Washington, DC
United States Institute of Peace

This course explored the unique features of the most widespread legal system in the world – the Civil Law system. On the first day, the course introduced participants to the underpinnings and structure of the Civil Law system – its history, sources of law, codification process, legal education system, court structure, and actors. Next, it explored how the system has been implemented in countries from different regions around the world. On Day 2, the course used examples from specific program experiences to explore the role of different actors, including the U.S. Government, multilateral organizations, and international NGOs, in justice sector and rule of law programming in countries with Civil Law systems. The second day of the course also included a session exploring the transition underway in many countries from the inquisitorial to the adversarial model of litigation, drawing out lessons learned from these efforts. Finally, the course concluded by looking to other trends in Civil Law systems in transition. All of the sessions in Day 2 focused on practical applications and discussed specific programs from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and post-Soviet states, Latin America, and the Middle East.

The goals of this training program were to: (1) improve the skills and knowledge of individuals funding, designing, managing and/or implementing justice sector programs in countries with Civil Law systems; (2) introduce participants to the underlying principles, mechanisms, and actors of the Civil Law system; (3) provide practical lessons of the Civil Law system in action; (4) increase opportunities for coordination and collaboration among officials from U.S. Government agencies; (5) strengthen justice sector programming so as to have real impacts on host countries’ ability to reform their legal systems; and (6) provide stakeholders the opportunity to share their experiences and lessons regarding justice sector programming in countries with Civil Law systems through in-class exchanges and exercises.

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