Raising the Professional Standards of Defence Lawyers in Russia

CWI 2016-17 Programme

The training programme ‘Raising the Professional Standards of Defence Lawyers in Russia’ was launched in St Petersburg in October 2016.

A series of educational events and exchange of experiences has been organised for practising defence lawyers in the Northwest of Russia.  The training addresses the principles of fair trial and professional legal ethics, as well as practical skills.  Experienced UK lawyers are giving invaluable contributions to the training.

In addition, video lectures on selected subjects are being organised, with the intention of widening the lawyers’ audience across Russia.  We launched our YouTube Channel with the first of these is a lecture by the legendary solicitor Alastair Logan CBE, entitled “The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance”.

Full details of each seminar can be found below.

Quotes from Programme Participants

It was a great pleasure to talk to our English colleagues, learn about their experiences, problems they face in their work, their methods and other ‘inside’ aspects of their professional life.”

“Interactive training sessions were useful in terms of practice, because despite the differences between our legal systems, we share the same professional skills. I was especially impressed with the session on arguments in court at the third seminar.”

“To put it simply, it was great to get professional advice from our English colleagues who are intelligent, experienced and top leaders in their profession.”

“It’s a pity indeed that the project is finished. However, I am inspired by a thought that thanks to the knowledge we have received here, each of us has become a little bit closer to perfection. For some of us this might mean a big step forward, for others a smaller one, and for the rest perhaps being more informed. In any case, these are sprouts of knowledge that will eventually grow and flourish. Knowledge can indeed change one’s outlook for the better. The only way we can change the world is change ourselves first.”

Feedback Report by Programme Participant, Alexei Kotko>>

SEMINAR 1

Work of a  Defence Lawyer Before Trial: St Petersburg and Tver, 10-13 Octonber 2016

There are not many things of greater interest to a lawyer than an opportunity to compare notes with legal practitioners from another jurisdiction. Early in October 2016 jurists in St Petersburg and Tver had opportunities to do precisely this when two prominent lawyers from the UK – Lionel Blackman and David Osborne – came to Russia to share their perspectives on key legal issues.

Quotes from Seminar 1 Participants

It was a great pleasure to talk to our English colleagues, learn about their experiences, problems they face in their work, their methods and other ‘inside’ aspects of their professional life.”

“Interactive training sessions were useful in terms of practice, because despite the differences between our legal systems, we share the same professional skills. I was especially impressed with the session on arguments in court at the third seminar.”

“To put it simply, it was great to get professional advice from our English colleagues who are intelligent, experienced and top leaders in their profession.”

“It’s a pity indeed that the project is finished. However, I am inspired by a thought that thanks to the knowledge we have received here, each of us has become a little bit closer to perfection. For some of us this might mean a big step forward, for others a smaller one, and for the rest perhaps being more informed. In any case, these are sprouts of knowledge that will eventually grow and flourish. Knowledge can indeed change one’s outlook for the better. The only way we can change the world is change ourselves first.”

Feedback Report by Programme Participant, Alexei Kotko>>

SEMINAR 2

Working with Offenders in the Community. Alternative Forms of Justice : St Petersburg, 11-12 November 2016

‘Working with Offenders in the Community. Alternative Forms of Justice’ is the second in a series of seminars held in St Petersburg in collaboration between Citizens’ Watch International (London) and Legal Training Centre (St. Petersburg).

The seminar was was held on 11-12 November and attended by over 50 defence lawyers from St Petersburg and the Northwest Region of Russia.

Quotes from Seminar 2 Participants

“I was amazed by the radically different approach to the justice system and to offenders.”

“Before 11 November 2016 I was a strong opponent of youth justice as a whole. It is no longer like that. I think intervention is needed where families have real problems and I would like to start working in this direction to help children and their parents.”

