Other duties and responsibilities

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Illustrative image of Lady Justice

Other key activities

Besides performing the statutory tasks described above, the Council is also involved in a number of other key activities related to academic research, integrity, selection and training of new judges, and media communications. In performing these duties the Council works together with the district courts, as well as with organisations affiliated with the Council, such as the training organisation Stichting Studiecentrum Rechtspleging (SSR) and IT services provider spir-it (see below).

 

 

Academic research

In order for the Council to perform its duties, a well-substantiated, factually accurate image of legal practice is essential; one which is only possible through sound empirical research. The Council’s academic programme meets this need both by commissioning and (to an extent) conducting research, based on issues that are of relevance to the Judiciary.
The three main purposes of the research conducted are therefore:

  • Identification: by analysing the events, trends and developments relevant to the workings of the legal system.
  • Policy support: by shedding light on the circumstances that give rise to policy interventions, and the (expected) impact of such interventions.
  • Strategy development: by providing expertise required to support vision and strategy.

 

 

Judges’ selection and training

The Council for the Judiciary and the Public Prosecution Service are currently developing a new basic training system. In renewing and improving the current system, they are prompted mainly by the need to ensure quality, both now and in the future. The judges’ and public prosecutors’ training programmes are divided into two separate processes; however, the intention is for internships to be organised between the two programmes and, where possible, to combine courses.

The Council for the Judiciary recently ratified the design for a new basic Bench training programme (pdf, 2.2 MB) submitted by SSR. The current judges’ training programme and the so-called Third Way (internal judges’ training programme) will also be incorporated into this new programme. The Public Prosecution Service is currently developing a model for a new basic public prosecutors’ training programme, with the SSR playing an advisory role. The Judiciary and the Public Prosecution Service will each individually be responsible for selecting candidates for the new training programmes – the exact method to be used has yet to be decided. The first group of trainees will start the new programme in April 2014.

 

 

SSR

As the Dutch legal system’s leading training institute, SSR (SSR.nl) organises hundreds of courses annually and serves as a meeting place for employees of the Judiciary and the Public Prosecution Service. A number of courses are also open to lawyers. By drawing on the knowledge and expertise of its members and employing leading experts as instructors, SSR bridges the gap between theory and practice.

 

 

Spir-it

Spir-it, the Judiciary’s IT service provider, uses its wealth of knowledge of the Judiciary and its operating processes to provide custom IT solutions. There is a growing need for efficient information exchange, and this is no different in the Judiciary. As part of its efforts to meet this need, the Judiciary’s Agenda 2011-2014 provides that legal representatives and litigants can electronically submit issues relating to criminal law, civil law and administrative law, where relevant. The Judiciary has also ensured that cases can be tracked on the internet and has developed a plan for the ‘wireless office’, including flexible hours, teleworking, knowledge-sharing, collaboration and delegation. All these activities require solid and reliable IT support.

 

 

Communications

The Council has a large Communications department, which is responsible for liaising with the media and for setting national policies on behalf of the Judiciary. The department is also responsible for press communications and for providing information to the public. The Judiciary maintains a series of press guidelines, which indicate what journalists, district courts and courts of appeal can expect and how the courts should provide information to the media prior to, during and after court cases. The media, for their part, are expected to comply with internal rules regarding court sessions.