Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Education has endorsed IDLO-supported mock court courses, expanding the pioneering curricula to law schools throughout the country.
Developed under the Judicial Strengthening Program funded by the United States Agency for International Development, the courses aim to build the capacity of future legal professionals through improved quality of hands-on legal training.
The mock court program provides students with the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge to a realistic scenario and enhance the practical skills needed to become effective legal actors in the future. The courses include mock court competitions, where the students are able to simulate a trial by playing different roles and interacting with students from different universities.
“These courses are the most interesting discipline for me. We have had a lot of theory during other classes. Here we not only upgrade our knowledge, but develop our practical skills. We have learned proper conduct during court proceedings, how to write related documents, decisions and acts, how to advance and participate in trials,” commented one fourth-year law student, Klara Nuranova, from the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University.
“These courses are the most interesting discipline for me. We have had a lot of theory during other classes. Here we not only upgrade our knowledge, but develop our practical skills."
Over 500 students from three universities, Kyrgyz National University, International University of Kyrgyzstan and Kyrgyz Russian Slavic University, have been attending mock court courses and participating in competitions since 2014. Now, with the endorsement from the Ministry of Education, materials developed for these courses will be made available to all law schools in Kyrgyzstan.
“We can find everything that we need in the course manuals - references to rules and regulations, court authorities, samples of procedural documents, types of jurisdiction. It is very important to have such condensed information on hand,” continued Nuranova.
What’s more, this innovative and interactive teaching method engages seasoned experts, notably former judges. “We are so proud to be students of such high-level judges and to study with materials developed by experienced professionals,” echoed Nuranova.
Launched in 2011, the IDLO-USAID Judicial Strengthening Program seeks to strengthen judicial independence in Kyrgyzstan through a variety of initiatives relating to judicial financing, e-justice and the legal education system. The mock court courses represent a promising endeavour that focuses on long-term sustainability by engaging youth, the champions of justice of tomorrow.