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With the assistance of the Judicial School of Armenia, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) recently organized and presented a workshop series on the use of case law precedents. All of the judges of Armenia’s courts of first instance were trained over nine weeks in small groups.
Under Armenia’s new Judicial Code, decisions of the Court of Cassation create binding precedents which are issued as published decisions. The purpose of the workshop was to demonstrate to Armenia’s judges—who are not familiar with such a system—how courts in different jurisdictions apply and use case law precedents.
ABA ROLI Judicial Specialist Bruce Herr presented examples of trial court decisions from the United States, showing how these courts apply precedent established by the United States Supreme Court and use decisions from other courts to help interpret and implement Supreme Court case law. Herr also presented examples of how judges in the French civil law tradition used case law to develop concepts of tort liability. ABA ROLI Staff Attorney Arayik Ghazaryan discussed the use of case law by the European Court of Human Rights and the Armenian Court of Cassation.
Justice Sargsyan of the Court of Cassation topped off the workshop with a discussion of how trial court judges should apply recent decisions of that court. At the end of discussions, the participants engaged in various exercises to practice incorporating case law in their decisions.
As the use of case law continues to develop in Armenia, ABA ROLI will continue its trainings for lawyers and courts in the coming year.