WSR 11-23-027

RULES OF COURT

STATE SUPREME COURT


[ November 3, 2011 ]

IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF THE AMENDMENTS TO GR 26-MANDATORY CONTINUING JUDICIAL LEGAL EDUCATION STANDARDS 2 AND 3 )

) ) ) )

ORDER

NO. 25700-A-984


The Board for Court Education having recommended the adoption of the proposed amendments to GR 26-Mandatory Continuing Judicial Legal Education Standards 2 and 3, and the Court having approved the proposed amendments for publication;

Now, therefore, it is hereby

ORDERED:

(a) That pursuant to the provisions of GR 9(g), the proposed amendments as shown below are to be published for comment in the Washington Reports, Washington Register, the Washington State Bar Association and Administrative Office of the Court's websites in January 2012.

(b) The purpose statement as required by GR 9(e), is published solely for the information of the Bench, Bar and other interested parties.

(c) Comments are to be submitted to the Clerk of the Supreme Court by either U.S. Mail or Internet E-Mail by no later than April 30, 2012. Comments may be sent to the following addresses: P.O. Box 40929, Olympia, Washington 98504-0929, or Camilla.Faulk@courts.wa.gov. Comments submitted by e-mail message must be limited to 1500 words.

DATED at Olympia, Washington this 3rd day of November, 2011.
For the Court
Madsen, C.J.
CHIEF JUSTICE

GENERAL RULES (GR)

RULE 26. Mandatory Continuing Judicial Education



Purpose: The purpose of the suggested amendments to Section 2 (General Standards for Continuing Judicial Education) and Section 3 (Program Accreditation) of GR 26 are to:

(1) Compile the standards for earning Continuing Judicial Education (CJE) Credits into one subsection.

(2) Clarify that each judicial officer must earn a minimum of thirty (30) credit hours (of which four (4) must be ethics credit hours), during the three-year reporting cycle, via attending CJE programs.

(3) Expand the definition of "attending" to include participating in CJE programs via the Internet as a method of obtaining a portion of (but not all) the mandatory credit hours.

(4) Expand and clarify the definition of "Self-Study" CJE Credits to allow the earning of up to fifteen (15) credit hours (including two (2) ethics credit hours) during the three-year reporting cycle via listening to, or watching, pre-recorded CJE programs.

(5) Clarify the definition of "Teaching" CJE Credits to allow the earning of up to fifteen (15) credit hours (including two (2) ethics credit hours) during the three-year reporting cycle via teaching accredited courses or publishing legal writing.

I. Introduction

The General Rule (GR) 26 Preamble states, "The protection of the rights of free citizens depends upon the existence of an independent and competent judiciary. The challenges of maintaining judicial competence requires ongoing education of judges in the application of legal principles and the art of judging in order to meet the needs of a changing society. This rule establishes the minimum requirements for continuing judicial education of judicial officers."

Judicial officers must complete a minimum of forty-five (45) credit hours (of which six (6) must be ethics credit hours) of BCE-approved continuing judicial education every three years.

The proposed changes to the General Standards address the increasing availability of distance learning programs.

II. Distance Learning Opportunities

Over the past year the Mandatory Continuing Judicial Education Committee (MCJEC) has seen an increase in judicial officers' attendance of distance learning opportunities due to diminishing court travel budgets and the increased access, on a state and national level, to quality distance learning offerings.

When the GR 26 General Standards were composed, distance learning opportunities were few and not considered relevant to the education of the judiciary.


Proposed Changes to CJE Standards

Sections 2 & 3



Section 2: General Standards for Continuing Judicial Education

1. Credit for Continuing Judicial Education (CJE)

During his or her three-year reporting cycle, each judicial officer must complete forty-five (45) hours of CJE credits, six (6) of which are in the area of judicial ethics. The CJE This requirement may be met either by attending approved courses or completing other continuing judicial or legal education activity approved for credit by the MCJEC, as described below.

a) The CJE requirement may be met by attending approved courses. At least thirty (30) hours, of which at least four (4) hours are in the area of judicial ethics, must be completed by attending accredited courses. "Attending" is defined as (1) presenting for, or being present in the audience at, an accredited CJE course when and where the course is being presented; (2) presenting for, or participating through an electronic medium in, an accredited CJE course at the time the course is being presented; or (3) participating through an electronic medium in an accredited CJE course that has been pre-recorded, but for which faculty are available to answer questions while the course is being presented. ((Self-study (including the use of technology-based programs), teaching and writing for judicial/legal publications may be considered for credit when they meet the conditions set forth in this rule.

b) Forty-five hours are required for the three-year reporting period, six credits of which are in the area of judicial ethics. Up to fifteen (15) hours, of which up to two (2) hours are in the area of judicial ethics, may be completed through self-study by listening to, or watching, pre-recorded accredited CJE courses. Judicial officers completing credits by self-study must report them to the Administrative Office of the Courts Court Education Services unit.

c) No more than five hours and one hour in the area of ethics can be completed through self-study (including technology based programs), teaching, or published judicial/legal writing. The National Judicial College Web-based programming is exempt from this limitation)). Up to fifteen (15) hours, of which up to two (2) hours are in the area of judicial ethics, may be completed through teaching at accredited CJE courses and/or publishing legal writing. A judicial officer may complete up to three (3) hours of teaching credits for each hour of presentation. Credits for published legal writing must be approved by the MCJEC. Judicial officers completing credits by teaching or writing must report them to the Administrative Office of the Courts Court Education Services unit.

d) Up to three hours may be completed by visits to correctional and similar institutions. Judicial officers completing credits by institutional visits must report them to the Administrative Office of the Courts Court Education Services unit.

e) Judicial officers may attend a combination of approved local, state, or national programs.

f) A judicial officer may complete credits through other courses that directly aid the judicial officer in performing his or her specific judicial duties and are approved by the MCJEC.

