Dear Judicial Studies Board,
Can you please explain why it is that despite an earlier request, there is still no reference on your website to the training of the legal profession, including judges in a way which is compatible with International Human Rights Law?
The United Nations produced a manual in 2003 entitled "Professional Training Series no.9 - Human Rights in the Administration of Justice: A Manual on Human Rights for Judges, Prosecutors and Lawyers".
Please explain why this has apparently been ignored by the Judicial Studies Board and the Government, or state how such training recommended by this document has been carried out and by whom?
The UN manual was compiled in cooperation with the International Bar Association (the global voice of the legal profession) so if it has been ignored by the UK how can anyone have any confidence in our legal system which alleges to be fair and compliant with human rights?
For example it sated in it that "Numerous efforts have been made in recent years – both through the technical assistance programmes of the United Nations, and through various training programmes provided by regional organizations such as the Organization of American States, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe – to help States adjust their laws to their international legal obligations, and also to train the legal professions so as to enable them to make human rights a living reality within their specific jurisdictions.".
Have all these efforts simply been ignored by the UK which allows judges to train themselves and if so what is the justification for this?
How do citizens whose rights have been violated obtain 'just satisfaction' from any Court when State policies or laws deny it to them?
Dear Mr Wilson,
Thank you for your email.
The Judicial Studies Board (JSB) has previously explained to you that
all judges in England and Wales received mandatory training on the Human
Rights Act 1998 during 1999/2000. The Ministry of Justice has also
explained to you how successive Governments have sought to ensure that
citizens of the UK have access to a legal framework that supports human
rights, and in particular how the European Convention on Human Rights is
recognised. There is nothing that can usefully be added to previous
However, in an attempt to be helpful I can advise you of the following:
The manual to which you refer ["Professional Training Series no.9 -
Human Rights in the Administration of Justice: A Manual on Human Rights
for Judges, Prosecutors and Lawyers"] records in its acknowledgements
its thanks to Lord Goldsmith who was the UK Attorney General at the time
- so the UK Government fully supported it. However, the manual was
designed to be of assistance to countries whose justice system might
need additional support for various reasons. The International Bar
Association describes this as follows:
"....training lawyers, judges and prosecutors in human rights law and
international humanitarian law; pioneering training programmes to
strengthen the judiciary in post-conflict countries or countries where
basic state infrastructure may have been eroded; undertaking
fact-finding missions and sending trial observers to countries where the
rule of law has deteriorated; making representations to authorities
worldwide where individuals or the independence of the judiciary has
been threatened; galvanising international support to lobby for change
through media and advocacy campaigns; and providing long-term technical
assistance to under-resourced bar associations and law societies."
The UK has a well established justice system that enables cases
involving human rights to be heard by a court with an independent judge.
There is also a fully established system of support and education for
judges of which the JSB forms a part. The manual to which you refer
would be an insufficient tool for UK judges since it would not, for
example, deal with case law since 2003. The view of the JSB is that it
is better for judges to have access to a breadth of up to date
information and reference.
The JSB is not responsible for training the "legal profession", but only
the judiciary of England and Wales.
Dear Dowsett, Andrea (DJO-JSB),
I totally reject your claim that this manual was "designed to be of assistance to countries whose justice system might need additional support for various reasons". Please explain where you got this quote from?
I can only quote the manual and it had this to say in its Chapter 1:-
1. To ensure that participants acquire a basic working knowledge of the origin, purpose and scope of international human rights law;
2. To familiarize participants with the application of international human rights law at the domestic level and to begin to make them aware of the important role played by the legal professions in this respect.
It then goes on to state in the introduction that:-
"In recent decades, international human rights law has had an ever-growing impact on domestic legal systems throughout the world, and thereby also on the daily work of domestic judges, prosecutors and lawyers. This evolving legal situation, the true dimensions of which could hardly have been foreseen half a century ago, requires each State concerned, and also the relevant legal professions, carefully to consider ways in which effective implementation of the State’s legal human rights obligations can best be secured. This may in many instances constitute a challenge to legal practitioners, owing to the conflicting requirements of different laws, lack of access to information, and the need for further training.
