1. Mandatory Qualifications for AWMA Apprentice Judge

a. The candidate must be an AWMA member in good standing for at least two (2) years.

b. The candidate must have trained at least two (2) dogs:
     • Trained and titled one (1) Malinois from BH to SchH3/IPO3/IGP3 (with passing scores).
     • Trained and titled one (1) other dog from BH to SchH3/IPO3/IGP3 (with passing scores).
     • Must have competed at the national level and passed with one of these two dogs.
     • Must put an FH 1 on a dog, with passing scores.

c. The candidate must have been actively involved with promoting the Malinois breed and the AWMA at the club level.

d. The minimum age of a licensed AWMA judge is twenty-five (25) years.

2. Application to Apprentice Program

a. The applicant will be recommended to the AWMA Executive Board by their local club, Regional Director, or by any licensed judge recognized by the AWDF. A written resume of the applicant's qualifications must accompany this recommendation, with copies of their scorebooks for proof of titles and handler.

b. The applicant will submit a criminal background check, completed at the apprentice judges’ expense. This can be obtained at the Department of Public Safety or equivalent. Once the applicant becomes a fully licensed judge, the applicant will be reimbursed for the expense of the background check upon providing the receipt.

c. The AWMA DOJ will be responsible for confirming the forthrightness of the applicant's resume and will acquaint themselves with the applicant to ensure the applicant will represent the AWMA to the highest standard. Only persons who demonstrate high standards of personal conduct, good sportsmanship, and a mastery of the basics of sport dog training along with the willingness to work well with people and to intelligently promote the dog sport should be considered.

d. The applicant's name will be posted on the website for forty-five (45) days. Any challenges or objections regarding the applicant should be sent to the AWMA DOJ within this period for review.

e. The Judges Committee will review any comments from members about the candidate AFTER verifying the accuracy of the comments and forward them to the Executive Board within seven (7) days after the comment period ends; (Note: Any comments that cannot be verified as well as anonymous comments, will be disregarded.)

f. Any comments received about the applicant will be sent to the applicant without the name of the sender.

g. After approval by the Executive Board by a majority vote, the applicant will be placed on the AWMA apprentice judge list and begin the AWMA Apprentice Judges program.

3. The Apprenticeship Procedure

a. To begin their apprenticeship, the apprentice judge will send a request for permission to apprentice to the mentoring judge, the trial secretary of the trial of the club, and the AWMA DOJ. Additional permissions may be required if the mentoring judge holds anything other than an AWMA license; it is the responsibility of the apprentice to seek these permissions from other organizations according to their policies. All of this must be done in written/email form no less than thirty (30) days prior to the trial.

b. Upon completion of the trial, the apprentice's report must be sent to the mentoring
judge no later than fourteen (14) calendar days after completion of the trial. The mentoring judge will be requested to make comments and corrections to the apprentice's report with within fourteen (14) calendar days of receiving the report. One copy will be sent to the apprentice judge with a copy going to the AWMA DOJ.

c. After the completion of each apprenticeship (i.e. all copies graded and electronically sent back) there will be a waiting period of one week, (7) calendar days, before the next assignment. This will give the apprentice judge time to study the results and the mentoring judge's remarks from the preceding event.

d. All copies of the summary evaluations by the previous mentoring judges must be sent to and received by the next mentoring judge at least seven (7) calendar days prior to the next apprenticeship. This will give the mentoring judge time to evaluate the apprentice's prior progress.

e. There will be a required initial walk through (if applicable) followed by a minimum of six (6) apprenticeship trials. The last apprenticeship will be under the AWMA DOJ or his/her designee. The AWMA DOJ may require the apprentice to complete more apprenticeships at his/her discretion.

f. During the course of the apprenticeship, a minimum of sixty-eight (68) dogs must be evaluated. The minimum breakdown will be as follows:
     •  Fifteen (15) BH
     • Three (3) FH equivalent (FH1, FH2 or IGP-FH)
     • Fifteen (15) IGP 1
     • Five (5) IGP 2
     • Thirty (30) IGP 3

g. Once the apprentice judge has completed the judging program, the apprentice will have to pass a written exam.

h. After completion of all requirements, the AWMA DOJ will make a recommendation to the AWMA Executive Board for licensing. The AWMA Executive Board must confirm all new AWMA judges with a simple majority vote.

i. The initial license will be for a probationary period of three (3) years or twenty-five (25) trials, whichever comes first. The probationary license allows the probationary judge to preside at any AWDF club level event in the US. 

j. Permission must be granted from the AWMA DOJ for the probationary judge to judge a Regional or higher-level event. Only after significant experience has been obtained as determined by the AWMA DOJ and has been demonstrated by the probationary judge, can permission be granted. 

k. At the end of the probationary period of three (3) years or twenty-five (25) trials, whichever comes first, the probationary judge's work will be reviewed by the AWMA DOJ, who will make a recommendation to the AWMA Executive Board regarding the granting of a permanent judges’ license.

l. All apprentice and probationary judges will be held to the same conduct requirements as judges. (Note: See item 7, the Judge's Conduct, below.)

4. Removal of Apprentice

a. An apprentice who does not apprentice at least two (2) times in one (1) year or finish the program in three (3) years will be removed from the apprentice judge program.

b. An apprentice who fails two (2) apprenticeships will be removed from the program. Apprentices who have been removed must take six (6) months off from the program and must reapply to the AWMA DOJ to begin a new apprenticeship.

c. Any apprentice who exhibits behavior that is not in the best interest of AWMA or the judges’ program may be removed from the program. Removal for this reason will require approval by the AWMA DOJ and majority vote by the Executive Board.

d. The AWMA DOJ may remove an apprentice from the program if the apprentice fails to show a marked improvement in procedure and quality of trial reports as they progress through the program.

