As of 1 January 2010, the Judicial Academy has been operating as a public institution whose objectives include efforts to create conditions for the implementation of initial training programmes for trainees in judicial bodies and candidates for judges and deputy prosecutors (the State School for Judicial Officials programme) and to ensure ongoing professional training for judges and deputy prosecutors.

We are all aware of the importance of and the need for professional training and continuous learning, which are nowadays present in all professions and occupations, but especially in the judiciary, where judges and prosecutors, on a daily basis, make decisions which directly and significantly affect the lives of citizens. Therefore, such decisions must rely on knowledge, expertise, reasoning, certainty and equity, which is a sine qua non for the independence and freedom of the judiciary and, accordingly, for legal security, the protection of human rights and the rule of law.

Otherwise, it would mean that we have all failed to fulfill our fundamental goal and task: to serve and ensure the welfare of citizens of the Republic of Croatia and those of the European Union.

For many decades now, institutions providing professional training for judicial officials have existed and operated in many countries of the world and in all EU Member States, and the continuous training of judicial officials, especially in the areas of international and EU law, as well as the learning of foreign languages and the acquisition of other skills are crucial if they are to perform their tasks not only in compliance with legal and professional criteria, but also with the principles of justice, proportionality and efficiency, the highest standards on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and equal opportunities and rights for all citizens of Europe. In its documents, the European Union has recognised the importance of providing lifelong professional training for judges and prosecutors, and set goals for national and European institutions engaged in professional training for the judiciary, which are focused on covering as many judicial officials as possible by means of education on EU law.

In a computerised and dynamic world, where information is shared and exchanged across national borders and where legislative amendments can hardly keep pace with real-world changes, continuous learning – particularly such that is not limited strictly to the area of our profession or specialisation, but rather incorporates ongoing education, training and keeping abreast of achievements in science, philosophy and the arts – contributes to the development of judicial officials who will – by virtue of their reputation, independence, knowledge and skills – always be able to meet the public’s expectations of citizens.

This objective can only be achieved with genuine support and cooperation from the Judicial Academy as an institutional foundation for the implementation of numerous reforms in Croatia’s judiciary, which will also continue in the years to come. In this support and cooperation, the Academy is focused on its target groups – namely, judges and deputy prosecutors – in order to provide them with those opportunities and the background which they, as its beneficiaries, consider to be most relevant to their needs.