ILS for Judges, Lawyers and Legal Educators

ILS for Judges, Lawyers and Legal Educators

International labour standards adopted by the International Labour Organization are important tools for drawing up national legislation. Moreover, international labour law is a highly valuable resource for domestic judges and lawyers seeking to settle labour disputes.

Why attend these courses?

International labour standards adopted by the International Labour Organization are important tools for drawing up national legislation. Moreover, international labour law is a highly valuable resource for domestic judges and lawyers seeking to settle labour disputes.

Courts are increasingly drawing on international labour standards, and on the work of the ILO’s supervisory bodies, to interpret and complement their domestic law. At the same time, the demand for training in this area is growing.

To meet this demand, the International Training Centre of the ILO (ITC-ILO), in collaboration with the International Labour Standards Department, has conducted training courses for judges, lawyers and legal educators since 1999. 

What is the purpose of these courses?

The purpose of these courses is to train participants in using international labour law to resolve domestic labour disputes.

To this end, participants are trained on:

  • the international labour standards system;
  • when and how domestic judges and lawyers can use international labour law;
  • international labour standards and their judicial use in key areas such as freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining, non-discrimination, and termination of employment.
Where are the courses taking place?

Each year, a two-week training course is held on the ITC-ILO campus in Turin, Italy, where participants gather from all over the world. A one-week course specifically for Latin America is also held in a different country of the region each year.

In addition, ‘tailor-made’ national, sub-regional and regional courses are held outside Turin, in conjunction with national judicial training institutes, universities or employment dispute resolution bodies.

Some examples of past courses:

  • Melbourne (Australia): a course for judges and arbitrators from 14 countries in Asia and the Pacific, held in conjunction with Fair Work Australia.
  • Beijing (China): a course for Chinese judges, lawyers and legal educators held in collaboration with the Peking University Law School.
  • Paris (France): a course for French judges and labour inspectors, held in conjunction with the École Nationale de la Magistrature.
  • Mexico City (Mexico): a course for judges, lawyers and law professors from Latin America held in conjunction with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the National Human Rights Commission of Mexico.
  • Maputo (Mozambique): a course for judges and law professors from all Portuguese-speaking African countries, held in conjunction with Mozambique’s Centro de Formação Jurídica e Judiciária.
Which languages are the courses offered in?

The yearly training course in Turin is carried out in English and French with simultaneous interpretation. Spanish is used for the courses in Latin America. ‘Tailor-made courses’ are offered in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian, Arabic and Italian.

What is the participants’ profile?

Since 1999, more than 3,000 people have been trained. These are law professionals who are in a position to apply international labour standards or to teach them. They include:

  • magistrates from courts and tribunals that deal with labourlitigation;
  • university law teachers;
  • labour lawyers;
  • legal experts from employers’ and workers’ organizations.
Who are the trainers?

The courses feature experts from the ITC-ILO, the International Labour Office, the judiciary, academia and the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations.

What materials and methodology are used?

The materials used during the course include a training manual (“International Labour Law and Domestic Law. A Training Manual for Judges, Lawyers and Legal Educators”) published in English, French and Spanish, and a compendium of court decisions from numerous jurisdictions around the world, which is regularly updated in English, French and Spanish. Editions also exist in Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese and Russian.

The training methods take full advantage of the participants’ high level of competencies and experience. The training is based on experiential learning processes that utilize concrete experience and active experimentation. Subjects are dealt with through lectures, group discussions, case studies and role plays.

Moreover, participants have access to on-line resources including an on-line course platform including all course materials prior to, during and after the training.

What is the impact of these courses?

An independent evaluation demonstrated that these courses have an impact. Former participants are making judicial decisions that draw on international labour law. They are also writing academic articles, running seminars, workshops and conferences on related subjects, and upgrading university curricula to include international labour law.


The ITC-ILO collaborates with national judicial training institutions, universities and employment dispute resolution bodies both on specific training activities and long-term projects. These involve training of trainers, training of newly appointed judges and continuous learning.

Some examples of Memoranda of Understanding with institutions:

  • Escuela Judicial del Consejo de la Magistratura (Argentina)
  • Sala Laboral de la Corte Suprema de Justicia (Colombia)
  • Associação Nacional dos Magistrados da Justiça do Trabalho (Brazil)
  • Institut supérieur de la magistrature (Morocco)
  • Centre de Formation Judiciaire du Sénégal (Senegal)
What is the follow up to these courses?

As a follow up to these courses participants join an on-line Community of Practice (CoP).

Through this on-line this CoP, its members can:

  • access information relating to developments in the ILS system, ILS-related documentation and databases;
  • share their news such as  information on judgments they have handed down relying on international labour law sources; their publications; university curricula they have developed; conferences, workshops they have organized and lectures they have delivered in the field of international labour law;
  • trigger discussions on subjects of common interest related to (international) labour law through an on-line forum.