Online Workshop with Maldivian Lawyers successfully concluded

The Foundation hosted the event in partnership with the Bar Council of the Maldives

The Max Planck Foundation implemented the third workshop for Maldivian lawyers focusing on Professional Ethics of Lawyers, Fair Trial Rights and Strategic Litigation. 22 lawyers attended the programme which was hosted on the Foundation’s LEARN platform between 2-5 and 15-23 November 2020.

The topic on Professional Ethics of Lawyers discussed international and domestic standards relating to the ethical conduct of lawyers. The discussion of domestic ethical standards was complemented by a video recorded by Mohamed Aseel Hassan, Executive Committee Member of the Bar Council of the Maldives. This was combined with exercises and quizzes in which participants were invited to apply ethical principles to situations they may encounter in their daily work. A podcast recorded by Foundation Research Fellows analysing the ethical implications of various scenarios complemented this. This topic was concluded with a live video conference with the participation of Mohamed Shahdy Anwar, Managing Partner of S&A Lawyers LLP and Chairman of the Board of the Maldives International Arbitration Centre. Drawing from his extensive experience, Mr Anwar engaged in an active conversation with the participants on ethical issues that may arise within a Maldivian context, as well as offering valuable insights and suggestions on how to respond to such challenges.

The Fair Trial Rights sessions included a discussion of international and domestic standards relating to several rights including the right to a public hearing, the right to a trial without undue delay and the right to adequate time and facilities. Access to justice was another topic that was discussed, together with exercises to help participants appreciate the different factors that may influence a person’s ability to access justice in the Maldives. A lawyer’s role in furthering access to justice was also discussed. This topic concluded with a live video conference conducted by the Foundation’s Research Fellows on challenges to fair trial rights within the Maldives, and how these can be addressed. This resulted in a robust and fruitful discussion amongst the Research Fellows and the participants, highlighting the salient issues of fair trial rights, their interdependence and the role of lawyers in advancing them.

The final workshop topic was an introduction to strategic litigation. This introduced participants to the main elements of strategic litigation as well as insights into developing such a legal strategy, focusing on the case, forum and client selection. This was complemented by an extensive discussion of the risks of strategic litigation, and different approaches and good practices to mitigate such risks (including media and funding strategies). This topic, as well as the workshop, was brought to a close with a live video conference in which participants reviewed an example of strategic litigation in groups and reported their findings to the broader plenum. The participants engaged in a lively discussion, answering questions posed by the Foundation Research Fellows and other participants. These interactions really highlighted the “strategic” element inherent in this type of litigation, and how every decision must be intentional and calculated. Closing remarks were made by Abdulla Muizzu, Vice President of the Bar Council of the Maldives, who thanked the Foundation for its cooperation and partnership and offered valuable advice to the participants.

This series of workshops delivered to the lawyers of the Republic of Maldives in cooperation with the Bar Council was generously funded by the German Federal Foreign Office as part of the ongoing “Strengthening the Rule of Law in the Maldives” project.