The CJC mandates that all new federally appointed judges attend this pair of seminars shortly after their appointment. They amount to nearly two full weeks of training for new judges – one held in the spring, the other in the fall – and are organized jointly by the National Judicial Institute and the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice.
The objectives of these seminars are to orient participants in their new role as judges and to initiate their efforts to maintain and enhance their legal knowledge and judicial skills throughout their years on the bench.
These seminars were led by senior judges, with input from legal academics and experienced lawyers. A number of learning tools – including lectures, courtroom roleplay videos and small- group discussions – were deployed to help convey to participants the knowledge and skills they require to become effective judges. Some of the sessions were addressed to all judges, while some were tailored to common law judges, and others to civil law judges.
All participants jointly attended sessions on judicial independence and judicial ethics, the law and social context of sexual assault, good practices in ensuring equal access to justice for persons with disabilities, Indigenous law and legal traditions, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Judges from all jurisdictions also attended sessions on family law, the preparation and delivery of oral judgments, the law of evidence and civil procedure, judicial review of administrative action, self-represented litigants, and courtroom and trial management. Finally, a suite of sessions for common law judges dealt with criminal law topics ranging from jury selection to sentencing, while civil law judges reviewed the law of class actions and consent to medical care.