Access to Justice for Vulnerable Groups in Russia

CWI 2017-18 Programme
PICTURE : Russia deports Tajik mother after her baby’s death in police custody in November 2015

CWI’s 2017-18 training programme ‘Access to Justice for Vulnerable Groups in Russia’ began in September 2017. 

The initiative is in the next stage of the long-term education programme Magna Carta International, launched by CWI in February 2016. The aim of the new programme is to improve access to justice for two vulnerable groups in Russia – migrants and persons with disabilities – by strengthening knowledge and skills of Russian lawyers in these areas of practice.  Equipped with the knowledge of international human rights standards, Russian lawyers will be able to defend the rights of migrants and disabled persons more efficiently and ensure that these persons get unhindered access to justice and a fair trial in accordance with the rule of law.



Key Activities

Within the frames of the initiative, the lawyers will improve their awareness and knowledge of how international human rights standards on access to justice for the two vulnerable groups are ensured in other legal systems.

Legal Training Centre in St Petersburg and Nottingham University Human Rights Law Centre will be partners in this project, organising training events and study visits and providing an opportunity for the delegated lawyers to interact with UK lawyers through field visits to local courts and charities working with migrants and disabled persons.

The direct target audience of the initiative will be Russian lawyers from the Northwest Region of Russia who will engage in an educational and mutually beneficial experience with British lawyers practising in the field of migrants and disabled persons.

There will be an introductory training in St. Petersburg for Russian lawyers as well as a seminar for Russian court interpreters. The lawyers will then visit the UK to improve their professional skills and knowledge through participation in various trainings.


Defending the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and and Migrants,
St Petersburg 29-30 September 2017

This first seminar took place in the premises of the Legal Training Centre.  Lawyers from St. Petersburg and other regions who came to the seminar were motivated by the opportunity to learn about the British experience firsthand and to meet with the leading Russian human rights lawyers experienced in defending the rights of migrants and of patients with mental disorders.

Key experts:

  • Dmitri Bartenev, Attorney at Law, ONEGIN Group Law Office, St. Petersburg
  • Catherine Casserley, barrister, Cloisters Chambers, London
  • Olga Tseytlina, Atorney at Law, Iusland Law Offices, St Petersburg
  • Deirdre Sheahan, Associate Solicitor, Paragon Law, Nottingham


Interpreters and the Legal Process, 31 October 2017

This second seminar in St Petersburg gathered interpreters working at court and police stations. Participants discussed and compared the systems in Russia, UK, Australia and Poland, the quality of interpretation in legal context and the prospect of establishing a professional code of practice for court interpreters in Russia.

Key experts:

  • Oxana Yakimenko, simultaneous interpreter, St. Petersburg
  • Elena Cook, simultaneous interpreter, London
  • Alexander Larin, Director of Alba Translations, Nizhniy Novgorod


Citizens' Watch International

Citizens' Watch International is a UK registered charity dedicated to promoting access to justice where human rights are at risk, particularly in Russia and the former Soviet Bloc countries.

UK Registered Charity No. 1161837