“Mediation in criminal proceedings holds much hope for the future, and it undeservedly gets little attention in Russia nowadays. But existing legislation allows for conciliatory approaches to justice to a small degree. Now I’m thinking it will be very effective to try to use these possibilities in my work.”

SEMINAR 3

Training in Trial Skills : St Petersburg and Kaliningrad, 20-22 January 2017

‘Training in Trial Skills’ seminars, held over two full days (20-21 January 2017) in St Petersburg and a shorter version over one day (22 January) in Kaliningrad, were the third in this series of seminars run in a collaboration between Citizens’ Watch International (London) and Legal Training Centre (St. Petersburg).

On this occasion, the three trainers from the UK were the lawyers Tom Price QC, Duncan Jones and Lionel Blackman.

Each seminar attracted an interested group of over 40 Russian lawyers who were eager to listen to the speakers from another jurisdiction, and bring their own legal experience to bear in lively discussion.

Quotes from Seminar 3 Participants

“I am absolutely delighted! There were a number of things in the seminar that I am able to use in my own work, and that will help me change my legal practice for the better, thereby delivering a better and more professional service to my clients.”

“I would like to thank the organisers and the colleagues from Great Britain for yet another excellent seminar. It was especially useful to hear how barristers speak in court, I liked the consistency and brevity of their speeches. I appreciated hearing at first-hand what the English lawyers think about their profession and about the most fundamental principles of justice, such as the presumption of innocence.”

“It was very useful to learn about the use of visual technologies in court. They are valuable means in that they are easy to use and do not require heavy expenses or specific knowledge.

SEMINAR 4

Professional Development and Legal Market : St Petersburg, 18-19 February 2017

The fourth seminar of the project focused on administrative and financial aspects of the work of English law firms and chambers.

The team of experienced and competent trainers was this time represented by Robert Brown, Lindsay Scott and David Osborne.

Quotes from Seminar 4 Participants

It was particularly helpful to find out how legal firms operate on the inside – the specifics of solicitors’ and barristers’ everyday work.”

“In my practice, I will use the recommendations to safely store and encrypt confidential and privileged information.”

“It was very useful to find out how English law firms actively promote and advertise their services in the legal market – by putting the firm’s logo and contacts on pens, notebooks and shopping bags or by making sure that the firm’s website offers a lot of relevant information, including videos (as Lindsay Scott rightly said, people nowadays do not like reading long texts).”

“I was impressed by the idea of making all data accessible electronically for the members of a firm through their individual profiles protected by a login and a password. Such systems allow lawyers to access necessary case materials from any location on the globe.”

“It was very useful to discuss ethical issues that lawyers often face in their work.”

“Without any hesitation, I can say that I was most interested to learn about promotion of legal services on the Internet, and I am planning to do that, using effective ways of presenting the information about my business.”

LEGAL LECTURES IN SIBERIA

Use of Visual Technologies by Defence Lawyers : Tomsk, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, 20-24 March 2017

In March 2017, Lionel Blackman travelled to Siberia to deliver lectures in three cities for members of local Bars and law students.  Each lecture concerned the use of visuals in criminal trials.  For student audiences, Lionel also provided a brief history of the UK constitutional settlement. Students and lawyers were keen to learn more about the English legal system in general.  A wide range of topics were covered in Questions and Answers sessions following the lectures: from Brexit to the European Court of Human Rights to legal education in the UK and studying in British universities.

VIDEO LECTURE 1

The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance : Alastair Logan OBE

CWI has opened its channel on YouTube. The first video we have uploaded is the lecture by the legendary solicitor Alastair Logan CBE, entitled “The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance”.

The video has Russian subtitles.  You can also download the full text in English here and the Russian translation here.

Lawyers from Russia and other countries are welcome to watch the lecture, share their comments and send questions to the lecturer.

VIDEO LECTURE 2

Prosecuting and Defending in the English Court : Flora Page

The barrister Flora Page shares her experience of acting for the defence and for the Crown in an interview with David Osborne.

 

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