enjoy the constitutional independence of a judge in so far as they shall obey the law only, and they are given a certain protection against arbitrary removal. They have a legal education and they cope with in particular enforcement, probate and bankruptcy cases. They can also handle minor civil and criminal cases. When sitting in court they are sitting as a sole judge, not as a judicial assistant for an appointed judge, and their functions will for that reason not be commented further.

In the two High courts deputy judges can participate as one of the three judges hearing a case. This is an important part of the education and evaluation of deputy judges, but as they participate in each particular case on equal foot with the two appointed judges and not as a judicial assistant, there will be no further comments on their functions either.

2.         What is the rationale for employing assistants in your system? If there are different rationales for employing administrative assistants and judicial assistants, please describe those rationales separately. Administrative assistants: delegating routine tasks to staff with lesser education. Judicial assistants: to enable The Supreme Court to work more efficiently.

3.         What kind of duties judicial assistants have at the courts in your member State? If they perform different duties in different courts, please explain these duties separately. Such duties may include:

•           Research, maybe summarised in a memo

•           Discussion with the judge(s)

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law and a suggestion of the judicial assistant how the case should be decided

•           Memos summarising the facts and the relevant law and including a suggestion if a case should be accepted for appeal/constitutional review

•           Drafting parts of the judgment, if so which parts? Facts, certain points under discussion?

•           Drafting complete judgments

•           Proofreading of decisions, maybe including discussing certain points with the judge/pointing out inconsistencies etc. 

•           Reading draft judgments of other judges and discussing them with the judge

•           Crosschecking references

•           Drafting press releases

•           Drafting procedural decisions

Yes to all of the above duties.

•           Deciding procedural issues such as appointing an expert or deciding on costs of proceedings No.

•           Conducting hearings and deciding simple cases autonomously, for example concerning enforcement, or simple criminal cases. If so, please specify if a judge has to approve the decision or if the decision is taken by the judicial assistant alone. No.

•           In addition to tasks such as those mentioned above, judicial assistants may also perform administrative duties such as:

-           Writing protocols in hearings

-           Organisation of files

-           Correspondence with parties

-           Preparing the official copies of decisions, preparing decisions for publication

-           Collecting statistical data

No to all of the above duties. If witnesses have to be heard before the hearing of a civil case in the Supreme Court a judicial assistant can precede the oral hearing of the witnesses and write the protocol of this hearing.

4.         If judicial assistants help in the drafting process, how do they do it? They prepare a draft, occasionally after having discussed the case with a Supreme Court judge.

5.         Are judicial assistants present during deliberations? If yes, do they participate in the discussion? Yes, they are present, but they do not participate in the discussions.

6.         Are judicial assistants present in hearings? If so, what duties do they have during hearings? Are they allowed to ask questions? No, they are not present in hearings.

7.         Is there a formal rule or an informal consensus among judges, what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake? No.

8.         Which duties belong exclusively to the judge? It is entirely the duty and responsibility of Supreme Court judges to decide a case.

9.         How does the work of judicial assistants affect decisions and judicial decision making? How do judges ensure that the decision remains "their"? The work of judicial assistants is believed to support the quality and efficiency of the work of the Supreme Court. It is entirely the duty and responsibility of Supreme Court judges to decide a case.

10.       Is there any official data or - if not - do you have a view how useful judicial assistants actually are e.g. in saving judges’ time ? No.

II. Organisation of judicial assistants

11.       At which courts in your member State are judges supported by judicial assistants? First instance/second instance/third instance/constitutional court? Only at the Supreme Court.

12.       If there are lay judges in your system, are they specifically supported by judicial assistants? There are lay judges in Danish courts but not in the Supreme Court. Lay judges are not supported by judicial assistants.

13.       How are judicial assistants organised? If there are different forms of organisation at different courts, please explain the different models. For example:

•           Are assistants assigned to one judge individually? If so, how many assistants work for each judge?  No.

•           Or are they assigned to a panel of judges? If so, how many judicial assistants work for each panel?  No.

•           Or are they part of a pool of judicial assistants serving the whole court? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant? Yes. The ratio is approximately two Supreme Court judges to one judicial assistant.

•           Or do they work in teams put together for certain cases? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant? No.

14.       Who pays them? Government.

15.       What is their status? Are they considered as, for example, civil servants, seconded judges or just employees? Their title is “dommerfuldmægtig (deputy judge)”.

16.       How much do they earn compared to the judges for whom they work? You do not need to indicate exact amounts, but mentioning the proportion between the salaries of judges and assistants would be helpful. For example, how does the salary of a judicial assistant working at a first instance court compare to that of a judge at that court? The salary of a “dommerfuldmægtig” at the Supreme Court is approximately one third of that of a Supreme Court judge.

III. Background and selection of Judicial Assistants

17.       Is serving as a judicial assistant a necessary part of the legal education in your member State / a prerequisite for becoming a judge? No.

18.       What kind of education do judicial assistants have? For example, studies of law, politics, service in the police or military etc., a special education? A university law degree is required.

19.       What kind of work experience do judicial assistants have? If they have a legal education, have they qualified for practice? Are they seconded judges? Have they gained practical experience, if so, in what areas? They generally have several years of working experience. They come from diverse backgrounds in law practice, ministries or other courts, where they have worked as a deputy judge.

20.       How are they selected? The selection process involves submission of application, interview, and evaluation of their qualifications.

21.       How long do judicial assistants usually work in that capacity? Just for one or a few months, or years? Or is it a long-term/permanent career? Two to three years.

22.       If it is a short-term position, what do they do afterwards? They are entitled to move into another job at the courts. Some get employment with other employers.

23.       If serving as a judicial assistant is not part of the legal education, why do applicants apply to work as judicial assistants? It is presumably because of the learning experience, it is considered to be meriting, and may advance their career.

24.       If being a judicial assistant is a long-term/permanent position, are there opportunities for advancement? A judicial assistant can’t advance as such, but a judicial assistant, who has done a good job, will often have improved his or her possibilities of becoming a judge.

IV. Status and regulation of judicial assistants 

25.       Do judicial assistants swear an oath? Do they wear some form of official dress at certain occasions? E.g. gowns when in court? They do not swear an oath. They wear a judge’s gown when in court room and deliberation room.

26.       Are there formal regulations concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants? if so, is it a statute or internal regulation? If yes, what is regulated by them? Could you provide, as a separate attachment to your answers, the text of the regulation please? No.

27.       Are there informal rules governing the relationship between judge and judicial assistants? No.

28.       Are there any rules - formal or informal - concerning the independence and impartiality of judicial assistants? Yes. The same rules apply as those for appointed judges.

29.       Can judicial assistants in your member State become members of an association of judges or is there a special association for them? They can not become member of the Danish Association of Judges (dommerforeningen) but may enter the Danish Association of Deputy Judges (dommerfuldmægtigforeningen).

V. General considerations about the support of judges 

30.       Do you believe that judges in your system would need more or different support by personnel to work effectively? If yes, what kind of support?

Yes. Court staff has been reduced in later years as a consequence of rationalizations due to digitalisation. The Danish judiciary to day have to cope with too many administrative and practical duties, which leaves it with lesser time for the judicial work.

Particularly concerning comprehensive cases there could be a need for access to help from judicial assistants in all courts.

31.       Are there certain challenges that your member State faces as regards the support for judges which have not been mentioned so far? No.


Finland / Finlande

I. How are judges supported?

1.           Are judges supported in their work by assistants who are not judges at that court (and also not members of the security or IT staff)?

a) by administrative assistants

b) by judicial assistants

Answers:

a) There are various kinds of administrative assistants as defined for the purpose of the questionnaire in all courts in Finland. They are usually organized as separate units (e.g. administrative office, registry office or a separate secretarial unit). In the smallest courts there may not exist any separate units for them and the tasks in question may be taken care of by only a few such assistants. Such staff may also work as personal secretaries of judges (this is common in district courts).

The administrative assistants usually do not have legal education although in some cases they may have taken a law degree of a lower level (a kind of a degree which does not qualify you for a judge). They work for example with receiving documents from the clients of the court, organizing court files, taking care of various kinds of preparative correspondence with the clients of the court and copying and (technically) preparing the official versions of the court decisions. The ones who work as personal secretaries of the judges or in separate secretarial units usually have a role in the technical side of writing the decisions of the court (the contents of which is – of course – the responsibility of the judges) or writing protocols in the court hearings.

b) There are also various kinds of judicial assistants in Finnish courts.

First of all, we have in Finland a system of a general court apprenticeship. For this purpose district courts have special positions of court trainees (so called court notaries) who mainly work there for one whole year. Alternatively they may work in a district court for half a year after which they switch either to a court of appeal or to an administrative court where they serve the other half of the year. Their work in district courts consists mostly of independently deciding on lesser cases (their competence is much more limited than that of a judge). A part of their work may however consist of preparatory work done for the judges or sitting as one member in three-judge-panels. In courts of appeal and administrative courts their work consists of that of the referendaries or draftpersons.

In the two supreme courts (the Supreme Court and the Supreme Administrative Court), courts of appeal, administrative courts and two of the three special courts (the Labour Court and the Insurance Court) there are judicial assistants called referendaries who act as a kind of assistant judges (but are not part of the panel of judges which decides on the case). In the third special court, the Market Court, these judicial assistants are called draftpersons and they have more limited powers than referendaries.

The concrete tasks of refendaries depend, in addition to the legislation, also on the standing orders of each court. The referendaries in the two supreme courts are mostly very independent in their work whereas e.g. the referendaries in the courts of appeal work much more under the supervision of judges responsible for each case. The concrete independence of the referendaries in the courts of appeal varies quite a bit from court to court and depends also on the type of the case. In cases that dealt with without oral hearing they are allowed to utter an official dissenting opinion if they disagree with the decision of the panel of judges. By contrast, in cases where there is an oral hearing the referendaries act as draftpersons which means that they may be involved in drafting the decision of the court but may not utter a dissenting opinion. In the preparation to an oral hearing they work under the guidance of the judge in charge of the case and their overall level of independence can be described to be lower than in cases that are dealt with in the written proceedings.

As mentioned above, in the Market Court there are no referendaries, only draftpersons.

In the year 2017 a special system of judicial training for the purposes of becoming judge was introduced in Finland. For the purposes of this system there are fixed-term (normally three years) positions of assessors (i.e. judge trainees) in courts of appeal, administrative courts and special courts. An assessor has the status of a (fixed-term) judge. There are however, some elements in assessors' work that resemble the work of a referendary. The assessors for instance usually do themselves the preparatory work for which judges otherwise can use referendaries or draftpersons. As assessors are essentially judges references to them are only sporadically made in the following text.

2.           What is the rationale for employing assistants in your system? If there are different rationales for employing administrative assistants and judicial assistants, please describe those rationales separately.

The rationale for employing assistants in general is to make the work-load of judges lighter and to enable them to concentrate on their adjudicative work. Employing judicial assistants serves also educational purposes.

Concerning the court notaries the above-mentioned educational purposes are not limited to initial training for future judges. The vast majority of those who serve their term as court notaries will have a career outside the courts. They may become for instance prosecutors or practising lawyers but a lot of them will have careers completely outside the justice system. The court apprenticeship gives court notaries a good insight in the work in the courts and is generally deemed as useful work-experience for anyone working in legal profession.

The referendaries and draftpersons in the courts of appeal, administrative courts and special courts have a concrete possibility to career as a judge. One of the main goals in serving as referendaries or draftpersons is to acquire knowledge and experience needed in the position of a judge. Before founding the judicial training system for assessors the main route to becoming a judge was through serving as referendaries or draftpersons in courts of appeal, administrative courts or special courts. It remains to be seen how the experience as a referendary or a draftperson will in the future be evaluated in the appointments for the judges' positions.

The positions as referendaries in the supreme courts have traditionally been seen as serving as an advanced training for future judges although a considerable part of referendaries have served all or almost all of their career as referendaries. In the recent years, however, more and more of the referendaries of the supreme courts have sought for and been appointed to positions as judges. Especially during the last ten years judges in lower courts have sought positions as fixed-term referendaries in the supreme courts in order to gain valuable knowledge and experience that can be of help in advancing their careers within the judiciary.

3.           What kind of duties judicial assistants have at the courts in your member State? If they perform different duties in different courts, please explain these duties separately. Such duties may include:

In short it can be stated that the judicial assistants take care of almost all of the below-mentioned tasks in Finnish courts. The extent to which they perform each task varies a lot depending on which kind of a judicial assistant is in question (referendary, draftperson or court notary) and on the court the judicial assistant in question is working in. Differences in this respect occur also in the courts of the same kind due to the fact that there is variance in the standing orders and established practices of the courts (e.g. there are differencies in the standing orders of the courts of appeal, of which there are five in Finland).   

·        Research, maybe summarised in a memo

      Typically belongs to duties of a referendary and a draftperson. May also be a duty of a court notary if s(he) is preparing the case for a judge or a panel of judges.

·        Discussion with the judge(s)

      All kinds of judicial assistants.

·        Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law

      Typically belong to duties of a referendary and a draftperson. May also be a duty of a court notary if s(he) is preparing the case for a judge or a panel of judges.

·        Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law and a suggestion of the judicial assistant how the case should be decided

      Typically belong to duties of a referendary.

·        Memos summarising the facts and the relevant law and including a suggestion if a case should be accepted for appeal/constitutional review

Typically belong to duties of referendaries of the supreme courts.  

·        Drafting parts of the judgment, if so which parts? Facts, certain points under discussion?

      Typically belongs to duties of referendaries and very often to duties of draftpersons. The referendary drafts the whole judgment whereas a draftperson may draft either the whole judgment or some parts of it  depending on the wishes and instructions of the panel of judges. In general it can be said that a referendary works rather independently albeit taking into account possible instructions from the panel of judges. A draftperson is more of “a helping hand” and usually works under guidance of the judge responsible for the case or the whole panel of judges when drafting the judgment or parts of it.

·        Drafting complete judgments

      See answer to the previous question.

·        Proofreading of decisions, maybe including discussing certain points with the judge/pointing out inconsistencies etc.

      Typically belongs to duties of a referendary or a draftperson.  

·        Reading draft judgments of other judges and discussing them with the judge

      May belong to duties of court notaries. Referendaries and draftpersons are typically not obliged to be involved in matters which they themselves have not been preparing for the judges.

·        Crosschecking references

Typically belongs to referendaries and draftpersons. 

·        Drafting press releases

      Typically belongs to judges. Referendaries and draftpersons may also be utilised in drafting press releases. This may be more common in the supreme courts.

·        Drafting procedural decisions

      Typically belongs to referendaries and draftpersons.

·        Deciding procedural issues such as appointing an expert or deciding on costs of proceedings

Belongs to judges only (and to court notaries in cases which they handle on their own or as members of three-judge-panels). Referendaries and draftpersons may decide on the court fees but not on the compensation of costs between the parties. 

·        Conducting hearings and deciding simple cases autonomously, for example concerning enforcement, or simple criminal cases. If so, please specify if a judge has to approve the decision or if the decision is taken by the judicial assistant alone.

Court notaries are entitled to hear simple civil and criminal cases autonomously. The limits are defined in the Judicial Apprenticeship Act (paragraphs 14 – 16). Court notaries hearing cases within their competence act under the same rules of responsibility as judges. They are not obliged to negotiate about their decisions with judges, although this may very often be advisable.  

·        In addition to tasks such as those mentioned above, judicial assistants may also perform administrative duties such as:

-        Writing protocols in hearings

Typically a duty of court notaries, referendaries and draftpersons.

-        Organisation of files

Typically belongs to duties of secretaries or administrative assistants, up to a point (usually in initial stages of archiving the files) also to court notaries, referendaries and draftpersons.

-        Correspondence with parties

Typically belongs to duties of court notaries (mainly in their own cases, seldom when they are members of three-judge-panels), referendaries and draftpersons, quite often to secretarial staff.

-        Preparing the official copies of decisions, preparing decisions for publication

The official copies of decisions are usually prepared by secretarial staff or administrative assistants. Preparing decisions for publication may belong to referendaries and draftpersons.

-        Collecting statistical data

Belongs to administrative staff.

4.           If judicial assistants help in the drafting process, how do they do it?

They usually write a draft to a decision either independently (especially drafting the decision as a referendary) or following the guidelines given by a single judge (the judge responsible for the case) or a panel of judges.  

5.           Are judicial assistants present during deliberations? If yes, do they participate in the discussion?

This is at least the general rule. In cases where they act only as draftpersons they may not be present during deliberations. If they are present and act as referendaries they participate in the discussion. If they are present but act as draftpersons only they do not necessarily participate in the discussion although they certainly have a chance to comment on the discussion of the judges.  

6.           Are judicial assistants present in hearings? If so, what duties do they have during hearings? Are they allowed to ask questions?

Usually they are present, although not necessarily. If they are, they usually write the protocol of the hearing and take care of the technical side of the proceedings, e.g. the taping of the accounts of the parties and witnessses. The questions in the hearings are usually asked by the presiding judge and judicial assistants are able to have their relevant questions asked by the presiding judge. On the approval of the presiding judge they may have an opportunity to ask their questions themselves although this is not a very common practice.  

7.           Is there a formal rule or an informal consensus among judges, what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake?

There may be formal rules in standing orders of the courts in addition to the fact that in legislation certain duties and competencies are reserved for judges only. However, the duties of a judicial assistant depend to a large extent on the internal practices of the court in question, which practices may be documented in e.g. special internal guidebooks of the court. The limits to their factual duties and competencies are also set by these practices.    

8.           Which duties belong exclusively to the judge?  

The duties which include actual judicial decision making can be described to belong exclusively to judges.   

9.           How does the work of judicial assistants affect decisions and judicial decision making? How do judges ensure that the decision remains "their"?

All the preparatory work, e.g. finding the relevant precedents of the supreme instance or the important decisions by the lower courts and research in the judicial literature are important for the decision making of the judges. If and when a judicial assistant drafts the decision (either as a referendary or as a draftperson)  his/her work may either have a considerable influence on the contents and even the wording of a decision or by contrast not be seen in any way in the final decision of the court. This depends very much on the quality of the draft and also to a certain extent on the individual panel of judges for whom the draft is written.

If judges are not content either on the outcome proposed in the draft or the wording of the draft they are of course entitled to leave the whole draft without notice and write the decision in its entirety by themselves. The work-load of the judges may (at least in certain cases) have an influence on to how large an extent they are willing to rewrite the draft if they agree on the proposed outcome. However, when the judges accept the draft (either as such or revised to a larger or lesser extent) they of course take on them the responsibility for the decision such as it is in its final form. 

10.        Is there any official data or - if not - do you have a view how useful judicial assistants actually are e.g. in saving judges’ time ?

There is no available data on this. The usefulness of an judicial assistant depends very much on the personal abilities and experience of the assistant in question. This depends also to a large extent on what kind of cases the judicial assistant is involved with. Generally speaking the work of a judicial assistant saves a considerable amount of the judges' time in cases with a lot of documented evidence and/or a lot of witnesses whose accounts must be written down in the decision. Another group of cases where the same assesment of their value can be made are judicially difficult cases where an extensive research in especially to find relevant court decisions and judicial literature is needed.

Generally speaking the standard and usefulness of the referendaries of the supreme courts is at a very high level. In lower courts the referendaries and draftpersons are in many cases so inexperienced that despite their best efforts their work does not ease the work of the judges in a similar way, although there are a lot of very competent and able referendaries and draftpersons in the lower courts too.  

II. Organisation of judicial assistants

11.        At which courts in your member State are judges supported by judicial assistants? First instance/second instance/third instance/constitutional court?

In all courts. In district courts the assistance is rather limited. This depends on one hand on the inexperience of the court notaries and on the other hand on the fact that the court notaries mainly concentrate on deciding independently on the cases which fall into their competence as set by the procedural laws. 

12.        If there are lay judges in your system, are they specifically supported by judicial assistants?

There are lay judges in district courts in certain criminal cases. However, they are not supported by judicial assistants. Lay judges are advised both on the points of law and on the questions relating to evaluation of evidence by the presiding judge, or if there are two professional judges in the panel, possibly by both of them. 

13.        How are judicial assistants organised? If there are different forms of organisation at different courts, please explain the different models. For example:

Judicial assistants may be organised in different ways. Concerning referendaries and draftpersons, see below. Court notaries in district courts are usually organised as a separate unit within the court or, in the biggest courts, within the department/division of the court. 

