The Judicial Institute—the first research and policy centre in the UK to focus on the judiciary—is to pioneer practical courses for lawyers interested in becoming judges.
The course, which will be held in July, is aimed at solicitors, barristers, academics and legal executives who are interested in joining the judiciary at a future stage in their career but come from non-traditional backgrounds. It will involve role-playing, writing a judicial decision and studying videos of hearings.
It will be taught by trained members of the judiciary, and will be available to 25 people. A quarter of these will have their places funded by bursaries for under-represented groups.
Professor Dame Hazel Genn, co-director of the Institute, said: “It will be an intensive weekend of learning, and is the first course of its kind.”
Since being launched by UCL in November, the Institute has hosted a well-attended public seminar with Yale Professor Judith Resnick, author of Representing Justice, a book looking at the iconography of justice and the importance of symbolism in legitimising the authority of the courts.
The Institute is also developing plans to hold a series of closed seminars under Chatham House Rules between judges and decision-makers to discuss some of the issues facing judges.
Professor Dame Hazel Genn, co-director of the Institute, said: “This is a very good time for the Institute to launch because there are massive changes affecting the judiciary, such as the relationship between the judiciary and the executive, the funding climate and technological change.
“It is astonishing how little academic interest in the judiciary there has been in the UK, compared with the US and Canada.”
The Institute aims to study the mechanics of the judiciary—how judges are appointed, how they reach decisions, how courts operate and the relationships between the courts and other branches of government and social institutions.