ILF-Nepal Completes Its Two-Year Training Program for Criminal Defense Lawyers
ILF-Nepal has successfully completed a two-year project to train criminal defense lawyers in Nepal. Participants commented that this training was an unqualified success, with many trainees saying they had never before had such a useful training experience. This is a tremendous achievement which has made a real difference in the quality of representation provided by legal aid providers throughout Nepal, and which will result in better quality services being provided to the indigent accused.
A total of 10 trainings were held around the country, and 153 lawyers were trained in the practical criminal defense skills necessary to provide effective, high-quality representation to the indigent accused. Participants came from the Baitanik Wakil Program (a contract lawyer system that has serves as the de facto government provider of free criminal legal aid services), district legal aid centers, and NGOs, and are all actively providing legal aid to the accused.
The program was effective and practical, as it addressed common challenges and provided lawyers with tools to cope with those challenges, based on ILF-Nepal’s experience. It also engaged the participants in role-play and other exercises. Topics of particular interest to the trainees included defense theory, defense investigation, pre-charge hearings, cross-examination, conflicts of interest, and speedy trial rights. All participants expressed commitment to immediately incorporate the new ideas, skills, and concepts they learned to their practice.
After each training, feedback was collected from participants. Some highlights (translated from Nepali) are included below.
“I learned skills in this training which I had not learned in my previous 38 years of law practice. I can think of several cases I have lost which I might have won if I had been given this training many years ago.” – Daya Krishna Pant (Advocate, District Bar Unit, Darchula)
“I had not imagined that this training program would be so active, interesting, and effective. It helped me identify areas of weakness in my practice of law.” Mr. Shyam Aryal (Baitanik Wokil, Rupandehi District Court)
“ILF-Nepal and the Nepal Bar Association should continuously organize these programs. I’m so glad that I had the chance to attend this program- it would have been a great loss to me if I had missed it.” – Rishiram Pokharel (Advocate, District Bar Unit, Tanahu)
“I am overwhelmed. Before attending this training program, I didn’t have much confidence when taking on new cases, but now that I’ve had this opportunity to improve my skills, I’ve gained that confidence.” – Prem Bahadur Chaudhary (Advocate, Third Alliance, Dang)
“I feel very lucky to have taken part in this training. Though I have participated in many trainings before, I found this training very unique and fruitful. I found the mock trial practice and intensive discussions and feedback from the judge trainer to be especially helpful. Such training should be provided to other lawyers too, so that they can provide meaningful representation to their clients.” Anita Maharjan (Baitanik Wakil, Lalitpur District Court)