·        Are assistants assigned to one judge individually? If so, how many assistants work for each judge?

      No, or at the most extremely seldom. 

·        Or are they assigned to a panel of judges? If so, how many judicial assistants work for each panel?

      They may be assigned to a panel of judges. If so, the number of assistants working for each panel varies a lot from court to court and depends very much on the resources of the court. The ratio may for example be two assistants working for three or four judges.

·        Or are they part of a pool of judicial assistants serving the whole court? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

      In smaller courts the judicial assistants may serve the whole court or a whole department/division of the court if the court is divided into such units.

·        Or do they work in teams put together for certain cases? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

In very large cases there may be two judicial assistants assigned to a case. If so, the ratio is typically two assistants working for three judges. 

14.        Who pays them?

They have permanent or fixed-term (time bound) offices and are paid by the state (like judges are). 

15.        What is their status? Are they considered as, for example, civil servants, seconded judges or just employees?

The judicial assistants who work as referendaries are a sort of assistant judges although they are not part of the panel of judges which decides on the case. The referendaries of the supreme courts also enjoy a permanency of office comparable to that of the judges (which is stronger than the permanency of office of other - “normal” - civil servants or, if you like, public officials). Otherwise their relationship to the employer (the state) is arranged in a similar way as that of the other civil servants. The status of the draftpersons is somewhat weaker insofar that they are not entitled to a dissenting opinion in any kind of cases. Their rights as an employee are equivalent to those of the referendaries of courts of appeal, administrative courts and special courts.

16.        How much do they earn compared to the judges for whom they work? You do not need to indicate exact amounts, but mentioning the proportion between the salaries of judges and assistants would be helpful. For example, how does the salary of a judicial assistant working at a first instance court compare to that of a judge at that court?

Salaries of all judicial court personnel (exluding justices of the supreme courts) are formed by a basic salary and additions depending on the years of experience. This makes the comparisons more difficult.

The salaries of the court notaries in district courts (assuming that they have not any previous experience) are under 45 % of the salaries of a typical junior judge and only about 35 % of the salaries of a typical senior judge. In courts of appeal the salaries of the referendaries (in the beginning of their careers) are a little less than 70 % of the salaries of a typical junior judge and a little less than 60 % of the salaries of a typical senior judge. In the supreme courts the salaries of the referendaries vary between the levels of salaries of junior and senior district court judges but are only from under 50 % to under 60 % of the salaries of justices of the supreme courts.   

III. Background and selection of Judicial Assistants

17.        Is serving as a judicial assistant a necessary part of the legal education in your member State / a prerequisite for becoming a judge?

 Serving as court notary is in practice a prerequisite (although not a formal requirement) for becoming a judge in a district court and a court of appeal. It is possible to be appointed as a judge in an administrative court or a special court without having served the court apprenticeship (as a court notary). In the supreme courts there are also judges who haven't served the court apprenticeship. 

18.        What kind of education do judicial assistants have? For example, studies of law, politics, service in the police or military etc., a special education?

A university degree in law is required. 

19.        What kind of work experience do judicial assistants have? If they have a legal education, have they qualified for practice? Are they seconded judges? Have they gained practical experience, if so, in what areas?

The work experience of the judicial assistants varies a lot. The rule is that the court notaries in district courts are at the beginning of their careers in legal profession. However, there are notable exceptions to this rule. The referendaries of the supreme courts are often quite experienced legal professionals , maybe with background as referendaries in courts of appeal or administrative courts, junior judges in district courts or prosecutors.  

20.        How are they selected?

The court in question (i.e. the chief judge of the court) decides on the recruitments of judicial assistants.  

21.        How long do judicial assistants usually work in that capacity? Just for one or a few months, or years? Or is it a long-term/permanent career?  

A court notary works for one year, either the whole year in a district court or half of the term in a district court and another half in a court of appeal or an administrative court.

In the courts of appeal, administrative courts and special courts the variation in the lengths of the terms of referendaries and draftpersons is wide ranging from a few months to several years, even well over ten years. The long-time referendaries will usually at some point be appointed as judges in their own courts or (mostly court of appeal referendaries) in district courts. In the supreme courts the referendaries may even have permanent careers inside their courts.  

22.        If it is a short-term position, what do they do afterwards?

Those who serve only a short term as referendaries may switch on to e.g. prosecution service, advocacy or service in government ministries or as company lawyers. Some of the short-term referendaries are lucky enough to get appointment to a position as a judge. 

23.        If serving as a judicial assistant is not part of the legal education, why do applicants apply to work as judicial assistants?

Serving as a judicial assistant provides a young lawyer with a good insight into courts and useful experience from which (s)he can benefit in later career in the legal profession. Rather many former referendaries in courts of appeal have later had succesful careers in advocacy.  

24.        If being a judicial assistant is a long-term/permanent position, are there opportunities for advancement?

Referendaries have – or at least until now have had – good chances to be appointed as judges. For the referendaries in the supreme courts these chances have been even better, and the introduction of the new assessor system is not likely to change this situation. 

IV. Status and regulation of judicial assistants 

25.        Do judicial assistants swear an oath? Do they wear some form of official dress at certain occasions? E.g. gowns when in court?

Yes, they do. There are no form of official dresses in the Finnish courts, with the exception of gowns used in certain district courts in ceremonies of civil weddings.

26.        Are there formal regulations concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants? if so, is it a statute or internal regulation? If yes, what is regulated by them? Could you provide, as a separate attachment to your answers, the text of the regulation please?

The status of judicial assistants is defined in legislation by the Public Officials Act (that regulates the status of public officials in general) and the Courts Act. The standing orders of the courts include provisions about the duties of judicial assistants that serve in the respective courts.

An unofficial translation of the Courts Act is attached. For the purposes of this question especially relevant is Chapter 19 (”Other personnel”) that concerns e.g. judicial assistants (referendaries, draftpersons and court notaries).    

27.        Are there informal rules governing the relationship between judge and judicial assistants?

The meaning of the question is not quite clear. Of course all the rules concerning appropriate conduct towards coworkers apply to this relationship, as well as to relationships between all groups of personnel. There are certainly also established informal practices relating to roles of the judges and the judicial assistants in courts and these practices may vary from court to court. It is however difficult to give any detailed answer to a question that is so generally formulated.  

28.        Are there any rules - formal or informal - concerning the independence and impartiality of judicial assistants?

The same rules of impartiality apply to the judicial assistants as to the judges. The judicial assistants may be recused on the same grounds as the judges.

29.        Can judicial assistants in your member State become members of an association of judges or is there a special association for them?

Yes, they can become members of the member associations of the Finnish Association of Judges. The justices in the supreme courts have an association of their own. That association is not a member association of the Finnish Association of Judges and it does not accept referendaries in the supreme courts as members. 

V. General considerations about the support of judges

30.        Do you believe that judges in your system would need more or different support by personnel to work effectively? If yes, what kind of support?

The judges would certainly need more support in technical issues, e.g. support in matters relating to computers and IT in general. The number of judicial assistants should remain at least at the current level.

31.        Are there certain challenges that your member State faces as regards the support for judges which have not been mentioned so far?

The official policy of several recent governments has been to reduce the number of state employees. This has been manifested also in the development of the number of all kinds of supporting personnel in Finnish courts. This applies as well to the judicial assistants as to the administrative assistants and to other administrative personnel. This has led to a situation where the judges have had to take responsibility for tasks of technical or at least not directly adjudicative nature which in turn has meant that they have less and less time for the core of their work i.e. judging.


France

I. Quel soutien est apporté aux juges ?

  1. Les juges sont-ils assistés dans leur travail par des assistants qui ne sont pas juges dans cette juridiction (et qui ne font pas non plus partie du personnel informatique ou de sécurité) ? 

a) par les assistants administratifs

b) par les assistants de justice

En France, les juges sont assistés à la fois par des assistants administratifs ( le greffe ) et par des assistants de justice.

L'assistance par des agents administratifs est systématique et obligatoire.

L'assistance par des assistants de justice n'est pas systématique.

  1. Quelle est la raison d'être du recours aux assistants dans votre système ? S'il existe des justifications différentes pour l'emploi d'assistants administratifs et d'assistants de justice, veuillez détailler ces justifications séparément.

Les greffiers ( appartenant, selon la terminologie utilisée par le CCJE,  à la catégorie des assistants administratifs) ont une fonction d'authentification des jugements rendus. L'évolution des textes tend également à leur conférer des attributions propres, pour des compétences non juridictionnelles dévolues aux tribunaux.

En revanche, les assistants de justice sont recrutés pour apporter un soutien aux juges dans l'exercice de leurs attributions juridictionnelles.

Dans la catégorie des « assistants de justice », on distingue en réalité deux types de concours :

celui apporté par des juristes assistants :

celui apporté par des assistants de justice, au sens strict.

Les premiers peuvent être recrutés par contrat à temps plein ou temps partiel.

Ils doivent être titulaires d'un doctorat de droit ou d'un diplôme sanctionnant une formation juridique au moins égale à 5 années et doivent justifier de 2 années d'expérience professionnelle dans le domaine juridique.

Ils contribuent par leur expertise à l'analyse juridique des dossiers techniques ou comportant des éléments de complexité particulière qui leur sont soumis par les magistrats sous la direction desquelles ils sont placés. Ils ne participent ni à la procédure ni aux audiences. Ils ne peuvent assister aux délibérés.

Les assistants de justice, qui sont généralement des étudiants en cours d'études, apportent leur concours à temps partiel dans une juridiction, pour les travaux préparatoires aux décisions des juges.

  1. Quelles sont les fonctions des assistants de justice auprès des tribunaux dans votre État? S'ils exercent des fonctions différentes dans différents tribunaux, veuillez détailler ces fonctions séparément. Ces fonctions peuvent comprendre :

 

Lire les projets de jugements d'autres juges et en discuter avec le juge

·         Rédaction de communiqués de presse

·         Rédaction des décisions concernant la procédure

·         Décider des questions concernant la procédure telles que la nomination d’un expert ou les frais de procédure

·         Tenir des audiences et statuer de manière autonome sur des affaires simples, par exemple en matière d'exécution, ou sur des affaires pénales simples. Dans l'affirmative, veuillez préciser si un juge doit approuver la décision ou si la décision est prise par l'assistant de justice seul

·         En plus des tâches telles que celles mentionnées ci-dessus, les assistants de justice peuvent également accomplir des tâches administratives telles que :

-       Rédaction de protocoles au cours des audiences

-       Organisation des dossiers

-       Correspondance avec les parties

-       Préparation des copies officielles des décisions, préparation des décisions pour publication

-       Collecte de données statistiques

  1. Si les assistants de justice participent au processus de rédaction, comment le font-ils ?

Les assistants de justice (au sens strict de l'expression, suivant ce qui a déjà été indiqué )  rédigent des projets qu'ils soumettent ensuite au juge

  1. Les assistants de justice sont-ils présents pendant les délibérations ? Si oui, participent-ils à la discussion ?

Les juristes assistants ne peuvent assister à la délibération.

 

  1. Les assistants de justice sont-ils présents aux audiences ? Dans l'affirmative, quelles sont leurs fonctions pendant les audiences ? Ont-ils le droit de poser des questions ?

Les juristes assistants n'assistent pas aux audiences.

En revanche les assistants de justice peuvent être présents à l'audience, par exemple pour noter les princiaples questions débattues,  mais ils n'interviennent pas au cours des débats.

  1. Existe-t-il une règle formelle ou un consensus informel entre les juges, quant aux types de fonctions qu’un assistant de justice devrait ou non assumer ?

Consensus informel

  1. Quelles fonctions appartiennent exclusivement au juge ?

La prise de décision

L'élaboration finale du jugement.

  1. Comment le travail des assistants de justice influe-t-il sur les décisions et le processus décisionnel judiciaire ? Comment les juges s'assurent-ils que la décision reste bien leur propre décision ?

Le travail des assistants facilite celui des juges.

Les juges doivent toujours vérifier le sérieux du travail préparatoire réalisé par l'assistant et restent maîtres de la décision rendue.

  1. Existe-t-il des données officielles ou, sinon, disposez-vous d’une estimation de l'utilité réelle des assistants de justice, par exemple dans leur capacité à faire gagner du temps aux juges ?

Si le recrutement de l'assistant est de qualité, le travail réalisé par l'assistant apporte une aide précieuse au juge.

II. Organisation des assistants de justice

  1. Dans quels tribunaux de votre État les juges sont-ils assistés par des assistants de justice ? Première instance/deuxième instance/troisième instance/cour constitutionnelle ?

Possibilité d'assistance ouverte pour toutes les juridictions.

  1. S'il y a des juges non professionnels dans votre système, sont-ils spécifiquement appuyés par des assistants de justice ?

L'assistance dans ces domaines n'est pas systématique.

  1. Comment les assistants de justice sont-ils organisés ? S'il existe différentes formes d'organisation dans les différents tribunaux, veuillez expliquer les différents modèles. Par exemple : 

Tous ces modèles peuvent se rencontrer. Il n'y a pas de règle systématique applicable à toutes les juridictions et toutes les fonctions.

  1. Qui les paie ?

Ils sont payés par l'Etat

  1. Quel est leur statut ? Sont-ils considérés, par exemple, comme des fonctionnaires, des juges détachés ou simplement des employés ?

Ils ne sont pas fonctionnaires. Ils sont recrutés par contrat.

  1. Combien gagnent-ils par rapport aux juges pour lesquels ils travaillent ? Il n'est pas nécessaire d'indiquer les montants exacts, mais il serait utile de mentionner la proportion entre le salaire des juges et celui des assistants. Par exemple, comment le salaire d'un assistant de justice travaillant dans un tribunal de première instance se compare-t-il à celui d'un juge de ce même tribunal ?

Le système de rémunération varie suivant le type de recutement :

Les juristes assistants reçoivent une rémunération mensuelle comme agents contractuels de l'Etat.

Les assistants de justice reçoivent une rémunération sous forme de vacations horaires.

En toute hypothèse, la rémunération est largement inférieure à celles des juges.

III. Contexte et sélection des assistants de justice

 

  1. Le fait de prendre la fonction d'assistant de justice est-il un élément nécessaire dans la formation juridique dans votre Etat / une condition préalable pour devenir juge ?

Non.

  1. Quel est le niveau de formation des assistants de justice ? Par exemple, des études de droit, de politique, de service dans la police ou l'armée etc., une formation spéciale ?

Une formation juridique est requise (4 ou 5 ans d'études de droit au minimum )

  1. Quelle est l'expérience professionnelle des assistants de justice ? S'ils ont fait des études en droit, ont-ils les compétences nécessaires pour exercer la profession ? Sont-ils des juges détachés ? Ont-ils acquis une expérience pratique, et si oui, dans quels domaines ?

Le profil des assistants est très variable : certains ont des expériences professionnelles antérieures (c'est le cas nécessairement pour les juristes assistants) ; d'autres sont issus de l'université, ou sont encore en cours d'études supérieures. En tout cas, ils n'ont pas le statut de juges.

  1. Comment sont-ils sélectionnés ?

Appel à candidatures et recrutement par les juridictions concernées.

  1. Combien de temps les assistants de justice exercent-ils habituellement cette fonction ? Juste pour un ou quelques mois, ou quelques années ? S'agit-il d'une carrière de long terme/permanente ?

Il ne s'agit pas d'une carrière à long terme, ni permanente : contrats à durée déterminée renouvelables dans une certaine limite.

Juriste assistant : contrat de 3 ans renouvelable une fois

Assistant de justice : contrat de 2 ans, renouvelable 2 fois.

  1. S'il s'agit d'un poste à court terme, que font-ils par la suite ?

  1. Si la fonction d'assistant de justice ne fait pas partie de la formation juridique, pourquoi les candidats postulent-ils pour travailler comme assistants de justice ?

  1. Si le poste d'assistant de justice est un poste permanent ou de longue durée, existe-t-il des possibilités d'avancement ?

IV. Statut et réglementation des assistants de justice

  1. Les assistants de justice prêtent-ils serment ? Portent-ils une tenue officielle à certaines occasions ? Par exemple, une tenue spécifique au tribunal ?

Les juristes assistants et les assistants de justice prêtent serment et sont tenus au secret des informations sur les affaires judiciaires dont ils auraient connaissance à l'occasion de leurs travaux au sein des juridictions.

  1. Existe-t-il des règles formelles concernant le statut et les fonctions des assistants de justice ? Si oui, s'agit-il d'une loi ou d'un règlement interne ? Si oui, que réglementent-ils ? Pourriez-vous joindre le texte du règlement séparément du reste de vos réponses, s'il vous plaît ?

Oui : textes  législatifs ou réglementaires

Pour les juristes assistants ; articles L123-4 du code de l'organisation judiciaire ; articles R123-30 et suivants du même code.

Pour les assistants de justice : décret n° 96-513 du 7 juin 1996.

Tous ces textes sont consultables sur le site internet Legifarnce.

  1. Existe-t-il des règles informelles régissant la relation entre le juge et les assistants de justice ?

Chaque juridiction peut fixer les règles concrètes applicables au travail des assistants

  1. Existe-t-il des règles - formelles ou informelles - concernant l'indépendance et l'impartialité des assistants de justice ?

Non :

  1. Les assistants de justice de votre État peuvent-ils devenir membres d'une association de juges, ou existe-t-il une association spéciale pour eux ?

Non : ils ne sont pas membres des associations de juges.

V. Considérations générales sur le soutien apporté aux juges

  1. Croyez-vous que les juges de votre système auraient besoin d'un soutien plus important ou différent de la part du personnel pour travailler efficacement ? Si oui, pouvez-vous détailler le type de soutien auquel vous pensez ?

A titre personnel je pense que, dans de nombreux domaines du contentieux, les juges devraient bénéficier d'une assistance beaucoup plus importante qu'elle ne l'est actuellement.

Par exemple, pour les contentieux de nature économique, il serait souhaitable que les juges soient assistés, non seulement par des juristes spécialistes du droit économique, mais aussi par des économistes ou par des experts du domaine financier.

Les grands cabinets d'avocats qui interviennent dans ces domaines recourrent aux services de spécialistes. Les juges devraient également bénéficier d'une telle assistance.

  1. Y a-t-il des défis auxquels votre Etat est confronté concernant le soutien apporté aux juges qui n'ont pas été mentionnés jusqu'à présent ?


Georgia / Géorgie

I. How are judges supported?

1.         Are judges supported in their work by assistants who are not judges at that court (and also not members of the security or IT staff)?

a) by administrative assistants

b) by judicial assistants

Judges are assisted by both assistants. For more details see answers to questions 2 and 3 below.

2.         What is the rationale for employing assistants in your system? If there are different rationales for employing administrative assistants and judicial assistants, please describe those rationales separately.

Administrative assistants are employed to help fulfilling the administrative duties of the court. They perform tasks that are related to the technical preparation of the cases for court hearings: they organize files, court correspondence, communicate with parties - send them court notices or inform then via phone communication, parties may call them to get information on various procedural issues in regard to the pending case, they check written communication sent by parties to the court, collect documents, prepare official copies of decisions.

Judicial assistants have tasks requiring more intellectual work – they do research, prepare various memos and draft decisions of the court.

3.         What kind of duties judicial assistants have at the courts in your member State? If they perform different duties in different courts, please explain these duties separately. Such duties may include:

•           Research, maybe summarised in a memo

•           Discussion with the judge(s)

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law and a suggestion of the judicial assistant how the case should be decided

•           Memos summarising the facts and the relevant law and including a suggestion if a case should be accepted for appeal/constitutional review

•           Drafting parts of the judgment, if so which parts? Facts, certain points under discussion?

•           Drafting complete judgments

•           Proofreading of decisions, maybe including discussing certain points with the judge/pointing out inconsistencies etc. 

•           Reading draft judgments of other judges and discussing them with the judge

•           Crosschecking references

•           Drafting press releases

•           Drafting procedural decisions

•           Deciding procedural issues such as appointing an expert or deciding on costs of proceedings

•           Conducting hearings and deciding simple cases autonomously, for example concerning enforcement, or simple criminal cases. If so, please specify if a judge has to approve the decision or if the decision is taken by the judicial assistant alone.

•           In addition to tasks such as those mentioned above, judicial assistants may also perform administrative duties such as:

-           Writing protocols in hearings

-           Organisation of files

-           Correspondence with parties

-           Preparing the official copies of decisions, preparing decisions for publication

-           Collecting statistical data

At the first instance courts judicial assistants perform all judicial and administrative tasks listed above in this question, except tasks specified in the Note #1 below.

