The National Association of State Judicial Educators (NASJE) identifies the goal of judicial education as the maintaining and improvement "of the professional competency of all persons performing judicial functions, thereby enhancing the performance of the judicial system as a whole."
Texas is one of four states in which the administrative office of the courts has no responsibility for judicial education. In Texas, judicial education is administered by the Court of Criminal Appeals, pursuant to Chapter 56, Texas Government Code, and Appropriations Act riders applicable to the Court of Criminal Appeals. Chapter 22, Texas Government Code mandates certain topics of judicial education: family violence, sexual assault, child abuse, diversions from prison, and guardianship.
The Court of Criminal Appeals has adopted Rules of Judicial Education governing this program. Rule 2a requires that appellate, district and county court judges, including retired and former judges if they are subject to assignment, to complete "30 hours of instruction in the administrative duties of office and substantive, procedural and evidentiary laws unless the judge has previously complied with this requirement and has been absent from the bench less than one year before taking the present office. . .[and] each fiscal year thereafter, complete at least 16 hours of instruction in substantive, procedural and evidentiary laws and court administration." Justices of the peace, municipal judges, judicial officers, and court coordinators are subject to particular educational requirements under the rules.
Rule 3 provides that programs sponsored by the following organizations and approved by the Court of Criminal Appeals Education Committee for appellate, district, and statutory county judges, or, the County Judges Education Committee for constitutional county judges, can be utilized to satisfy the requirements of Rule 2a:
- Judicial Section of the State Bar of Texas
- Texas Center for the Judiciary, Inc.
- Texas Association of Counties
- National Judicial College (Reno, Nevada)
- Appellate Judges' Conference of the American Bar Association (Chicago, Illinois)
- National Conference of Chief Justices
- American Academy of Judicial Education (Washington, D.C.)
- Institute of Judicial Administration N.Y.U. (New York, New York)
- Texas College of Probate Judges
- National College of Probate Judges
- An accredited law school
- A local, state or national bar association
- A professional organization devoted to improvement of the legal profession such as the Texas Association of Defense Counsel and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association
- The County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas or the V.G. Young Institute of Texas A & M University
- Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
- Texas District and County Attorneys Association
- Wright Lecture Series
- National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
Justices of the peace, municipal judges, judicial officers, and court coordinators are subject to particular educational requirements under the rules. Grant funded education for justices of the peace is provided through the Justices of the Peace and Constables Association of Texas and the Texas Justice Court Judges Association. Education for municipal court judges is provided through the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center.
Court executive development and court management programs are available from The Institute for Court Management at the National Center for State Courts.