Academic Articles

Judicial Assistants in Europe – A Comparative Analysis



In almost all Council of Europe Member States, judges do not work alone but are supported in their adjudicative duties by a growing number of judicial assistants. At first glance, these judicial assistants are as different as the legal systems in which they are employed. On a second glance, however, common features can be identified to analyse and compare judicial assistant schemes across courts and legal systems.

First, the paper identifies three types of judicial assistants: potentially permanent “scribes” as in the Netherlands and Switzerland, “interns” fresh from legal education as in the UK, and “seconded judges” as in Germany, who spend a limited time at a higher court to gain experience for promotion.

Second, the paper looks at the organisation of judicial assistants. They can be assigned to a specific judge (cabinet system) or organised in a pool for the whole court (pool system) or for a division or chamber (panel system).

Third, the paper classifies the duties of judicial assistants in different systems on a scale according to the degree of involvement in the judicial process from mere research as in the UK to the complete drafting of decisions as in Switzerland and the Netherlands to (almost) independent work on small cases as in Slovenia.


Law clerksjudicial assistantsCCJECouncil of EuropeCourt Administration
  • Year: 2020
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 3
  • Page/Article: 2
  • DOI: 10.36745/ijca.360
  • Published on 15 Oct 2020
  • Peer Reviewed