At the courts of Appeal each judge has a judicial assistance that performs all judicial and administrative tasks listed above in this question, except tasks specified in the Note #1 below. In addition there is one more judicial assistant for each panel of three judges, who prepares draft judgments for the panel.

At the Supreme Court each judge has 2 assistants: one is judicial and another - administrative, They perform all judicial or administrative tasks listed above in this question respectively, except tasks specified in the Note #1 below. Both assistants must have a law degree and comply with the requirements described in Question 19 below.

Note #1 – judicial assistants in Georgia do not conduct hearings and decide any case autonomously.

4.         If judicial assistants help in the drafting process, how do they do it?

Judicial assistants do research, summarised in a memo; draft memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law; draft procedural decisions and at the Supreme Court decisions on non-admissibility of a case; draft complete judgments (not every judgements but only in relation to those cases regarding which the court case law is well established).

5.         Are judicial assistants present during deliberations? If yes, do they participate in the discussion?

Judicial assistants are not present during deliberations.

6.         Are judicial assistants present in hearings? If so, what duties do they have during hearings? Are they allowed to ask questions?

Judicial assistants are present in hearings on a voluntary basis. They do not have any duties and are not allowed to ask questions during hearings.

7.         Is there a formal rule or an informal consensus among judges, what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake?

There are formal internal rules what kind of duties judicial assistants should undertake, adopted by first, second and third instance courts (these rules are called “Job Description”). Judicial assistants are not expected to undertake any duty that is not prescribed in these rules (see Question 26 below).

8.         Which duties belong exclusively to the judge? 

Judges’ exclusive duties are: to conduct a court hearing and make decision on the case;

to participate in deliberations.

9.         How does the work of judicial assistants affect decisions and judicial decision making? How do judges ensure that the decision remains "their"?

Work of the judicial assistants plays an important role to inform a judge about the relevant case law, research and academic materials. However, since judges conduct hearings themselves and deliberate with other judges when the case is decided by a panel, they are always decision makers. Judicial assistants cannot affect judicial decision-making in any decisive way.

10.       Is there any official data or - if not - do you have a view how useful judicial assistants actually are e.g. in saving judges’ time?

There is no official data.

Based on my personal experience and experience of my colleagues, judicial assistants are very important to make judges’ work more productive and facilitate efficient and timely resolution of disputes.

II. Organisation of judicial assistants

11.       At which courts in your member State are judges supported by judicial assistants? First instance/second instance/third instance/constitutional court?

At all instance courts, including constitutional court.

12.       If there are lay judges in your system, are they specifically supported by judicial assistants?

There are no lay judges in Georgia.

13.       How are judicial assistants organised? If there are different forms of organisation at different courts, please explain the different models. For example:

•           Are assistants assigned to one judge individually? If so, how many assistants work for each judge? 

•           Or are they assigned to a panel of judges? If so, how many judicial assistants work for each panel? 

•           Or are they part of a pool of judicial assistants serving the whole court? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

•           Or do they work in teams put together for certain cases? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

Assistants are assigned to each judge individually. At first and second instance courts each judge has one assistant. At the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court each judge has two assistants.

In addition to one assistant per judge, at the second instance court there is one more assistant assigned to a panel of three judges. Thus every three judge has one more assistant at the second instance court.

14.       Who pays them?

Assistants are paid by the respective court.

15.       What is their status? Are they considered as, for example, civil servants, seconded judges or just employees?

Assistants are considered civil servants.

16.       How much do they earn compared to the judges for whom they work? You do not need to indicate exact amounts, but mentioning the proportion between the salaries of judges and assistants would be helpful. For example, how does the salary of a judicial assistant working at a first instance court compare to that of a judge at that court?

Salary of the judicial assistant amounts to approximately 50% of the salary of a judge.

III. Background and selection of Judicial Assistants

17.       Is serving as a judicial assistant a necessary part of the legal education in your member State / a prerequisite for becoming a judge?

No.

18.       What kind of education do judicial assistants have? For example, studies of law, politics, service in the police or military etc., a special education?

They shall have a law degree.

19.       What kind of work experience do judicial assistants have? If they have a legal education, have they qualified for practice? Are they seconded judges? Have they gained practical experience, if so, in what areas?

They are required to have:

(a)        at least 1 year practical experience as a lawyer (advocate), an investigator, a prosecutor or a judge, or

(b)        at least 2 year practical experience as a legal advisor, or

(c)        pass judge qualification exams, or

(d)        undergo special course for judicial assistants at the High School of Justice.

20.       How are they selected?

They are selected on a competition basis, like other civil servants.

21.       How long do judicial assistants usually work in that capacity? Just for one or a few months, or years? Or is it a long-term/permanent career? 

They have contracts with unlimited terms. However in practice they usually remain at work approximately 5-10 years.

22.       If it is a short-term position, what do they do afterwards?

This is not a short-term position. They can work for an unlimited term. If they choose to leave they become lawyers, prosecutors or judges.

23.       If serving as a judicial assistant is not part of the legal education, why do applicants apply to work as judicial assistants?

If person wishes to pursue a carrier of a judge, a prosecutor or a lawyer, it is considered an advantage to have working experience as a judicial assistant. However, it is not formally required.

24.       If being a judicial assistant is a long-term/permanent position, are there opportunities for advancement?

Yes. Administrative assistants can become judicial assistants. Judicial assistants at the first instance courts can move to second and third instance courts. Finally, judicial assistants usually become judges after they pass judge qualification exams and complete studies at the High School of Justice.

IV. Status and regulation of judicial assistants 

25.       Do judicial assistants swear an oath? Do they wear some form of official dress at certain occasions? E.g. gowns when in court?

No. Judicial assistants do not swear an oath. They do not wear any official dress or gown.

26.       Are there formal regulations concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants? if so, is it a statute or internal regulation? If yes, what is regulated by them? Could you provide, as a separate attachment to your answers, the text of the regulation please?

There are formal internal rules concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants adopted by first, second and third instance courts (these rules are called “Job Description”). They are internal regulations. Rules contain qualification and work experience requirements for the position of a judicial assistant and a detailed list of their duties.

In addition, judicial assistants as public servants are subject to regulations by the Law on Public Service. Judicial assistants are considered public servants of the “2nd rank” in accordance to the Law on Pubic Service.

(see attached file “Job Description” for judicial assistants adopted by the Supreme Court of Georgia. Text is in Georgian. There is no English translation).

27.       Are there informal rules governing the relationship between judge and judicial assistants?

No.

28.       Are there any rules - formal or informal - concerning the independence and impartiality of judicial assistants?

No.

29.       Can judicial assistants in your member State become members of an association of judges or is there a special association for them?

They cannot become members of association of judges. There is no special association of judicial assistants.

V. General considerations about the support of judges

30.       Do you believe that judges in your system would need more or different support by personnel to work effectively? If yes, what kind of support?

In addition to support received from judicial and administrative assistants, judges need support from special departments in the court, that have a task to study and analyse the court practice in order to produce materials for judges what are the general tendencies regarding certain legal problems and what are issues on which the courts have different approach. Judges also need support from analytical department and the department of international law to get information about recent practice of the ECtHR and other international human rights bodies.

31.       Are there certain challenges that your member State faces as regards the support for judges which have not been mentioned so far?

The most severe problem that judges face today in Georgia is a very big number of cases to be decided by each judge. Judges permanently have 100-200 pending cases in their disposal and are in constant violation of time limits prescribed by law. Number of judges is very low (approx. 300 judges in total) compared to the workload of courts and the increased number of disputes. Most significant support will be increase in the number of judges.

In some courts there are problems related to technical support. There is a lack of courtrooms to conduct hearings. However, in general court facilities are adequate and in good condition. IT support is also adequate. However constant advancement is required.

 


Germany / Allemagne

I. How are judges supported?

1.         Are judges supported in their work by assistants who are not judges at that court (and also not members of the security or IT staff)?

a) by administrative assistants

b) by judicial assistants

a)         All judges are supported in their work by administrative assistants. The assistants’ duties are strictly limited to the formal and administrative preparation of decisions and hearings. They do not have a special legal education. They do not work for one individual judge, they support a panel of judges. They are state employees. Their main duties are:

•           Writing and preparing documents

•           Writing protocols in hearings

•           Organisation of files

•           Preparing procedural decisions

•           Correspondence with parties

•           Preparing official versions /copies of decision

b)         In general, no judge or panel of judges has a (personal) judicial assistant.

There is one exception to this principle:

Judges at the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) and the Federal Courts (Bundesgerichtshof, Bundesverwaltungsgericht, Bundesfinanzhof, Bundesarbeitsgericht, Bundessozialgericht) do have judicial assistants (wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter).

aa) At the Federal Constitutional Court these judicial assistants are usually highly qualified judges at lower courts or prosecutors, but may also be attorneys or academics. They all have significant practical experiences. Judicial assistants are assigned to a specific Federal Constitutional Court Judge for a short limited period of time (2-5 years). According to internal procedural rules of the Federal Constitutional Court each judge has the right to choose his/her judicial assistant. The specific recruitment – as well as the time period serving as a judicial assistant - may differ and depends on the individual Judge.  Usually, upon request of the Judge of Federal Constitutional Court judicial assistants in case they are judges will be assigned by the state ministries of justices. There is no special status of judicial assistants. Judges or prosecutors working as judicial assistants officially remain judges or prosecutors and keep their professional status before the assignment. This includes their professional duties, rights regarding their status and their remuneration. Attorneys or academics will be employed for the same limited period of time. The employment of attorneys or academics is quite rarely.

bb) Judicial assistants at the Federal Courts are highly qualified judges of lower courts of that judiciary (usually first instance courts). In some Federal Courts, e.g. Federal Fiscal Court (Bundesfinanzhof), they may be assigned by the state administration (e.g. fiscal administration - Finanzverwaltung). They all are assigned to a panel of judges for a short limited period of time (3-4 years). The assignments are prepared and initiated by the state ministries of justices (Landesjustizverwaltungen).

cc) The number of judicial assistants does vary. In general, at the Federal Constitutional Court each judge has in general 4 judicial assistants. At the Federal Courts a panel of judges (Senat) has 1-2 judicial assistants. In both cases (Federal Constitutional Court and Federal Courts) the assignment as a judicial assistant might be an element of the judicial career and enables judges to supply for promotion notwithstanding the fact that the majority of judges or prosecutors are not becoming judicial assistant and will be promoted within their judiciary.  

2.         What is the rationale for employing assistants in your system? If there are different rationales for employing administrative assistants and judicial assistants, please describe those rationales separately.

All judicial assistants are assigned or employed to facilitate and support the work of the judges for a better functioning of the courts. They support the Judge of the Federal Constitutional Court or the Federal Courts in the substance matter of their work. The fact that the assignment of judges or prosecutors is part of their careers is not the rationale for the assignment. Finally, there are no different rationales for employing administrative assistants and judicial assistants.

3.         What kind of duties judicial assistants have at the courts in your member State? If they perform different duties in different courts, please explain these duties separately. Such duties may include:

•           Research, maybe summarised in a memo

•           Discussion with the judge(s)

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law and a suggestion of the judicial assistant how the case should be decided

•           Memos summarising the facts and the relevant law and including a suggestion if a case should be accepted for appeal/constitutional review

•           Drafting parts of the judgment, if so which parts? Facts, certain points under discussion?

•           Drafting complete judgments

•           Proofreading of decisions, maybe including discussing certain points with the judge/pointing out inconsistencies etc. 

•           Reading draft judgments of other judges and discussing them with the judge

•           Crosschecking references

•           Drafting press releases

•           Drafting procedural decisions

•           Deciding procedural issues such as appointing an expert or deciding on costs of proceedings

•           Conducting hearings and deciding simple cases autonomously, for example concerning enforcement, or simple criminal cases. If so, please specify if a judge has to approve the decision or if the decision is taken by the judicial assistant alone.

•           In addition to tasks such as those mentioned above, judicial assistants may also perform administrative duties such as:

-           Writing protocols in hearings

-           Organisation of files

-           Correspondence with parties

-           Preparing the official copies of decisions, preparing decisions for publication

-           Collecting statistical data

Judicial assistants at the Federal Constitutional Court and the Federal Courts generally have the same duties.

These duties include:

•           (Academic) research, maybe summarised in a memo

•           Discussion with the judge(s)

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law and – in some cases – a suggestion of the judicial assistant how the case should be decided

•           Crosschecking references

Usually their tasks may also include:

•           Drafting complete or parts of judgements

•           Proofreading of decisions

•           Reading draft judgments of other judges and discussing them with  the judge

Usually their tasks do not include:

•           Drafting press releases

•           Drafting procedural decisions

Without exception they are not authorised to conduct hearings or decide cases on their own. The final wording of each judgment is in the responsibility of the Judge or the Panel of Judges.

However, the scope of duties does vary. Eventually, their duties depend individually on the case and the instructions giving by the Federal Constitutional Court Judge or the Presiding Judge of the Federal Court.

4.         If judicial assistants help in the drafting process, how do they do it?

See answer 3

5.         Are judicial assistants present during deliberations? If yes, do they participate in the discussion?

Federal Constitutional Court: Judicial assistants are not allowed to be present during deliberations.

Federal Courts: Judicial assistants may present during deliberations according to the cases and the Presiding Judge of a panel.

6.         Are judicial assistants present in hearings? If so, what duties do they have during hearings? Are they allowed to ask questions?

Judicial assistants of the Federal Constitutional Court and Federal Courts are present in public hearings, however, they do not have any rights or duties during these hearings.

7.         Is there a formal rule or an informal consensus among judges, what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake?

There is no formal or (known) informal consensus among judges what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake. See answer 3.

8.         Which duties belong exclusively to the judge? 

All decisions are reserved to judges. They are exclusively responsible for any decision (regarding facts and reasoning).

9.         How does the work of judicial assistants affect decisions and judicial decision making? How do judges ensure that the decision remains "their"?

See answer 3. Judicial assistants work on preliminary materials. If they are involved in the drafting process, they do not prepare the drafted decision autonomously. At the Federal Constitutional Court and the Federal Courts the judicial assistants are bound by the instructions of the judges to whom they are assigned.

Judges know the facts of the cases and the arguments of the parties. They discuss the cases and their proposal of the decision with their colleagues, may have to convince them and take responsibility for the wording of the final version of the decision concerning facts and reasoning.

10.       Is there any official data or - if not - do you have a view how useful judicial assistants actually are e.g. in saving judges’ time ?

There is no official data.

Judicial assistants are essential. Federal Constitutional Court and Federal Courts would not be able to work as efficiently without the meaningful contribution of their judicial assistants regarding the high and increasing amount and complexity of cases. 

II. Organisation of judicial assistants

11.       At which courts in your member State are judges supported by judicial assistants? First instance/second instance/third instance/constitutional court?

Federal Constitutional Court and Federal Courts

12.       If there are lay judges in your system, are they specifically supported by judicial assistants?

No.

13.       How are judicial assistants organised? If there are different forms of organisation at different courts, please explain the different models. For example:

•           Are assistants assigned to one judge individually? If so, how many assistants work for each judge? 

•           Or are they assigned to a panel of judges? If so, how many judicial assistants work for each panel? 

•           Or are they part of a pool of judicial assistants serving the whole court? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

•           Or do they work in teams put together for certain cases? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

See answer 1. There is no special official organisation for judicial assistants.

14.       Who pays them?

See answer 1. Employed judicial assistants (attorneys or academics) at the Federal Constitutional  Court are employed by Court or e.g. the state fiscal administration (Finanzverwaltung) in the case of the assignment to the Federal Fiscal Court (Bundesfinanzhof).

15.       What is their status? Are they considered as, for example, civil servants, seconded judges or just employees?

See answer 1. They are usually seconded judges or in some cases employees.

16.       How much do they earn compared to the judges for whom they work? You do not need to indicate exact amounts, but mentioning the proportion between the salaries of judges and assistants would be helpful. For example, how does the salary of a judicial assistant working at a first instance court compare to that of a judge at that court?

Judicial assistants earn less than the Judges of the Federal Constitutional Court or of the Federal Courts. Their remuneration depends on their status as judge or prosecutor. The proportion between the remuneration of judges and assistants depends on their age and in which salary status the assignment takes place. It should be mentioned that judicial assistants are usually much younger and at the beginning of their judicial career compared to the Judges of the Federal Constitutional Court or of the Federal Courts.

III. Background and selection of Judicial Assistants

17.       Is serving as a judicial assistant a necessary part of the legal education in your member State / a prerequisite for becoming a judge?

See answer 1.

Serving as a judicial assistant at the Federal Constitutional Court or at the Federal Courts is not part of the legal education. However another kind of judicial assistance is part of the legal education. Each law student after having passed the first law degree of university has to assist to a judge of the first instance court. This is a prerequisite for becoming a judge or a lawyer. These judicial assistants called trainee lawyers (Referendare). This kind of judicial assistance is not comparable to the judicial assistants regarding this opinion (wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter).

18.       What kind of education do judicial assistants have? For example, studies of law, politics, service in the police or military etc., a special education?

Judicial assistants have studied law without any exception.

19.       What kind of work experience do judicial assistants have? If they have a legal education, have they qualified for practice? Are they seconded judges? Have they gained practical experience, if so, in what areas?

See answer 1.

20.       How are they selected?

See answer 1.

21.       How long do judicial assistants usually work in that capacity? Just for one or a few months, or years? Or is it a long-term/permanent career? 

See answer 1.

22.       If it is a short-term position, what do they do afterwards?

Judicial assistants go back to their pre assigned judicial position or might apply for promotion in their court.

23.       If serving as a judicial assistant is not part of the legal education, why do applicants apply to work as judicial assistants?

See answer 1. Judges, prosecutors, attorneys and academics are mainly interested in the specific meaningful work as judicial assistants at the Federal Constitutional Court or at Federal Courts. Serving for these Courts is a very high demanding and interesting task for judges. For some of them it might also be a career opportunity. 

24.       If being a judicial assistant is a long-term/permanent position, are there opportunities for advancement?

There is no long-term/permanent position.

IV. Status and regulation of judicial assistants 

25.       Do judicial assistants swear an oath? Do they wear some form of official dress at certain occasions? E.g. gowns when in court?

See answer 1. No they don’t.

26.       Are there formal regulations concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants? if so, is it a statute or internal regulation? If yes, what is regulated by them? Could you provide, as a separate attachment to your answers, the text of the regulation please?

§ 13 GO BVerfG (internal procedural rules) mentions the status of the judicial assistants at the Federal Constitutional court. Apart from that, there are no formal regulations.

27.       Are there informal rules governing the relationship between judge and judicial assistants?

No, there are no informal rules.

28.       Are there any rules - formal or informal - concerning the independence and impartiality of judicial assistants?

See answer 1.

29.       Can judicial assistants in your member State become members of an association of judges or is there a special association for them?

Yes, they can be members of an organisation of judges because they remain in their formal status as judges and are not conferred a special status as judicial or legal assistant.

V. General considerations about the support of judges

30.       Do you believe that judges in your system would need more or different support by personnel to work effectively? If yes, what kind of support?

31.       Are there certain challenges that your member State faces as regards the support for judges which have not been mentioned so far?

Notwithstanding the fact that judiciary is working effectively and on a very high qualified standard, judges (in particular at lower courts) do need more support by personnel to work effectively. However, this kind of support would be effectively realised by employing more judges (in particular at lower courts), not necessary judicial assistants.

Regarding the Federal Constitutional Court and Federal Courts the number of judicial assistants might be augmented depending on the actual workload of these courts/panel of judges to guarantee a high standard of case law further on.

  


Iceland / Islande

I. How are judges supported?

1.         Are judges supported in their work by assistants who are not judges at that court (and also not members of the security or IT staff)?

a) by administrative assistants

b) by judicial assistants

The Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, two of the biggest district courts and some of the smaller ones are supported in their work by judicial assistants but all the courts are supported by administrative assistants.

2.         What is the rationale for employing assistants in your system? If there are different rationales for employing administrative assistants and judicial assistants, please describe those rationales separately.

