Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2015


Since 1993, the Judicial Conference Committee on International Judicial Relations has coordinated outreach and exchange activities of the federal judiciary in support of rule-of-law initiatives. While the Federal Judicial Center has endeavored to publicize the Committee’s work, and members of the Committee have on occasion written and spoken about their work for the Committee, the scholarly treatment of the Committee remains sparse. What discussion does exist in the academic literature tends to depict the Committee in one of two ways. First, the Committee formed in response to the emergence of newly independent states after the 1991 Soviet collapse. Those states flooded the U.S. federal judiciary with requests for assistance in establishing judicial systems, and the federal judiciary needed a dedicated body to respond. Second, the Committee is the natural extension of judges’ participation in rule-of-law assistance and cooperation programs that date to the Founding Era. Writing as law professors and as a participant in the Committee’s work, we write to offer a third view of the Committee, one that emphasizes its role as an education and research-oriented body that not only fosters the exchange of judges, their ideas, practices, and ultimately their role in well-functioning democracies but also as an organization committed to research into comparative judicial administration, transnational legal education curriculum development, and the characteristics of judicial independence and impartiality. Based on a thorough review of its curriculum and exchange activities, interviews with current and former members of the Committee, and more broadly the literature on comparative judicial education, this Article sheds light on the unique role of the Judicial Conference Committee on International Judicial Relations in promoting judicial education, effectiveness, and transparency.



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