International Development Law Organization

Kyrgyzstan's Mock Courts: Role Playing for Justice

After a taste of serving as judges, final year law students in Kyrgyzstan were won over by a role they’d previously dismissed as a career option.

More than 30 students from the Kyrgyz National University’s Faculty of Law took part in the second Mock Court Course supported by IDLO.

In Kyrgyzstan, legal education is overwhelmingly theoretical. Students start their legal careers with limited practical skills; additionally, few of them choose to train as judges.The Mock Court Course aims to address both of these issues through practical workshops, which engage students in a mock investigation and proceeding - with each taking on the role of one of the participants of a criminal case. At the end of the course, the students each play their part in a trial, which is videotaped and used as a learning tool for future classes. 

Initially, few students showed interest in serving as the judge. But as they learnt more about the judge’s role and responsibilities, they considered it a more viable career option. 

The students described the practical skills they gained on the training as invaluable to their post-graduation assignments. The university, for its part, has made the Mock Court Course compulsory for final year students.