The USAID New Justice Program Expert Victoria Pratt, a former Chief Judge of Newark Municipal Court, New Jersey, U.S.A., conducted a Workshop titled “Procedural Justice and Respect of Participants to Judicial Proceedings as a Way to Build up the Public Trust in the Judiciary” for National School of Judges’ trainers and law school faculty.
Victoria Pratt exposed the trainees to the concept of procedural justice as an important tool to increase the public trust in court. Adherence to the procedural justice manifest itself in explaining procedural rules to the public in an understandable language, enabling participants to the judicial process to present their positions, judge’s being neutral at hearing and respectful and polite to a person irrespective of his/her cultural background, ethnicity, religious belief, sexual orientation, health status etc.
At the questions and answers session, Ms. Pratt provided the trainees with practical recommendations so that they could apply the new knowledge at Ukrainian courts most effectively. She stressed the importance of using a simplified legal language when dealing with ordinary people as unclarity of the procedural terminology may lead to misunderstanding among participants to the judicial proceedings.
In addition, the trainees familiarized themselves with Yale University’s studies on factors contributing to development of the public trust and respect of the judiciary as well as the US experience in implementing the procedural justice concept and influence of these changes on the public opinion on the court. The newly acquired knowledge about modern approaches to understanding procedural justices will enable the National School of Judges to increase its capacity of preparing progressive judicial professionals.