Judicial Training & Education
The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta is a leader in the orientation and training of judges newly appointed to our court, and thereafter in continuing professional development.
The New Judges Program
The New Judges Program of the Court of Queen’s Bench builds on years of forward thinking on the importance of providing newly-appointed judges with a critical foundation for the role of a judge in the best interests of the administration of justice for Alberta.
The Court embraces, as a practice and as a culture, extensive orientation/training commencing immediately upon judicial appointment.
The orientation phase of the New Judges Program starts immediately following the new judge’s appointment. It includes extensive shadowing with experienced judges in Calgary and Edmonton, and in various of Alberta’s nine other judicial centres.
The orientation phase of the New Judges Program is followed by a series of lengthy subject-matter rotations in the core areas of the Court’s work – civil, family and criminal law. Each rotation is closely monitored as to workload, and is guided by a subject-matter syllabus. Each syllabus aims to ensure that new judges are exposed to and adjudicate in the most often-seen assignments comprising the Court’s core areas of work. The syllabuses also help to guide the new judge’s education in the months and years that follow.
Continuing Professional Development
The overall orientation and training phases of the New Judges Program are supported in the longer term by (1) assigned mentoring by senior judges, (2) a comprehensive Information & Technology syllabus, and (3) continuing education initiatives offered both internally by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, and externally primarily by the National Judicial Institute (NJI).
In addition to the initial two weeks of education provided to all new superior court judges, the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta’s recognizes that in their first few years new judges should have priority for core NJI courses.
Each year all judges of the court have at least two weeks in the court schedule solely for judicial education. Newly-appointed judges, within their first two years of judicial practice, are provided with an additional week for education. Judges of the court at all experience levels also commonly engage in further education outside of the regular court schedule, many as instructors for NJI and other programs. Judges of the Court may also participate in French language training and judicial study leaves.
Continuing professional development is supported by the court’s Education Steering Committee. As one of the Court’s core committees, the Education Steering Committee – in conjunction with the NJI – organizes education seminars for the court’s conferences held every January, May and October. Other committees of the court produce educational materials and organize topical education sessions held from week to week during the court’s schedule.