GR 26 MANDATORY CONTINUING JUDICIAL EDUCATION Preamble. The protection of the rights of free citizens depends upon the existence of an independent and competent judiciary. The challenge of maintaining judicial competence requires ongoing education of judges in the application of legal principles and the art of judging in order to meet the needs of a changing society. This rule establishes the minimum requirements for continuing judicial education of judicial officers. (a) Minimum Requirement. Each judicial officer shall complete a minimum of 45 credit hours of continuing judicial education approved by the Board for Court Education (BCE) every three years, commending January 1 of the calendar year following the adoption of this rule. If a judicial officer completes more than 45 such credit hours in a three-year reporting period, up to 15 hours of the excess credit may be carried forward and applied to the judicial officer's education requirement for the following three-year reporting period. At least six credit hours for each three-year reporting period shall be earned by completing programs in judicial ethics approved by the BCE. The fifteen credit hours that may be carried forward may include two credit hours toward the judicial ethics requirement. (b) Judicial College Attendance. 1) A judicial officer shall attend and complete the Washington Judicial College program within twelve months of the initial appointment or election to the judicial office. 2) A judicial officer who attended the Washington Judicial College during his or her term of office in a court of limited jurisdiction shall attend and complete the Washington Judicial College within twelve months of any subsequent appointment or election to the Superior Court. A judicial officer who attended the Washington Judicial College during his or her term of office in the Superior Court shall attend and complete the Washington Judicial College within twelve months of any subsequent appointment or election as a judicial officer in a court of limited jurisdiction. A judicial officer who attended the Washington Judicial College during his or her term of office in a superior court or court of limited jurisdiction and is subsequently appointed or elected to an appellate court position is not required to attend the Washington Judicial College. 3) A judicial officer of a District Court, Municipal Court, Superior Court, or an appellate court, who has been a judicial officer at the time of the adoption of this rule for less than four years but has not attended the Washington Judicial College, shall attend and complete the Washington Judicial College program within twelve months of the adoption of this rule. (c) Accreditation. BCE shall, subject to the approval of the Supreme Court, establish and publish standards for accreditation of continuing judicial education programs and may choose to award continuing judicial education credits for self-study or teaching. Continuing judicial education credit shall be given for programs BCE determines enhance the knowledge and skills that are relevant to the judicial office. (d) Compliance Report. Each judicial officer shall file a report with the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) on or before January 31 each year in such form as the Administrative Office of the Courts shall prescribe concerning the judicial officer's progress toward the continuing judicial education requirements of sections (a) and (b) of this rule during the previous calendar year. If a judicial officer does not respond by January 31, their credits will be confirmed by default. Judicial officers who do not have the requisite number of hours at the end of their three-year reporting period will have until March 1 to make up the credits for the previous three-year reporting period. These credits will not count toward their current three-year reporting period. AOC shall publish a report with the names of all judicial officers who do not fulfill the requirements of sections (a) and (b) of this rule. The AOC report shall be disseminated by means that may include, but are not limited to, publishing on the Washington Courts Internet web site, publishing the information as part of any voter's guide produced by or under the direction of the Administrative Office of the Courts, and releasing the information in electronic or printed form to media organizations throughout the Washington State. (e) Delinquency. Failure to comply with the requirements of this rule may be deemed a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct that would subject a judicial officer to sanction by the Commission on Judicial Conduct. (f) Definition. The term "judicial officer" as used in this rule shall not include judges pro tempore but shall otherwise include all full or part time appointed or elected justices, judges, court commissioners, and magistrates. [Adopted effective July 1, 2002; December 31, 2003; amended November 7, 2002; December 31, 2007.]
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