Dutch judicial delegation visits the National Office for the Judiciary

Judicial administration, communication and leadership training – these were the three main topics of the professional meeting held with the participation of Dutch and Hungarian judicial professionals on the 2nd and 3rd of May 2017 at the Hungarian Judicial Academy.

here were presentations about the functioning and administration of the Hungarian and Dutch judicial system, the national programmes in these two countries and about the institution of electronic procedures. Esther de Rooij, the Court of Amsterdam’s vice-president presented the system of the Dutch courts’ professional and administrative management, and said that they especially emphasize teamwork. They find it important that – beside the daily work – everyone should feel responsible for the community, and work for the progress of the whole judicial system This is a relevant aspect when evaluating the work of a judge. Her presentation revealed that, similarly to our case, the national programmes – especially the Open Court programme – are very popular. In the Netherlands only criminal procedure became electronic, and the process is not yet finished concerning civil procedure, unlike in Hungary.

The topics discussed after that were the role of media communication – contacts with online media among others –, and the importance of clarity. This last topic was agreed to be one of the most important issues concerning communication today. Simple and clear wording is both encouraged in administrative and professional fields with multiple tools, for example trainings. Ilse Westenenk, press chief at the Oost-Brabant Court and Leineke de Klerk, judge of the said court, spoke in their presentation about the Dutch system for press communication and the related strategic goals. They reported about a change of view in 2013: earlier they controlled what was and was not permitted to the representatives of the press, but now the new approach is to help the journalists’ work. They emphasized that all Dutch judges go through media trainings, because they are public figures representing the court system. They were glad to receive the invitation of the National Office for the Judiciary to the V Court and Communication International Conference which will take place in October 2017.

On the second day presentations were held about the two countries’ judicial training systems, especially the cornerstones of leadership training, after which the participants discussed – through a practical example – how best to arrange a leadership training. Annemiek Huygen, management development lector of the Dutch Judicial Training and Education Center, and Anne Tahapary, international training organizer of the Center spoke about the differences between the role of a judge and a leader. They said that the biggest challenge of the judicial leadership trainings is the conscious consideration of these two roles’ almost contradictory values and behavioral norms. They drew attention to the specificity of adult education, and the practical relevance of individual learning styles. Concerning leadership training they highlighted the importance of training the new generation, the unity of individual and organizational learning, and personal responsibility for individual – and through that a system-level – development. This is essential for the judicial system to be able to operate as an efficient, learning system under proper management.

The presentations about all three topics were followed by meaningful professional discussions, and it was exciting to explore the similarities and differences between Dutch and Hungarian practices, and to realise that both countries face similar challenges in many areas. Both parties agreed that these occasions are really useful for the exchange of experiences and sharing good practices, and decided to continue communication in the future, because a long term cooperation would offer countless opportunities. Ymkje Lugten, representing the Dutch Judicial Council thanked the participants of the meeting for their work, and expressed an intention for further cooperation.

3 May 2017, Budapest