2. Carry-Over

If a judicial officer completes more than 45 such credit hours in a three-year reporting period, up to 15 hours of excess credits may be carried forward and applied to the judicial officer's education requirement for the following three-year reporting period. The 15 credit hours that may be carried forward may include two credit hours toward the ethics requirement.

3. Judicial College Attendance

Each judicial officer shall attend and complete the Washington Judicial College program within 12 months of initial appointment or election to the judicial office.

((a) A judicial officer subject to the rules as noted above, who has been elected or appointed to their judicial office since July 1, 1998, but has not attended the Washington Judicial College, must attend the 2003 college. A judicial officer who is unable to attend due to medical disability or extreme hardship may apply to BCE for permission to attend the 2004 college.))

4. Credit Calculation

Credit is calculated on the basis of 1 credit for each 60 minutes of actual subject presentation/participation, not including introductions, overviews, closing remarks, presentation during meals, or keynote addresses unless clearly identified in the agenda as a substantive legal presentation.

Section 3: Program Accreditation

1. Washington State Judicial Branch Sponsors

Attendance at any education program sponsored by the following shall be presumed to meet standards and be accredited:

a) Washington State Supreme Court

b) Administrative Office of the Courts

c) Judicial education programs of the Board for Court Education (BCE)

d) Court of Appeals (COA)

e) Superior Court Judges' Association (SCJA)

f) District and Municipal Court Judges Association (DMCJA)

g) Minority and Justice Commission

h) Commission on Gender and Justice

2. Other Judicial Education Sponsors

Attendance at any education program sponsored by the following shall be presumed to meet standards and be accredited:

a) The National Judicial College in Reno, including the University of Nevada Masters and Ph.D. in Judicial Studies and Web-based programs.

b) American Academy of Judicial Education

c) New York University's Appellate Judges Seminar

d) University of Virginia's Master of Laws in the Judicial Process (LLM)

e) The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) programs such as those sponsored by the American Judges Association, the Institute for Court Management, National Council of Probate Judges, and the National Association of Women Judges

f) Programs approved for Tuition Assistance by BCE

g) The Judicial Division of the American Bar Association (ABA)

h) The Judicial Divisions of all National Bar Associations

1. National Asian Pacific Bar Association

2. National Bar Association

3. Hispanic National Bar Association.

3. Other Continuing Professional Education Programs

To receive credit for attending or serving as faculty at a program sponsored by an organization other than those listed above, a judicial officer may file with the Administrative Office of the Courts Judicial Education Unit an agenda of the program, which will be submitted to the MCJEC for possible accreditation. Courses approved by the Washington State Bar Association for continuing legal education credits that deal with substantive legal topics, statutory, constitutional, or procedural issues that come before the judicial officer will usually qualify for CJE.

4. Basis for Accreditation of Courses

Courses will be approved based upon their content. An approved course shall have significant intellectual or practical content relating to the duties of the judicial officer.

Definitions. The course shall constitute an organized program of learning dealing with matters directly relating to the judicial officer's duties, including but not limited to substantive legal topics, statutory, constitutional and procedural issues that come before

a) the judicial officer, judicial ethics or professionalism, anti-bias and diversity training, and substance abuse prevention training.

b) Factors in Evaluating. Factors which should be considered in evaluating a course include:

1) The topic, depth, and skill level of the material.

2) The level of practical and/or academic experience or expertise of the presenters or faculty.

3) The intended audience.

4) The quality of the written, electronic, or presentation materials, which should be of high quality, readable, carefully prepared and distributed to all attendees at or before the course is presented.

5. Basis for Approval of Other Educational Activities

((The following activities will be judged on a case-by-case basis and shall make up no more than five (5) credits per year, one (1) of which may be in the area of judicial ethics.))

a) Teaching. Serving as faculty at any of the aforementioned accredited programs may be used to partially fulfill education requirements. Three credit hours will be allocated for each hour of instruction. The three credit hours per each hour of instruction includes preparation time.

b) Published Judicial/Legal Writing. Credit may be earned through published legal writing with approval by the MCJEC.

c) Self-Study. Judicial officers may apply to the MCJEC to receive credit for self-study. ((For example, judicial officers may receive credit by accessing educational activities through technology - audiotape and videotape, CD-Rom, Web-based programs, etc.)) To claim CJE credits earned through self-study, judicial officers must report independently.

((The following will also qualify for CJE credit:))

((a)))d) Institutional Visits. Up to a maximum of three credits per three-year reporting period.

((b)))e) Other Continuing Professional Education Programs. Other program courses that directly aid the judicial officer in performing his or her specific judicial duties.

((6.)) Programs That Do Not Qualify

The following activities will not qualify for CJE credit:

a) Continuing Professional Education courses that do not relate to substantive legal topics, statutory, constitutional or procedural issues that come before the judicial officer when performing his or her specific judicial duties.

b) Teaching a legal subject to non-lawyers in an activity or course that would not qualify those attending for CJE/CLE credit.

c) Jury duty.

d) Judging or participating in law school or mock trial competitions.

e) Serving on professional (judicial or legal) committees/associations.

((7.)) 6. Appeals

A judicial officer may appeal the denial of program accreditation by the MCJEC to the full BCE. The appeal may be in the form of a letter addressed to the Chair of BCE that outlines the basis for the judicial officer's request. BCE shall notify the judicial officer in writing of its decision to sustain or overrule the decision of the Mandatory Continuing Judicial Education Committee.

Reviser's note: The typographical errors in the above material occurred in the copy filed by the State Supreme Court and appear in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.

Washington State Code Reviser's Office