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Bavarian Elector Max IV Joseph, Directive on Reforming the Training of State Officials (June 25, 1799)

Following his accession in 1799, the new elector issued the following directive, thereby implementing the portion of Montgelas’s reform program that focused on improving the education and practical training of state officials, without regard to rank. But the very fact that state service began with an unpaid apprenticeship meant that most officials were recruited from the propertied classes of society.

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[ . . . ] While they are still at our universities (from which, according to existing decrees, citizens of our land may not exempt themselves), academics in the future shall be advised, upon the conclusion of their legal studies, that if they wish to obtain an electoral post associated with the administration of justice, they must first strive to obtain practical experience at a rural court in the following areas: the course of judicial civil and criminal justice, the composition of legal documents and interrogations, inventories and inspections, guardianship and deposit affairs, matters relating to the church and charitable foundations, the tax system, the oversight of military billeting, as well as other matters associated with the state police, national culture, and the polity.

As for those who thus wish to be accepted into Our Judicial Colleges as acting councilors in the event of vacancies, We also demand that, after the aforementioned court experience, they complete practical training at an Electoral Judicial College, with the exception of the Electoral Comptroller’s Office. For this office, We reserve the right of approval, as we do not intend to grant such approval to anyone who has not successfully gathered practical knowledge at a court beforehand.

To start with, as part of this practical training at the Electoral Judicial Colleges, the trainee, who upon entering service is put under temporary obligation, shall take the minutes in sessions and commissions, with his signature being considered equal to that of a hired secretary. At the same time, he shall familiarize himself as much as possible with the organization of the registry, the keeping of books and repertoires, and [the standards of] order and meticulousness that must be observed in these matters.

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