The main purpose for employing assistants is to meet the needs of the courts to fulfil their obligations as one part of the powers of the state. The rationale for employing administrative assistants is due to the needs of the courts to carry out its administrative role in the courts and to assist the judges in a way other than legally while the role of judicial assistants is, at least in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, to assist judges in all matters in processing legal issues in connection with the conclusion of judgments.

3.         What kind of duties judicial assistants have at the courts in your member State? If they perform different duties in different courts, please explain these duties separately. Such duties may include:

The role of judicial assistants is different according to court levels. In the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal their role is to research, summarise a memo, discussion with the judge, memos with summary of the facts of the case and the relevant law, provide theoretical sources, drafting parts of the judgments, proofreading of decisions, reading draft judgments, crosschecking references and correspondence with parties. In the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court judicial assistants also have the role of summarising the facts and the relevant law and including a suggestion if a case should be accepted for appeal.

In the district courts judicial assistants can, according to law, be entrusted with judging a civil case where defences are not maintained and a criminal case where the same applies. In that case the chief judge responsible for the court in question is responsible for the work of the judicial assistant and may give him/her instructions on any matter relating to it. The main role of judicial assistants in district courts is to carry out these tasks.

4.         If judicial assistants help in the drafting process, how do they do it?

In that case the judicial assistant gets precise instructions from the judge on how to draft the judgment.

5.         Are judicial assistants present during deliberations? If yes, do they participate in the discussion?

No.

6.         Are judicial assistants present in hearings? If so, what duties do they have during hearings? Are they allowed to ask questions?

In exceptional cases judicial assistants at the district courts and the Court of Appeal are present at hearings in order to get a clearer picture of the case in question. They are not allowed to ask questions.

7.         Is there a formal rule or an informal consensus among judges, what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake?

No formal rules apply to the role of judicial assistants, but on the other hand, judges, at least in the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, agree on the role assigned to them.

8.         Which duties belong exclusively to the judge? 

The judges are independent in the judiciary and resolve the cases at their own responsibility. In resolving a case, they are solely subject to law. All the responsibility for the justification for the outcome of the judgment rests on the judge. Therefore, in my opinion, it is not right to say that certain duties belong particularly to the judge, but on the contrary, all duties.

9.         How does the work of judicial assistants affect decisions and judicial decision making? How do judges ensure that the decision remains "their"?

The work of judicial assistants in the interest of judges serves the purpose of facilitating the judge´s decision in a case but does not have a direct effect, since it is the judge who is responsible for the judgment. The judge evaluates the data the judicial assistant obtains and decides whether this is important in the resolution of the case.

10.       Is there any official data or - if not - do you have a view how useful judicial assistants actually are e.g. in saving judges’ time ?

No official data is available but judges at the appropriate courts (the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal) generally agree that the work of judicial assistants saves them considerable time in their work.

II. Organisation of judicial assistants

11.       At which courts in your member State are judges supported by judicial assistants? First instance/second instance/third instance/constitutional court?

Regarding this question, reference is made to question No. 1.

12.       If there are lay judges in your system, are they specifically supported by judicial assistants?

There are no lay judges in our system, only appointed judges and expert judges.

13.       How are judicial assistants organised? If there are different forms of organisation at different courts, please explain the different models. For example:

•           Are assistants assigned to one judge individually? If so, how many assistants work for each judge? 

•           Or are they assigned to a panel of judges? If so, how many judicial assistants work for each panel? 

•           Or are they part of a pool of judicial assistants serving the whole court? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

•           Or do they work in teams put together for certain cases? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

As described above, judicial assistants to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court on one hand, and judicial assistants to the district courts, on the other hand, have basically different roles. In the Court of Appeal there are fifteen judges in four sections and eight judicial assistants who are divided between the sections. In the Supreme Court there are for the time being eight judges (will be reduced to seven this year, which will be a permanent number of judges in the court) and four judicial assistants who perform the roles that appear in the answer to question No. 3.

14.       Who pays them?

Judicial assistants are public servants and receive salaries from the Treasury.

15.       What is their status? Are they considered as, for example, civil servants, seconded judges or just employees?

Reference is made to question No. 14.

16.       How much do they earn compared to the judges for whom they work? You do not need to indicate exact amounts, but mentioning the proportion between the salaries of judges and assistants would be helpful. For example, how does the salary of a judicial assistant working at a first instance court compare to that of a judge at that court?

Judicial assistant earns approximately half of the salaries of a judge.

III. Background and selection of Judicial Assistants

17.       Is serving as a judicial assistant a necessary part of the legal education in your member State / a prerequisite for becoming a judge?

No, serving as a judicial assistant is not a necessary part of the legal education/prerequisite for becoming a judge.

18.       What kind of education do judicial assistants have? For example, studies of law, politics, service in the police or military etc., a special education?

Among the conditions for being hired as judicial assistant is that he/her has completed a law degree or undergraduate course with a master´s degree in law, has been Member of Parliament for at least three years or has been a regular or engaged lawyer as a main job of the state or municipality the same time, but a working time can be added in each of these sectors.

19.       What kind of work experience do judicial assistants have? If they have a legal education, have they qualified for practice? Are they seconded judges? Have they gained practical experience, if so, in what areas?

Reference is made to question No. 18 regarding legal education and practical experience. As stated in the answer to question no. 3 judicial assistants in the district courts can be entrusted with judging a civil case where defences are not maintained and a criminal case where the same applies. In that case the chief judge responsible for the court in question is responsible for the work of the judicial assistant and may give him/her instructions on any matter relating to it.

20.       How are they selected?

The general rule is that assistants are selected from among the applicants according to an official advertisement.

21.       How long do judicial assistants usually work in that capacity? Just for one or a few months, or years? Or is it a long-term/permanent career? 

Judicial assistants are hired for five years at a time. It varies whether they work out all that time or longer.

22.       If it is a short-term position, what do they do afterwards?

It is very different but no accessible information is available.

23.       If serving as a judicial assistant is not part of the legal education, why do applicants apply to work as judicial assistants?

The main reason is that they find it interesting to work within the courts where interesting legal issues are under discussion and they can gain important experience in the field that will be used later on.

24.       If being a judicial assistant is a long-term/permanent position, are there opportunities for advancement?

The work of a judicial assistant is generally not thought of as a long-term job, but as a temporary job to increase legal knowledge.

IV. Status and regulation of judicial assistants 

25.       Do judicial assistants swear an oath? Do they wear some form of official dress at certain occasions? E.g. gowns when in court?

Judicial assistants sign a statement of civil servants´ confidentiality, but do not swear an oath. In the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal they wear gowns at trials and when judgments are pronounced

 

26.       Are there formal regulations concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants? if so, is it a statute or internal regulation? If yes, what is regulated by them? Could you provide, as a separate attachment to your answers, the text of the regulation please?

There are no formal regulations concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants.

27.       Are there informal rules governing the relationship between judge and judicial assistants?

Other than what is stated in the answer to question No. 3, there may be more issues than mentioned there, depending on needs at any given times.

28.       Are there any rules - formal or informal - concerning the independence and impartiality of judicial assistants?

No.

29.       Can judicial assistants in your member State become members of an association of judges or is there a special association for them?

Judicial assistants can apply to become members of the Icelandic Association of Judges but they also have their own association.

V. General considerations about the support of judges

30.       Do you believe that judges in your system would need more or different support by personnel to work effectively? If yes, what kind of support?

Although the judges differ greatly in their use of judicial assistants and judges generally write their judgments themselves, it is my opinion that a greater number of assistants would benefit the courts.

31.       Are there certain challenges that your member State faces as regards the support for judges which have not been mentioned so far?

No.


Ireland / Irlande

(I)         How are judges supported?

1.            Yes, by Judicial Assistants.

2.            To assist judges in research together with proofreading and drafting of written judgments. 

3.            The duties performed by Judicial Assistants are as follows:-

Ÿ  Research

Ÿ  Discussions with their assigned judge

Ÿ  Memos with the summary of the facts of the case and the relevant law

Ÿ  Proofreading of decisions, including discussing certain points with the judge/pointing out inconsistencies etc.

Ÿ  Cross checking references

Ÿ  Administration tasks including organisation of files, correspondence with parties, preparing decisions for publication and collecting statistical data

4.            They may suggest grammatical changes, rewording etc.

5.            No.

6.            Yes, they take notes.  They are precluded from asking questions of parties. 

7.            A full list of duties is set out in the documents attached.

8.            The judge solely determines the case and the reasons for the decision. 

9.            The Judicial Assistant’s work does not affect the decision or the reasons, but may improve the presentation of the judgment.

10.          There is no official data, but Judicial Assistants are invaluable in saving time, for example in proofreading or locating material in transcripts or other documents. 

(II)        Organisation of Judicial Assistants

11.          Judicial Assistants are used fully by the Superior Court Judges.  In addition, the Judicial Researchers’ Office is accessible to Circuit Court Judges and District Court Judges.

12.          Not applicable.

13.          Judicial Assistants are assigned to individual Superior Court Judges, one per judge.  Thereafter they are available as a pool to District Court Judges and Circuit Court Judges under the auspices of the Judicial Researchers’ Office.

14.          The Courts Service.

15.          They are engaged on three year fixed term contracts which terminate after that period. 

16.          Judicial Assistant are not well paid and earn approximately 20% of the salary of a Superior Court Judge. 

(III)       Background and Selection of Judicial Assistants

17.          No.

18.          Judicial Assistants must hold at least a 2:1 in a Law Degree at a minimum of Level 8 on the National Framework of Qualifications or a professional law qualification (Barrister or Solicitor) or have successfully completed the Diploma in Law from King’s Inns.

19.          They are usually straight out of university without any work experience.  However, they are required to have a good understanding of the work of the Irish Courts system, a knowledge of modern online research methods, materials and databases and some experience in conducting legal research. 

20.          An interview plus a written examination. 

21.          Three years maximum.

22.          They usually gain their professional qualification and then practice as a solicitor or barrister.

23.          It is great experience to encounter high profile litigation from “the inside” and is regarded as great experience if they wish to become litigators.

24.          Not applicable.

25.          No.  They wear a gown in court.

26.          The position of “Judicial Assistant” was created with the enactment of the Financial Measures in the Public Interest (Amendment) Act 2011. 

However, there is no Statute governing the status and/or duties of Judicial Assistants in Ireland. 

Each Judicial Assistant is given a handbook when they start employment which expands on their duties and provides guidance on how to effectively fulfil their role.  This handbook is quite comprehensive and contains sections relevant to most duties of a Judicial Assistant, with a recognition that the full duties of a Judicial Assistant will depend on the needs of the Judge. 

As for internal regulation, as employees of the Civil Service, Judicial Assistants are subject to all relevant Civil Service policies, codes, circulars, rules and guidelines.  However, these circulars do not detail either the status or duties of a Judicial Assistant but rather apply general standards to the behaviour and performance of Judicial Assistants as Civil Servants.

One such circular is the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour (Circular 26/2004).  Insofar as it is relevant to a Judicial Assistant, the main features of that code are:-

Ÿ  Civil Servants must be impartial in the performance of their duties.

Ÿ  Civil Servants must work within the law.

Ÿ  Civil Servants must maintain high standards of services in all their dealings with the public.

Ÿ  Civil Servants are required to have due regard for public funds and property.

Ÿ  Civil Servants are forbidden to seek to influence decisions on matters relating to their official positions other than through established procedures. 

Such circulars include, but are not limited to, Civil Service Disciplinary Code (Circular 19/2016), Civil Service Grievance Procedure (Circular 11/2001), Courts Service Computer Usage Policy etc

27.          The above-mentioned handbook includes a chapter on the ethics and behavioural standards for Judicial Assistants.  This includes section on, but not limited to, confidentiality, conflicts of interest, and legal activities outside of work. 

As noted above, Judicial Assistants are subject to the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour (Circular 26/2004), which governs behavioural standards in a more general sense. 

28.          The answer provided to question 26 above is also relevant to this particular question. Note, in particular, the quoted section from the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour (Circular 26/2004). 

Judicial Assistants must adhere to the Official Secrets Act 1963 (as amended by the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003).

Judicial Assistants are contractually obliged to avoid any and every conflict of interest.  Judicial Assistants are provided with a handbook which provides guidance on the ethical and behavioural standards expected of them. 

29.          No.

(IV)      General Considerations about the Support of Judges

30.          Judicial Assistants play a very significant role in assisting judges to work effectively and efficiently.  It would be of considerable assistance if they were better paid to make the job more attractive in the first instance and further, if there was a facility to extend their contracts beyond three years, for those who wish to extend them. 

31.          In Ireland, there are significantly less judges per capita as compared to other countries.  As a result, there is considerable pressure on judges regarding the number of cases to be heard and the number of written judgments to be written which could be alleviated by increasing the number of judges or otherwise seeking to reduce the number of cases that end up in court e.g. increased use of mediation. 

 


Italy / Italie

I. How are judges supported?

1.         Are judges supported in their work by assistants who are not judges at that court (and also not members of the security or IT staff)?

a) by administrative assistants

b) by judicial assistants

a. It should be clarified that the answers to this questionnaire are referred to Italy’s “ordinary” judges, i.e. judges dealing with civil and criminal affairs in courts of general jurisdiction (including the Supreme Court of cassation). The answers are applicable in most cases also to “special” jurisdictions, such as administrative courts (including the Council of State), the court of accounts, and military tribunals.

The answers are not referred to judges in the Constitutional Court: the fifteen members of this body - having the tasks of assessing acts of the State and of the Regions as to their conformity to the Constitution, settling possible conflicts between the powers of these institutions, adjudicating possible indictments against the President of the Republic and deciding on the admissibility of referendums to repeal laws - have judicial assistants, who are usually experienced jurists recruited within the judiciary or the academia.

b. After this clarification, the answer to the question is that, in general, at this time Italian judges have still only administrative assistants, with the limited exceptions which will be explained later.

c. Historically, until the 1970’s, the issue of judicial assistance was solved “de facto”: most of Italy’s courts were composed of a single judge (“pretore”) and cases before higher courts were in a limited number. In this situation, in lower courts the judge had staff available for a wide range of tasks and, when necessary, also judicial assistance was provided; in the higher courts a similar situation was created by the fact that the ratio between the number of judges and clerical staff was such as to allow administrative personnel occasionally to be called to judicial assistance.

In the subsequent period, litigation exploded; one-person courts were abolished (in two steps by the law 1 February 1989, n. 30,  and the legislative decree 19 February 1998, n. 51); the Judges’ Association - also in view of the development of legal research through IT - started asking for the recruitment of judicial assistants and judicial secretaries answerable personally to each judge, but this met with resistance from labour unions of administrative staff, in favour of keeping a hierarchical scheme of personnel (which could have been disrupted by staff positions in close connection with judges) and refusing both direct answerability to judges of judicial assistants/secretaries and one-to-one work relationships between a judge and a member of the administration. The conflict may be summarized through the names of the opposed organizational models which were then proposed: “ufficio del giudice” (i.e. “the judge’s cabinet”, composed at least of a judicial assistant and a secretary assigned to single judges) vs. “ufficio del processo” (i.e. “office for the monitoring and dealing with judicial proceedings” or “office for the proceedings”, a collective group of persons entrusted with tasks relating to proceedings assigned to groups, and not individual judges; the name will later be used later to mean a different concept, but still excluding direct relationship and answerability to the judge).

d. The suppression of the one-person courts (“pretore”) also determined the attribution to the public administration of some administrative functions that until then had been attributed to the judicial authorities (articles 228 - 232 of the legislative decree n. 51 of 1998). The aim was to concentrate the activity of the judge on the judicial tasks; this aim was in line with the Rec(86)12 of 16 September 1986 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe concerning measures to prevent and reduce the excessive workload in the courts.

e. Among the reforms envisaged by the government in that period, a mention should be made of the (theoretical) introduction of the position of the “Judicial Assistant” in the 1998-2001 Collective Labour Agreement for employees of the Ministry of Justice. The agreement provided for the identification of 1200 "employees to whom the tasks shall be entrusted, according to directives by each judge, to research legislation, case-law, and academic studies to deal with the relevant issues in the judge’s activity, or to prepare, at his/her request, draft decisions of a simple or standardized nature; such personnel shall be allocated primarily to the labour courts, vulnerable persons’ protection courts, and bankruptcy courts". Unfortunately, the unclear content of this provision and conflicts that arose during implementation prevented this measure from ever being implemented.

 

f. Subsequently, in order to cope with the serious lack of human resources aiding judges, in some courts (such as Milan and Florence) experimental projects were started to create teams  supporting judges (“ufficio del processo” i.e. “office for the proceedings”, in a new understanding of this concept which had already been used earlier).

g. The “office for the proceedings” was then legally established by art. 50 of the decree-law 24 June 2014, n. 90, converted by the law 11 August 2014, n. 114, which added to the decree-law 8 October 2012, n. 179, converted with amendments by the law 17 December 2012, n. 221 - in the section dedicated to digital justice - the new art. 16-octies, under the heading “Office for the proceedings”, providing that:

“In order to guarantee the reasonable duration of trials, through innovative organizational models and by ensuring a more efficient use of information and communication technologies,  organizational structures shall be established, to be denominated “office for proceedings”', at courts of first instance or appeals, through the assignment of administrative personnel and the trainees under internships pursuant to Article 73 of the decree-law of 21 June 2013, n. 69, converted, with amendments, by law 9 August 2013, n. 98, or graduates under internships in accordance with article 37, paragraph 5, of the decree-law 6 July 2011, n. 98, converted, with amendments, by law 15 July 2011, n. 111. Auxiliary judges referred to in articles 62 and following of the decree-law of 21 June 2013, n. 69, converted, with amendments, by law 9 August 2013, n. 98, are also members of the office in courts of appeals; honorary judges referred to in Articles 42b and following of the royal decree of 30 January 1941, n. 12 are also members of the office in first instance courts.

The High Council for the Judiciary and the Minister of Justice, within their respective competences, implement the provisions referred to in paragraph 1, within the scope of available resources and without new or greater burdens on public finance”.

 

The idea that the legislator had was to create a technical structure, also integrated by administrative staff, able to assist the judge in his/her tasks and activities. The mission assigned to these structures is quite varied: research of judicial precedents and academic studies, drafting of reports, summarizing judgments, collaboration with the judge for tasks connected to the preparation and holding of hearings, recording statistical data flows, checking the correct management of computerized registers, and any other support activity for the digitalized civil and criminal proceedings.

 

h. Within the office for the proceedings, a special role should be played by honorary judges; in particular, "the justices of the peace assist the professional judges” (art. 10, paragraph 10, legislative decree n. 116/2017). Exclusively in civil proceedings, the professional judge can delegate to the honorary judge some instruction activities (for example: hearing witnesses, mediation) and drafting certain decisions.  Unfortunately, honorary judges can serve in the “office” only two working days a week.

i. Another component of the “office for the proceedings” are young interns. There are various provisions that allow internships to be carried out within courts.

Among the various provisions one can mention:

1.            Art. 16 of legislative decree 17 November 1997, n. 398, according to which practical activities with the university Master’s course for the  legal professions (“Scuole di specializzazione per le professioni legali”), subject to agreements or conventions, may also take place in courts;

2.            Art. 18 law 24 June 1997, n. 196, and art. 1, paragraph 34, law 28 June  2012, n. 92, which allows university students to carry out training and internships in companies and public administrations;

3.            Art. 37 decree-law 6 July 2011, n. 98, converted by law 15 July 2011, n. 111, which allows presidents of courts to conclude internship agreements with the universities and bar associations;

4.            Art. 44 law 31 December 2012, n. 247, which allows the carrying out of lawyers’ apprenticeships in courts;

5.            Art. 73 decree-law 21 June 2013, n. 69, converted by law 9 August 2013, n. 98, which provides the possibility for law graduates to carry out a period of theoretical-practical training (total duration of eighteen months) in courts of appeal, first instance courts,  prosecution offices, penitentiary supervision courts and juvenile courts;

6.            Art. 2 decree-law 31 August 2016, n. 168, introducing internships also at the Court of Cassation and the General Prosecutor's Office.

j. Beyond the different contents of the above provisions, the two most relevant internships are those referred to by art. 37 d.l. n. 98/11 and art. 73 d.l. n. 69/13. These trainees assist the judge in carrying out his/her ordinary activities. Trainees have access to the trial files, participate in hearings, including those that are not public, as well as assist in the deliberations, unless the judge deems not to admit them; they cannot have access to the files relating to proceedings in which they are subject to a conflict of interest, including the files relating to the proceedings handled by the lawyer in which they carry out a traineeship.

