Training judges requires careful planning in order to create programmes that are useful and interesting to judges.
Creating the infrastructure for training
Terms of Reference: Consultant to develop a baseline (UN Women Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Islands Sub Regional Office, 2010). English. A UN Women programme sought a consultant to create a baseline of information on capacity needs, training modules, monitoring, and evaluation and recommendations in building capacity for judges and other legal professionals.
Objectives articulate what participants will gain from the training. The content of the objectives will be elaborated in the curriculum. Publicize concise, current, and contextual objectives in your course registration and publicity materials so that judges can identify what they need to know or improve upon and will attend your training to gain this knowledge.
USA – Sample Training Objectives for Judges
Sample objectives for a judicial training on Practical Courtroom Exercises for domestic violence cases:
As a result of this training, you will be better able to:
Sample objectives for a judicial training on Victim and Perpetrator Behavior in domestic violence cases:
As a result of this training, you will be better able to:
Sample objectives for a judicial training on Receiving and Evaluating Information in domestic violence cases:
As a result of this training, you will be better able to:
Sample objectives for a judicial training on Decision-Making Skills in domestic violence cases:
As a result of this training you will be better able to:
Source: Jennifer White, Attorney for Legal Programs, Family Violence Prevention Program, USA.
Once you have developed objectives, plan how to elaborate and illustrate them, using case studies, power points, role plays, lectures, and group discussions. Each segment of the curriculum should conclude with a concise reiteration of learning points. Strategies to develop the curriculum include:
Creating a judicial educational programme plan:
10. Use a variety of types of exercises such as role plays, lectures, Q & A sessions, and small or large group case exercises.
11. Always employ a judge to deliver any “live” presentations, including exercises and lectures. Judges learn best from their peers. For example, even if an expert on child development is speaking, it is important to have a judge make the introductory and concluding points that support the words of the speaker. Team teaching is an important part of judicial training.
12.Begin the session with an exercise that combines intellect with empathy: for example, ask the judges to assume the role of a battered woman. Give them a series of incidents that occur in her life that they must react to as if they were that woman. Require them to make the decisions in silence, and to indicate their decisions by walking around the room to various stations: apartment, shelter, homeless shelter, school, etc., in response to succeeding circumstances announced by the trainer. The point of the exercise is to give the judges a chance to think about the real experiences of victims so that they will make better decisions about her safety. Another exercise would show the experiences a victim might have when entering court, depending on how court clerks treat them, what happens when the abuser enters the courtroom, the importance of judicial demeanor, etc. The point of the exercise is to lessen the chance that a victim will be re-victimized by a judge.
13. Always debrief the judges after a session of role-play. Allow them a chance to talk about their feelings and the challenges these situations present in real life. It is very important to ask them: How does this apply to your role as a judge? Judges may say that they never before realized what victims endure.
14. At the end of the training, ask the judges what is the most important thing they learned at the training and what they will do differently now that they have learned that.
15. After the training, give the judges a checklist to take away. They generally don’t have time to read more. They will use this checklist as a tool, like a bench guide.
Source: Jennifer White, Attorney for Legal Programs, Family Violence Prevention Program, USA (Interview, November 18, 2010).
Other classroom strategies:
Foundation for content-related strategies
The following strategies establish a foundation for all judicial trainings on violence against women:
Tips for training judges
Strategies to increase judicial attendance:
Argentina – Judicial Officials Trained on Gender Equality & Women’s Rights
The Women’s Office of the Supreme Court of Argentina and the Office on Domestic Violence have initiated a programme to train gender facilitators within the judicial system on gender equality and women’s rights. The facilitators then hold gender justice workshops for judges, prosecutors, court officials, and administrative employees. The programme was initiated when women judges noted serious inequalities in previous judicial decisions. This is the largest and most innovative programme of gender training in the region to date and is expected to be a model for Latin American countries.
Steps for programme implementation included:
Source: Valente. 2010. Pioneer in Mainstreaming Gender Perspective in Justice System.
Thailand – Increasing Sensitivity to Violence against Women and GirlsChanging people’s perceptions and attitudes, a project to increase the capacity of the judiciary in Thailand, was implemented when monitoring Thai Supreme Court decisions indicated that gender bias may have played a role in cases of gender-based violence. After a judicial colloquium disseminated the monitoring results, trainings were conducted by the administrative branch of the judiciary, the National Human Rights Commission, and a Thai NGO, the Teeranat Kanjauksorn Foundation. A model domestic violence court was created in the Thai criminal justice system, including new “women-friendly” guidelines. Changing people’s perceptions and attitudes is an interactive curriculum which incorporates a theatrical production with an international human rights framework and trainings on gender-based and domestic violence. The production stimulates discussion on improving the response to women and girl survivors of violence. It portrays the journey of four survivors as they seek justice in the Thai system, including their personal humiliations and their experiences in unfriendly courtrooms with hostile defense attorneys. The play, “Little Dots, and I Do Hope,” was enacted by a professional theater group called Bai Mai Wai, or Moving Leaf. The final act of the play incorporates themes from previous group discussions, detailing concrete ways to avoid re-victimizing survivors. Other court systems in Thailand are now using the curriculum to train judges and court staff.
