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 (sometimes also referred to as the inquisitorial system). 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 – the U.S. Government, multilateral organizations, foreign donors, and NGOs – in justice sector and rule of law programming in countries with civil law traditions. The second day of the course included a specific session devoted to the transition from the inquisitorial to the adversarial model of litigation that has been undertaken in many countries in recent years to understand the lessons from efforts to assist in that transition. 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.

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