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After a short Christmas break, the School of Professional Skills Development in Ukraine reconvened on January 25 in the city of Chernivtsi. Advocates from the western regions of Ukraine came to a three-day training program. The training was highly evaluated by both participants and trainers. It focused primarily on advocates’ ethics and European practice and standards. Also, given Ukraine’s continental system of law, the workshop touched on the topic of case precedence—especially decisions from the European Court of Human Rights—which lawyers are not always familiar with. Advocates shared their views and experience with their counterparts, established working relations and developed a better understanding of applying precedent.
Since there is no institution of continuing legal education in Ukraine for practicing advocates, ABA ROLI established the School of Professional Skills Development Program in 2006 to allow advocates to stay abreast of legal developments and maintain their professionalism. The overall term of the project depends greatly on when the Parliament of Ukraine adopts a new law to determine the future development of the bar in Ukraine. Ultimately, the project aims to create a single center of continuing legal education for advocates that would work on a permanent basis within the framework of the bar of Ukraine. With this goal in mind, ABA ROLI is planning to involve Ukrainian experts in the development of a unified curriculum for the center.
In the meantime, trainings like these bring advocates in a region together with prominent Ukrainian lawyers. Nevertheless, there still is room for improvement. For instance this year ABA ROLI plans to add new topics to the curricula based on the expressed interests of the advocates. Also, classes will be more oriented towards obtaining practical skills rather than simply on “black-letter” provisions of national and international legislation.
The biggest challenge for making these events successful lies in drawing up the curriculum and finding the appropriate experts who can use interactive methodology to translate their knowledge for trainees. To solve this challenge, ABA ROLI has developed long standing partnerships with the Academy of Advocates of Ukraine, Academy of Judges of Ukraine, and NGOs active in this area. This network allows the filtering up of innovative training methods and information about successful and competent expert trainers.