Trainees cannot exercise professional activity in front of the Court where the internship takes place, nor can they represent or defend, even in the following steps of the case, the parts of the proceedings that took place in front of the judge.

 

k. The law seeks to incentivize internships pursuant to art. 73 in different ways:

a. providing the allocation to those admitted to a “scholarship” not exceeding € 400.00 (see below), while excluding that the internship entitles the intern to any compensation, social security or insurance status; scholarships, however, are in practice only given to interns from families with low income and, so far, they have not been paid regularly and budget apportionments have been insufficient to cover expectations (see below);

b. providing the possibility for the interns to carry out, together with the internship, other activities, such as attendance of Ph.D. or other post-graduate courses, training preliminary to the  bar or notary entry examination;

c. providing that the positive outcome of the internship is calculated to lower from two to one year professional training preliminary to the lawyer or notary entry examination;

d. providing that the positive outcome of the internship constitutes preference, if merit is equal, in the recruitment in public posts in the justice administration, or toward appointment as honorary judge or honorary public prosecutor (appointment for which the internship is also an admission prerequisite, as alternative to other prerequisites).

l. Internships constitute a relevant experience for young law graduates; the current opinion is that their presence, however, does not solve the problems related to judicial assistance, since young graduates remain in the court for a very limited period of time (18 months without the possibility of renewal, so that most of the time is needed to train them); the internship is therefore mainly aimed to provide a training experience for young graduates rather than giving professional support to the judge.

m. In conclusion, Italy at present does not provide for the assistance to the judge by “judicial assistants” as defined in this questionnaire (and referred to in § 65 and conclusion C.6 of CCJE’s Opinion No. 6 (2004), where a stable provision of judges with assistants, with substantial qualifications in the legal field, is envisaged, further stating that the judge should be able to delegate to them, under the same judge's supervision and responsibility, the performance of specific activities such as research of legislation and case-law, drafting of easy or standardised documents, and liaising with lawyers and/or the public).

n. These shortcomings have already been noted in the CEPEJ’s reports, which highlighted the lack of human resources assisting the judge in Italy, compared to other European countries (see below for budgetary aspects).

o. At present, administrative assistance to hearings is usually provided for criminal trials and sometimes for selected civil hearings; this kind of assistance is, as has been mentioned, “administrative” in the meaning of this questionnaire. It is in fact limited to simple drafting of hearings’ minutes. Drafting minutes of hearings, on the other hand, is less and less important, considering that other support tools have been progressively introduced, such as video and audio recording, electronic civil proceedings (“processo civile telematico”, PCT), etc.

p. This description – it is worth repeating - does not apply to the judges of the Italian Constitutional court, who have a stable cabinet consisting of both administrative staff and study assistants recruited among expert academics or judges.

2.         What is the rationale for employing assistants in your system? If there are different rationales for employing administrative assistants and judicial assistants, please describe those rationales separately.

Please see answer to question no. 1.

3.         What kind of duties judicial assistants have at the courts in your member State? If they perform different duties in different courts, please explain these duties separately. Such duties may include:

        Research, maybe summarised in a memo

        Discussion with the judge(s)

        Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law

        Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law and a suggestion of the judicial assistant how the case should be decided

        Memos summarising the facts and the relevant law and including a suggestion if a case should be accepted for appeal/constitutional review

        Drafting parts of the judgment, if so which parts? Facts, certain points under discussion?

        Drafting complete judgments

        Proofreading of decisions, maybe including discussing certain points with the judge/pointing out inconsistencies etc. 

        Reading draft judgments of other judges and discussing them with the judge

        Crosschecking references

        Drafting press releases

        Drafting procedural decisions

        Deciding procedural issues such as appointing an expert or deciding on costs of proceedings

        Conducting hearings and deciding simple cases autonomously, for example concerning enforcement, or simple criminal cases. If so, please specify if a judge has to approve the decision or if the decision is taken by the judicial assistant alone.

        In addition to tasks such as those mentioned above, judicial assistants may also perform administrative duties such as:

-       Writing protocols in hearings

-       Organisation of files

-       Correspondence with parties

-       Preparing the official copies of decisions, preparing decisions for publication

-       Collecting statistical data

Please see answer to question no. 1, where the fact that Italy has no judicial assistants (except for Constitutional Court judges) is clarified.

4.         If judicial assistants help in the drafting process, how do they do it?

Please see answer to question no. 1.

5.         Are judicial assistants present during deliberations? If yes, do they participate in the discussion?

Please see answer to question no. 1. One could here note that the issue of presence during deliberation and discussion is addressed by Italian law concerning interns pursuant to art. 73. Those admitted to the internship can access the trial files, take part in the hearings and the deliberation (unless the judge deems not to admit them). Trainees may not, however, have access to trial files when a conflict of interest arises, with particular reference to the proceedings dealt with by the lawyer with whom they carry out the traineeship preliminary to the bar examination. They are bound by secrecy.

6.         Are judicial assistants present in hearings? If so, what duties do they have during hearings? Are they allowed to ask questions?

See previous answer.

7.         Is there a formal rule or an informal consensus among judges, what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake?

See previous answers.

8.         Which duties belong exclusively to the judge? 

See answer to question no. 1.

9.         How does the work of judicial assistants affect decisions and judicial decision making? How do judges ensure that the decision remains "their"?

See answer to question no. 1.

10.      Is there any official data or - if not - do you have a view how useful judicial assistants actually are e.g. in saving judges’ time ?

See answer to question no. 1.

II. Organisation of judicial assistants

11.      At which courts in your member State are judges supported by judicial assistants? First instance/second instance/third instance/constitutional court?

No answers are provided to questions in this section, for the reasons clarified in question no. 1.

12.      If there are lay judges in your system, are they specifically supported by judicial assistants?

13.      How are judicial assistants organised? If there are different forms of organisation at different courts, please explain the different models. For example:

        Are assistants assigned to one judge individually? If so, how many assistants work for each judge? 

        Or are they assigned to a panel of judges? If so, how many judicial assistants work for each panel? 

        Or are they part of a pool of judicial assistants serving the whole court? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

        Or do they work in teams put together for certain cases? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

14.      Who pays them?

15.      What is their status? Are they considered as, for example, civil servants, seconded judges or just employees?

16.      How much do they earn compared to the judges for whom they work? You do not need to indicate exact amounts, but mentioning the proportion between the salaries of judges and assistants would be helpful. For example, how does the salary of a judicial assistant working at a first instance court compare to that of a judge at that court?

III. Background and selection of Judicial Assistants

17.      Is serving as a judicial assistant a necessary part of the legal education in your member State / a prerequisite for becoming a judge?

No answers are provided to questions in this section, for the reasons clarified in question no. 1.

18.      What kind of education do judicial assistants have? For example, studies of law, politics, service in the police or military etc., a special education?

19.      What kind of work experience do judicial assistants have? If they have a legal education, have they qualified for practice? Are they seconded judges? Have they gained practical experience, if so, in what areas?

20.      How are they selected?

21.      How long do judicial assistants usually work in that capacity? Just for one or a few months, or years? Or is it a long-term/permanent career? 

22.      If it is a short-term position, what do they do afterwards?

23.      If serving as a judicial assistant is not part of the legal education, why do applicants apply to work as judicial assistants?

24.      If being a judicial assistant is a long-term/permanent position, are there opportunities for advancement?

IV. Status and regulation of judicial assistants 

25.      Do judicial assistants swear an oath? Do they wear some form of official dress at certain occasions? E.g. gowns when in court?

No answers are provided to questions in this section, for the reasons clarified in question no. 1.

26.      Are there formal regulations concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants? if so, is it a statute or internal regulation? If yes, what is regulated by them? Could you provide, as a separate attachment to your answers, the text of the regulation please?

27.      Are there informal rules governing the relationship between judge and judicial assistants?

28.      Are there any rules - formal or informal - concerning the independence and impartiality of judicial assistants?

29.      Can judicial assistants in your member State become members of an association of judges or is there a special association for them?

V. General considerations about the support of judges

30.      Do you believe that judges in your system would need more or different support by personnel to work effectively? If yes, what kind of support?

a. As mentioned in the previous answers, the Italian system does not provide for a stable assistance to the judge as defined in this questionnaire.

b. The recent legislative innovations in the direction of introducing an “office for the proceedings” did not substantially modify this situation, considering in particular that the assistance provided for the professional judges is non-continuous and very limited (since, as said before, internships of young law graduates are for a period of 18 months, without the possibility of renewal, and honorary judges are allowed to work in the courts for just two working days per week in compliance with the principles of temporariness and non-exclusivity of their position). Administrative staff is also usually unavailable for this task and their specifically judicial expertise would be partial.

c. In this regard, it is relevant to mention here Report no. 55/VV/2016 of the Italian High Council for the Judiciary, approved by a Resolution of 18 June 2018. This has been based on the monitoring made by the Council in the year 2016, updated by the new projects concerning distribution of the cases and organization of single courts for the years 2017-2019. The mentioned Report, inter alia, has highlighted some of the limits inherent in the implementation of the “office for the proceedings”.

d. Such limits, with specific regard to the topic of the judicial assistance, can be summarized as follows:

- in the smaller courts it is difficult even to create this kind of structure, considering the lack of human resources, especially concerning internships and administrative staff (this despite the fact that the establishment of the “office” has later become mandatory, according to art. 10 of Regulation  no. 1318 of 26 January 2017 of the High Council for the Judiciary [2], as modified on 18 July 2018);

- in most courts interns are less in number than professional judges;

- in most courts less than half of the judges cannot therefore be supported by interns;

- less than half of the honorary judges perform activities delegated by the professional judges, since the majority of them deal with cases that are entirely assigned to themselves;

- in about half of the courts interns have no personal computers nor connection to the network available;

- only one third of the courts in which the “office” has been established improved significantly their efficiency, particularly vis-à-vis duration of the trials, saving of resources and improvement of the quality of the work and of the services to the public.

e. A recent research conducted by the National Association of Judges has shown that only  17,24% of the professional judges can count on honorary judges supporting their activities (see the Report of the National Association of Magistrates at the 33° National Congress of the National Association of Judges, 21 October 2017 [3] ).

f. Furthermore, the Board of the National Association of Judges, in a recent opinion concerning the status of the honorary judges, has stressed that it would be necessary, within the “office for the proceedings”, to provide each judge with a stable figure of judicial assistant, recruited through a general competition, that could support him/her in the exercise of the judicial activity (see Opinion on the reform of honorary judges of 22.04.2017 [4] ).

g. By reference, as a conclusion, to the above opinion:

- in Italy it is still necessary to provide a stable support to the judges from professional figures of judicial assistants;

- such a kind of support should be ensured to all the professional judges;

- it should come from personnel permanently included in the staff of the courts, in order to ensure the necessary level of professionalism and continuity of action of judicial assistants.


[1] In https://csmapp.csm.it/web/csm-internet/norme-e-documenti/dettaglio/-/asset_publisher/YoFfLzL3vKc1/content/ufficio-per-il-processo-esito-del-monitoraggio-sulla-istituzione-e-sul-funzionamento-ruolo-della-magistratura-onoraria-e-diritto-transitorio

[2] Circolare sulla formazione delle tabelle di organizzazione degli uffici giudicanti per il triennio 2017/2019”

[3] In http://www.associazionemagistrati.it/doc/2769/intervento-di-marcello-basilico-componente-dellufficio-sindacale-anm.htm

[4] In http://www.associazionemagistrati.it/doc/2842/parere-sulla-riforma-della-magistratura-onoraria.htm

31.      Are there certain challenges that your member State faces as regards the support for judges which have not been mentioned so far?

a. One of the challenges that could be considered relevant as to support for professional judges concerns the financial resources to recruit judicial assistants.

b. The CEPEJ Study no. 26 on the European Judicial Systems - Efficiency and quality of justice (published in 2018, concerning data of 2016) and the 2018 Justice Scoreboard show that the public budget allocated to the judicial system in Italy (per inhabitant) is higher than the median. Despite this, as mentioned before, Italy does not have a proper figure of judicial assistant for professional judges (except for the judges in the Constitutional Court). This is due to the different distribution of resources in Italy in comparison with other member States. 

c. So far, some financial resources in this area have been allocated to  internships, as shown in the previous answers. No extra resources have been apportioned for honorary judges and administrative staff in the “office for the proceedings”, since these personnel are funded with their own budget. For interns a “scholarship” has been funded, not exceeding Euros 400,00 per month; but it should be highlighted that the enforcement of this provision depends on the concrete budget allocation each year. In practice, the budget allocation in some cases has not been timely; in some other cases it has not been sufficient to cover the expectations, as mentioned, inter alia, in the above mentioned Report no. 55/VV/2016 of the Italian High Council for the Judiciary.

d. Another challenge to be considered is the attitude of trade unions (starting as back as the 1990’s, not allowing the implementation of the 1998-2001 Collective Labour Agreement for employees of the Ministry of Justice – see answer no. 1): allowing the recruitment of judicial assistants and judicial secretaries, answerable personally to each judge, would create staff positions disrupting the present hierarchical scheme of the personnel.


Latvia / Lettonie

I. How are judges supported?

1.         Are judges supported in their work by assistants who are not judges at that court (and also not members of the security or IT staff)?

a) by administrative assistants

b) by judicial assistants

Yes. There are several administrative assistants (Court recorder, Court interpreter, Court administrator, Chancellery staff) and two judicial assistants – Assistant to a Judge and Court consultant. Usually each judge have a Court recorder and Assistant to a Judge. Other assistants are some for all court and assist to all judges in the court.

2.         What is the rationale for employing assistants in your system? If there are different rationales for employing administrative assistants and judicial assistants, please describe those rationales separately.

Rationale for all assistants are mostly the same. Preferable to have experience in court system or in governmental institution, relevant level of IT skills, stress management etc. The only difference is requirement of legal education for judicial assistants.

3.         What kind of duties judicial assistants have at the courts in your member State? If they perform different duties in different courts, please explain these duties separately. Such duties may include (Yes; No):

•           Research, maybe summarised in a memo

•           Discussion with the judge(s)

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law and a suggestion of the judicial assistant how the case should be decided

•           Memos summarising the facts and the relevant law and including a suggestion if a case should be accepted for appeal/constitutional review

•           Drafting parts of the judgment, if so which parts? Facts, certain points under discussion? – depends of the Judge

•           Drafting complete judgments – depends of the Judge

•           Proofreading of decisions, maybe including discussing certain points with the judge/pointing out inconsistencies etc.

•           Reading draft judgments of other judges and discussing them with the judge

•           Crosschecking references

•           Drafting press releases

•           Drafting procedural decisions

•           Deciding procedural issues such as appointing an expert or deciding on costs of proceedings

•           Conducting hearings and deciding simple cases autonomously, for example concerning enforcement, or simple criminal cases. If so, please specify if a judge has to approve the decision or if the decision is taken by the judicial assistant alone.

•           In addition to tasks such as those mentioned above, judicial assistants may also perform administrative duties such as:

-           Writing protocols in hearings

-           Organisation of files

-           Correspondence with parties

-           Preparing the official copies of decisions, preparing decisions for publication

-           Collecting statistical data

4.         If judicial assistants help in the drafting process, how do they do it?

Usually they prepare a draft of the decision, do the research and other preparatory jobs.

5.         Are judicial assistants present during deliberations? If yes, do they participate in the discussion?

Depends what kind of deliberations. Assistant to a Judge can participate in deliberations with the Judge but not in deliberations during the proceedings or deliberations between Judges.

6.         Are judicial assistants present in hearings? If so, what duties do they have during hearings? Are they allowed to ask questions?

No. Court recorder (administrative assistants) are presented in hearnigs. They are responsible of recording the hearing, check the identity of people presented in court, ensure the video conference etc.

7.         Is there a formal rule or an informal consensus among judges, what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake?

No. There are standard duties form job contract but anyway they must help to Judges and do all legal work which is needed in particular case.

8.         Which duties belong exclusively to the judge?

All the duties of a Judge belonging exclusively to the Judge. Exceptions can be only in preparing the drafts of the documents (explained above). Only Judge decides the cases, makes decisions, leads the hearings, ask questions, gives orders etc.

9.         How does the work of judicial assistants affect decisions and judicial decision making? How do judges ensure that the decision remains "their"?

The work of judicial assistants affect the time what is necessary to prepare a decision and the workload of the Judge. Judge always revises the drafts of the documents prepared by assistants and makes corrections. Usually assistant knows the writing style of the Judge and prepares the documents in similar style so the Judge can easily make corrections only about the case not the style.

10.       Is there any official data or - if not - do you have a view how useful judicial assistants actually are e.g. in saving judges’ time ?

There is no any data but we can assure that assistants gives a big impact on saving Judges time (also see the answer to question 9.).

II. Organisation of judicial assistants

11.       At which courts in your member State are judges supported by judicial assistants? First instance/second instance/third instance/constitutional court?

In all instances Judges are supported by judicial assistants.

12.       If there are lay judges in your system, are they specifically supported by judicial assistants?

There aren’t lay judges in Latvia.

13.       How are judicial assistants organised? If there are different forms of organisation at different courts, please explain the different models. For example:

•           Are assistants assigned to one judge individually? If so, how many assistants work for each judge? 

•           Or are they assigned to a panel of judges? If so, how many judicial assistants work for each panel? 

•           Or are they part of a pool of judicial assistants serving the whole court? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

•           Or do they work in teams put together for certain cases? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

Assistants to a Judge are assigned to one Judge individually. Court consultants are several in each court and serving the whole court.

14.       Who pays them?

All court staff is paid by Court administration in the name of Government.

15.       What is their status? Are they considered as, for example, civil servants, seconded judges or just employees?

Court staff in Latvia are just employees.

16.       How much do they earn compared to the judges for whom they work? You do not need to indicate exact amounts, but mentioning the proportion between the salaries of judges and assistants would be helpful. For example, how does the salary of a judicial assistant working at a first instance court compare to that of a judge at that court?

Salary of a judicial assistant is approximately 1/3 of the salary of a judge of the particular court.

III. Background and selection of Judicial Assistants

17.       Is serving as a judicial assistant a necessary part of the legal education in your member State / a prerequisite for becoming a judge?

To be a judge it is necessary to have at least 5 years experience as an assistant of a judge/sworn advocate/bailiff or as a lawyer.

18.       What kind of education do judicial assistants have? For example, studies of law, politics, service in the police or military etc., a special education?

It is required that judicial assistants have higher education in law.

19.       What kind of work experience do judicial assistants have? If they have a legal education, have they qualified for practice? Are they seconded judges? Have they gained practical experience, if so, in what areas?

They have a legal education and usually they become as judicial assistants from other positions in court. They start, e.g. as a court recorder, and when there is a vacancy of a judicial assistant then they apply for this position. So, usually they already have some experience in court.

20.       How are they selected?

If there is a suitable candidate from non-judicial assistants in the court then he/she is promoted. If not then an open competition takes place.

21.       How long do judicial assistants usually work in that capacity? Just for one or a few months, or years? Or is it a long-term/permanent career?

There are three parts of them: (1) permanent career; (2) necessary experience for Judge position – approximately 5 to 10 years; (3) as a career step for future, e.g., for a legal counsel or advocate career. The last part usually holds from 1 to 5 years.

22.       If it is a short-term position, what do they do afterwards?

Those who works short-term usually choose career in legal firms or in big corporations where salary is bigger.

23.       If serving as a judicial assistant is not part of the legal education, why do applicants apply to work as judicial assistants?

It is not part of legal education. Assistant of a Judge is a great experience that is highly valued in legal firms. After work in that position is easily to get job in high-paid legal positions.

24.       If being a judicial assistant is a long-term/permanent position, are there opportunities for advancement?

No, there are no opportunities for advancement in context of legal experience. Next step would be position of a Judge and it’s not possible to get promoted to Judge position. There is position of a Chief Judge but it’s not fully legal position. It’s more managerial position.

IV. Status and regulation of judicial assistants 

25.       Do judicial assistants swear an oath? Do they wear some form of official dress at certain occasions? E.g. gowns when in court?

No, there is no oath and no official dress.

26.       Are there formal regulations concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants? if so, is it a statute or internal regulation? If yes, what is regulated by them? Could you provide, as a separate attachment to your answers, the text of the regulation please?

