Continuing Judicial Education Guidelines

Understanding how to ensure credit for all applicable judicial education and training begins with realizing the differences between the rules of Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) which apply to all active members of the State Bar of Texas and the Rules of Judicial Education (CJE) which apply to all Texas judges under Texas Government Code §56.006. The Texas Center for the Judiciary, the primary provider of specialized judicial education and training opportunities for all Texas appellate, district, county court at law, and associate judges, provides statutorily mandated training, tracks your CJE hours, maintains your judicial education transcripts, and complies with the Court of Criminal Appeals’ Rules of Judicial Education. Rule 2 of the Rules of Judicial Education require each judge to complete at least 30 hours of instruction within one year after taking office, unless the judge has been absent from the bench for less than one year. After the first year, judges are required to have 16 hours per fiscal year and any hours in excess of the minimum number may be applied to the following fiscal year’s requirement (which effectively limits the number of carry over hours to 16).

CJE At-A-Glance

CJE requirements have a regular reporting cycle, September 1 through August 31 based on the State of Texas’ fiscal calendar.

Reporting Period CJE Hours Needed CJE Hours Eligible for Carry Over
FIRST YEAR ON THE BENCH
Your Bench Date plus 364 days (or one full calendar year). For example, 1-1-2014 through 12-31-2014
30 0
     
SECOND YEAR ON THE BENCH
One year from your bench date until the end of the next fiscal year.* For example, if your bench date is 1-1-2014, this period would run 1-1-2015 through 8-31-2016. If your bench date is 11-25-2014, this period would run from 11-25-2015 through 8-31-2016.
16 16
     
THIRD YEAR ON THE BENCH and all subsequent years follow the fiscal calendar. For example, 9-1-2016 through 8-31-2017. 16 16

 

 

* This reporting period is an extended period meant to help new judges align with the fiscal year.

Teaching Credit: Judges are allowed to claim three times the presentation time for CJE credit for teaching at certain approved educational activities. However, the method of reporting these credits is different from MCLE, and all teaching credit requests must be submitted to the Texas Center for the Judiciary.

 

Tracking CJE Hours

The Texas Center tracks all judicial education hours and maintains all judicial education transcripts. Unlike MCLE, CJE requirements have a regular reporting cycle, September 1 through August 31 and are not based on your birthday. As with the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Center now offers judges the ability to log in to your judicial profile at any time to check the status of your CJE hours. All Texas appellate, district, county court at law, and associate judges have a user account created at www.yourhonor.com where they can monitor their CJE hours. If you need assistance logging into the system, contact the Texas Center Registrar at (888) 785-8986 or registrar@yourhonor.com.

The Texas Center receives regular updates from the State Bar of Texas for continuing education. If you have recently reported continuing education hours to the State Bar, your continuing judicial education hours should reflect your attendance within 24 hours. If you don’t see the education hours reflected on your transcript after 24 hours you may submit a request for credit.

Waivers and Extensions: Any requests for a waiver or extension from CJE requirements should be made in writing to the Texas Center for the Judiciary and/or the Education Committee of the Court of Criminal Appeals prior to August 31. Unless an extension or waiver for good cause is granted, the Texas Center is required to report the names of all deficient judges to the Education Committee, which will report the information to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct. Thereafter, the Texas Center will not communicate with a judge as to their status.

 

Accredited CJE Activities

Programs sponsored by organizations approved by the Court of Criminal Appeals Education Committee for appellate, district, and county court at law judges can be used to satisfy the requirements of Rule 2a. A list of approved providers is available on the Court of Criminal Appeals website.

Programs by organizations that are not on the list of approved providers may also be used to satisfy the requirements of Rule 2a subject to approval by the Court of Criminal Appeals Education Committee.

The Rules of Judicial Education allow four (4) hours of instruction to be obtained by electronic means and may include teleconferences, webcasts, satellite, on-demand/online CLE, and accredited downloadable CLE activities that have been recorded from live seminars.

Texas Center conferences are also MCLE approved by the State Bar of Texas. As a judge, you may claim exemption from MCLE requirements of the State Bar of Texas by making a written request or by responding on the yearly form sent by the MCLE department of the State Bar. Mandatory legal ethics/professional responsibility hours are only required by MCLE rules, not CJE rules.

 

Family Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse

Texas Government Code § 22.110 requires a judge who hears cases involving family violence, sexual assault, trafficking of persons, and child abuse and neglect to complete specific judicial training related to these issues. Judges must complete at least 12 hours of training within their first full term of office and at least five hours during each additional term in office (or four years of service).

 

Family Violence Hours At-A-Glance

Reporting Period Hours Needed
FIRST TERM ON THE BENCH
(or first four years of service)*
12
   
FOLLOWING TERMS 5

 

 

 

 

*If appointed for an unexpired term, please contact the Texas Center to determine your first term reporting period.

The 12 hours of training during the first term of office must include at least four hours dedicated to issues related to trafficking of persons and child abuse and neglect and must cover at least two of the topics described in Govt. Code § 22.110(d)(8)-(12) as follows:

  1. dynamics of sexual abuse of children, including child abuse accommodation syndrome and grooming;
  2. impact of substance abuse on an unborn child and on a person's ability to care for a child;
  3. issues of attachment and bonding between children and caregivers;
  4. issues of child development that pertain to trafficking of persons and child abuse and neglect; and
  5. medical findings regarding physical abuse, sexual abuse, trafficking of persons and child abuse and neglect.

In addition, at least six hours of the training must be dedicated to the training described in Govt. Code § 22.110(d)(5)-(7) as follows:

  1. available community and state resources for counseling and other aid to victims and to offenders;
  2. gender bias in the judicial process;
  3. dynamics and effects of being a victim of family violence, sexual assault, tracking of persons, or child abuse and neglect.

The five hours of training required during each additional term in office must include at least two hours of training dedicated to issues of trafficking of persons and child abuse and neglect. It is the judge’s individual responsibility to keep track of statutorily differentiated mandatory training.

 

Exemptions

Appellate judges are exempt from obtaining continuing judicial education in the area of family violence. District and county court at law judges may apply for a family violence exemption if they do not hear any cases involving family violence, sexual assault, tracking of persons, or child abuse and neglect. Download the exemption form and fax, mail or email to the Texas Center.