5. Acceptance of Judges from Other Programs (Adopted October 19, 2019 and modified January 20, 2020)

Fully licensed judges from FCI-recognized judges’ programs may be granted an AWMA judge's license.Qualifications are as follows:
     • Must be a current AWMA member in good standing.
     • Must have trained two (2) different dogs from BH to SCH3/IPO3/IGP3 with passing scores.
     • Must have taken one (1) dog to a National event with a passing score.
     • Must have completed an FH1 with a passing score.
     • Must have a background check completed at the applicant’s expense. This can be obtained at the Department of Public Safety or equivalent. Once the applicant becomes a fully licensed judge, the applicant will be reimbursed for the expense with the background check upon providing the receipt.

The membership is provided notice of candidacy via publication on the AWMA website for a period of forty-five (45) consecutive days. After the forty-five (45) consecutive days:

a. The Judges Committee should review any comments from members about the candidate AFTER verifying the accuracy of the comments and forward them to the Executive Board within seven (7) days after the comment period ends. (Note: Any comments that cannot be verified along with anonymous comments will be disregarded.)

b. The Executive Board will discuss the applicant's candidacy and evaluate ALL of the Judges Committee's comments submitted by members within ten (10) days of receiving the comments from the Judges Committee;

c. Within seven (7) days after the discussion on the applicant, the Executive Board will vote on accepting the judge. A simple majority vote by the Executive Board will determine the results of the applicant's candidacy. If the results are negative, the secretary of the AWMA will send a general description of why the result was negative to the candidate.

d. If the outcome is unfavorable, the candidate may request within seven (7) days an opportunity to discuss the outcome with the Executive Board and dispute any negative inferences.

e. If the outcome is contested by and discussed with the candidate, then the Executive Board will revote on the candidate within seven (7) days, without further discussion. A simple majority vote by the Executive Board will determine the results of the applicant’s candidacy.

f. If approved, the candidate would be a fully licensed AWMA judge contingent upon him or her signing the required paperwork. As a courtesy requirement, the judge will be required to write a report to the AWMA DOJ of his or her first assignment as an AWMA Judge.

6. Mentoring Judges

a. A mentoring judge is an AWMA fully licensed judge that accepts the responsibility to mentor the apprentice judges.

b. They have been AWMA fully licensed judges for 5 years.

c. They have judged at least one championship.

d. They have judged at least 50 club trials.

7. Judge's Conduct

a. A judge is a representative of AWMA, on and off the field, at all times.

b. A judge has the responsibility to promote the sport in a positive manner and promote AWMA in a positive manner.

c. A judge must always be fair and unbiased in their work.

d. A judge should always conduct themselves in a sportsmanlike manner.

e. A judge should abide and judge by the rules accepted by the AWMA.

f. A judge should at all times be concerned for the welfare of our dogs as well as the safety and conduct of trial participants and spectators.

g. Judges are required to keep the AWMA DOJ informed of correct contact information and any circumstance that could interfere with their ability to fulfill the judging requirements.

h. A judge may not judge their member club's trial or household members. This may be waived for championship trials.

i. Judges may not use judging assignments as a mechanism for generating income by training or selling dogs while at a judging assignment.

8. Required Judges' Activities

a. A judge should continue to expand his/her knowledge by studying under visiting judges and attending workshops and seminars.

b. A judge must remain actively and demonstrably involved with the training of sport dogs.

c. Judges will be required to judge a minimum of three (3) trials within each calendar year. (Note: This will be enforced once AWMA has enough clubs and trials to warrant this request.)

9. Judges Fees

a. A judge is entitled to all reasonable expenses relating to judging assignments, including the following:
     • Current government mileage rates apply for auto travel.
     • Round trip airfare where required.
     • Airport parking and incidental associated travel expenses.
     • $100.00 per day judges fee for each day judging plus travel day.
     • Meals while in transit to and from the event.

b. Judges with additional requirements should make them known to the hosting club at the time of agreeing to judge the trial.

c. The judges should provide an invoice for payment to each club.

d. Disputes over fees and expenses will first be arbitrated by the AWMA DOJ.

10. Removal of Judges

Judges' licenses will be removed upon:

a. Termination of AWMA membership (Note: This is an automatic occurrence.)

b. Voluntary request for removal.

c. Judges who do not judge the required three (3) trials per year, without excused cause. (Note: This will not be enforced until such time as there are sufficient AWMA trials as determined by the Judges’ Committee to support this).

d. Judges may be removed by two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the Executive Board.

e. At any time, the AWMA DOJ may place any AWMA judge on inactive status until there is a meeting or decision of the Executive Board.

f. The AWMA DOJ may place a judge on inactive status until specified requirements are met, not to exceed six (6) months without Executive Board involvement.

g. A judge may request inactive status for personal or health reasons. If the judge remains inactive for a period of more than eighteen (18) months, he/she will be required to do a minimum of one apprenticeship or walk-through under the AWMA DOJ or his/her designee to be reinstated as a fully licensed AWMA judge.

11. Judges – Non AWMA Employee Statement

Judges are on a volunteer basis when performing their judging responsibilities. For the clubs that request an AWMA judge the judge may or may not accept the request. The AWMA does not control how the judge performs their task, as long as they follow the guidelines provided by the rule book. Judges are independent contractors who do not work for the AWMA but are representatives of the AWMA.

Proposed by the AWMA Judges' Committee and ratified by the AWMA Executive Board, June 29, 2001, modified and accepted on March 21, 2014, further modified October 19, 2019, and revised on January 20, 2020.