Examinations

Introduction

In Belgium, only an examination, organised by the High Council of Justice, provides entry to the judiciary. These examinations are organised by the French-language Nominations and Appointments Committee (CND) and the Dutch-language Nominations and Appointments Committee (BAC) of the High Council of Justice.

What is assessed?

The examinations are intended to assess the maturity and aptitude needed for the performance of judicial duties. We assess not only the candidate’s intellectual abilities, but also other aptitudes, such as the candidate’s listening skills and tolerance to stress.

The examinations programmes are reviewed annually by the joint Nominations and Appointments Committee (JNAC), which then submits them for approval to the General Assembly of the High Council. The Justice Minister must then ratify the examination programmes so that they can be published in the Belgian Official Journal. (See the related documents for the current programme.)

There are 3 types of examinations. For which examination are you eligible?

1. You are a young lawyer and have at least one year’s professional experience in the legal sector. You sit the judicial internship entrance examination, which qualifies you for a judicial internship (short or long). At the end of your internship, you can apply for a vacant position as judge.

2. You have specific legal expertise. You sit the vocational aptitude examination. The certificate which is awarded to you enables you to apply immediately for a position as a judge. The certificate is valid for seven years.

3. You are an experienced lawyer. You take the oral evaluation examination. The certificate which is awarded to you enables you to apply immediately for a position as a judge. The certificate is valid for three years.

Do you automatically become a judge if you have successfully passed your examination?

No. Candidates who have successfully passed an examination and who, if applicable, have completed a judicial internship, do not automatically become judges. First of all, there must be a vacancy. You must also take account of the legal nomination conditions. More information on Nominations & Appointments.

Please note: the entrance examination for positions as legal secretaries and members of the public prosecutor’s department are organised by Selor.