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Aims | Stage 1 | Stage 2 | Stage 3 | Stage 4 | Menu of Programmes


  • to promote and where appropriate, provide judicial education programmes for judicial officers in all parts of the Commonwealth;
  • to establish and maintain a network of judicial officers from all parts of the Commonwealth to assist in the planning, promotion and delivery of judicial education programmes;
  • to provide judicial and administrative advice and support to existing judicial education institutes;
  • to assist in the establishment and subsequent development of codes of conduct;
  • to publicise developments in the common law in all countries of the Commonwealth.

Stage One

CMJA provides:

A menu of skeleton judicial education programmes, aimed primarily at judicial officers who exercise limited jurisdiction.

Those interested (who may be member states, judges, magistrates associations, judicial education institutes or aid donors) select which programmes on the menu are of interest.

Stage Two

A locally based course director from the host country is appointed and, in partnership with the CMJA Director of Studies and any relevant funding organisation, the programmes selected from the menu are adapted to meet local needs and circumstances.

A team of educators, both judicial and academic, and wherever possible from the same region, is selected to run the programme. Materials are prepared, if necessary with translations.

Stage Three

A core team of judicial officers is selected to participate in the agree programme and the training takes place. The format for the training will be centred in discussion groups of practical examples of the issues raised in the programme.

Senior members of local judiciaries will be encouraged to assist with brief lectures on the relevant subject.

Stage Four

The local core team of jusicial officers go on to lead or assist in similar programmes for colleagues in their own areas, with back up support from the CMJA if required.

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Menu of Programmes

Human Rights
"Delphic words written on opaque surfaces"

Identification of the relevant code of human rights - the application of local codes - the application of external codes to local circumstances- areas of conflict - the measurement of policy against abstract rights - human rights and economic inequality - the consideration of minority rights.

Judicial Ethics
"Let judgement run as the clear waters and righteousness as a mighty stream"

The general ethical pressures on judicial officers - the specific pressures experienced in the host jurisdiction - the response to the pressures - institutional and individual independence - the different issues of inquisitorial and accusatorial processes- the effect of a judicial officer's own prejudices on the interpretation of evidence and application of the law - the identification of prejudice

The Function of the Judicial Officer and the Process of Judging
"The Judge's task is to decide cases in court between different litigants, no more, no less"

Public and private hearings - the hearing and assessment of evidence - the use of experts - the use of interpreters - access to the law - application of the law - litigants in person - the provision of experienced advocates - the marshalling of fact and law - the preparation, recording and giving of judgement- appeals - promotion of mediation - the judicial officer's relationship with the administration - the position of professional judicial bodies - the appointment, pay and promotion of judges

Global developments in the Law
"The golden met - wand and measure"

The applicability of the common law and other systems of law (e.g.: customary or religious laws) in the host jurisdiction - the effect of codifications - recent decisions in appellate courts in different jurisdictions - contrasts in the development of the law in the host country and elsewhere.

Approaches to the Handling of Family Law
"Wherever there are enclosing walls there are abuses behind them"

Institutional support of the family - the legal position of the child - the protection of children - the judge as mediator in family disputes - dealing with the evidence of children - the position of the man and the woman before the law - dealing with domestic violence - the relationship of the state agencies and the family court.

Court Administration
"Lawful and settled authority is seldom resisted when it is well employed"

Relationship with other aspects of government administration - Budget management- the provision of staff - the management of lists - the drawing of orders - appeal structures.

Handling of criminal trials
"The people should fight for their law as for their city walls"

Procedure - the judicial officer sitting alone - the management and direction of jury trials - the burden of proof - representation of the accused - the court's relationship with advocates - principles of sentencing - the application of minimum sentences - the nature of judicial discretion - the application of local sentencing options - victim compensation - the comparison of penal systems - alternatives to custody - the treatment of young offenders.

