Working in partnership
The states we work in are still fairly new members of the Council of Europe and ratified the European Convention on Human Rights relatively recently. As such, human rights lawyers in these countries have comparatively less experience of litigating at the European Court.
The high number of applications found inadmissible also indicates the need for a more strategic and refined approach to litigation.
Our experienced team of legal experts in London works closely with a number of human rights lawyers at our partner organisations, using a mentoring approach to develop their skills and capacity to litigate effectively and strategically.
We see working in partnership on cases as an innovative way of helping to ensure the sustainability of the human rights lawyers in the former Soviet Union, and ensuring that victims of human rights abuse have effective representation.
How does the mentoring process work?
- Cases are usually proposed by our partner lawyers, based on whether they have strategic value and good prospects for success.
- We can offer to advise our partners at all stages of the proceedings – on evidential, legal and/or procedural issues.
- We have certain litigation priorities on which we place particular focus.
- Where the Court decides to have a hearing, we work together to prepare and present the legal arguments to the Court.
- We also work together towards implementation of the Court’s judgments through domestic and international channels.
“Collaboration with EHRAC resulted in the best possible outcome for me as a lawyer. From a lawyer with a strong theoretical background in law, I transformed into an experienced strategic litigation lawyer and an excellent manager at the same time, as strategic litigation involves not only drafting strong applications, but also managing complex cases and working with labour intensive documents.”
Sophio Japaridze (formerly Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association)
In addition to mentoring partner lawyers, we hold regular training for lawyers on specific aspects of European Court litigation, either in the countries we operate in, or in Strasbourg or the UK.
We run an annual Legal Skills Development Programme, which is tailored to the participants’ litigation and advocacy needs. The most recent programme was held in Strasbourg in March 2016.
In addition, we spend time in our focus countries, holding training seminars, round-table discussions, legal consultancies, legal clinics, and case meetings. In June 2016 we brought together lawyers from across our focus countries for a training seminar in Georgia on Combatting violence against women through litigation.
We also produce resources on our cases and litigating at the European Court, and publish the latest developments in European Court litigation and news from the region on our website and social media pages.
In 2015 we introduced a series of ‘webinars‘, on a range of human rights and litigation topics.