The main purpose of the adoption of this law is a transformation of the former Judiciary Training Centre into an independent, self-sustainable institution, in line with the recommendations provided in the Action Plan for Negotiating Chapter 23 – Judiciary and Fundamental Rights, and the Judiciary Reform Strategy 2014 – 2018.
The Centre was originally established as the Centre for Training of Judges of the Republic of Montenegro in June 2000 in compliance with the Plan of the Judiciary Reform Project of the Government of the Republic of Montenegro of 1998. Until 1 January 2007, when the Law on Training in Judiciary came into effect, regulating for the first time the training of judges and state prosecutors, the Centre had functioned as a nongovernmental organization, with the programme primarily targeting judges, expert associates, interns and other court employees.
The Law on Training in Judiciary extended the activities of the Centre to the training of state prosecutors, deputies and advisers at the prosecution offices, while the Centre was established as an organizational unit of the Supreme Court of Montenegro.
The Centre for Training in Judiciary and State Prosecution Service (which is a legal successor of the Judiciary Training Centre) organizes and carries out the training of judges and state prosecutors, as well as other judicial professionals, in compliance with separate training programmes, the training of trainers and mentors, as well as advisers, employees and interns at courts and state prosecution offices, establishes international co-operation with local and international organizations and institutions and carries out other activities prescribed by the Law on the Centre for Training in Judiciary and State Prosecution Service.
The training for judges and state prosecutors is organized and carried out as the initial and in-service training. The purpose of the training is acquiring and improving the knowledge and skills that will ensure independent, autonomous, impartial, professional and efficient discharge of duties by judges and state prosecutors in line with the principles of independence and autonomy and ethical standards of their profession.
Initial training is organized for the purpose of acquiring both practical and theoretical knowledge and skills by the candidates for judges in misdemeanour courts, basic courts, the Commercial Court and the Administrative Court of Montenegro, and candidates for the state prosecutors in the basic state prosecution offices. Participants in the initial training are the candidates for judges, and state prosecutors determined by the Judicial Council and Prosecutorial Council respectively, in accordance with the Law. For the purposes of planning the implementation of the initial training, the Judicial or Prosecutorial Council informs the Centre about the plan of the vacant judicial or prosecutorial posts for the next year, six months prior to the implementation of the initial training. Initial training is comprised of the theoretical and practical part of the training. Duration of the theoretical part, delivered at the Centre, differs depending on the training participants. The duration and location of the practical part of the training also differ depending on the training participants. The practical part of the training is monitored by a mentor. At the end of the theoretical part of the training, the trainers who implemented individual training modules compose a report on the implemented training, containing the grade for each individual training participant, and submit it to the member of the Programming Board who supervised the theoretical part of the training, who prepares the proposal of the grade for the theoretical part of the initial training for every training participant. At the end of the practical part of the initial training, the mentors who supervised the implementation of the practical part of the initial training compose a report on the assessment of success achieved in the practical part of the training for every participant of the training individually. A proposal of the grade for the theoretical part of the training and the report on the assessment of success achieved in the practical part of the training are submitted to the participant in the training to make a statement within eight days from the day of receipt and submit it to the Programming Board for Initial Training. On the basis of the proposal of the grade, report on the assessment of success, and statement of the participant in the training, the Programming Board for Initial Training defines the final proposal of the grade for both theoretical and practical part for the participant in the training and submits it to the Judicial Council or the Prosecutorial Council. Final grade for the initial training is either "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory". The grade "unsatisfactory" is given to the participant in the initial training who was graded as "unsatisfactory" in one or both parts of the training.
In-service training is organized to ensure vocational improvement and professional development of judges and state prosecutors, and is implemented according to the training programmes in accordance with the law. Judges and state prosecutors have the right and duty to attend the in-service training for at least two working days a year, for which they apply on the basis of their own interest. If a judge or a state prosecutor cannot attend the in-service training they applied for due to justified reasons, they are obliged to notify the president of the court, or the head of the state prosecution office, who will inform the Centre about this in writing. Special content of the training programme is prescribed depending on the categories of candidates, such as: judges and state prosecutors holding their office for less than four years, judges and state prosecutors holding their office for more than four years, presidents of courts and heads of the state prosecution offices, judges and state prosecutors who were evaluated with the grade “unsatisfactory”, judges and state prosecutors who are promoted or who change the area of law or specialize in certain area of law while in the office, and a joint training programme.
