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Improving Sensitivity of Judges in Matters of Equal Treatment

Combating discrimination Completed
2014-04-30 - 2016-04-30
172 645,85 PLN
153 077,27 PLN
judiciary system, multiculturalism, national policies
Project description
The organisation’s vast experience and a study of the judiciary (e.g. a report by the Polish Society of Anti-Discrimination Law) prove that the social and legal discrimination-related awareness of judges is insufficient. The Helsinki Foundation regularly receives cases proving a lack of sensitivity of the judges’ and prosecutors’ community to needs of special groups (e.g. the disabled). An analysis of these cases often shows that clients come in with complaints concerning inappropriate treatment during proceedings rather than defective legal action (judges have been known to ask Jews wearing kippahs to “remove their caps”). Judges have no access to education or information concerning procedures involving communities prone to discrimination – neither during traineeship at the National School of Judiciary and Public Prosecution, nor in any lifelong learning evolutions.
The project purpose was to sensitise judges and prosecutors to special needs of persons prone to discrimination when taking part in legal proceedings.
In co-operation with the judges’ and prosecutors’ community and the Office of the Ombudsman, the first guidebook of the kind for the judiciary was published, discussing issues of equal treatment of all parties to legal proceedings.
An expert working group was founded, comprising judges, prosecutors, and representatives of judiciary-related institutions. In a series of 10 working meetings, a Guidebook concept was drafted, its individual sections analysed. Two conferences for a total of approximately 200 persons were held to promote the Guidebook. Thanks to the Office of the Ombudsman, the Guidebook was published in 4,000 copies, 3 copies sent to every court and prosecutor’s office in Poland. Eleven meetings with judges and prosecutors were organised to promote the publication in all appellate courts (over 200 attendants in total).
Beneficiaries included 400 representatives of the judiciary – participants of meetings promoting Guidebook-contained concepts.
We use the grant for capacity building