The Programming Conference is in charge of developing the further training programme provided by the German Judicial Academy. The Federal ministry of justice as well as every state administration of justice are represented in the Programming Conference. The Programming Conference is, in fact, composed of those experts of the Federation’s and the federal states’ ministries of justice, who are in charge of the further training of judges and public prosecutors. The professional associations are involved in an advisory capacity. The Programming Conference is chaired by the state that chairs the conference of ministers of justice.
The Programming Conference lays down the basic features of the further training programme provided by the German Judicial Academy in advance for one calendar year. In particular, it defines the number, term and subject matters of the conferences to be held, and determines which administrations of justice will be in charge of organising them. The programme, whose basic features have been adopted, is executed by the respective organising state.
Hence, the German Judicial Academy does not develop the conference programme itself. Because of the Academy’s nature as a joint institution of the Federation and the federal states, the programme is not only paid for, and used, by all but also adopted jointly by all.
How does the annual further training programme come about? The persons in charge of further training make inquiries regarding the requirements perceived in the practice of their departments. Any further training for practice should be based on practice. Said inspirations from practice are complemented by reflections made by the respective ministries, e. g. in connection with any recent amendments of laws. At the beginning of each year, the further training departments, therefore, review and weight which conferences should be proposed during the Programming Conference. In this context, evaluations of conferences held in previous years are counted as well as demand, reflected by attendance figures.
The respective state that chairs the Programming Conference collects the individual proposals made during the conference and draws up a summary. This enables the conference members to get an overview. They can see whether or not there are overlappings with the proposals of others. Thereafter, the Programming Conference is concerned with agreeing on a balanced programme of about 150 individual conferences based on the individual proposals. The term „balanced“ means that individual areas of law must be represented according to their respective relevance. A sufficient number of subjects allowing direct implementation in everyday practice must be offered, first. But, second, the programme must also integrate a sufficient number of subjects concerning fundamental issues and, finally, interdisciplinary subjects. In order to satisfy the changing requirements of justice, an increasing number of behaviour-oriented conferences and conferences or executives in justice are offered in addition.
Besides the conference subjects, the extent of the conferences is also determined by the Programming Conference; the conferences are generally held on four to five days of the week, but there exist longer conferences, too.
The determination of the respective subjects and durations of conferences, generally take place in the context of the first meeting of the Programming Conference held in March of each year with respect to the programme of the following year.
The second key task, reserved for the second meeting in June, is the finetuning,in particular, the time schedule and the appropriation of the budgetary funds available to the respective conferences. Hence, in June of each year the programme for the next year is settled. The planning reliability is thereby ensured for all those involved.
However, the programme planning also enjoys the necessary flexibility to respond to unexpected developments pertaining to legal policy. In October of each year, two topical weeks entitled „Autumn Academy“ (Herbstakademie) are held in Trier and Wustrau. In the course of the planning, no subjects are initially set for these two conference weeks; these are determined in June of the respective year, only. The topical conferences of the Autumn Academies have proved themselves and complete the necessary long-term planning by integrating innovative and current elements.