Legal Expert - Christian Personal Status Law

Requires a Cover Letter?: 
yes
Application Submissions Guideline: 

Interested candidates must submit their CV and a motivation letter by email to Mr. Maan Naboulsi: [email protected]

Subject of the email must be: EU4WE/2020/C2/STE_1

Deadline for application: 18 May 2020

Contact Person Name: 
Maan Naboulsi
Contact Person Email: 
Description: 

 

    1. Overall project description and context

The EU-funded Project EU for Women Empowerment (EU4WE) is a 36 months projects (October 2019 - October 2022) aiming at promoting full and unconditional equality between men and women in Lebanon.

The specific purpose of EU4WE is to:

  1. Reduce gender based violence through women empowerment
  2. Enhance existing institutional mechanisms working towards gender equality.

The following results are foreseen in order to reach the abovementioned purposes:

  • Result 1.1: Lebanese women are empowered economically and have better access to finance (component of activities n°1)
  • Result 1.2: The legal mechanisms to fight gender based violence’s are enhanced (component of activities n°2)
  • Result 2.1:  Strengthening NGEM's and relevant partner’s existing capacities and coordination towards fulfilment of their mandate through the exchange of best practices (component of activities n°3).

This project is implemented and managed by Expertise France (EF). Expertise France is the French public agency for international technical assistance. 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,
  • Health and human development.

This request for services is inviting applications for short-term consultancy services to undertake analysis of jurisprudence as described below. This assignment is performed under component 2 of the project.

The assignment is scheduled for a period of 30 working days (w.d.) and stretched over the operational period of 10 weeks.

 

    2. Mission's objectives and tasks

2.1 Objectives mission

Expertise France is looking for four (4) short-term legal experts/practicing attorneys with knowledge of the application of Law No. 293/2014 in civil and criminal courts and with knowledge of the various religious personal status laws to undertake analysis of jurisprudence as described below.

In these specific TOR, Expertise France is looking for a short-term legal expert/ practicing attorney with knowledge of the application of Law No. 293/2014 in civil and criminal courts and with knowledge of the Christian personal status laws with a focus on cases dealing with annulment, divorce, obedience based on recalcitrance, legal separation, spousal maintenance and alimony, custody of children etc.  to conduct a legal consultancy under which he/she will provide a legal analysis of domestic violence as addressed by the jurisprudence/judgments of Lebanese civil and Christian religious courts, including but not limited to, Maronite, Orthodox, Melkite, and Evangelical courts. 

2.2 Mission's tasks

Under the supervision of the Key Legal Expert and the Team Leader, the short-term legal expert will:

  • Gather, review, and analyse between a minimum of 10 court judgments issued under Law No.293/2014 on Domestic Violence, from 2017 and onward with a focus on the various definitions of domestic violence against women adopted in the judgments of civil and criminal courts (physical, emotional, psychological etc.).

Such analysis shall highlight the legal discrepancies existing between the various definitions of domestic violence against women, knowing that some judges have followed the strict definition of physical harm while others have expanded it to encompass verbal, emotional, and psychological harm.  The analysis shall provide a summary of each judgment selected, with a brief description of the facts of the case and an explanation of the legal reasoning of the judgments. Copies of each judgment shall be provided in the final report of the analysis removing all necessary information related to the identity of the persons mentioned in order to guarantee their anonymity.

  • Gather, review, and analyse a minimum of 10 court judgments issued in 2016 and onward by various Christian courts (for example, Maronite, Orthodox, Melkite, and Evangelical courts and others) in cases of personal status matters containing an element of domestic violence against women.

Such analysis shall highlight the definition of domestic violence in each judgment (based on the facts of the case) and whether such domestic violence was a decisive fact and/or legal element that influenced the outcome of the case, positively or negatively. The analysis shall also highlight existing discrepancies or similarities between the various definitions of domestic violence against women adopted in the judgments and the outcome of the cases. The analysis shall provide a summary of each judgment selected, with a brief description of the facts of the case and an explanation of the legal reasoning of the judgments. Copies of each judgment shall be provided, when possible, in the final report of the analysis, with the names of the parties being kept confidential.

EU4WE expert’s team already reviewed and analysed a lot of literature on domestic violence in Lebanon. Please refer to annex 1 of these ToR for details.

