August 31, 2014

Almaty Decision-Writing Seminar Equips New Judges

September 2014

On August 22, 2014, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), in cooperation with the Union of Judges of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Almaty City Court conducted a seminar titled “Methodology for Judicial Decision Writing on Civil Cases.” Twenty new judges from Almaty and the surrounding region attended the event, which was held at the Almaty City Court. Top representatives from the Union of Judges of Kazakhstan, the Court Collegium for Civil Cases, and the Almaty City Court’s training center also participated.

The trainings, designed for recently appointed judges, aimed to strengthen decision-writing skills and to promote clearer and more concise judicial decisions.

The seminar was part of a series on judicial decision writing co-hosted by ABA ROLI, the Union of Judges and the Institute of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The trainings, designed for recently appointed judges with less than three years’ experience, aim to strengthen decision-writing skills and to promote clearer and more concise judicial decisions. The topic was a timely one, according to one representative. “The results of a national survey show that judges with little experience find it difficult to compose a judicial decision on civil cases,” said Union of Judges Chairperson Serik Baibatyrov. “That’s why we decided to conduct seminars and start with [teaching] young judges of Almaty City.”

ABA ROLI experts and retired judges Nikolai Mamontov, who formerly served on the Kazakhstan Supreme Court, and Inessa Kuanova, of the North-Kazakhstan Oblast Court, led the seminar. Together they engaged the participating judges on various issues, including the methodology for judicial decision writing on civil cases; the peculiarities of composing a judicial decision based on disputable and indisputable facts of the case; and the differences between different elements of written decision—descriptive, motivational and concluding. In addition to theoretical material, the seminar also enabled participants to put their newly acquired skills and knowledge into immediate practice by encouraging group work on a case study. The participants read materials related to sample cases and generated their own decisions. The experts then reviewed the decisions and provided comments and feedback, promoting shared learning among the participants as they learned from the approaches of colleagues and peers.

ABA ROLI will continue to provide such seminars in cooperation with the Union of Judges of Kazakhstan, with the next session planned for September 2014 for Aktau City. The decision -writing training series is part of ABA ROLI’s U.S. Agency for International Development-funded judicial reform program, which is  implemented in partnership with the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan, the Union of Judges and the Institute of Justice.

To learn more about our work in Kazakhstan, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at rol@americanbar.org.