HABILITATION PROGRAM

The Habilitation Program is a legal required training program for judges who want to apply to serve in High Courts. It seeks to pursue the legal requirement (art. 253 C.O.T /Organic Code of Courts) imposed on trial judges to undertake a professional training course as a requirement for appointment to the position of Justices of Appeal Courts and public attorneys of the Judiciary. As requested by the law of the Judicial Academy, this course should take into account the different aspects of substantive and procedural law which may be relevant, as well as the knowledge and skills necessary to fulfill the functions of a justice in a High Court.

Currently, this program lasts seven weeks. Five weeks for teaching activities and workshops, and two weeks correspond to internships at Appeal Court in charge of a tutor Justice. The first stage of the course begins with four initial exams about legal knowledge. These subjects are determined by the Habilitation Program commission of the Governing Board. By the end of the course, a final evaluation is taken, which consists of a decision for a case within the jurisdiction of an Appeal Court, based on a real or non-real judicial file and the respective relationship so as to assess the skills learned in the course.

Notwithstanding to concentrate on aspects directly related to the exercise of an appeal court functions, given its short time and the diverse jurisdictional origin the participants may have, where the smallest part corresponds to judges who serve in common jurisdiction courts, the course does not seek to fully update participants in aspects of procedural or substantive law which do not correspond in their current positions; but it tries to highlight important aspects which enable participants of the Habilitation Program to identify such aspects and to show their capability to face new practical and learning challenges, and to successfully overcome them. This is the core of the educational objective envisaged by the Academy for this program.

The number of courses provided each year is a decision of the Board of Governors of the Judicial Academy. The number of judges per course is 17, and the applicants selection is done according to the criteria established in the law (annual qualification, category and seniority), and it is determined by the standard application for courses of the Training Program.