Codes of Ethics and Conduct

At the Joint Colloquium on "Parliamentary Supremacy and the Independence of the Judiciary" held at Latimer House in June 1998 the participants set out guidelines "on good practice governing relations between the Executive, Parliament and the Judiciary in the promotion of good governance, the rule of law and human rights to ensure the effective implementation of the Harare Principles" .
These guidelines state [s.v(1)(a)] that "A Code of Ethics and Conduct should be developed by each judiciary as a means of ensuring the accountability of judges"

The CMJA is a repository for such Codes where they have been adopted in different Commonwealth countries.

The final judicial education programme will be designed to assist members in the development and regular review of Codes appropriate to their particular circumstances, balanced by institutional independence in accordance with the Harare Principles.

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If the proposals in the Education Programme are of interest please contact District Judge Shamim Qureshi, Director of Programmes at the following address:

Director of Programmes
c/o CMJA
Uganda House, 58-59 Trafalgar Square
London, WC2N 5DX
Tel: (44) 207 976 1007
Fax: (44) 207 976 2394
email: info@cmja.org

The provision of any training programme is subject to availability of any necessary funding.

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Recent Seminars/Workshops include

CMJA 15th Triennial Conference
"Justice for the Next Generation:
The Promotion and Protection of Judicial Independence and a Colloquium on the Child and the Law (organised jointly with UNICEF) - Sept/Oct 2009

"Constitutional Independence for the Magistrate and Judge with reference to the Separation of Powers" - Conference held in Cape Town, South Africa, October 2008

"Commonwealth (Latimer House) Colloquium the Implementation of the Principles" - which led to the formulation of the Edinburgh Plan of Action - held in Edinburgh, July 2008

Environmental law workshop for judicial officers - held in Nairobi, Kenya - organised jointly with UNEP, September 2007

"Equality and the Courts: Exploring the Commonwealth Experience" held in Bermuda in August 2007

"Protecting Our People, Preserving Our Environment
The Diversity of Judging, The Judging of Diversity"- CMJA Triennial Conference - Toronto, Canada September 2006

14th Commonwealth Law Conference- "Justice, Law and Development" held in London, England September 2005 (organised by the CLA with cooperation from the CMJA on the organising committee/papers committee)

"Judicial Reform in the Commonwealth: Impact, Driving Force, The Future", CMJA Conference held in Accra, Ghana in July/August 2005

"Pan African Forum on the Commonwealth (Latimer House) Principles on the Accountability of and Relationship between the Three Branches of Government "(organised by the LCAD in close cooperation with the CMJA) held in April 2005;

*CMJA Conference held in Jersey, Channel Islands, 20-23 September 2004: "Justice at the Grassroots-Local Courts and the Delivery of Justice".

*SADC regional meeting on anti-corruption held in Mauritius in June 2004 (in co-operation with the LCAD of the Commonwealth Secretariat).

*Training Course on integrity in the administration of justice held in Zanzibar in June 2004 (organised in co-operation with the LCAD of the Commonwealth Secretariat);

*Gender and Human Rights Workshop held in Nadi, Fiji Islands in May 2004 (organised jointly with the Commonwealth Lawyers' Association and the LCAD of the Commonwealth Secretariat);

*Triennial Conference on "Human Rights, Human Needs: Seeking a Judicial Talisman", held in Mangochi, Malawi in August 2003 which focused on economic and social rights and on environmental law;

*Caribbean Regional Colloquium on Combating Corruption held in May 2003 in St Lucia (organised by the LCAD at Commonwealth Secretariat in close co-operation with the CMJA);

*Southern Africa Regional Colloquium on Combating Corruption held in May 2003 in Pretoria, South Africa,

*Participation in the East African Magistrates and Judges Association Meeting in Uganda in October 2002,

*Jubilee Conference (on corruption, gender issues and the future of the CMJA) held in London in September 2002,

* Judicial Colloquium on Fighting Corruption in the Judiciary held in Limassol, Cyprus in June 2002 (organised by by the LCAD of the Commonwealth Secretariat in close co-operation with the CMJA),

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CMJA, Uganda House, 58-59 Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DX
Tel: 44 20 7976 1007 Fax: 44 20 7976 2394 Email:
Reg No (UK): 1942930 Charity Reg No (UK): 800367