There is no status of judicial assistants. In the law “On Judicial Power” is stated what type of court employees can be in a court. For each type key duties are stated as well. More detailed duties are stated in the job description of each employee.

27.       Are there informal rules governing the relationship between judge and judicial assistants?

No, there are no informal rules. Judge is like a manager for Assistant of a Judge and for Court recorder which are assigned to this Judge.

28.       Are there any rules - formal or informal - concerning the independence and impartiality of judicial assistants?

No, there are no rules. It is encouraged that all lawyers should respect the Ethical code of particular occupation (Ethical code of Judges, Advocates, Bailiff’s etc.).

29.       Can judicial assistants in your member State become members of an association of judges or is there a special association for them?

Only Judges can be members of association of Judges. There is no special association of judicial assistants.

V. General considerations about the support of judges

30.       Do you believe that judges in your system would need more or different support by personnel to work effectively? If yes, what kind of support?

It is not proved that additional support would be the better solution. There are some concerns on effectiveness of the court because of high turnover of court employees which rises from low salaries. Big effort is needed for training of new employee. If experienced employees would stay longer in courts than effectiveness would be higher.

31.       Are there certain challenges that your member State faces as regards the support for judges which have not been mentioned so far?

At this moment there are no fundamental challenges with regards the support for judges. We can mention that the range of measures should be extended to raise the self-esteem of judges as regards the independence of the judiciary.


Liechtenstein

I. How are judges supported?

1.         Are judges supported in their work by assistants who are not judges at that court (and also not members of the security or IT staff)?

a) by administrative assistants

b) by judicial assistants

Answer:

In our system only the presidents have an administrative assistant to help them to fulfill their administrative work.

The judges have only one secretary each for the required paperwork and the documentation of the files in the respective business departments.

The judges have no judicial assistant in the purpose of this framework.

The function of a judicial assistant in the purpose of this framework does not exist in our system.

2.         What is the rationale for employing assistants in your system? If there are different rationales for employing administrative assistants and judicial assistants, please describe those rationales separately.

See I.1

3.         What kind of duties judicial assistants have at the courts in your member State? If they perform different duties in different courts, please explain these duties separately. Such duties may include:

•           Research, maybe summarised in a memo

•           Discussion with the judge(s)

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law and a suggestion of the judicial assistant how the case should be decided

•           Memos summarising the facts and the relevant law and including a suggestion if a case should be accepted for appeal/constitutional review

•           Drafting parts of the judgment, if so which parts? Facts, certain points under discussion?

•           Drafting complete judgments

•           Proofreading of decisions, maybe including discussing certain points with the judge/pointing out inconsistencies etc. 

•           Reading draft judgments of other judges and discussing them with the judge

•           Crosschecking references

•           Drafting press releases

•           Drafting procedural decisions

•           Deciding procedural issues such as appointing an expert or deciding on costs of proceedings

•           Conducting hearings and deciding simple cases autonomously, for example concerning enforcement, or simple criminal cases. If so, please specify if a judge has to approve the decision or if the decision is taken by the judicial assistant alone.

•           In addition to tasks such as those mentioned above, judicial assistants may also perform administrative duties such as:

-           Writing protocols in hearings

-           Organisation of files

-           Correspondence with parties

-           Preparing the official copies of decisions, preparing decisions for publication

-           Collecting statistical data

-          

-           See I.1

4.         If judicial assistants help in the drafting process, how do they do it?

See I.1

5.         Are judicial assistants present during deliberations? If yes, do they participate in the discussion?

See I.1

6.         Are judicial assistants present in hearings? If so, what duties do they have during hearings? Are they allowed to ask questions?

7.         Is there a formal rule or an informal consensus among judges, what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake?

8.         Which duties belong exclusively to the judge? 

9.         How does the work of judicial assistants affect decisions and judicial decision making? How do judges ensure that the decision remains "their"?

10.       Is there any official data or - if not - do you have a view how useful judicial assistants actually are e.g. in saving judges’ time ?

See I.1

II. Organisation of judicial assistants

11.       At which courts in your member State are judges supported by judicial assistants? First instance/second instance/third instance/constitutional court?

12.       If there are lay judges in your system, are they specifically supported by judicial assistants?

13.       How are judicial assistants organised? If there are different forms of organisation at different courts, please explain the different models. For example:

•           Are assistants assigned to one judge individually? If so, how many assistants work for each judge? 

•           Or are they assigned to a panel of judges? If so, how many judicial assistants work for each panel? 

•           Or are they part of a pool of judicial assistants serving the whole court? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

•           Or do they work in teams put together for certain cases? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

14.       Who pays them?

15.       What is their status? Are they considered as, for example, civil servants, seconded judges or just employees?

16.       How much do they earn compared to the judges for whom they work? You do not need to indicate exact amounts, but mentioning the proportion between the salaries of judges and assistants would be helpful. For example, how does the salary of a judicial assistant working at a first instance court compare to that of a judge at that court?

See I.1

III. Background and selection of Judicial Assistants

17.       Is serving as a judicial assistant a necessary part of the legal education in your member State / a prerequisite for becoming a judge?

18.       What kind of education do judicial assistants have? For example, studies of law, politics, service in the police or military etc., a special education?

19.       What kind of work experience do judicial assistants have? If they have a legal education, have they qualified for practice? Are they seconded judges? Have they gained practical experience, if so, in what areas?

20.       How are they selected?

21.       How long do judicial assistants usually work in that capacity? Just for one or a few months, or years? Or is it a long-term/permanent career? 

22.       If it is a short-term position, what do they do afterwards?

23.       If serving as a judicial assistant is not part of the legal education, why do applicants apply to work as judicial assistants?

24.       If being a judicial assistant is a long-term/permanent position, are there opportunities for advancement?

See I.1

IV. Status and regulation of judicial assistants 

25.       Do judicial assistants swear an oath? Do they wear some form of official dress at certain occasions? E.g. gowns when in court?

26.       Are there formal regulations concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants? if so, is it a statute or internal regulation? If yes, what is regulated by them? Could you provide, as a separate attachment to your answers, the text of the regulation please?

27.       Are there informal rules governing the relationship between judge and judicial assistants?

28.       Are there any rules - formal or informal - concerning the independence and impartiality of judicial assistants?

29.       Can judicial assistants in your member State become members of an association of judges or is there a special association for them?

See I.1

V. General considerations about the support of judges

30.       Do you believe that judges in your system would need more or different support by personnel to work effectively? If yes, what kind of support?

Answer:

There are court employees who are assigned their own tasks (so called Rechtspfleger), who are not within the scope of this questionnaire. However, these people are a valuable support to relieve the judges of some of the workload.

31.       Are there certain challenges that your member State faces as regards the support for judges which have not been mentioned so far?

Answer:

For very large cases, so-called ad-hoc judges are appointed. However, these judges do not support the regular judges, but decide on a case for which they have been appointed, independently. However, these are isolated cases in our system.


Lithuania / Lituanie

In Lithuania there is both the common courts system and the administrative courts system. The common courts system consists of 22 local courts (first instance courts), 5 regional courts (first instance and appeal instance), the Court of Appeal of Lithuania (only appeal instance.) and the Supreme Court of Lithuania. The administrative courts system consists of the Supreme administrative court and 2 regional courts.

I. How are judges supported?

1.         Are judges supported in their work by assistants who are not judges at that court (and also not members of the security or IT staff)?

a)         by administrative assistants

The president of the Supreme Court, the Supreme administrative court, the Court of appeal and the presidents of and regional courts and also presidents of the divisions in this courts, have advisors. The advisors function is as an administrative assistant as well as a judicial assistant.

b)         by judicial assistants

As a general rule, every judge has ONE assistant. However in some courts, it is necessary to have more assistants. For example in the Court of Appeal of Lithuania there are THREE assistants to TWO judges.

In the Supreme Court, Supreme administrative court and the Court of Appeal of Lithuania there also exists a judicial department for every court. These departments carry responsibility to collect case law from Strasburg court and also from the court in Luxemburg, to collect other materials in complicated cases. They are also responsible to collect appropriate foreign case law, if it is required for a specific case. The people working in these departments are also considered judges assistants.

2.         What is the rationale for employing assistants in your system? If there are different rationales for employing administrative assistants and judicial assistants, please describe those rationales separately.

All judges’ assistants are considered state servants and can be appointed to their positions on merit.

3.         What kind of duties judicial assistants have at the courts in your member State? If they perform different duties in different courts, please explain these duties separately. Such duties may include:

•           Research, maybe summarised in a memo

No.

•           Discussion with the judge(s)

Officially No, However informally possibly.

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law

Yes.

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law and a suggestion of the judicial assistant how the case should be decided

Yes

•           Memos summarising the facts and the relevant law and including a suggestion if a case should be accepted for appeal/constitutional review

Yes

•           Drafting parts of the judgment, if so which parts? Facts, certain points under discussion?

This is dependent on individual judge’s discretion.

•           Drafting complete judgments

Yes. This is dependent on individual judge’s discretion.

•           Proofreading of decisions, maybe including discussing certain points with the judge/pointing out inconsistencies etc. 

Usually no, however this is dependent on individual judge’s discretion.

•           Reading draft judgments of other judges and discussing them with the judge

No

•           Crosschecking references

No

•           Drafting press releases

No

•           Drafting procedural decisions

Yes

•           Deciding procedural issues such as appointing an expert or deciding on costs of proceedings

No, assistants do not have any procedural rights.

•           Conducting hearings and deciding simple cases autonomously, for example concerning enforcement, or simple criminal cases. If so, please specify if a judge has to approve the decision or if the decision is taken by the judicial assistant alone.

No.

•           In addition to tasks such as those mentioned above, judicial assistants may also perform administrative duties such as:

-           Writing protocols in hearings

No

-           Organisation of files

Only when providing technical support

-           Correspondence with parties

Only when providing technical support

-           Preparing the official copies of decisions, preparing decisions for publication

Yes.

-           Collecting statistical data

No

4.         If judicial assistants help in the drafting process, how do they do it?

This is dependent on the individual judge’s discretion. It could be up until the final draft is made.

5.         Are judicial assistants present during deliberations? If yes, do they participate in the discussion?

Usually no. This is dependent on the individual judge’s discretion.

6.         Are judicial assistants present in hearings? If so, what duties do they have during hearings? Are they allowed to ask questions?

No.

7.         Is there a formal rule or an informal consensus among judges, what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake?

No.

8.         Which duties belong exclusively to the judge? 

All judicial decisions.

9.         How does the work of judicial assistants affect decisions and judicial decision making? How do judges ensure that the decision remains "their"?

In general the sole occupation of the assistant is to help technical support and in the assistance of collection and drafting of documents. The final decision can be made only by the respective judge and at the judge’s full responsibility.

10.       Is there any official data or - if not - do you have a view how useful judicial assistants actually are e.g. in saving judges’ time?

There is no official data. However the common opinion is that the assistants save a great deal of judge’s time by dealing with the drafting process and any technical issues. This allows the respective judge a greater amount of time dealing with the judicial making procedure.

II. Organisation of judicial assistants

11.       At which courts in your member State are judges supported by judicial assistants? First instance/second instance/third instance/constitutional court?

In all courts.

12.       If there are lay judges in your system, are they specifically supported by judicial assistants?

No.

13.       How are judicial assistants organised? If there are different forms of organisation at different courts, please explain the different models. For example:

•           Are assistants assigned to one judge individually? If so, how many assistants work for each judge? 

Yes. The only exceptions is the Supreme Court and the Supreme administrative court. In these courts they are assigned cases suited to their specific dispute specialization.

•           Or are they assigned to a panel of judges? If so, how many judicial assistants work for each panel? 

No.

•           Or are they part of a pool of judicial assistants serving the whole court? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

Yes, if they work in the Supreme Court, Supreme administrative court and the Court of Appeal of Lithuania there also exists a judicial department for every court. Please see answer to question 1b.

•           Or do they work in teams put together for certain cases? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

No, usually ONE judge to One assistant.

14.       Who pays them?

They are paid by the state of Lithuania.

15.       What is their status? Are they considered as, for example, civil servants, seconded judges or just employees?

They are state servants.

16.       How much do they earn compared to the judges for whom they work? You do not need to indicate exact amounts, but mentioning the proportion between the salaries of judges and assistants would be helpful. For example, how does the salary of a judicial assistant working at a first instance court compare to that of a judge at that court?

About 40-60% of a judges salary.

III. Background and selection of Judicial Assistants

17.       Is serving as a judicial assistant a necessary part of the legal education in your member State / a prerequisite for becoming a judge?

No. Though the majority of newly appointed have been through this process.

18.       What kind of education do judicial assistants have? For example, studies of law, politics, service in the police or military etc., a special education?

It is obligatory to have both law degree and masters.

19.       What kind of work experience do judicial assistants have? If they have a legal education, have they qualified for practice? Are they seconded judges? Have they gained practical experience, if so, in what areas?

They can be without any experience. In Lithuania judges are limited to a judicial positions.

20.       How are they selected?

They are selected on merit.

21.       How long do judicial assistants usually work in that capacity? Just for one or a few months, or years? Or is it a long-term/permanent career? 

That dependents on the person. There is no restriction to the duration that someone may hold the position.

22.       If it is a short-term position, what do they do afterwards?

It isn’t considered a short-term position.

23.       If serving as a judicial assistant is not part of the legal education, why do applicants apply to work as judicial assistants?

It is considered normal legal work.

24.       If being a judicial assistant is a long-term/permanent position, are there opportunities for advancement?

The same applies for all state servants. E.G.

•           Longer holidays

•           A tiered salary.

IV. Status and regulation of judicial assistants 

25.       Do judicial assistants swear an oath? Do they wear some form of official dress at certain occasions? E.g. gowns when in court?

No they do not swear an oath and they are not required to wear official dress of any kind.

26.       Are there formal regulations concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants? if so, is it a statute or internal regulation? If yes, what is regulated by them? Could you provide, as a separate attachment to your answers, the text of the regulation please?

Common rules for state servants are written in the law. Specific requirements according to education are provided by the Judicial Council.

27.       Are there informal rules governing the relationship between judge and judicial assistants?

No.

28.       Are there any rules - formal or informal - concerning the independence and impartiality of judicial assistants?

No.

29.       Can judicial assistants in your member State become members of an association of judges or is there a special association for them?

Yes. Judges assistants have an association. Judges assistants have a special process for furthering their educations.

V. General considerations about the support of judges

30.       Do you believe that judges in your system would need more or different support by personnel to work effectively? If yes, what kind of support?

No, we believe the situation to be adequate.

31.       Are there certain challenges that your member State faces as regards the support for judges which have not been mentioned so far?

No.

 


Luxembourg

I. Quel soutien est apporté aux juges ?

1.         Les juges sont-ils assistés dans leur travail par des assistants qui ne sont pas juges dans cette juridiction (et qui ne font pas non plus partie du personnel informatique ou de sécurité) ? 

a) par les assistants administratifs

b) par les assistants de justice

Les juges luxembourgeois sont traditionnellement assistés de greffiers qui gèrent les dossiers et assurent le contact avec les avocats. Ils travaillent sous le contrôle du juge. Ils sont présents à l’audience et tiennent le registre de ce qui s’y est dit. Ils mettent les décisions de justice en forme et, suivant les matières, peuvent être en charge de les notifier aux parties. Les greffiers effectuent le travail administratif des tribunaux et en tant que tels, ils semblent relever de la catégorie des « assistants administratifs ».

        

De façon très récente, la Cour Supérieure de Justice, regroupant la Cour de cassation et la Cour d’appel, dispose de deux référendaires qui assistent les juges dans leur travail de recherche. Ils semblent rentrer dans la catégorie des «  assistants de justice ». Ils sont entrés en fonctions le 1er novembre 2018, leur contrat a été conclu pour une durée de deux ans.

2.         Quelle est la raison d'être du recours aux assistants dans votre système ? S'il existe des justifications différentes pour l'emploi d'assistants administratifs et d'assistants de justice, veuillez détailler ces justifications séparément.

      

Les greffiers font partie de la tradition judiciaire luxembourgeoise. Ils sont les assistants des juges en ce qu’ils s’occupent du volet administratif de la fonction judiciaire. Ils assurent en quelque sorte le «  secrétariat » des instances judiciaires. Ils ne participent d’aucune façon à la prise de décision.

Si les assistants de justice ne participent pas non plus à la prise de décision, ils assistent néanmoins le juge dans cette tâche, en l’aidant dans la recherche. Dans la mesure où la Cour Supérieure de Justice ne dispose que depuis quelques mois de tels assistants, il est pour l’heure difficile de décrire en détail les tâches qui leur sont confiées, celles-ci devant s’affiner avec le temps. Pour l’heure, les assistants de justice effectuent des recherches pour les juges qui les sollicitent. Ils rendent compte oralement ou par une brève note, en joignant la doctrine et la jurisprudence qu’ils ont trouvées.                   

3.         Quelles sont les fonctions des assistants de justice auprès des tribunaux dans votre État? S'ils exercent des fonctions différentes dans différents tribunaux, veuillez détailler ces fonctions séparément. Ces fonctions peuvent comprendre :

•           Travaux de recherche, possiblement résumée dans une note OUI

•           Discussion avec le(s) juge(s) OUI ( mais seulement sur le résultat de leur recherche)

•           Notes avec un résumé des faits d'une affaire et du droit applicable NON

•           Notes contenant un résumé des faits d'une affaire et du droit applicable ainsi qu'une proposition de l'assistant de justice sur la façon dont l'affaire devrait être décidée NON

•           Notes résumant les faits et le droit applicable et contenant une proposition si une affaire devait être acceptée pour un appel / une révision constitutionnelle NON

 

•           Rédaction de parties du ju

•           gement, et si oui, lesquelles ? Des faits, de certains points en discussion ? NON

•           Rédaction de jugements complets NON

•           La relecture des décisions, y compris peut-être la discussion de certains points avec le juge, la mise en évidence d'incohérences, etc. NON 

•           Lire les projets de jugements d'autres juges et en discuter avec le juge NON

•           Vérification des références OUI

•           Rédaction de communiqués de presse NON

•           Rédaction des décisions concernant la procédure NON

•           Décider des questions concernant la procédure telles que la nomination d’un expert ou les frais de procédure NON

•           Tenir des audiences et statuer de manière autonome sur des affaires simples, par exemple en matière d'exécution, ou sur des affaires pénales simples. Dans l'affirmative, veuillez préciser si un juge doit approuver la décision ou si la décision est prise par l'assistant de justice seul NON

•           En plus des tâches telles que celles mentionnées ci-dessus, les assistants de justice peuvent également accomplir des tâches administratives telles que :

-           Rédaction de protocoles au cours des audiences NON

-           Organisation des dossiers NON

-           Correspondance avec les parties NON

-           Préparation des copies officielles des décisions, préparation des décisions pour publication NON

-           Collecte de données statistiques NON

Toutes les tâches énumérées au dernier point relèvent du travail des greffiers dans l’ordre judiciaire luxembourgeois.

4.         Si les assistants de justice participent au processus de rédaction, comment le font-ils ? Ils n’y participent pas.

5.         Les assistants de justice sont-ils présents pendant les délibérations ? Si oui, participent-ils à la discussion ? Ils ne sont pas présents.

6.         Les assistants de justice sont-ils présents aux audiences ? Dans l'affirmative, quelles sont leurs fonctions pendant les audiences ? Ont-ils le droit de poser des questions ?  Ils ne sont pas présents.

7.         Existe-t-il une règle formelle ou un consensus informel entre les juges, quant aux types de fonctions qu’un assistant de justice devrait ou non assumer ?  Il existe un consensus informel que le rôle de l’assistant de justice est celui d’un simple collaborateur ayant pour tâche de faciliter le travail du juge en effectuant des recherches pour lui.

8.         Quelles fonctions appartiennent exclusivement au juge ? La fonction de juger et de rédiger les décisions.

9.         Comment le travail des assistants de justice influe-t-il sur les décisions et le processus décisionnel judiciaire ? Comment les juges s'assurent-ils que la décision reste bien leur propre décision ? L’intervention des assistants de justice est très ponctuelle, elle concerne un point de droit spécifique et n’englobe pas l’appréciation des faits.

10.       Existe-t-il des données officielles ou, sinon, disposez-vous d’une estimation de l'utilité réelle des assistants de justice, par exemple dans leur capacité à faire gagner du temps aux juges ? Non, l’expérience est trop récente au Luxembourg pour qu’une telle évaluation puisse être faite. 