 

    3. Deliverables

  1. Legal Analysis in Arabic focusing on the definitions and concept of domestic violence against women in judgments issued under Law No.293/2014 and in personal status cases as explained in “Description of Duties of the Short-Term Legal Expert” above, with a focus on the outcomes of the judgments.

The legal analysis report should be between 25 pages-35 pages maximum, plus annexes.

  1. A short PPT for her/his participation in a group discussion with the different attorneys and potential presentation in a roundtable, highlighting the key findings of the analysis (in English or Arabic).
  2. Individual mission’s report (2-3 pages) in English, providing details about the mission: detailed list of the persons met and their contacts, summary of discussions, bibliography if not annexed to the Legal Analysis, tasks performed, and difficulties encountered.

 

    4. Work organization

The short-term legal expert will work under the coordination of the Key Experts and the work will be sequenced as followed:

  • Kick-off meeting with the Key Legal Expert who will share a potential template for the final report to be drafted by the short-term legal expert.
  • The sort-term legal expert shall submit the outline of the legal analysis with preliminary findings and recommendations to the Key Legal Expert of Expertise France no later than 15 working days from the date of the kick-off meeting.
  • The Key Legal Expert shall review the outline and provide comments not later than 10 working days from the date of the submission of the legal analysis outline. 
  • The short-term legal expert shall submit the first draft of the legal analysis, with final key findings and recommendations, no later than 15 working days from the date of reception of comments on the outline of the Key Legal Expert.
  • The Key Legal Expert shall review the first draft and provide comments and feedback on the first draft of the legal analysis no later than 15 working days from the date of receipt.
  • The short-term legal expert shall submit the final draft of the legal analysis no later than 15 working days from the date of reception of the comments of the Key Legal Expert.

 

    5. Request Profile and Qualifiations

  • University degree in Lebanese law and admission as an appellate attorney before the Beirut or the Tripoli Bar Association.
  • A minimum of 10 years of relevant professional experience representing victims/survivors of domestic violence before Lebanese civil and/or criminal courts.
  • A minimum of 10 years of relevant professional experience before Christian religious courts in matters of personal status law, with a focus on domestic violence in cases dealing with annulment, divorce, severance, obedience based on recalcitrance, legal separation, spousal maintenance and alimony, custody of children etc. 
  • Excellent reporting and writing skills in Arabic.
  • Professional working knowledge of English is required.
  • The Expert shall submit his/her Curriculum Vitae (CV) with a detailed description addressing the professional expertise and qualifications as listed in the requirements above.

 

    6. Contractual Information

Expertise profile: Mid to Senior Level Expert

Location:  The work will be performed in Lebanon

Type of contract: Service contract

Number of working days: 30

Duration of the contract: 10 weeks from the signature of the service contract

Start date: As soon as possible given the current health situation. The expert shall be working from his/her home or office and abiding by the restrictions and directives of the Government of Lebanon on health and safety. The short-term legal expert will notify and coordinate all travel (including visits to public institutions and/or courthouses) with the Key Legal Expert for as long as such Government restrictions are still in place.

No advance payment will be granted. Payment will be made upon submission of the final deliverables as mentioned above and upon approval by the Key Legal Expert and EF’s Team Leader.

 

    7. Application

Interested candidates must submit their CV and a motivation letter by email to Mr. Maan Naboulsi: [email protected]

Subject of the email must be: EU4WE/2020/C2/STE_1

Deadline for application: 18 May 2020

 

Annex 1 – Baseline documents and information on GBV in Lebanon

The EU’s “Joint Staff Working Document - Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment: Transforming the Lives of Girls and Women through EU External Relations 2016-2020”, or Gender Action Plan (GAP II), for the period 2016-2020 stresses the need for full and equal realisation of women’s and girls’ human rights and fundamental freedoms, the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. The EU is fully committed to break the cycle of gender discrimination by supporting partner countries to establish a more enabling environment for the fulfilment of girls' and women's rights and to achieve real and tangible improvements in gender equality.

The gender analysis for Lebanon developed by the EU in 2017 and published in 2018 highlighted a variety of gaps with regards to GBV, including but not limited to:

  • Unclear definition of violence under Law 293/2014 on domestic violence, which restricts violence to its physical form.
  • Limited awareness of the existence of Law 293/2014.
  • Weak understanding of the concept of GBV by Lebanese society.
  • Lack of trained staff on GBV (including staff trained on various forms of GBV, case management of GBV as it pertains to laws, referral systems, assistance for the victims/survivors) within police forces, medico-legal staff, and even judges and attorneys.
  • Lack of a unified civil code or set of laws governing personal status matters (family law matters) and the existence of 15 different religious based codes that cover and address all aspects related to personal status.

