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The specialisation of judges (Opinion No. 15)

At its 1127th meeting of 24 November 2011, the Committee of Ministers adopted the terms of reference of the CCJE for 2012 and 2013. These terms of reference contain also the adoption, in 2012, of an opinion (No. 15) on the specialisation of judges. The draft opinion will be submitted for adoption at the 13th plenary meeting of the CCJE, on 6 November 2012.

Working party

The working party in charge of drafting the opinion held its first meeting from 26 to 28 March. Its second meeting took place in Strasbourg, from 18 to 20 June 2012.

Report of the meeting of the Working group from 18 to 20 June 2012

Report of the meeting of the Working group from 26 to 28 March 2012

The composition of the Working group is as follows:


Durro SESSA (Croatia)
Jean-Claude WIWINIUS (Luxembourg)
Niels ENGSTAD (Norway)
Orlando AFONSO (Portugal)
Nina BETETTO (Slovenia)
José COBO SAENZ (Spain)
Bernard CORBOZ (Switzerland)
Aneta ARNAUDOVSKA (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia)
Lord Justice Richard AIKENS (United Kingdom)
Deputy members
Johannes RIEDEL (Germany)
Alain LACABARATS (France)


Useful documents


Questionnaire sent to member States with a view of the preparation of Opinion No. 15 on specialisation of judges

Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)12 on judges: independence, efficiency and responsibilities

Proposals of amendments to the draft Opinion No.15 of the CCJE by the CCJE members

Compilation of the replies to the questionnaire


Replies by country


Belgique [fr]

Bosnia and Herzegovina




Czech Republic



France [fr]

"The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"

Georgia [en]



Italy [en]


Luxembourg  [fr]



The Netherlands



Romania [fr]





Switzerland [fr]


United Kingdom



Mexico [sp]




European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ):
   Report from the working group of the Network "Performance management"
   Report from the working team "timeliness" / 2011

   ENCJ PROJECT TEAM - Development of Minimum Judicial Standards; Report 2010-2011; 3.2. Minimum Standards regarding the role assigned to continuing judicial training in the promotion or specialization of members of the judiciary

France: Projet de loi au Sénat sur la spécialisation rendue nécessaire par un contentieux de plus en plus complexe (Présenté au Sénat le 03 mars 2010) [fr]
New Zealand: Judicial Law commission of New Zealand

Probing the effects of judicial specialization : Americans typically think of judges as generalists, by Lawrence Baum

Judicial specialization, litigant influence, and substantive policy: the Court of customs and patent appeals, by Lawrence Baum
Specializing the courts, by Lawrence Baum
Is There a Right Judge for Each Case? A Comparative Study of Case / Assignment in Six European Countries, by Marco Fabri and Philip Langbroek
Congress weighs patent specialization for federal judges, by Timothy B. Lee
Balancing Territoriality and Functionality;Specialization as a Tool for Reforming Jurisdiction in the Netherlands, France and Germany By Elaine Mak, Lecturer – Erasmus University Rotterdam, School of Law
The courts of international trade: judicial specialization, expertise, and Bureaucratic policy making, by Isaac Unah
Is There a Need for Specialization By the Courts (and Prosecutors)? Brian PearceBrian PearceResident Legal Adviser/US Embassy & TCLIResident TCLIFederal Prosecutor/US Dept. of JusticeFederal Justice
Judging, Expertise, and the Rule of Law, by Chad M. Oldfather, Marquette University - Law School
Model of agreement (...) A. Judicial Specialization (...)
LexNet (International Law Network)




The independence of the judiciary and its relationships with the other powers in a modern democratic state

Evaluation of judges’ work, the quality of justice and respect for judicial independence

The relationship between judges and lawyers

The specialisation of judges

Justice and information technologies

Magna Charta of European Judges

Principles of public prosecution as regards juvenile justice

Relations between judges and prosecutors

Quality of judicial decisions

The councils for the judiciary

International context and terrorism

Justice and society

Fair trial

Training for judges

Ethics of judges

Independence of judges and funding of courts