For more information, please contact Ms Supatra Putananusorn at email@example.com
Training for Criminal and Civil Cases
Judicial training should focus on both criminal and civil cases, and should be mandatory for judges in a variety of legal settings including those handling family law matters, immigration, and employment issues. Although violence against women cases are often criminal in nature, civil law is frequently involved. In certain countries, sexual harassment cases are almost all civil in nature. Domestic violence and dowry violence cases also involve significant civil components, including protective orders, divorce, and custody issues. Trafficking cases often involve separate immigration proceedings. Judges, prosecutors, and other court personnel in all of these areas need specialized training.
USA – Judicial Training on Domestic Violence
The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges has been a leader in training judges in the juvenile and family court setting to effectively respond to family violence cases. The organization developed The Greenbook, a benchbook on effective intervention in family violence cases, which has been endorsed by the U.S. Attorney General. Under The Greenbook Initiative, the Council also worked with six demonstration sites nationwide to undertake a coordinated community response (CCR) approach to implementing The Greenbook recommendations. The use of The Greenbook and the effectiveness of its guidelines were evaluated in each site, leading to the development of lessons learned and new tools from courts, advocates, and service providers across the United States. The evaluation reports and tools are available on The Greenbook Initiative website.
The US Family Violence Prevention Fund’s Judicial Education Project provides judges at all levels with the education, guidelines, materials, and online resources they need to provide effective help to victims of family violence. The project helps judges learn fact-finding and decision-making skills, and to make the best possible decisions in support of women and children facing violence.
In partnership with the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the Judicial Education Project offers a National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence to help judges develop or enhance their skills in handling a wide range of criminal and civil cases involving domestic violence. The seminars provide information on the dynamics of domestic violence and related issues, as well as practical advice on how to handle all aspects of these complex cases fairly and effectively, through interactive activities.
To date, over 1,000 judges from across the nation have participated in the NJIDV's three-day education workshops, returning to their communities with a much greater understanding of domestic violence, improved tools for handling the nuts and bolts of legal issues, and a stronger sense of the formidable role they can play in and out of the courtroom to help victims achieve safety, obtain support, and realize autonomy.
Training on New Legislation
When new legislation is passed, judicial training should be implemented directly in concert with all judicial system actors. The following example from Albania illustrates a strategy for training stakeholders to implement a new law.
Albania – Developing capacity to implement new domestic violence law
The 2006 Albanian law On Measures Against Violence in Family Relations No. 9669 gave responsibility for implementing the law to several ministries within the Albanian government, and called for cooperation among stakeholders such as police, shelters, courts, prosecutors, and social service agencies. The Women’s Legal Rights Initiative developed a series of strategies to create capacity for a coordinated community response, including:
The Albanian Benchbook for Protection Orders (The Women’s Legal Rights Initiative, 2006). English and Albanian. Developed to guide judges as they began to issue protection orders.
Creation of a Community Coordinated Response Team Against Domestic Violence (Chemonics International Inc, 2006). English and Albanian. Implementation guidelines for government ministries and NGOs.
Source: USAID. 2007. The Women’s Legal Rights Initiative.
Trainings Should Become Part of Regular Curriculum
Nepal - Gender Training in Standard Curriculum for Judges and Lawyers
In 2006, Nepal adopted a series of justice sector reforms, including gender mainstreaming in the judiciary. Judges and lawyers now receive standardized training concerning gender issues and international human rights instruments that have been signed by Nepal. In the past, legal personnel attended piecemeal trainings concerning gender but did not have a uniform training module. With assistance from the UNDP’s Mainstreaming Gender Equity Programme, a curriculum was developed and disseminated by the National Judicial Academy. Incorporating gender issues and human rights instruments into the standard training for judges and lawyers is expected to increase judicial capacity to make gender responsive decisions and increase female representation in the justice sector.
Download the Training Resource. Available in English.
Source: United Nations Development Programme. 2006. Women's issues now part of legal training in Nepal.
Training Should Begin in Law School
Albania and Liberia- Law school coursework on domestic violence
The Women’s Legal Rights Initiative partnered with the Magistrates School of Albania, which trains future judges and prosecutors, to sponsor and provide financial support for the integration of coursework on domestic violence, trafficking in persons, and gender sensitivity into the curriculum. After two years, the school made the coursework part of its permanent curriculum. Students now receive 14 hours of instruction on domestic violence issues alone, including topics such as legal and judicial aspects of domestic violence and family law and the role of prosecutors in these cases.