In addition, various other reports, notably the ones mentioned below, addressing the specific issue of gender justice and the law and access to justice for women in cases of domestic violence in Lebanon, have highlighted the following:

  •  “Unequal and Unprotected- Women’s Rights Under Lebanese Personal Status Laws” Report

This report is a study conducted by Human Rights Watch and surveys inequalities and discriminations against women caused by the application of various discriminatory provisions of personal status laws by Lebanese religious courts, including Christian, Druze, Sunni, and Jaafari courts.

After examining and analysing several judgments on the loss of spousal maintenance (alimony) for legal recalcitrance (defined as the wife’s refusal to live with her husband again after leaving the marital home without a reason that religious courts consider legitimate), the report states the following:

“In Sunni, Ja’fari, Druze, and Christian courts women risk losing their rights to spousal maintenance if they leave the marital home and are thus found to be recalcitrant. The fact that courts – with the exception of Druze courts – consider obedience and cohabitation cases at all, makes women vulnerable to abuse and restrict their access to divorce [….]

In the 40 “obedience and cohabitation” cases analysed, judges often failed to seriously examine the causes and grounds the woman advanced during trial for leaving the marital home, including physical abuse.

In 21 cases, despite claims from the wife that she left home because of abuse, the court ordered her to return to her husband.”[1]

Analysing several judgments on inadequate protection of women from domestic abuse, the report states the following:

“Through its review of case files and interviews with affected women, lawyers, and advocates, Human Rights Watch found that due to the multiple statutory provisions and judicial bodies that adjudicate marital disputes, a woman in an abusive relationship typically finds herself tossed between religious and civil courts and opinions and suspended in time, given the long duration of court proceedings – without adequate preventive laws or timely interventions to protect her from harm.

Discriminatory provisions in personal status laws including in access to divorce and maternal custody and the absence of protective mechanisms, including adequate financial compensation, also affect a woman’s willingness to turn to courts and enter into personal status law disputes even when she is in an abusive relationship.”[2]

  • “Lebanon – Gender Justice and the Law” Report

This report is a study conducted by UNDP, in partnership with UN Women, UNFPA, and ESCWA, on Gender Justice & the Law in the Arab States Region, including Lebanon. It provides a comprehensive assessment of laws and policies affecting gender equality and protection against gender-based violence and maps Lebanon’s key legislative developments and gaps regarding gender justice. This report found that:

“There is lack of awareness about the Domestic Violence Law among many lawyers […].

Several judgments from courts applying law No.293 have supported a broad interpretation of the definition of acts to include verbal and emotional violence. However, the  definition applied by the courts varies according to the judge.”[3]

In addition, the EU4WE team conducted an in-depth literature review as well as several stakeholder interviews on this matter, and the EU4WE team was able to confirm the following:

  1. The lack of a unified definition and interpretation of domestic violence before civil courts under Law No.293/2014 and the lack of a legal understanding of the concept of domestic violence (as defined by CEDAW and explained in its recommendations) in various court judgments, including the jurisprudence of civil courts such as the Courts of Urgent Matters.
  2. Despite provisions in some personal status laws that indirectly protect women from domestic violence by allowing her to leave the marital home if the couple’s life becomes unbearable or if there is danger to her life and the children’s life, there is still a lack of understanding or consideration of this element.[4] This lack of understanding and/or consideration by religious judges (priests) of the concept of domestic violence and gender-based violence in personal status cases, including but not limited to cases dealing with divorce, annulment, severance, obedience based on recalcitrance, legal separation, spousal maintenance and alimony, custody of children etc. It must be noted that various legal provisions of personal status laws do take into consideration
Expired
Last modified: 
27 Apr, 2020
Intervention Sector(s):
Development
Application Deadline:
Monday, 18 May 2020
Contract Type:
Consultancy
Period of Employment:
10 weeks from the signature of the service contract
Salary
N/A
Salary Range:
> 3000 (USD)
Education Degree:
Bachelor Degree
Education Degree Details:
University degree in lebanese law and admission
Experience Requirements:
More than 10 years
Arabic Language:
Excellent
English Language:
Good
French Language:
None
Country/City: 
  • Lebanon
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