LEGAL STRATEGIC LITIGATION TRAINING BEFORE CIVIL COURTS AND CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS COURTS
BACKGROUND OF THE TRAINING
The EU-funded Project European Union for Women Empowerment (EU4WE) is a 36-month project (October 2019–October 2022) that aims to promote full and unconditional equality between men and women in Lebanon. This project is implemented and managed by Expertise France (EF), the French public agency for international technical assistance and funded by the European Union. The agency provides partner countries with knowledge, skills, and management expertise in democratic, economic and financial governance; stability, international security and peace; sustainable development, climate and agriculture; and health and human development.
The overarching purposes of EU4WE are to:
I. Reduce Gender-Based Violence (GBV) through women's empowerment.
II. Enhance existing institutional mechanisms working towards gender equality.
Achieving the following results will help to achieve the abovementioned purposes:
- Result 1.1 (component 1): Entrepreneurial capacities of Lebanese women are enhanced (Women economic empowerment programme).
- Result 1.2 (component 2): The legal mechanisms against GBV are enhanced (legal capacity building on GBV for legal professionals).
- Result 2.1 (component 3): Gender-oriented knowledge production and dissemination with the relevant stakeholders (support to gender observatory and gender machineries).
The legal strategic litigation training for attorneys falls under Purpose I, Result 1.2 and aims to enhance access to justice for women survivors of domestic violence before civil and religious courts of Lebanon, based on existing applicable international conventions and Lebanese laws.
The training curriculum is based on the comparative legal study launched by EU4WE in June 2021, which builds on the legal assessments of short-term experts that surveyed and analyzed jurisprudence of Judges of Urgent Matters and jurisprudence of religious court (in matters of divorce, custody, etc. containing elements of domestic violence) from August 2020 until November 2020. Direct link to the PDF of the study: https://bit.ly/3qy0EGQ
The study provided a legal analysis of jurisprudence in light of Law 293/2014, international conventions adopted by Lebanon, and international best practices pertaining to domestic violence. It, therefore, identified and illustrated legal gaps and inaccurate practices in jurisprudence of civil courts, mainly jurisprudence of Judges of Urgent Matters, under Law 293/2014 (enacted in 2014, with the latest amendments adopted in December 2020) and jurisprudence of religious courts in cases containing domestic violence elements. To bridge these gaps, the study provided recommendations under applicable Lebanese laws, international conventions adopted by Lebanon, and international best practices, through a legal harmonization approach, keeping in mind that the ultimate objective is to strengthen access to justice for survivors of domestic violence and to improve the outcome of their cases, before both Lebanese civil courts and religious courts.
PURPOSE OF TRAINING.
To implement the recommendations of the legal study mentioned above and to further strengthen access to justice of survivors of domestic violence, EU4WE is seeking to enhance the strategic litigation skills of practicing attorneys handling cases with elements of GBV before Lebanese courts, with a focus on Christian religious courts. These attorneys will become the members of a “go-to Task Force” that will be ready to represent women survivors and accompany them legally throughout the legal judicial process before competent authorities, including civil and religious courts.
The planned training session will provide:
- An understanding of the protection principles regarding gender-based violence (GBV) and the effects of this violence on the mental health of survivors, in order to better support survivors according to international best practices, guidance and standards regarding protection and GBV support.
- A better understanding on how to use Law 293/2014 (including the amendments of 2020) before civil and criminal courts, with a focus on Judges of Urgent Matters, to guide them into duly granting protective orders that really enhance the overall security and well-being of survivors and their children, thus improving their access to justice.
- A better understanding of International Human Rights conventions signed by Lebanon, especially CEDAW, and their interplay and harmonization with Lebanese laws before Lebanese courts.
- A better understanding of personal status laws and their interplay with Law 293/2014, international conventions and the potential for legal harmonization. The training will address access to justice for survivors of domestic violence before Christian religious courts in personal status matters with elements of domestic violence (divorce, maintenance, obedience, custody of children, etc.) and will identify inaccurate practices based on existing personal status laws. The training will offer recommendations for harmonization based on existing personal status laws and international law.
DESIGN OF TRAINING
1. Training timeframe, duration, and agenda
The training session is planned from October 4 until October 8, 2021 in Arabic language. This 5-day training of four hours each, will start at 9:30 a.m. and end at 1:30 p.m., with two small breaks in between, from Monday to Friday. The training will be held online via the Zoom platform. Trained attorneys will receive a certificate of attendance, once they have attended all five days of training and completed the training.
- Day 1. Welcome and introduction of EU4WE project, trainers, and participants; session with a GBV expert psychologist. This session with the psychologist will explain the basis for protection principles and mental health status and trauma of women survivors and their children facing domestic violence. It will include a Q&As session of real-life cases, to identify best practices, do and don’ts, and practical recommendations for attorneys.
- Day 2. Training on Lebanese laws (procedural and substantive) to enhance access and outcome of cases with examples of real cases.
- Day 3. Training on International conventions and Human Rights treaties, CEDAW, and other, interrelation with Lebanese laws, with examples applied to real cases.
- Day 4. Training on religious laws and interrelation between religious and civil courts as well as application of principles of international human rights law before religious courts through harmonization, with examples applied to real cases
- Day 5. Working session (solving 2 to 3 cases in groups), and closing of training with evaluation survey.
2- Training Attendees.
This training is planned for practicing attorneys (men and women) representing women survivors of domestic violence before the various Lebanese authorities and courts (criminal, civil, and religious).
Number of attorneys: 10-15 attorneys for each training session.
A- Profile of training attendees, who will become members of the Task Force
- Attorneys with five years of professional legal experience at a minimum, with a focus on human rights law.
- Professional legal experience must include representing women survivors of domestic violence before civil, criminal, and religious Christian courts of Lebanon in matters related to personal status laws such as divorce, alimony, custody of children etc.
- Trainees attorneys must commit to have their names on the list of legal assistance of the Beirut and Tripoli Bar Associations.
- Trainee attorneys, at the beginning of each training session, must also agree to sign a commitment to provide a certain number of pro-bono (partial or total) hours of legal services to survivors of domestic violence.
B- Trainee selection process
Women attorneys are highly encouraged to apply. To apply for the training, you must submit your CV along with a cover letter, in which you must respond to the following questions:
- Have you provided any services to your community or performed any community involvement activities (such as volunteering) in the past two years? If so, please briefly describe.
- Have you provided any hours or days of free legal assistance, through the Beirut or Tripoli Bar or other? If so, please describe.
Your cover letter should not exceed two pages. Any document that does not abide by these conditions will be rejected and your application will be considered incomplete.
How to apply
Interested candidates in this training should send their CV and cover letter to [email protected] and include the job title: EU4WE/2021/Christian-taskforce
Note: CV and cover letter can be sent in Arabic, English, or French.
من الممكن ارسال السيرة الذاتية والرسالة التعريفية في اللغه العربيه, الانجليزيه, او الفرنسيهمنتهية الصلاحية