Public Defenders from Seven Nations Gather for Training
CHELTENHAM, England—Over 30 public defenders from seven countries are gathered here for a workshop on improving public defense services. The First Regional Workshop on Public Defense brings together public defenders from Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, and Ukraine.
The January 24-27 training is being organized by the Open Society Justice Initiative, in cooperation with the Public Defender Service of the Legal Services Commission of England and Wales. The workshop will address both substantive issues of criminal defense, as well as the organizational aspects of operating a public defender office.
The workshop provides a forum for public defenders to:
- Exchange experience and knowledge, and build connections with fellow practitioners;
- Discuss common issues related to the organization and management of public defender offices;
- Explore strategies for establishing and promoting quality standards in legal practice;
- Address the role of pilot public defender offices in promoting and advancing legal aid reforms; and
- Learn to take a more active role in legal reforms in their countries.
In addition, participants will visit the Cheltenham Public Defender Office to study the operations and management of the office and interact with British colleagues.
The Justice Initiative is currently supporting pilot public defender offices in Lithuania, Georgia, Moldova, Mongolia, and Ukraine. That project is part of a larger effort to promote legal aid reforms that improve access to and the quality of free legal services for indigent defendants. The Cheltenham workshop is the first to bring together public defenders from all the countries where the Justice Initiative's legal aid program operates.