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Criminal Proceedings etc. (Reform) (Scotland) Act 2007

Section 69: Training and appraisal of JPs

381.This section allows Ministers to make provision by order in relation to the training and appraisal of JPs and future JPs. It also allows them to establish committees which will have responsibility for key functions relating to training and appraisal.

382.Under the 1975 Act, Scottish Ministers have the power to make schemes and provide courses for the instruction of justices of the peace. They do not however have any powers relating to appraisal.

383.In practice, the Executive envisages that the training and appraisal of JPs will come under the overall oversight of the Lord President. That is the reason for the provisions at subsection (2) and (4).

384.It is likely that candidates, having undergone a recruitment process, will be required to undergo a mandatory induction scheme before being recommended to Ministers for appointment as JPs. The Executive currently envisages that the content of this scheme will be drawn up or approved by the Judicial Studies Committee, a non-statutory body which organises training courses for the Scottish judiciary. The scheme would then be issued or approved by the Lord President.

385.The Executive also envisages that all existing JPs will be required to undertake a minimum amount of ongoing training each year, including being required to undertake refresher training within two years of taking up their new five year appointments. Again, it is likely that the Judicial Studies Committee would draw up or approve these ongoing training requirements, which would then be issued or approved by the Lord President.

386.With regard to appraisal, the Executive envisages that JPs will be appraised against a competence framework which would be drawn up or approved by the Judicial Studies Committee. This competence framework would then be approved by the Lord President.

387.Subsection (3) allows the order in relation to training and appraisal to include the power to establish committees. These committees will have the power to devise or adopt appropriate training and appraisal courses and systems; to ensure that these courses or systems are delivered or used; and to provide advice about training and appraisal. The composition and functions of these committees will be set out in more detail in the draft order. It is likely that groups in each sheriffdom, mainly or entirely composed of JPs, will be given responsibilities relating to the delivery of appraisal and training within the sheriffdom. In doing so, they will effectively assume the responsibilities for training that justices' committees currently have under section 16(1)(c) of the 1975 Act.

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