First judicial training on disability law in Georgia

For the last two weeks, Oliver Lewis has been in Georgia, where he has delivered the country's first judicial training on disability law.

The work was carried out within an EU-funded project to strengthen civil society and the judiciary on the rights of persons with disabilities. The organisers were Georgia's cross-disability NGO the "Coalition for Independent Living", the NGO "Changes for Equal Rights" and Georgia's Judicial College the "High School for Justice".

Oliver wrote a 70-page training pack on disability law for judges. It contained six modules that were chosen by the High School of Justice:

1) Persons with disabilities and international law

2)  Adjustments in legal proceedings

3)  Equality and non-discrimination

4)  Legal capacity

5)  Mental health

6)  Independent living

The training pack contained relevant jurisprudence under the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, both of which are enforceable in Georgian courts. It also analysed Georgian legal provisions and provided case studies for use in training. The training pack was translated into Georgian.

On 5-6 February 2022, Oliver delivered a train-the-trainers workshop to three judges of the Georgian Supreme Court and five Tbilisi Court of Appeal judges. The following weekend, four judges from that group used the training materials to deliver pilot training to ten further judges, with Oliver acting as a resource person. The High School of Justice intends to integrate the modules into its regular training for all judges in Georgia.

Oliver delivered the training with lawyer Ketevan Khomeriki, Georgia's leading expert in disability law. In 2019, Ketevan studied an LLM at the University of Leeds, where she took Oliver's course "Global human rights advocacy".

Commenting on the training, Judge Tamar Alania of the Tbilisi Court of Appeal, said:

"Your efforts are very valuable. Each of our colleagues is grateful for this workshop, as at a minimum they saw the challenges that persons with disabilities actually face and the training was not only theoretical, but also tangible/substantial."

Oliver has worked in the field of international human rights law, disability and mental health for over twenty years. For more information, please contact the Doughty Street International clerk Naomi Smith.