A Europe-wide judicial training programme to establish a common set of procedural rules and citizens’ rights before the law began this week, as it emerged that there are more than 6,000 violations of judicial procedures currently due to be heard by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

EU minister for justice Viviane Reding told delegates at the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) meeting in Malaga that the programme aimed to foster mutual trust and recognition between member states and, in particular, their respective judicial authorities.

Reding said that the huge number of violations waiting to be heard by the ECHR meant that ‘we need to restore citizens’ trust in Europe and its courts and ensure that our laws are implemented correctly’.

She said the EU would achieve this through a comprehensive programme of judicial training, so that all judges in all member states would follow the same procedures. EU citizens needed to have ‘faith that their rights would be protected across Europe’, she said, irrespective of which country they were in.

A CCBE spokesman said the European judicial area could only function effectively on the basis of mutual trust among judges, legal professionals, businesses and citizens, and that this required an understanding by judges of the minimum standards of procedure.