The bodies of the Centre are the following:
The Steering Committee is an independent body in charge of the management of the Centre. It has seven members, who are elected for a period of four years, with the right to one more re-election, as representatives of major judicial authorities (the Supreme Court, the Supreme State Prosecution Office, the Judicial Council, and the Prosecutorial Council), as well as the Ministry of Justice, the Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts, and the Bar Association. The majority of members (four of them) are judges and state prosecutors. The Chairman of the Steering Committee is a member of the Steering Committee elected from among judges and state prosecutors. The Chairman and Deputy Chairman are elected and dismissed by the Steering Committee. During their term of office, the Chairman of the Steering Committee does not work as a judge or as a prosecutor. The Steering Committee works at meetings and adopts its decisions by a majority of votes of all members of the Steering Committee. In case of a tie, the Chairman has a casting vote. The Steering Committee is in charge of adopting the Statute and other documents of the Centre and monitoring their implementation; electing and dismissing the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Steering Committee; determining the termination of membership in the Steering Committee; establishing the composition of the Programming Council; electing members of the programming boards for the initial training and in-service training; establishing the Programming Board for special trainings, establishing the list of trainers; electing and dismissing the Director of the Secretariat; determining the number of participants and criteria for the selection of in-service training participants, establishing the list of mentors and defining the criteria for their evaluation; adopting the Annual Work Plan of the Centre; adopting the Annual Training Programme, adopting the initial training programme and in-service training programmes at the proposal of the programming boards; adopting the special training programme, adopting the draft budget allocation for training; adopting the financial report; discussing and adopting its own Annual Report; adopting the Annual Report of the Centre; deciding upon complaints of training participants, and carrying out other activities prescribed by this law and the Statute.
The Programming Council is an expert body of the Centre, comprised of two different programming boards (the Programming Board for the Initial Training and the Programming Board for the In-service Training). The Programming Council has ten members, who are also members of the aforementioned programming boards. The term of office of the Programming Council is four years, and its members may not be members of the Steering Committee. The Council is in charge of adopting draft programmes for initial and in-service training at the initiative of the programming boards, and adopting draft programmes for special training; monitoring the implementation of training programmes and their efficiency and success; updating and improving the training programmes; giving instructions for improvement of the teaching methods and techniques, at its own initiative or in collaboration with the trainers and mentors; designating and hiring trainers from the list of trainers; and carrying out other activities in compliance with the Law, the Statute and documents of the Centre. The Law also prescribes the reasons for termination of membership in the Programming Council. The programming boards are in charge of coordination, supervision and evaluation of the implemented training activities. The programming boards have five members each, who must have high professional qualities and reputation for discharging the duties of their office and profession, be acknowledged for the results of their work, and have published papers and articles, as well as the experience in training or mentoring in the judiciary and state prosecution service. Members of the Programming Board for the Initial Training are elected from among the judges and state prosecutors. Members of the Programming Board for the In-Service Training are elected from among the judges or state prosecutors with at least ten years of professional experience as judges or state prosecutors, while one member may be a law professor. Members of the Programming Board for Special Training are elected depending on the special training programme.
The Secretariat of the Centre, as an expert service managed by the Director, is established to perform expert, financial, administrative, IT, analytical and other tasks for the Centre. The Director of the Secretariat is elected for a period of five years. The Director is responsible for implementing the decisions of the Steering Committee, submitting the Annual Report of the Secretariat to this body, preparing a document on the internal organisation and job classification of the Secretariat, as well as for proposing the Statute and other general documents of the Centre and monitoring their implementation, proposing the budget allocation for the operation of the Centre and the financial report, keeping timely and accurate records, and carrying out other activities prescribed by this law and the Statute. The provisions of the law that regulate the rights, obligations and responsibilities of civil servants and state employees and refer to the senior managers apply accordingly to the employment procedure, rights, obligations and responsibilities of the Director of the Secretariat, unless otherwise stipulated by this law. The Secretariat has four organizational units (the Initial Training Sector, the In-Service Training Sector, the Accounting, Finance and Logistics Sector, and the International Cooperation Sector), whose duties are regulated by the document on internal organization and job classification of the Secretariat. The employees of the Secretariat have the status of civil servants and the legislation regulating the rights, obligations and responsibilities of civil servants and state employees applies to their rights, obligations and responsibilities.
The Centre has co-operated with a large number of relevant partners, such as: the European Union (formerly: the European Agency for Reconstruction), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDO) in Montenegro, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Mission to Montenegro, the Embassy of the USA to Montenegro, the Open Society Institute – Soros, the Center for International Legal Cooperation (CILIC) from the Netherlands, the Center for Legal Competence (CLC) from Austria, Save the Children, UNICEF, the German Foundation for International Legal Cooperation (IRZ), the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA) Luxembourg, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) from Rome, and others.
In the field of training in human rights and the Council of Europe standards, the Centre has cooperated with the organizations specialized in implementation of such programmes: primarily with the Council of Europe, as well as with the London-based AIRE Centre (Advise on Individual Rights in Europe Centre), the Podgorica-based CEDEM (Centre for Democracy and Human Rights in Montenegro), and others.
On average, the Centre organizes approximately 80 different in-service and 20 different initial training activities.
In its work, the Centre is always trying to use the comparative experiences and follow the latest trends in the training of judges and prosecutors, including its different aspects. This is facilitated by the Centre’s membership in the most relevant international structures involved in the training of judges and prosecutors: the European network for exchange of information among the persons and institutions responsible for training of judges and prosecutors of the Council of Europe (the so-called Lisbon Network); the Council of Europe HELP Programme – Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals; the International Organization for Judicial Training (IOJT), and the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN).
The work of the Centre is guided by a specific goal, which is to ensure the acquisition, maintenance and improvement of knowledge and skills by the judicial professionals, enabling them to carry out their duties in an independent, autonomous, impartial and efficient manner, in line with the ethical standards of the profession. The Centre will continue to provide its contribution to the adoption of new knowledge and practical skills by the judicial professionals.