International Judicial Training Program (IJTP) at the University of Georgia
The International Judicial Training Program (IJTP) at the University of Georgia
A strong and independent judiciary is the foundation of a democratic country's stability. The International Judicial Training Program (IJTP) seeks to foster increased judicial independence, efficiency, and accountability, thereby increasing public and investor confidence in national judiciaries. The emphasis on judicial independence, court administration, case management, ethics, continuing education, and implementation is designed to foster long-term, systemic change in participant countries.
IJTP is a collaboration between the University of Georgia School of Law's Dean Rusk Center and the university's Institute of Continuing Judicial Education. Since its inception in 1998, the program has trained more than 1000 judges and court personnel at the University of Georgia School Of Law. Its participants have hailed from countries such as Argentina, Armenia, Brazil, Egypt, Ghana and the Czech Republic.
IJTP facilitates reform by offering capacity-building judicial administration programs tailored to the individual needs of each participating country. Designed to introduce foreign judges and court personnel to the U.S. judicial system, IJTP hosts seminars (up to two weeks) at the UGA School of Law and at sites throughout the state and includes sessions with the Georgia Supreme Court, Georgia Court of Appeals, and other specialized courts. Examples of topics covered in prior training programs include court administration, judicial budgeting, caseload management, alternative dispute resolution, court technology, and judicial ethics and professionalism.
Since 1998, when the Supreme Court of the State of Pernambuco, Brazil, requested that its judges and court personnel be trained by the University of Georgia on issues concerning continuing education, more than fifty judges, administrators, and members of the Pernambuco judiciary have trained through IJTP. The idea was to train a cadre of judges and court personnel who would constitute the backbone of Pernambuco's Institute of Continuing Judicial Education. One of the many outcomes of the strong partnership between IJTP and the Pernambuco judiciary was the development of a Code of Judicial Conduct by the Pernambuco Supreme Court.
In November 2009, IJTP traveled to Dubai and conducted 3 days of training for 30 members of the United Arab Emirates and the Bahrain judiciary in case flow management and judicial leadership. This marked the first time that IJTP partnered with a foreign organization – The Dubai Judicial Institute (DJI). Prominent speakers included Judge Doris Downs of Fulton County Superior Court, Judge David Emerson, current member of the Georgia Supreme Court Technology Advisory Committee and Judicial Counsel of Georgia; and Mark Beer, Registrar of the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts.
IJTP expanded into Ghana as part of concrete plans to further extend the program's reach in other countries and regions. Rusk Center staff collaborated with Ghana Judicial Service officials to identify concrete strategies for reform within the guidelines of the Ten-Year Strategic Plan for the Judicial Service—a reform structure developed by the United Nations Development Programme's National Institutional Renewal Programme (NIRP). Under the sponsorship of this UNDP and the World Bank, members of the Judicial Service of Ghana, Ministry of Finance, and Ministry of Justice, as well as the informational technology consultant to the Judicial Service, attended a program on court automation at UGA. The training led to the implementation of a Fast Track Court in Ghana, which reduced the average time for adjudication of cases, originally five-to-seven years, to six months. This model court has drawn the attention of international donors who are willing to fund a number of additional Fast Tract Courts in Ghana.
For additional information, please contact Dean Rusk Center Associate Director María Eugenia Giménez.