II. Organisation des assistants de justice

11.       Dans quels tribunaux de votre État les juges sont-ils assistés par des assistants de justice ? Première instance/deuxième instance/troisième instance/cour constitutionnelle ? Auprès de la Cour Supérieure de Justice ( regroupant la Cour de cassation et la Cour d’appel ).

12.       S'il y a des juges non professionnels dans votre système, sont-ils spécifiquement appuyés par des assistants de justice ? /

13.       Comment les assistants de justice sont-ils organisés ? S'il existe différentes formes d'organisation dans les différents tribunaux, veuillez expliquer les différents modèles. Par exemple : 

•           Les assistants sont-ils affectés individuellement à un juge ? Si oui, combien d'assistants travaillent pour chaque juge ? 

•           Sont-ils assignés à un collège de juges? Dans l'affirmative, combien d'assistants de justice travaillent pour chaque collège ? 

•           Font-ils partie d'un groupe d'assistants de justice au service de l'ensemble du tribunal ? Dans l'affirmative, quel est le ratio juge/assistant de justice ?  

•           Travaillent-ils en équipes constituées pour certaines affaires ? Dans l'affirmative, quel est le ratio juge/assistant de justice ?

Il existe pour l’heure deux référendaires auprès de la Cour Supérieure de Justice qui comprend une quarantaine de magistrats. Ils ne sont pas spécifiquement rattachés à des juges déterminés. Ils peuvent être chargés d’une recherche par tout magistrat faisant partie de la Cour. En principe, chaque référendaire effectue seul la recherche dont il a été chargé, mais il ne lui est pas interdit d’en discuter avec son collègue.     

14.       Qui les paie ? L’Etat du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg.

15.       Quel est leur statut ? Sont-ils considérés, par exemple, comme des fonctionnaires, des juges détachés ou simplement des employés ? Ils sont employés de l’Etat.

16.       Combien gagnent-ils par rapport aux juges pour lesquels ils travaillent ? Il n'est pas nécessaire d'indiquer les montants exacts, mais il serait utile de mentionner la proportion entre le salaire des juges et celui des assistants. Par exemple, comment le salaire d'un assistant de justice travaillant dans un tribunal de première instance se compare-t-il à celui d'un juge de ce même tribunal ? Ils gagnent un peu moins ( 10 à 15%) qu’un jeune magistrat venant d’entrer en fonction en première instance.  

III. Contexte et sélection des assistants de justice

 

17.       Le fait de prendre la fonction d'assistant de justice est-il un élément nécessaire dans la formation juridique dans votre Etat / une condition préalable pour devenir juge ? NON

18.       Quel est le niveau de formation des assistants de justice ? Par exemple, des études de droit, de politique, de service dans la police ou l'armée etc., une formation spéciale ? Ils doivent être titulaires d’un master en droit.

19.       Quelle est l'expérience professionnelle des assistants de justice ? S'ils ont fait des études en droit, ont-ils les compétences nécessaires pour exercer la profession ? Sont-ils des juges détachés ? Ont-ils acquis une expérience pratique, et si oui, dans quels domaines ? Aucune expérience professionnelle spécifique n’est requise. Il ne s’agit pas de juges détachés. Les deux référendaires actuellement en poste ont une courte expérience en tant qu’avocat, suivi d’un court passage dans une administration.   

20.       Comment sont-ils sélectionnés ? Sur interview et sur base de leur curriculum vitae.

21.       Combien de temps les assistants de justice exercent-ils habituellement cette fonction ? Juste pour un ou quelques mois, ou quelques années ? S'agit-il d'une carrière de long terme/permanente ? Les deux référendaires actuellement en fonctions ont été engagés pour une durée de deux ans. A l’issue de cette période, une évaluation sera effectuée avec le Ministère de la Justice. Au cas où l’expérience sera jugée positive, un contrat à durée indéterminée pourra être proposé aux référendaires actuellement en poste. Sinon le recrutement de nouveaux candidats pourra être retenu pour une durée à déterminer. 

22.       S'il s'agit d'un poste à court terme, que font-ils par la suite ? Ce sera à voir à la fin de la durée du contrat des deux référendaires actuellement en poste.    

23.       Si la fonction d'assistant de justice ne fait pas partie de la formation juridique, pourquoi les candidats postulent-ils pour travailler comme assistants de justice ? Aux dires des référendaires actuellement en poste, leur expérience au barreau les avait fait s’éloigner du contentieux judiciaire, mais après une courte expérience dans l’administration, ils ont ressenti le besoin de se réorienter vers le judiciaire.

24.       Si le poste d'assistant de justice est un poste permanent ou de longue durée, existe-t-il des possibilités d'avancement ? Cette question reste actuellement ouverte.

IV. Statut et réglementation des assistants de justice

25.       Les assistants de justice prêtent-ils serment ? Portent-ils une tenue officielle à certaines occasions ? Par exemple, une tenue spécifique au tribunal ? Ils ne prêtent pas serment, mais ils ont signé un engagement de confidentialité. Ils ne disposent pas d’une tenue officielle.

26.       Existe-t-il des règles formelles concernant le statut et les fonctions des assistants de justice ? Si oui, s'agit-il d'une loi ou d'un règlement interne ? Si oui, que réglementent-ils ? Pourriez-vous joindre le texte du règlement séparément du reste de vos réponses, s'il vous plaît ? Non, il n’existe pas de règles formelles concernant la fonction de référendaire. Ils ont le statut d’employé de l’Etat.

27.       Existe-t-il des règles informelles régissant la relation entre le juge et les assistants de justice ? NON

28.       Existe-t-il des règles - formelles ou informelles - concernant l'indépendance et l'impartialité des assistants de justice ? NON

29.       Les assistants de justice de votre État peuvent-ils devenir membres d'une association de juges, ou existe-t-il une association spéciale pour eux ? NON

V. Considérations générales sur le soutien apporté aux juges

30.       Croyez-vous que les juges de votre système auraient besoin d'un soutien plus important ou différent de la part du personnel pour travailler efficacement ? Si oui, pouvez-vous détailler le type de soutien auquel vous pensez ? Pour la Cour Supérieure de Justice, le recrutement des deux référendaires constitue une expérience toute récente qui a été saluée par tous les magistrats. Il est actuellement trop tôt pour donner un avis définitif, mais l’expérience est ressentie positivement, comme preuve de la volonté du gouvernement de soutenir les magistrats dans leur objectif d’améliorer l’efficacité de la justice.         

31.       Y a-t-il des défis auxquels votre Etat est confronté concernant le soutien apporté aux juges qui n'ont pas été mentionnés jusqu'à présent ? /


Malta / Malte

As a preliminary introduction, in Malta apart from  administrative assistants,  we have Judicial Assistants and Court Attorneys which do a different job.  In brief, judicial assistants help trial judges in the collection of evidence, while court attorneys assist all judges in drafting decisions.

1.         Yes.

2.         Administrative assistants are generally appointed to help in the administration of a judge.  They help the judge with his paper work to enable him to concentrate, as much as possible, on his work as a judge.  In Malta parties are allowed to produce affidavits of witnesses as evidence , but otherwise all evidence is collected by the judge,   This involves a lot of work and time as it involves the hearing of witnesses and transcribing the evidence; to help in this function, judicial assistants are appointed to sometimes perform this work for the judge – this saves time for the judge.  Court Attorneys are assigned one to each judge and help the judge in his research on a particular case and in drafting the judgment. The purpose is to enable the judge to deliver judgments as early and as frequently as possible.

3.         As stated judicial assistants and court attorneys have a different role.  Judicial assistants have a role during the hearing of the case: they collect evidence, prepare memos with summary of the facts and prepare the case file for the judge.  The judge then discusses the case with his court attorney, a more experienced lawyer, who will prepare and draft a judgment for the judge.  The court attorney carries out research on the law and points out to the judge the relevant issues involved.  It is the court attorney who discusses directly with the judge the decision.  The court attorney does not write any decision autonomously, as he only writes as directed by the judge.

4.         Court attorneys may be assigned duties to draft the judgment.  Some Judges prefer to discuss the case with the attorney before assigning it to them for drafting, even indicating to the court attorney where he feels the decision  should go, while some other Judges prefer to hand over the case to the attorney and discuss the case after the attorney would have prepared his opinion.  Otherwise, when entrusted to prepare a draft, it is their duty to prepare a full comprehensive draft, including references to jurisprudence, for consideration by the judge.

5.         It is for the judges to decide whether to allow the court attorneys to be present during deliberations. Generally, deliberations are held in private.

6.         No.  So far court attorneys do not attend court hearings, but there are discussions among judges as to whether they should be allowed to attend as observers.  Court attorneys have only been appointed for the past four years, and so they are still being tested.

7.         The functions of the judicial assistants and court attorneys are well established.  While judicial assistants assist a trial judge in the collection of evidence, and prepare notes of what was heard, the only function of a court attorney is to prepare draft decisions as directed by the judge.

8.         It is finally the judge who signs and takes ultimate responsibility of the decision.  A judge, therefore, has to vet the draft, modify it as he deems fit and signs the final draft signifying his approval.

9.         The judge is at all times in control of the process.  The judicial assistant who is entrusted to collect evidence is constantly in touch with the judge and discusses with him any problems he might encounter in his functions.  The draft of the court attorney is examined by the judge who will finally decide as he considers opportune; he may or not agree with the opinion of the court attorney and finally, it is the judges’ opinion which binds.

10.       There is no official data as to the effect of judicial assistants and court attorneys.  However, it is noted that they have been very useful and have saved a lot of time for the judge.  In particular the court attorneys have speeded up the process of delivering judgments on time.

11.       Judicial assistants are assigned to all judges who hear cases at first instance; such judges are also provided with a court attorney.  On appeal, where no evidence is usually heard, the judges are only assigned with court attorneys.

12.       There are no lay judges in our system.

13.       The judicial assistants and court attorneys are not organised as such.  They fall under the direct responsibility of the judges to whom they are assigned.  Each trial judge has one judicial assistant and one court attorney, while each judge of the court of appeal has one court attorney each.  They do not perform their duties in a pool but each act individually under the responsibility of the judge.  The judicial assistant and court attorney assigned to a trial judge do sometime coordinate when the court attorney is assigned to draft a decision .

14.       In all cases, they are paid by Government.

15.       They are Government employees on a definite contract, although when renewed, they would fall to be considered to be employees on an indefinite contract.  Some judicial assistants (not court attorneys) are employed on a part-time basis, but they too fall to be considered as Government employees.

16.       The wage of a judicial assistant is very low, but court attorneys are well paid and the earn nearly equivalent of the lowest judge in our system.  The difference between a court attorney and a judge of the lowest rank was very small, but recently the wage of all judges was increased and so the gap has widened somewhat.

17.       No.  There is no formal education which is required to be appointed judicial assistant or court attorney, and there is no guarantee that any of these persons would be appointed as judges.

18.       Judicial assistants and court attorneys, before appointment, have to have four years experience working as lawyers.

19.       See above

20.       Judicial assistants are appointed by Government, while court attorneys are also appointed by Government but on the advice of judges.  Each judge is allowed to select his own court attorney from among qualified lawyers (with 4 years experience), but it is the government who has the final say on their appointment.

21.       Usually, they are appointed on  a three year contract, which will be extended if approved by the judge.

22.       They either revert to their previous employment, or venture into private practice.

23.       Many apply because they find the work interesting and would be happy with the pay.  Court attorneys, in particular, have a good pay which would enable them to have a normal livelihood.

24.       Government did say, unofficially, that court attorneys would be seen to favourably when it comes to appoint judges, if, of course, the judge to whom they are assigned issues a favourable report.  There is, however, no guarantee that a court attorney will in the future be appointed a judge.

25.       They do not wear a  gown or uniform, nor do they take an oath.  On taking office they sign a contract outlining their duties and other terms and conditions of their employment.

26.       There are no formal regulations outlining their status.  They are considered Government employees subject to the rules and regulations of the civil service.

27.       No rules as it all depends on the individual judge.

28.       There are informal rules which state that if, for any reason, they feel that they should not participate in a particular case, they should discuss the matter with the individual judge who would decide on whether to engage there services for that particular case.  If the judge is aware of any obstacle to the independence and impartially of the court attorney, he may take the initiative himself.  As the decision is ultimately of the judge, it is on him that rests the ultimate duty of independence and impartiality.

29.       No.

30.       Some judges feel that they need more than just one judicial assistant or court attorney as they feel that their work load requires more.

31.       As said above, some claim for more assistants.

Republic of Moldova / République de Moldova

I. How are judges supported?

1.         Are judges supported in their work by assistants who are not judges at that court (and also not members of the security or IT staff)?

a) by administrative assistants

b) by judicial assistants

In the Moldova, judges are supported in their work by judicial assistants.

2.         What is the rationale for employing assistants in your system? If there are different rationales for employing administrative assistants and judicial assistants, please describe those rationales separately.

The institution of judiciary assistants in the Republic of Moldova is relatively new. In August 2012 the position of judicial assistant has been introduced. Respectively, since that time, the judiciary has been hired to assist the judge in exercising his functions.

3.         What kind of duties judicial assistants have at the courts in your member State? If they perform different duties in different courts, please explain these duties separately. Such duties may include:

•           Research, maybe summarised in a memo

•           Discussion with the judge(s)

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law and a suggestion of the judicial assistant how the case should be decided

•           Memos summarising the facts and the relevant law and including a suggestion if a case should be accepted for appeal/constitutional review

•           Drafting parts of the judgment, if so which parts? Facts, certain points under discussion?

•           Drafting complete judgments

•           Proofreading of decisions, maybe including discussing certain points with the judge/pointing out inconsistencies etc. 

•           Reading draft judgments of other judges and discussing them with the judge

•           Crosschecking references

•           Drafting press releases

•           Drafting procedural decisions

•           Deciding procedural issues such as appointing an expert or deciding on costs of proceedings

•           Conducting hearings and deciding simple cases autonomously, for example concerning enforcement, or simple criminal cases. If so, please specify if a judge has to approve the decision or if the decision is taken by the judicial assistant alone.

•           In addition to tasks such as those mentioned above, judicial assistants may also perform administrative duties such as:

-           Writing protocols in hearings

-           Organisation of files

-           Correspondence with parties

-           Preparing the official copies of decisions, preparing decisions for publication

-           Collecting statistical data

Judicial assistants have the following tasks:

1.         Prepare the normative acts and information necessary for the judge to examine the civil / criminal / contraventional causes.

a. Collects the necessary normative acts for the judge and other information for judging distributed files;

b. Provides thematic support to the judge in exercising his / her duties;

c. Generalize the issues of law when files distributed to the judge and develop recommendations on issues related to the interpretation and enforcement of the law;

d. Participate in working groups and committees, within the limits of their competence.

2.         Verification of the documents submitted and attached to the file by the participants in the process.

a. Checks and informs the judge of any omissions regarding the form and content of the petition for trial in the randomly distributed file to the judge;

 b. Study the files assigned to the judge, verify the correctness of the documents and documents annexed to the file;

c. Checks the necessary mandatory papers to be presented by the participants in the process;

 d. Upon the examination of the case, at judge’s indication, returns the original of the documents at the request of the trial participants who have submitted them and which are not the subject of the action;

e. Provides access to the files in the proceedings with the addressees and their representatives, with the completion and signature of the statement.

3.         Elaboration of draft procedural documents.

a. Elaborates in electronic format, at the judge's indication, drafts of procedural / judicial acts;

b. Performs, within the limits of competence, automated records and process documentation;

c. Forms responses to the letters, complaints and petitions in their area of competence.

d. Elaborates the report on the dismissed / modified cases of the judge.

4.         Ensure the depersonalization of judgments and their publication on the court web site.

a. Depersonalizes court procedural documents issued by the President of the court hearing in accordance with the legislation in force;

b. Publishes court procedural documents on the web site of the court in accordance with the current legislation;

c. Ensures and is responsible for updates in time, according to the competence of the Integrated File Management Program;

5.         If judicial assistants help in the drafting process, how do they do it?

Judicial assistants participate in the drafting of judgments. Judicial assistants prepare the draft decision.

6.         Are judicial assistants present during deliberations? If yes, do they participate in the discussion?

Judicial assistants are not present during deliberations.

7.         Are judicial assistants present in hearings? If so, what duties do they have during hearings? Are they allowed to ask questions?

Judicial assistants do not attend hearings.

8.         Is there a formal rule or an informal consensus among judges, what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake?

Each unit consists of a judge, a clerk and a legal assistant. The division of attributions   between them is determined by them.

9.         Which duties belong exclusively to the judge? 

The deliberation and adoption of the decision is the duty exclusively to the judge.

10.       How does the work of judicial assistants affect decisions and judicial decision making? How do judges ensure that the decision remains "their"?

Judicial assistants cannot influence judgments and decisions by the judge. The purpose for which judges need to be independent is the realization of an impartial justice, that is, objectively and correctly and outside any inappropriate influence.

11.       Is there any official data or - if not - do you have a view how useful judicial assistants actually are e.g. in saving judges’ time ?

The quality of justice is not based solely on the quality of performance by judges, but also on the quality of the benefit by auxiliary staff who contribute to its performance. Judicial assistants are the ones that ease the work of judges. The quality of the act of justice depends greatly on the professionalism, honesty and moral integrity of the judiciary assistants.

II. Organisation of judicial assistants

12.       At which courts in your member State are judges supported by judicial assistants? First instance/second instance/third instance/constitutional court?

In Republic of Moldova, according to the law, the judicial assistant is the employee of the court that assists the judge in exercising his functions. Each judge is assisted in his work by a legal assistant. As for the Supreme Court of Justice, each Judge is assisted by 3 Judicial Assistants.

13.       If there are lay judges in your system, are they specifically supported by judicial assistants?

There are no lay judges in the RM system.

14.       How are judicial assistants organised? If there are different forms of organisation at different courts, please explain the different models. For example:

•           Are assistants assigned to one judge individually? If so, how many assistants work for each judge? 

•           Or are they assigned to a panel of judges? If so, how many judicial assistants work for each panel? 

•           Or are they part of a pool of judicial assistants serving the whole court? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

•           Or do they work in teams put together for certain cases? If so, what is the ratio judge/judicial assistant?

Each judge is assisted in his work by a legal assistant. As for the Supreme Court of Justice, each Judge is assisted by 3 Judicial Assistants. Thus, the law established that judiciary assistants should be appointed to concrete judges, assisting the judge in all types of cases.

15.       Who pays them?

Judicial assistants are remunerated from the state budget.

16.       What is their status? Are they considered as, for example, civil servants, seconded judges or just employees?

Judicial assistants are civil servants.

17.       How much do they earn compared to the judges for whom they work? You do not need to indicate exact amounts, but mentioning the proportion between the salaries of judges and assistants would be helpful. For example, how does the salary of a judicial assistant working at a first instance court compare to that of a judge at that court?

Judicial assistants have approximately 1/3 of the salary of a judge at first instance.

III. Background and selection of Judicial Assistants

18.       Is serving as a judicial assistant a necessary part of the legal education in your member State / a prerequisite for becoming a judge?

The judge may be a candidate for a reputable person who holds the citizenship of the Republic of Moldova and is domiciled in the country and fulfills the following conditions: he has completed the National Institute of Justice or has seniority at work.

It is considered seniority at work, that gives the person the right to stand for the position of judge, his activity during the last 5 years as a judge or assistant judge of the Constitutional Court, judge in international courts, prosecutor, law professor in the institutions accredited higher education, trainer of the National Institute of Justice in the field of law, lawyer, judicial assistant or clerk.

19.       What kind of education do judicial assistants have? For example, studies of law, politics, service in the police or military etc., a special education?

A legal assistant has higher degree, is a person who holds a law degree or equivalent.

20.       What kind of work experience do judicial assistants have? If they have a legal education, have they qualified for practice? Are they seconded judges? Have they gained practical experience, if so, in what areas?

The legal assistant must have a legal work experience of at least one year.

21.       How are they selected?

Assistants are selected on a contest basis. The contest includes the written test and the interview.

22.       How long do judicial assistants usually work in that capacity? Just for one or a few months, or years? Or is it a long-term/permanent career? 

Judicial assistants usually work for a long-term / permanent function.

23.       If it is a short-term position, what do they do afterwards?

-

24.       If serving as a judicial assistant is not part of the legal education, why do applicants apply to work as judicial assistants?

