The East West Management Institute (EWMI) is pleased to announce that it has launched the Judicial Independence and Legal Empowerment Project (JILEP) in Georgia, a four-year initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In implementing the program, EWMI is working to: a) Strengthen judicial independence, accountability, and professionalism; b) Strengthen the institutional capacity of legal professional associations, legal rights NGOs, and the state legal aid system; c) Further improve legal education; and d) Further develop commercial law and improve commercial law related practice, including strengthening the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
Among other activities aimed at advancing the rule of law in Georgia, EWMI is advising the High Council of Justice (HCOJ) on how to appoint, advance, and discipline judges in a more objective and transparent manner. EWMI is also working to strengthen the capacity of the High School of Justice (HSOJ), charged with training judges, to make it more sustainable and better prepared to meet evolving needs well into the future. EWMI will also be working with the Judges Association of Georgia (JAG) and the Georgian Bar Association (GBA) to enable these organizations to better represent the interests of their members.
An integral part of JILEP is a grants program that will foster a stronger and more sustainable NGO community dedicated to advocating for needed reforms and providing assistance to the underrepresented. The program targets court performance monitoring, public education, and providing representation to underserved elements of Georgian society. A third component of the project will be to strengthen Georgian legal education by supporting partnerships with US law schools, and advising on accreditation, and establishing legal clinics.
The final component of the project, which will cross-cut with our work with the bar and the HSOJ as well as with the law schools, will be to strengthen the practice of commercial law in the country. A key element of this work will be to emphasize the utility of and provide greater access to ADR, including arbitration.
EWMI’s partners in implementing JILEP include the Eurasia Partnership Foundation (EPF), the Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), Transparency International – Georgia, the Public Interest Law Institute (PILI), the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP), Justitia (the Judges Association of Poland), the Center for Advancing Legal Skills (CFALS) in Lublin, Poland, the Washburn University School of Law, and the South Texas College of Law.