Why Judicial Education Matters
Every day judicial officers exercise powers that affect the lives of individuals, corporations and government bodies. They hear and decide cases that come before the courts by exercising reasoned decision making. They identify the relevant law, determine the facts of the case based on the evidence and apply the law to those facts. They are expected to be independent, impartial, ethical and fair, and to effectively communicate their decisions.
Judicial work requires being knowledgeable about and sensitive to the human needs of individuals in the courtroom, such as defendants, plaintiffs, jury members, victims, witnesses and court staff. In turn this requires awareness of the increasingly diverse contexts in which legal disputes occur, whether as a result of criminal offending, commercial or civil disagreement, injury, family violence, mental health issues, addictions or substance abuse or other circumstances.
Further, judicial work is inherently complex. The inexorable growth of common law and statutes presents a constant pressure for judicial officers to maintain their knowledge and mastery of the law.
Judicial officers require accessible, comprehensive and reliable reference material which is tailored to the questions that arise in the courtroom.
It is now well recognised that those appointed to judicial roles have a need for lifelong learning that only experience, education and reflective practice can bring. Judicial education fosters and enhances the unique combination of knowledge, competencies and attributes necessary for a high standard of judicial behaviour and performance. It also significantly contributes to maintaining public confidence in the justice system as a whole.
The judicial role continues to expand to include significant responsibilities beyond hearing and deciding cases. Judicial officers also hold leadership and management responsibilities. Contemporary
judicial education reflects a need for guidance about how to meet the organisational demands of the court environment, whether it be to develop the attributes of good governance, to build strategic thinking, to manage work load and change or to support the wellbeing of self and others.
The College ensures that judicial officers can deal appropriately with these many and varied responsibilities, in accordance with the high standards expected of them, by delivering exceptional education
programs and resources.