See an American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative video on Judicial Reform through Legal Education in Liberia.
Training for Judges around the World
UGANDA: In Uganda, the National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ) has worked with the judiciary on using international instruments when deciding cases involving discrimination or violence against women. “Judicial officers who have attended the training have observed that it has improved their ability to detect gender bias and deliver gender sensitive judgments.” Amnesty International. 2010. I Can’t Afford Justice: Violence Against Women in Uganda Continues Unchecked and Unpunished.
SPAIN: Spain’s law on gender-based violence requires that judges who hear Orders for Protection receive training on issues of child custody, security, and economic support for survivors and their dependants. And, all employees of Spain’s specialized Violence against Women courts, from judges to court clerks, must receive training on issues of gender violence which focuses on “the vulnerability of victims.” Article 47
GLOBAL: The International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) conducts judicial education programmes for judges and magistrates in five countries in Latin America and in Africa. Through their Jurisprudence of Equality Program (JEP), they provide training for members of the judiciary on the application of international, regional, and national laws on discrimination and violence against women. The IAJW states that JEP-trained jurists have established a track record of issuing judgments striking down discriminatory laws and practices, and they have expanded the rights of women on issues ranging from economic discrimination, property rights, custody, inheritance, sexual assault, and all forms of violence against women. More than 2,500 judges have taken part in JEP training in 21 countries. Many JEP-trained judges credit the programme with alerting them to the nature and scope of domestic violence and gender discrimination; to biases and stereotypes that sustain these biases; and to more effective and sensitive ways to question witnesses. In Zambia, IAWJ developed “feedback loops” to document and track the responsiveness of the court system to women victims of violence in order to discern the actual barriers between women and justice.
The Women’s Initiative for Gender Justice (WIGJ) is an international women’s human rights organization focused on ensuring that the International Criminal Court (ICC) advances gender justice through its operations. The WIGJ has conducted a series of gender training for ICC judges, prosecutors, and staff. To support this effort, WIGJ has published three handbooks, which contextualize violence within a gendered perspective, discuss the ramifications of sexual violence and provide relevant legal background in regard to gendered violence. WIGJ has also worked to improve gender diversity within the ICC by recruiting women for available positions and advocating for their election and/or appointment.
In Her Shoes: Living with Domestic Violence (Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence). Simulation tool in which participants move, do, think, and experience the lives of battered women; for community and professional groups. English and Spanish.
In Her Shoes: Economic Justice Edition (Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence). Available in English.
In Their Shoes: Teens and Dating Violence (Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence). Available in English.
Walking Wisdom (Sakshi NGO, India) English. A toolkit with several visual tools on transforming judges and judicial education. Some of the topics include: Understanding Women’s Reality, Impact of Inequality, Myths and Stereotypes, and Judicial Perceptions. Uses real-life situations to illustrate tools for fair decision making. To order contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Guia de capacitación para operadores y operadoras de justicia: Género, acceso a la justicia y violencia contra las mujeres (CLADEM, 2008). Spanish. This training guide is composed of three units. Each one contains a presentation of the principles and the essential concepts. It includes texts and audiovisual content which:
Manual for a Three Days Training for Media, Legal, and Education (Christian Empowerment and Sustainable Program, 2008). Designed for use with key sectors, including the justice sector, to inform its response to gender-based violence, sexual exploitation, and abuse issues in Liberia. Available in English.
Civil Protection Orders: A Guide For Improving Practice (National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, USA, 2010). English. Provides guidance for advocates, attorneys, judges, law enforcement personnel, and prosecutors to help ensure that protection orders are effectively issued, served, and enforced.
A Judicial Guide to Child Safety in Custody Cases (National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, 2009). English. Child custody cases involving abuse have complicated issues of safety and access. The Judicial Guide contains 14 bench cards for judges in child custody cases, as well as a supplemental guide which provides additional information about in- and out-of-court behaviours, best interests of the child, and order issuance and enforcement.
A Guide for Effective Issuance & Enforcement of Protection Orders (National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, USA, 2005). English. Gives communities and professionals precise tools and strategies to broaden the effectiveness of protection orders. Contains a section on Data Systems and State Registries.
Navigating Custody & Visitation Evaluations in Cases With Domestic Violence: A Judge’s Guide (Dalton et al., 2006). English. Some US judges rely on professional custody evaluators to inform their decisions on child custody and visitation issues. This tool helps judges to interpret and act on these evaluations when domestic violence is involved in family law cases. It includes four bench cards and supplementary materials.