Senior Legal Professionals to Take Larger Role in Training

Legal Training
EDUARDO VIEGAS FERREIRA, PROFESSIONAL TRAINER FROM THE JUDICIAL POLICE SCHOOL OF PORTUGAL, MIKIKO TANAKA, UNDP’S COUNTRY DIRECTOR, MINISTER OF JUSTICE, DIONISIO BABO SOARES, AND JOÃO JOSÉ SILVA CABAÇO, ALSO FROM THE JUDICIAL POLICE SCHOOL, CONGRATULATE PRIVATE LAWYER JOSÉ PEDRO CAMÕES FOR COMPLETING THE FIRST PHASE OF THE TRAINING OF TRAINERS PROGRAMME AT THE LEGAL TRAINING CENTRE. PHOTO JOANA SARAIVA/UNDP TL

Dili – Thirteen Timorese judges, prosecutors, public defenders,  lawyers, national university professors and  Ministry of Justice (MoJ) senior staff have successfully completed a two-week training-of-trainers (ToTs) programme designed to give them the skills needed to train the next generation of legal professionals. The initiative is part of the Legal Training Centre’s (LTC) effort to build a cadre of Timorese trainers capable of imparting their knowledge and experience to the Centre’s students, thereby reducing its dependency on international trainers. (Lee versaun Tetum iha ne'e)

Highlights

  • A group of 13 prosecutors, public defenders, , lawyers, national university professors and Ministry of Justice (MoJ) senior staff, is being prepared to form the first cadre of Timorese trainers at the LTC.
  • The LTC was established in 2004 with support from UNDP’s Justice System Programme. The 51 judges, prosecutors and public defenders, including 13 women, who have graduated from the LTC now comprise the backbone of the country’s functioning justice system.

Since it was established, in 2004, the LTC has been responsible for all professional legal training in Timor-Leste. Because Timor-Leste had no functioning formal justice system following independence, the LTC has had to rely on international advisors to train the country’s justice system professionals.

“The process of building and consolidating an impartial and credible justice system will certainly benefit from the contribution of Timor-Leste’s senior legal professionals whose understanding about the local reality makes them well-positioned to assist in teaching and transmitting knowledge”, said Dr. Maria Angela Carrascalão, Dean of Timor-Leste’s National University Law Faculty and one of the course participants. “With this course we were provided with important skills which will support the country’s progress in the very specific and sensitive area of ​​justice.”

The training, held from 2-13 December, focused on pedagogical skills such as planning and structuring curricula and classes, applying varied teaching methods, and evaluating students and trainers. This was the first phase of the training, and will be followed by further training in 2014, which will continue to be taught by professional trainers from Portugal’s Judicial Police School. In the upcoming months, the trainees will start to practice their skills through delivering workshops and serving as guest lecturers before eventually becoming part-time trainers at the LTC in their areas of expertise.

“Given difficulties with the lack of fluency in Portuguese language, innovative solutions that bring the trainers closer to the trainees’ reality and motivate them without compromising the quality standards of the education offered are needed in order to facilitate the capacity building process”, said H.E. Dr. Dionisio Babo Soares, Minister of Justice.

“The intention is that the Legal Training Centre can develop trainings that form more and better professionals for the Justice sector, professionals who are competent and committed to the cause of public service, aware of ethical values, and ​​with a strong sense of professionalism and accountability”, he added.

The training of trainers is supported by UNDP’s Justice System Programme (JSP) and is in line with the National Justice Sector Strategic Plan (2011-2030), which prioritizes capacity development and increasing access to justice while emphasizing that line functions should be performed by Timorese.  

“Good training is the backbone of legal professional skills”, said Mikiko Tanaka, UNDP’s Country Director. “UNDP is committed to supporting the LTC to develop programmes such as this to ensure that the justice system in Timor-Leste is strong and self-sufficient.”

The closing ceremony for the ToTs was also attended by H.E. Dr. José Ximenes, Prosecutor General, H.E. Dr. Sergio Hornai, Public Defender General, and Dr. Duarte Tilman the Judge Administrator for Dili District Court.

For more information, please contact Joana Saraiva, Communications Officer, at joana.saraiva@undp.org