The Regional Conference on “Networks of Judicial and Legal Training Institutions: Factor for the Success of Judicial Reform” was hosted by the Kyrgyz Republic and organised by two projects financed by the European Union: “Promotion of the Rule of Law in the Kyrgyz Republic” and “EU-Central Asia Rule of Law Platform”. It built on the recommendations developed at the regional seminar on “Legal training in the 21st Century”, in Bishkek, on 26-28 October 2009, in the framework of the European Initiative on Rule of Law for Central Asia, with Germany as lead. The conference aimed at deepening the dialogue and exchanges of experience on initial and further training of the legal and judicial professions, intensified cooperation between judges, public prosecutors and practicing lawyers, and finally promoting and strengthening partnerships between Central Asian law universities and legal and judicial training centers on the one hand, and European universities and training centers on the other, in order to intensify dialogue through sharing of best methodologies, curriculae and e.g. internships and work placements, thereby contributing to the countries successful judicial reform and more compliance with the rule of law.

The conference was composed of three main parts: “Judicial and training institutions in Central Asia: state of play”, “Best training practices” and “Networks of judicial and legal training institutions”. Part I included presentations of existing institutions and curriculae, and on challenges for judicial and legal training. Part II allowed to introduce resources and new technologies needed for training (including legal databases, e-justice and distance learning), and a model curriculum for professional legal training. Part III featured presentations on the benefits of inter-professional cooperation and networking, and on forms of regional and international cooperation: exchange of experience and resources. The experience of the only existing regional legal network: the League of Lawyers of Central Asia, was presented.

The delegations from Central Asia were composed of heads and high-level representatives from training centers for judges, public prosecutors and lawyers from Central Asia, as well as judges from Supreme Courts, Constitutional Courts, high-level representatives from Ministries of Justice, academics and other institutions. The delegates and experts came from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Poland, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The delegates, recognized the friendly relations existing between the countries of Central Asia and the Member States of the European Union, considered the importance of legal training for the advancement and further development of the rule of law and democracy, and yet, remarked the differences in organization of legal training in different countries of Central Asia. At the end of fruitful discussions on all the main topics addressed during the regional conference, the delegates acknowledged the need to modernize professional legal training (need for more scientific background, more autonomy in the choice of courses, upgrading training schemes, transparency in professional legal training, revision of the system of control of acquired knowledge), to modernize the curriculae of law schools (improving reading and writing skills, introducing practical internships in curriculae, case study and other practical assignments, modernizing teaching methods, learning competitiveness, teaching transnational law and comparativism, giving more attention to alternative dispute resolution, teaching structuring of the law, teaching techniques of interpretation, applying ethics to law, upgrading teaching materials, providing adequate funding to legal training), to develop networks of legal training institutions in Central Asia (creating new networks or building on existing ones, exchange of experience among legal training centers, promoting international cooperation, creating a Central Asian legal education platform, organising national and international conferences and seminars, developing cooperation between judges, public prosecutors and practicing lawyers, and developing greater cooperation between universities and professional judicial/legal institutions).

At the end of the two-day conference, the delegates agreed on a communiqué. A press release and a press report were prepared.