Announcing the NC Judicial College’s Certification Program for Magistrates

We are delighted to announce that the North Carolina Judicial College has developed a new offering for North Carolina magistrates, premiering this spring, allowing magistrates to obtain certification upon completion of specified Judicial College seminars and general training events. Two types of certification will be offered, one in criminal law and the other in small claims law. The purpose of the certification program is to acknowledge and document the commitment and accomplishments of magistrates who pursue a focused course of study in one or both areas.

The procedure for seeking certification upon satisfaction of the relevant requirements will be simple: In September each year, magistrates may file a request for certification accompanied by written documentation from the Learning Management Center of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) verifying their completion of the required training events. In October, the Judicial College will publish a list of the newly certified magistrates, in addition to issuing a letter of certification and formal certificate. The AOC will publicize the names of these newly certified magistrates.

Participation in the certification program is optional, and no advance application or declaration of interest is required. Magistrates able to document their completion of previous Judicial College training events will receive credit toward certification for their participation in those events.

We know that the needs of magistrates are variable in terms of the type of training that works best. Some magistrates from smaller counties in the eastern and western parts of the state find it difficult to participate in multi-day training events. Some Judicial College seminars have limited seating, with participants selected by an application process. In addition, a few Judicial College courses are offered on a biennial basis. In recognition of these concerns, we have, wherever possible, offered alternative events to allow some flexibility in how a magistrate might satisfy the certification requirements. Most significantly, we chose not to impose a time limit within which the required courses be completed.

The requirements for certification in each track are set out below. Courses previously attended are eligible for credit if marked with an asterisk.

Small Claims Certification (five components):

___      Decision-Making (new Judicial College seminar, offered annually in August)

___      Introduction to Small Claims I*

___      Introduction to Small Claims II (new Judicial College seminar; see FAQ’s for more information)

___      One Regional One-Day Small Claims School* or six hours of small claims sessions at the Magistrates’ Fall and/or Spring Conferences

___      One Special Topic Seminar in Small Claims* (may appear on transcript as Advanced Small Claims) or two One-Day Regional Small Claims Schools*


Criminal Law Certification (five components)

___      Decision-Making (new Judicial College seminar, offered annually in August)

___      Advanced Criminal Procedure* (offered bi-annually)

___      DWI and Related Offenses* (offered bi-annually)

___      What Magistrates Need to Know about Domestic Violence* (offered bi-annually)

___      One Regional One-Day Criminal Law School* or six hours of criminal law sessions at the Magistrates’ Fall and/or Spring Conferences

Additional information about the certification program is available here.

My colleague, Dona Lewandowski, took the lead on developing this program and we are grateful for her efforts.