Seminar on Refugee Law for the Judiciary in Kyiv, Ukraine, 23 and 24 April 2007
I gave a presentation on the UK refugee status determination procedure and on the burden of proof in UK law and jurisprudence. A judge from the Administrative Court in Wiesbaden, Germany, gave a presentation on the same themes from the point of view of the German legal system. UNHCR Officers spoke to other aspects of the law and we had the opportunity to work on case studies which was most useful. Lawyers and NGOs spoke of their experiences as representatives of asylum seekers in the Ukrainian courts. We examined the procedural guarantees against expulsion and extradition under the ECHR. We also discussed country of origin information and were able to view a video on racism in the Ukraine.
My presentation was well received by the Ukrainian judiciary and my presence and my contribution were also greatly appreciated by ECRE and the UNHCR. All three bodies have already asked that I go again. Although it was demanding of my own time as well as work time and was very tiring, it is gratifying to know that everyone feels it was such a worthwhile exercise. I should like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to Mr Justice Hodge OBE, President of the UK AIT and to the UK Ministry of Justice for allowing me the time to make a small contribution to the development of judicial knowledge and skills in the field of refugee law, and, I hope, to fostering better and closer international links and understanding with other judges as well as with NGOs.
I explained to the Ukrainian judges that there is a special working relationship between the UNHCR and the IARLJ whereby continuing training and professional development in refugee and associated fields of law is delivered by members of the IARLJ. I happened to have been invited to speak by ECRE on this occasion, but IARLJ members may like to know that there is the possibility of participating in training events such as this in the future and of making a very real contribution to best practice in this way. For example, at present we are seeking to assist by providing training in a number of African countries. I am sure that our President, Justice Tony North, would be very pleased to hear from any of you who may be interested in participating in the scheme in the future.
Senior Immigration Judge
15 May 2007
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