The objective of the present Manual is therefore to convey a basic knowledge of, and skills in, the implementation of international human rights law to judges, prosecutors and lawyers – legal professions without which there can be no truly efficient protection of the rights of the individual at the domestic level. To this end, the present chapter will provide a general introductory survey of the basic notions of international human rights law, whilst the remaining fifteen chapters will contain more detailed information and analyses of human rights standards that are of particular relevance to the administration of justice."
The use of the term 'present manual' implies that it replaced earlier ones although my copy is from 2002. I see nothing in the above however which suggests that it only applies to 'certain jurisdictions' as you imply.
Indeed the 8 page foreword, which was signed by the UN High Commissioner and the International Bar Associations representatives Ramon Mullerat and Fali Nariman of their Human Rights Institute had this to say:-
"The Manual will enable judges and lawyers to acquaint themselves with, and deepen their knowledge of, international and regional human rights law and its practical use. The comprehensive Manual and accompanying Facilitator's Guide constitute a detailed legal source of use to lawyers, judges and prosecutors in their everyday work and a structured training programme which can easily be used in all jurisdictions.".
So why is the UK exempt from this exactly? If the JSB has not coordinated a programme of training in line with this since 2002, how can any Court judgement made against anyone be held to be 'sound'?
Clearly some State body was meant to ensure that all legal professionals and 'facilitators' received basic training in all international human rights and not just the parochial Human Rights Act, which itself is a standing violation of all human rights as it seems to be abused to protect the guilty and not the innocent.
It also stated in chapter 2 that "The very specificity of the concept of “human rights” is that they belong to the individual in his or her quality as a human being, who cannot be deprived of their substance in any circumstances; these rights are thus intrinsic to the human condition", but given that the UK has ignored all Economic, Social and Cultural Rights since 1949, then the State is clearly guilty of violating its alleged principles and those rights, apparently with impunity too it seems, as no Judge has moved to give effect to a Bill of Rights since the Law Lords proposed it in 1976.
Why are the politicians still talking about this now? If Judges do not apply these inviolable, interrelated and interdependent rights in their Courts, because they have not been trained to do so, when and how will the UK's citizens get justice?
Egypt was a one of the original UN Member States which voted in favour of the Universal Declaration and subsequently ignored it. so do the people of the UK need to take heed of the first words in the foreword written by the UN High Commissioner of this manual, namely that:-
"The way in which justice is administered in a society is one of the basic indicators of its well-being. As highlighted by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “...it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law”.1 It is for national legal systems and the administration of justice to ensure that this goal is achieved.".
Do those in the UK who consider that the Courts and Judges have abused their rights, have the right as stated in this to resort to rebellion as a last resort as is currently happening in Egypt and other countries?
They clearly must have as the State and Courts who allow untrained judges to sit in judgement of others are clearly just as corrupt as any alleged oppressive regime anywhere else in the world aren't they?
To deny human rights to all is just like destroying them, but perhaps this is not part of judicial training either is it?
I am out of the office until Monday, 28 February 2011, when I will be able
to answer your email.
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Dear Judicial Studies Board,
Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.
I am writing to request an internal review of Judicial Studies Board's handling of my FOI request 'United Nations Training Manual for the legal profession.'.
I replied to the response which was given by Brian Evans on behalf of Andrea Dowsett on the 25th Feb 2011 and was sent an automated reply on the 25th inst. However, it seems that this has, as usual, been ignored by the party concerned who should have dealt with it within a month at most.
Whilst I can be forgiven for not checking up on this as I've had other battles to deal with, and I would have been informed if a reply had been sent, I don't think the State can expect forgiveness for their failings.
So please explain why I've been ignored again and for what reasons?
A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
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