On April 13, 2023, Morocco’s Government Council, chaired by the Head of Government, approved Draft Law No. 37.22 on the Higher Institute for the Judiciary, which is intended to review the judiciary’s organizational framework in support of recent transformations of the justice system and to address some of the challenges related to upgrading the judicial apparatus. The text includes requirements related to judicial training and organizes a number of topics and areas that Organic Law No. 106.13 on the Statute of Judges delegated to specific laws.
Submitted by the minister of justice to the council, the draft law defines the organization, mandate, and management of the Higher Institute for the Judiciary and consolidates the different legal and organizational texts related to judicial training. In line with the relevant constitutional and legal reforms, the draft law transfers the presidency of the board of directors of the Higher Institute of Judiciary from the minister of justice to the deputy president of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary. An amendment was made regarding the appointment of the director general of the Higher Institute for the Judiciary. Previously appointed by the king for an indefinite duration according to Article 30 of the 1996 Constitution, the director general will now be nominated by the deputy president of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, and appointed by dahir (royal decree) for a period of five years, renewable once.
The amendment also expands the composition of the board of directors to include representatives of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, the Presidency of the Public Prosecution Office, the two government authorities in charge of justice and finance, and an important representation of judicial officials from courts of all levels and types, as well as the dean of one of the colleges of legal, economic, and social sciences to be appointed by the government authority in charge of higher education.
The draft law has a new section on access to the Higher Institute for the Judiciary and on training areas. It has merged all legal and regulatory provisions related to judicial training by integrating Law No. 09.01 on the Higher Institute for the Judiciary and the relevant provisions in Organic Law No. 106.13 on the Statute of Judges.
The requirements to apply for the judicial assistant examination are also specified: a master’s degree, a specialized master’s degree, or a postgraduate advanced or specialized diploma in legal sciences or Sharia studies, or its equivalent, accompanied by a bachelor’s degree in private law or Sharia studies. Applications that include similar degrees in other disciplines relevant to the needs of specific positions in a specialized judicial field may also be accepted.
The Higher Institute for the Judiciary
The Higher Institute for the Judiciary was created in 1969 as the “National Judicial Studies Institute” and was attached to the Ministry of Justice. It became a financially autonomous public institution and acquired its new name in 2002 by Law No. 09.01. It is mainly in charge of:
- Initial education for judicial assistants.
- Continuing and specialized education for magistrates.
- Initial and continuing education in the field of the registry secretariat.
- Promotion of research and study for the improvement of the registry secretariat.
- Provision of consultancy and expertise in the field of the registry secretariat for the benefit of the central administration.
- Publication and realization of research and scientific studies in the field of law, doctrine, and jurisprudence.
- Initial, continuing, and specialized education for court officers and members of legal professions at the request of professional organizations.
- Trainings and seminars in the legal and judicial fields for the benefit of state executives and personnel, local authorities, and public and private organizations. (Law No. 09.01, art. 2.)
Organic Law No. 106.13 on the Statute of Judges
Adopted on April 14, 2016, Organic Law No. 106.13 provides for the composition of the judicial branch and the rights, duties, and regulations that organize the function of judges. (Organic Law No. 106.13, art 1.) It enshrines the principle of unity of the judiciary as one body that includes judges and public prosecutors (art. 3), defines the requirements for their appointment (arts. 7–25), and determines the tasks related to judicial responsibility (arts. 40–45). The text details judges’ broader responsibilities in protecting the rights, freedoms, and judicial safety of individuals and groups, as well as in applying the law (art. 41) and in abstaining from expressing views on cases brought before the court (art. 49). It guarantees the rights of judges to freedom of expression, association, and establishment of professional organizations (art. 38) and prevents their participation in political parties and trade unions (art. 46).
This law also defines the disciplinary system for judges and stipulates that any breach of professional duty, honor, or dignity is an offense that may lead to disciplinary punishment. (Arts. 96–102.) Judges are to be immediately suspended from exercising their duties if they are subject to criminal prosecution or commit one of the grave offenses listed under article 97, including:
- Serious breach of a rule that constitutes a basic guarantee of the rights and freedoms of the parties.
- Negligence or unjustified and repeated delay in starting or completing the judgment procedure or in cases during the exercise of judicial duties.
- Breach of professional secrecy and disclosure of secret deliberations.
- Stopping or obstructing sessions or the normal functioning of courts.
- Taking a political stance.
- Engagement in political or union activity, or affiliation with a political party or professional union.
In addition to the areas covered in Draft Law No. 37.22, Organic Law No. 106.13 provides for specific texts to be adopted in relation to deadlines for deciding cases brought before the judge and to the system of promotion and compensation for judges.
Prepared by Zineb Ouaaba, Law Library Intern, under the supervision of George Sadek, Foreign Law Specialist
Law Library of Congress, May 17, 2023
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