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Judicial training programs: The Jurisprudence of Equality Programs (JEP)

In 1994, under the leadership of Judge Arline Pacht, the IAWJ decided to start a judicial training program, ultimately named the Towards a Jurisprudence of Equality Program, or "JEP" for short. At the IAWJ's biennial meeting in Rome that year, the IAWJ invited any judge who was interested to come to a day-long workshop to provide input as to what they thought the program should be about. The decision to start by getting input from judges is part of JEP's DNA: although IAWJ's staff includes lawyers and other lawyers have been IAWJ trainers, most JEP trainers are judges and all involved in the program believe down to the core that judicial training should be judge-directed and judge-owned. The IAWJ starts with the women judges in the country/ies where training will be held, and seeks their guidance and wisdom in curriculum and project development matters throughout.  

Professional Magistrates, IAWJ representatives and facilitators, in a JEP Follow-up Seminar held in Golden Bridge Hotel on March 7, 2011 in Lusaka, Zambia.

When the IAWJ launched its flagship judicial training program in five South American countries in 1997, it chose the name 'Jurisprudence of Equality Program' (JEP). As originally designed, JEP introduced basic international law concepts and invited judges to reflect together on the potential application(s) of international law in domestic courts. Other JEP programs followed, using the same core ideas: JEP East Africa, JEP Southern Africa, as well as JEP in Romania, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Jordan, Taipei and elsewhere.

More recently, the IAWJ and its member chapters have developed more specialized training curricula focused on a range of topics, including child sexual abuse, women's property rights, human trafficking, etc. The JEP program, the IAWJ and its partner associations have been recognized and honored at the United Nations by the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women three times as well as featured in its 10th Anniversary Report. 
Other programs under the JEP umbrella:

At their core, all JEP trainings share the following features:

JEP trainings are judge-centered and judicially-owned at both the international and national level: At the national level, the IAWJ works with and through its chapters to provide training that is responsive to locally-identified needs. It trains judges as trainers, so that they subsequently can train their colleagues, as it has been IAWJ's experience that most judges prefer to be trained by other judges. 

JEP trainings rely on local leadership and develop local capacity: The IAWJ works with and through its chapters to provide training that is responsive to locally-identified needs and whose content is guided and shaped by in-country judges.  

JEP trainings rely on participatory learning methods: Judges and magistrates, like other professionals, are used to a high degree of professional autonomy, and bring a great deal of knowledge and experience to the training setting. JEP trainings draw on and leverage existing expertise through the use of case studies, role plays, small group work and other participatory techniques.

JEP trainings encourage the application of international law in domestic courts to the extent permitted by local (i.e., national) law: During JEP trainings, judges explore the, meanings of international law texts, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or Article 5 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in the context of their national laws. The extent to which national constitutions and statutes encourage, permit or require use of international law in domestic courts varies widely, and JEP trainings recognize and respect local variations. 

JEP trainings are concrete, practical and non-abstract: Through stakeholder consultations and outreach to women's groups, medical practitioners, police, prosecutors, etc., JEP trainings work to address concrete problems identified by national chapters. 

Judicial Training Locations (25 countries and counting...)

1901 L Street, NW, Suite 640, Washington, DC 20036 office@iawj.org
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