SPREAD OVER 31 MONTHS, THE INITIAL TRAINING COURSE FOR JUDGES AND PROSECUTORS AIMS TO TEACH THEM PROFESSIONAL TECHNIQUES, AND ALSO TO GIVE THEM A BROADER KNOWLEDGE OF THE INSTITUTIONAL, HUMAN AND SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT THEY WILL BE WORKING IN. IT ALTERNATES CLASSROOM TEACHING IN BORDEAUX WITH INTERNSHIPS IN COURTS TO GIVE THE TRAINEES A BROAD OVERALL VIEW OF THEIR PROFESSION. THE COURSE IS DESIGNED BY THE ENM'S RECRUITMENT, INITIAL TRAINING AND RESEARCH DEPARTMENT, AS PROVIDED BY ORDER No. 58-1270 OF 22 DECEMBER 1958.
A RENOWNED TEACHING MODEL
The teaching at the ENM uses a combination of complementary teaching methods, the main one being a tutorials system. This consists of work sequences in small groups on actual cases. These groups consist of about twenty trainees and are formed for the duration of their studies in Bordeaux. This enables the trainers to manage the group effectively, allowing for personalised individual follow-up of the trainees and constituting a highly interactive method of learning.
In addition to these tutorials, there are also lectures and conferences, themed workshops, role plays and moot courts, debates and round tables, written work and e-learning modules.
In Bordeaux, the School has a permanent teaching staff of 25 training coordinators. 23 of them are judges or prosecutors who are seconded to the ENM for a maximum of six years, thereby guaranteeing that the teaching remains close to the realities of professional practice in the courts. A chief clerk and a language teacher complete the teaching team. The training coordinators are all attached to one of the eight training departments, where they provide expertise, supervise the preparation of teaching materials and give classes.
The School also has a staff of "associate lecturers", consisting of about fifty judges, prosecutors and other professionals such as lawyers, doctors, teachers and researchers who give regular classes while continuing to practise. Every year, over 750 occasional contributors also bring their expertise in areas such as law, history, sociology, psychology, psychiatry, forensic medicine and criminology.
The training of future judges and prosecutors aims to teach not just the law, but also a wide range of practical skills they will need in their professional lives, such as drafting judgments and procedural rulings, the ability to conduct questioning, presiding over court hearings or the conducting other acts useful to the advancement of a criminal or civil case. 70% of the course therefore consists of internships, the great majority of which are with courts. These practical internships, where the trainee is in immersion in the future working environment, are essential to the learning of the profession. They are supervised by practising judges and prosecutors who work in the courts in question, internship supervisors, coordinated by a training centre director.
STATUS OF TRAINEE JUDGES AND PROSECUTORS
Trainee judges and prosecutors (known as "auditeurs de justice") are at once members of the judiciary, trainee civil servants and members of the civil service. As soon as they are appointed, they join the judiciary and swear an oath of professional secrecy concerning all the cases they will encounter during their training. They are paid during their training and make a commitment to serve the State for at least ten years once qualified.
The 31 months of training at the ENM alternate periods of practical training on introductory and professionalisation internships with periods of theoretical teaching in Bordeaux.
The first two years of the course are referred to as the "general phase" and are common to all trainee judges and prosecutors. They are trained in the fundamental non-technical skills required by judges and prosecutors, in environmental areas that most posts will require them to know and in the basic technical skills that apply across the board to all the different positions they may hold. During this period, the trainees undertake numerous internships, particularly in courts where they will have the opportunity to put these common professional and functional techniques into practice.
The last six months of the course are devoted to a specialisation for a particular function, chosen by the trainee. This period of preparation for the first appointment takes place first of all, for the theoretical part, at the ENM. The trainee studies the professional techniques and the skills area pertaining to the function chosen in greater depth. They then undertake a final internship which prepares them for their first appointment. This final preparatory internship ensures that that they are fully operational when they take up their first post.
The initial training to become a judge or prosecutor is in fact a probationary period. Trainees are therefore continually assessed throughout their training, during both the study periods and the internships. The aim is to assess to what extent the trainee has assimilated the basic skills of the judge and prosecutor and masters the techniques specific to each function. At the School, assessment takes the form of examinations taken at the end of the study period and after the court internship.
For the court internship, assessment is entrusted to judges and prosecutors seconded to the School, the regional training coordinators. They are based in twelve judicial regions which have several courts of appeal, and they act as the ENM's go-betweens with the courts. They organise the trainees’ internships, provide them with support and assess them throughout their internship.
After two years trainees take the aptitude and ranking examination, which determines their aptitude to exercise the different judicial functions after completing their training at the School, after the trainee is interviewed and the Director gives his opinion after considering the regional training coordinator's and the training centre director's reports. Once the trainee has been declared able to exercise the duties of a judge and/or prosecutor, they begin the final phase before being appointed to a court, the specialisation phase.
The final aptitude and ranking examination ranks the trainees by order of merit. It is on the basis of this ranking that the future judge or prosecutor will be able to choose their first appointment from a list proposed by the Ministry for Justice. After completing the preparation phase for this first position, the trainee takes up a post in the court they have been appointed to. They are then sworn in as a judge or prosecutor, and their first appointment is officialised in a Decree issued by the President on the recommendation of the High Council for the Judiciary (CSM).
After the 31 months of training at the ENM and in the courts, the trainee can be appointed to one of eight functions:
▪ judge in a Regional Court;
▪ investigating judge (juge d'instruction); (video in French)
▪ juvenile judge (juge des enfants); (video in French)
▪ sentence enforcement judge (juge de l'application des peines); (video in French)
▪ deputy public prosecutor (substitut du procureur de la République); ; (video in French)
▪ deputy public prosecutor, assistant to the chief prosecutor (substitut placé auprès du procureur général);
▪ judge assisting the president of the court (juge placé auprès du premier président). (video in French)