UK: Northern Ireland

The Judicial Studies Board for Northern Ireland

The Common Law system has existed throughout Ireland since the 17
th century and the law in Ireland and England developed along similar lines. That continued to be the case following the partition of Ireland in 1920 when separate legal systems were established for the North and South. Although the general aim of the Stormont Parliament was to keep in step with legislation enacted for Great Britain, differences did develop, particularly in the laws relating to social services, education and housing. In March 1972, 'Direct rule' was introduced. Laws on 'transferred matters' and 'reserved matters' are dealt with by Order in Council.  'Excepted matters' are legislated for at Westminster.  In April, 2010, the Northern Ireland Devolution settlement transferred legislative control over certain reserved matters to the Northern Ireland Assembly, one category being that of ‘Policing and Justice’.

The structure of courts in Northern Ireland is also similar to that in England and Wales.

The Judicial Studies Board for Northern Ireland was established in 1994.  Membership of the Board consists of at least one representative from every judicial tier and a legal academic.  The Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service (NICTS) provides secretarial support for the Board and finances its work directly from the NICTS budget.

The aim of the Board is to provide suitable and effective programmes of practical studies for salaried and fee paid members of the judiciary (in terms of both: 1. induction; and, 2. continuing development) and to improve upon the system of disseminating information and guidance to them. In order to protect judicial independence and in particular to ensure that sectional interests are not brought to bear on the judiciary through the training events, the Board’s work is “judge driven”.  In common with our sister organisations in the other UK jurisdictions and in Ireland (with whom we liaise regularly through the United Kingdom and Ireland Judicial Studies Council) our sole focus is on the training of judges; we have no role in the training of prosecutors.

The Board currently aims to provide a mixture of seminars and workshops each term, to meet the ongoing needs of judiciary at all levels. 

Members of the judiciary are also invited to attend courses organised by the Judicial College and the Judicial Institute, Scotland.

The Board is a founder member of the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN) and members of the judiciary attend conferences in a number of other jurisdictions to discuss matters of mutual interest.

The Board has a Secretary, an Assistant Secretary, and a secretariat.


Judicial Studies Board for Northern Ireland
2nd Floor
Royal Courts of Justice
Chichester Street
BT1 3JF Belfast
Northern Ireland
Tel.: + 44 (0) 2890 725904