Their activity over the past 5 years as a legal assistant is an opportunity to have a seniority in work that gives the person the right to run for the post of judge after passing the exam.

Also, persons applying for admission to the National Institute of Justice to apply for a Judge must have a minimum of 2 years of professional experience in legal professions, including a judicial assistant.

25.       If being a judicial assistant is a long-term/permanent position, are there opportunities for advancement?

Their activity over the past 5 years as a legal assistant is an opportunity to have a seniority in work that gives the person the right to run for the post of judge after passing the exam.

IV. Status and regulation of judicial assistants 

26.       Do judicial assistants swear an oath? Do they wear some form of official dress at certain occasions? E.g. gowns when in court?

Judicial assistants swear an oath of faith with the following content: "I solemnly abide by the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, human rights and fundamental freedoms, to defend the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova, to execute objectively and impartially the laws of the country, conscientiously my duties in the exercise of public office and respect the rules of professional conduct. "

Judicial assistants do not wear any form of official dress at certain occasions.

27.       Are there formal regulations concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants? if so, is it a statute or internal regulation? If yes, what is regulated by them? Could you provide, as a separate attachment to your answers, the text of the regulation please?

Article 47 of the Law on Judicial Organization no. 514 of 06.07.1995 provides as follows:

Article 47. Judicial

Assistant

(1) The judicial assistant is the employee of the court that assists the judge in exercising his functions. Each judge is assisted in his work by a legal assistant.

(2) A legal assistant may be a person who has a law degree or equivalent, with at least one year of legal employment, selected on the basis of the provisions of the Law no.158-XVI of July 4, 2008 regarding the public function and the status of civil servant.

(3) The Judicial Assistant shall have the following duties:

a) collects the normative acts necessary for the judge and other information necessary for the trial of the file distributed to the judge;

b) generalizes the issues of law in the files distributed to the respective judge and develops recommendations on issues related to the interpretation and application of the law;

c) verify the presence of the acts to be presented by the participants in the trial;

d) elaborates, at the indication of the judge, drafts of procedural documents;

e) ensures the depersonalization of judgments and their publication on the web site of the court;

f) participate in working groups and committees within the limits of its competence;

g) fulfills, at the indications of the judge, other duties related to the performance of justice.

(4) The Judicial Assistant is obliged to continuously improve his / her professional qualities, following the continuous training courses organized by the National Institute of Justice.

 

In Moldova there is no formal regulations concerning the status and duties of judicial assistants.

28.       Are there informal rules governing the relationship between judge and judicial assistants?

The relationship between the judge and the judicial assistants is determined by each individual party.

29.       Are there any rules - formal or informal - concerning the independence and impartiality of judicial assistants?

According to art. 4 and 5 of the Civil Servant's Code of Conduct:

Article 4.

Impartiality

(1) The civil servant is obliged to make decisions and take actions in an impartial, non-discriminatory and equitable manner without giving priority to persons or groups according to race, nationality, ethnic origin, language, religion, gender, opinion, political affiliation , wealth or social origin.

(2) The civil servant must have a behavior based on respect, exigency, fairness and courtesy in his relations with the public, as well as in relations with the leaders, colleagues and subordinates.

 (3) The civil servant shall not cause natural or legal persons, including other civil servants, to adopt illegal behaviors, using his / her official position.  

Article 5.

Independence

(1) The civil servant's political affiliation shall not influence the conduct and decisions of the civil servant, as well as the policies, decisions and actions of the public authorities.

(2) In the exercise of public office, the civil servant shall be prohibited:

a) to participate in the collection of funds for the activity of political parties and other social-political organizations;

b) to use administrative resources to support electoral contestants;

c) to display, within the public authorities, insignia or objects bearing the logo or the names of the political parties or their candidates;

d) to propagate in favor of any party;

e) create or contribute to the creation of subdivisions of political parties within public authorities.

30.       Can judicial assistants in your member State become members of an association of judges or is there a special association for them?

Judicial assistants cannot be a member of the association of judges. There is no special association for them.

V. General considerations about the support of judges

31.       Do you believe that judges in your system would need more or different support by personnel to work effectively? If yes, what kind of support?

In our system, judges do not need more or different support by personnel to work effectively.

32.       Are there certain challenges that your member State faces as regards the support for judges which have not been mentioned so far?

 


Monaco

I. Quel soutien est apporté aux juges ?

1.         Les juges sont-ils assistés dans leur travail par des assistants qui ne sont pas juges dans cette juridiction (et qui ne font pas non plus partie du personnel informatique ou de sécurité) ? 

Les juges sont assistés de greffiers et de secrétaires.

2.         Quelle est la raison d'être du recours aux assistants dans votre système ? S'il existe des justifications différentes pour l'emploi d'assistants administratifs et d'assistants de justice, veuillez détailler ces justifications séparément.

            Les greffiers ont pour principales missions l'assistance de magistrat et        l'authentification des actes juridictionnels.

3.         Quelles sont les fonctions des assistants de justice auprès des tribunaux dans votre État? S'ils exercent des fonctions différentes dans différents tribunaux, veuillez détailler ces fonctions séparément. Ces fonctions peuvent comprendre :

Les greffiers doivent tenir la plume depuis l'ouverture jusqu'à la clôture de l'audience.

Ils sont chargés de conserver et de délivrer les expéditions des jugements et actes des magistrats qu'ils doivent assister en toutes circonstances.

Ils sont chargés de tenir les rôles, les feuilles d'audience, répertoires des actes et jugements et les différents registres prescrits par la loi.

Ils doivent veiller avec soin à la garde des pièces qui leur sont confiées et des documents du greffe.

4.         Si les assistants de justice participent au processus de rédaction, comment le font-ils ?

  Non

5.         Les assistants de justice sont-ils présents pendant les délibérations ? Si oui, participent-ils à la discussion ?

            Non

6.         Les assistants de justice sont-ils présents aux audiences ? Dans l'affirmative, quelles sont leurs fonctions pendant les audiences ? Ont-ils le droit de poser des questions ?  

Ils tiennent la feuille d'audience (ou plumitif) et n'ont pas le droit d'intervenir lors des débats.

7.         Existe-t-il une règle formelle ou un consensus informel entre les juges, quant aux types de fonctions qu’un assistant de justice devrait ou non assumer ?

            Non.

8.         Quelles fonctions appartiennent exclusivement au juge ?

            Les prises de décisions et leur motivation.

9.         Comment le travail des assistants de justice influe-t-il sur les décisions et le processus décisionnel judiciaire ? Comment les juges s'assurent-ils que la décision reste bien leur propre décision ?

            Les greffiers n'interviennent pas dans les prises de décisions.

10.       Existe-t-il des données officielles ou, sinon, disposez-vous d’une estimation de l'utilité réelle des assistants de justice, par exemple dans leur capacité à faire gagner du temps aux juges ?

            Non.

II. Organisation des assistants de justice

11.       Dans quels tribunaux de votre État les juges sont-ils assistés par des assistants de justice? Première instance/deuxième instance/troisième instance/cour constitutionnelle?

            Tous les magistrats sont assistés par un ou plusieurs greffiers.

12.       S'il y a des juges non professionnels dans votre système, sont-ils spécifiquement appuyés par des assistants de justice ?

            Non.

13.       Comment les assistants de justice sont-ils organisés ? S'il existe différentes formes d'organisation dans les différents tribunaux, veuillez expliquer les différents modèles. Par exemple : 

            Le greffe de la Cour de Révision, de la Cour d'Appel, du Tribunal de Première Instance et de la Justice de Paix est assuré par le Greffier en Chef et ses adjoints. Ces derniers sont assistés de greffiers sur lesquels ils exercent une autorité.

            Le Greffier en Chef et ses adjoints peuvent se faire suppléer par des greffiers dans tel service qu'ils jugent utile.

            Le Premier Président de la Cour d'appel contrôle l'exercice des missions accomplies par les greffiers auprès des différentes juridictions.

 

14.             Qui les paie ?

              L'Etat.

15.       Quel est leur statut ? Sont-ils considérés, par exemple, comme des fonctionnaires, des juges détachés ou simplement des employés ?

            Les greffiers relèvent de l'administration judiciaire et se trouvent à son

          égard dans une situation statutaire et réglementaire.

16.       Combien gagnent-ils par rapport aux juges pour lesquels ils travaillent ? Il n'est pas nécessaire d'indiquer les montants exacts, mais il serait utile de mentionner la proportion entre le salaire des juges et celui des assistants. Par exemple, comment le salaire d'un assistant de justice travaillant dans un tribunal de première instance se compare-t-il à celui d'un juge de ce même tribunal ?

            Les greffiers sont classés hiérarchiquement dans des échelles        indiciaires de traitement.

            Le traitement indiciaire de base est celui fixé par un arrêté portant statut     des fonctionnaires de l'Etat et donc différent de celui relatif aux   magistrats.

III. Contexte et sélection des assistants de justice

 

17.       Le fait de prendre la fonction d'assistant de justice est-il un élément nécessaire dans la formation juridique dans votre Etat / une condition préalable pour devenir juge ?

Non.

18.       Quel est le niveau de formation des assistants de justice ? Par exemple, des études de droit, de politique, de service dans la police ou l'armée etc., une formation spéciale ?

Les greffiers doivent être de bonne moralité, ne pas être privés de leurs droits civils ou politiques et avoir rempli les conditions d'aptitudes physique exigées par l'exercice de la fonction.

19.       Quelle est l'expérience professionnelle des assistants de justice ? S'ils ont fait des études en droit, ont-ils les compétences nécessaires pour exercer la profession ? Sont-ils des juges détachés ? Ont-ils acquis une expérience pratique, et si oui, dans quels domaines ?

Les greffiers, pour être recrutés, doivent posséder des diplômes ou justifier de l'accomplissement d'études déterminées ou disposer de connaissances nécessaires notamment juridiques et d'une durée de travail dans le service public.

20.       Comment sont-ils sélectionnés ?

Un jury de concours désigne par ordre de mérite les candidats retenus qui doivent dans un premier temps effectuer un stage à l'issue duquel ils pourront être titularisés.

21.       Combien de temps les assistants de justice exercent-ils habituellement cette fonction ? Juste pour un ou quelques mois, ou quelques années ? S'agit-il d'une carrière de long terme/permanente ?

Les greffiers ont vocation à occuper un emploi permanent.

22.       S'il s'agit d'un poste à court terme, que font-ils par la suite ?

Sans objet.

23.       Si la fonction d'assistant de justice ne fait pas partie de la formation juridique, pourquoi les candidats postulent-ils pour travailler comme assistants de justice ?

24.       Si le poste d'assistant de justice est un poste permanent ou de longue durée, existe-t-il des possibilités d'avancement ?

            Chaque année les greffiers font l'objet d'une appréciation motivée.

            L'avancement des greffiers comporte l'avancement de classe ou   d'échelon, qui a lieu de façon continue, et l'avancement de grade.

IV. Statut et réglementation des assistants de justice

25.       Les assistants de justice prêtent-ils serment ? Portent-ils une tenue officielle à certaines occasions ? Par exemple, une tenue spécifique au tribunal ?

            Avant d'entrer en fonction, le greffier doit prêter serment.

            Les greffiers portent une robe mais sans épitoge ni galon à la toge

26.       Existe-t-il des règles formelles concernant le statut et les fonctions des assistants de justice ? Si oui, s'agit-il d'une loi ou d'un règlement interne ? Si oui, que réglementent-ils ? Pourriez-vous joindre le texte du règlement séparément du reste de vos réponses, s'il vous plaît ?

Cf. Loi 1.228 du 10 juillet 2000 qui est annexée au présent formulaire.

27.       Existe-t-il des règles informelles régissant la relation entre le juge et les assistants de justice ?

Non.

28.       Existe-t-il des règles - formelles ou informelles - concernant l'indépendance et l'impartialité des assistants de justice ?

Les greffiers doivent s'abstenir de toute démarche, activité ou manifestation incompatible avec la discrétion et le sérieux qu'impliquent leurs fonctions.

29.       Les assistants de justice de votre État peuvent-ils devenir membres d'une association de juges, ou existe-t-il une association spéciale pour eux ?

            Non.

V. Considérations générales sur le soutien apporté aux juges

30.       Croyez-vous que les juges de votre système auraient besoin d'un soutien plus important ou différent de la part du personnel pour travailler efficacement ? Si oui, pouvez-vous détailler le type de soutien auquel vous pensez ?

            Non.

31.       Y a-t-il des défis auxquels votre Etat est confronté concernant le soutien apporté aux juges qui n'ont pas été mentionnés jusqu'à présent ?

            La réponse à cette question mérite une réflexion approfondie qui    dépasse largement le cadre de ce formulaire.

 


Netherlands / Pays-Bas

I. How are judges supported?

1.         Are judges supported in their work by assistants who are not judges at that court (and also not members of the security or IT staff)?

a) by administrative assistants - yes

b) by judicial assistants - yes

2.         What is the rationale for employing assistants in your system? If there are different rationales for employing administrative assistants and judicial assistants, please describe those rationales separately.

Administrative and judicial assistants:

Supporting the judge with administrative tasks and preparation of cases, so the judge can focus on preparing for the hearing and revising the judgment. With the administrative tasks out of the way, judges are able to do more cases (productivity for judges goes up).

Judicial assistants:

Judicial assistants function as a sounding board for judges, especially when there’s only one judge presiding over a case.

3.         What kind of duties judicial assistants have at the courts in your member State? If they perform different duties in different courts, please explain these duties separately. Such duties may include:

•           Research, maybe summarised in a memo

Yes, depending on the kind of case and the judge involved.

For example, in certain divisions a judicial assistant is the first one to prepare a case. They put tags on important pages, write a memo that includes: facts, summary of standpoints of all parties involved, relevant law, decisions by other courts (jurisprudence), suggestion of how the case should be decided, suggestion for questions that could be asked at the hearing. They also contact parties (by telephone or they draft letters) when a case is not complete or to inform parties if they should prepare for certain questions on formalities of the case (for instance: did they appeal within the time frame).

•           Discussion with the judge(s)

Yes, after (and also before) the oral hearing. The judicial assistant for example takes part in the deliberations. If need be, they also discuss the case with a judge prior to the hearing. Often times they also discuss any major changes between the draft and the final judgment.

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law

This depends on the field of law (in civil cases sometimes, in administrative law cases most of the times).

•           Memos with a summary of the facts of a case and the relevant law and a suggestion of the judicial assistant how the case should be decided

See above.

•           Memos summarising the facts and the relevant law and including a suggestion if a case should be accepted for appeal/constitutional review.

No

•           Drafting parts of the judgment, if so which parts? 

Drafting complete judgments, in cases in which a hearing has been held but also in cases that are dealt with without an oral hearing (with an extra round in written documents)

•           Proofreading of decisions, maybe including discussing certain points with the judge/pointing out inconsistencies etc.

Yes.

•           Reading draft judgments of other judges and discussing them with the judge

Yes.

•           Crosschecking references

Yes, but that differs per team. If parties make references to other judgments, laws, articles etc, then it’s common for the judicial assistant in administrative law to cross-check these references when preparing a case.

•           Drafting press releases

This depends whether the judgment will be available to the public. Some judgments are selected by the judge and judicial assistant to be ‘published’ (made available to the public on a website). Also, all cases that have three judges presiding over them are to be published on that website. The judicial assistant drafts a summary of the case, which will be added on the website. Drafting press releases are usually done by the communication department.

•           Drafting procedural decisions

Yes

•           Deciding procedural issues such as appointing an expert or deciding on costs of proceedings

Yes. For example before appointing an expert this will be discussed between the judge and a judicial assistant.

The cost of an appeal is determined by law and the administrative assistant will figure out for each case what the cost is. If an appeal is granted, the judicial assistant will include the amount of compensation for the appeal (travel costs, hiring a lawyer, etc) in the draft of the judgment.

•           Conducting hearings and deciding simple cases autonomously, for example concerning enforcement, or simple criminal cases. If so, please specify if a judge has to approve the decision or if the decision is taken by the judicial assistant alone.

No.

•           In addition to tasks such as those mentioned above, judicial assistants may also perform administrative duties such as:

-           Writing protocols in hearings - yes

-           Organisation of files

This is the case when it comes to preparing the case and doing a final check to see if all the necessary documents are available. Also, when it comes to making sure that all judges receive a copy of the case file (there is only one case file, so the judicial assistants are responsible for providing copies when three judges are presiding over a case)

-           Correspondence with parties –

This the case when it comes to drafting letters that are not part of the normal administrative process (like asking specific questions so that parties can better prepare for a hearing). No when it comes to actually sending the letters or drafting/printing out standard letters (like invitations to the hearing)

-           Preparing the official copies of decisions, preparing decisions for publication - no

-           Collecting statistical data - no

4.         If judicial assistants help in the drafting process, how do they do it?

The judge and judicial assistant deliberate about the outcome of a case. That can be an extensive deliberation (especially when three judges preside over a case), but it can be as short as: draft the judgment along the lines of the memo you wrote about the case. When a judicial assistant hits a roadblock while drafting the judgment, they either confer about it with the judge or change the draft to what they feel is right by themselves. Major changes in the outcome of a case will be discussed with the judge beforehand, but including, excluding or changing certain considerations most likely will be done without consulting the judge. It is expected of judicial assistants to stay critical when writing the draft of the judgment.

5.         Are judicial assistants present during deliberations? If yes, do they participate in the discussion?

Judicial assistants are often expected to have an active role in the deliberations. In some divisions they are expected to voice their opinion and be able to defend it.

6.         Are judicial assistants present in hearings? If so, what duties do they have during hearings? Are they allowed to ask questions?

Judicial assistants are present during hearings. They take notes: not word for word, but the gist of what’s being said. They also keep an eye on their memo to check if all the (important) questions are being asked, so there will be no loose ends. Most judges will ask if the judicial assistant has any questions. It’s getting more common for judicial assistants to actually ask questions, especially when there’s only one judge presiding over the case.

7.         Is there a formal rule or an informal consensus among judges, what kind of duties a judicial assistant should and should not undertake?

Yes

8.         Which duties belong exclusively to the judge? 

The judge will have the final say about the direction of the judgment. They are responsible for the final outcome of the judgment. They conduct hearings. They also have the final say in procedural decisions (are we going to appoint an expert, continuances, etc).

9.         How does the work of judicial assistants affect decisions and judicial decision making? How do judges ensure that the decision remains "their"?

That is a difficult question. There has been recent research on this question in The Netherlands (by Nina Holvast) and it appeared that assistants do have some influence.

10.       Is there any official data or - if not - do you have a view how useful judicial assistants actually are e.g. in saving judges’ time ?

In some sections of the court, judges do not write judgments at all, which saves them time so they can do more hearings. I do not know of any official data, but the research (see under 9) might contain some.

II. Organisation of judicial assistants

11.       At which courts in your member State are judges supported by judicial assistants? First instance/second instance/third instance/constitutional court?

In all instances.

12.       If there are lay judges in your system, are they specifically supported by judicial assistants?

There are no lay judges in our system.

13.       How are judicial assistants organised?

If there are different forms of organisation at different courts, please explain the different models. For example:

The judicial assistants are assigned to a team of judges in a specific field of law. I think there are about 1,5-2  judicial assistants per judge in some teams, but in other teams it might be less.

14.       Who pays them?

The Court where the judicial assistants work for.

           

15.       What is their status? Are they considered as, for example, civil servants, seconded judges or just employees?

Civil servants.

16.       How much do they earn compared to the judges for whom they work? You do not need to indicate exact amounts, but mentioning the proportion between the salaries of judges and assistants would be helpful. For example, how does the salary of a judicial assistant working at a first instance court compare to that of a judge at that court?

A senior judges earns about 1.000 euro bruto more per month (or more).

III. Background and selection of Judicial Assistants

17.       Is serving as a judicial assistant a necessary part of the legal education in your member State / a prerequisite for becoming a judge?

No.

18.       What kind of education do judicial assistants have? For example, studies of law, politics, service in the police or military etc., a special education?

University degree in law. And  internal education at the court.

19.       What kind of work experience do judicial assistants have? If they have a legal education, have they qualified for practice? Are they seconded judges? Have they gained practical experience, if so, in what areas?

Judicial assistants come from all ‘directions’. Some have been lawyers/attorneys, some have just graduated, others have worked as legal staff for a company.

20.       How are they selected?

Interview (after selection from application letters) and writing test.