Cultural diversity in the courtroom - judges in Europe facing new challenges (HFR/2018/06)

Start Date: Monday, November 12, 2018
End Date: Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Category: EU Civil Law, Society Issues, Human Rights
Venue: Wiesbaden, Germany
Language(s): English
Training level: Introductory
Type EJTN-funded activities






This 2-day training aims at creating a platform to address cultural (including religious) diversity and the challenges it poses to judicial insti-tutions (prosecutors as well as judges) thro-ughout Europe today. It follows a survey conducted among judges from 14 European cou-ntries by the European Network of Councils of the Judiciary (ENCJ) in cooperation with the Law & Anthropology Department of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (Halle/Germany). The survey revealed a demand for appropriate training as well as a need for cooperation with experts with knowledge of diverse sociocultural backgrounds. The training addresses these two dimensions: Judges will be given a key role in discussing selected cases in-depth and they will be given the opportunity to do so in the presence of socio-cultural anthro-pologists. The latter act as expert bystanders providing additional input. The cases selected will cover four areas: labour law (diversity in the workplace); family law (application of foreign personal statuses); asylum (how to assess cases of persecution), and criminal law (i.a. cultural defense).

The question of accommodation of religious and cultural diversity is an integral part of the new reality of judicial practice in each Member State of the European Union and the EJTN is the only network that undertakes to organize training offered to judges across Europe. Therefore, this training offers a unique opportunity to conduct comparative legal exercises and to engage in discussions among judges from different EU countries on questions that each of them have encountered in their respective legal orders and that are often delicate matters that involve certain minorities and therefore regularly attract media attention: whether the issues concern the religious education of children, private marria-ges, exemptions given to ‘Tendenzbetriebe’ (‘entreprises de conviction’ , i.e. companies with a religiously or philosophically informed ethos), the obligation of reasonable accommodation within the public service, requests for exe-mptions of various types within the educational sector, to cite but a few examples.

The learning objective of this training is an increased awareness and sensitivity to take account of cultural diversity, and exploration of its potential to be incorporated into judgments, leading to better legal outcomes. Participants will learn how to access relevant sources of information/expertise on issues of cultural dive-0rsity and gain familiarity with a range of techniques that facilitate reflection on and taking account of cultural diversity in their individual decision-making processes. The training comple-ments existing trainings on ‘law in context’ on a national level by providing practical exercises on how to grasp diverse lived realities and norma-tive worldviews in increasingly plural societies.


Target audience: 

Judges (of all levels) and prosecutors active in labour, family, criminal and asylum law




Application Process: 

 All applications must be submitted through the candidates' national EJTN member institution

Number of places:

40 judges

Deadline for online and working group registration

5th October 2018 23:59 Brussels time





Will be sent to the participants.


EJTN Secretariat:

Arno Vinkovic