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NEWS

Fair Trials training helps protect rights across the EU

editor - October 28, 2015 - European Commission, roadmap directives, training

12046615_10153923416270283_3368001041005398727_nThis month, criminal lawyers from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden and Denmark attended our residential practitioner training in Vilnius. The training covered the new EU directives on fair trial rights in criminal proceedings, and was delivered in partnership with the Human Rights Monitoring Institute as well as local legal experts from Fair  Trials’ network.

The training was led by Libby McVeigh, our Head of Law Reform; and Legal and Policy Officers Bruno Min and Alex Tinsley, over two days, aiming to provide key information on the new EU directives; the right to interpretation and translationthe right to  information and the right of access to a lawyer. The course delivered a “local focus” module, to help lawyers use these directives to challenge systematic issues in their own jurisdictions.

This focus is integral to ensuring that the training has lasting power by ensuring the Directives are  as applicable and understandable as possible. However, it also lets participants move beyond the training by enabling them to spread contextually specific knowledge within their own jurisdictions that can effectively safeguard the right to a fair trial.

Karolis Liutkevičius, HRMI Legal Officer, said of the training; "I am glad to have been able to assist in organising, and to attend the Vilnius training. I've found it to be hugely educational on the developments of EU and neighbouring countries' criminal justice systems."

The sentiment was echoed by Deputy Director Natalija Bitiukova; "The training does a splendid job of bringing criminal defence lawyers of different jurisdictions and experiences, and providing a platform for discussion and mutual learning."

This training follows the model of several successful courses held by Fair Trials over the past few years. Such courses address the need recently emphasised by both the European Commission and the European Parliament for increased respect of fair trial rights across Europe. By training defence practitioners, Fair Trials hopes to help ensure this need is met, and provide the opportunity for practitioners to meet other lawyers from across Europe and share ideas of how defendants’ rights are best protected.  The training also enables lawyers to learn about key developments within other EU member states, and the ways in which the directives are being used strategically improve systematically poor practice.

One of the lawyers in attendance emphasised the value of the training, as well as the additional benefits, "I never expected the training to be so valuable, the seminar was indeed great and effective, plus I gained contacts abroad and in my own country."

Fair Trials has been coordinating residential training courses for defence lawyers across Europe (with the support of the European Commission) since 2009, as well as providing a free online training platform, with support from the Legal Education Foundation and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Between 2014 and 2016 we aim to work in partnership with five NGO’s to deliver training to 240 lawyers from all 28 member states.

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on 020 7822 2370 or 07950 849 851.

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If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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