The Foundation and ALRDO host workshop on constitutional law for female judges in Herat, Afghanistan

The first of four workshops outside of Kabul explored the role of constitutional law in the work of judges

The Max Planck Foundation together with its partner the Afghanistan Legal Research and Development Organisation (ALRDO) has extended the reach of its workshop series for female legal professionals with the first of four workshops to be held outside of the capital city. From 30 January to 3 February 2021, female judges from Herat and the surrounding areas convened for expert presentations and lively discussion of key areas of constitutional law, both from national and transnational perspectives, with a particular view to benefiting the delivery of justice and the rule of law in the country.

The current public health situation necessitated a hybrid approach whereby international speakers from the Foundation contributed through real-time video links and presentations recorded and dubbed in advance alongside live discussion and presentations given in person by renowned Afghan legal scholars and eminent judges. Over the five-day course, Afghan and international researchers, members of the judiciary as well as representatives of the International Psychological Organisation (IPSO) combined technical legal training with open debate and practical exercises, encouraging judges to reflect on their practice.

Herat’s women judges engaged in lively and critical discussion on matters ranging from the role and implications of constitutional legal doctrines in cases before them to the impact of fundamental standards of the rule of law and the social and religious context of adjudication in Afghanistan. Particular focal points included the right and duty of judges to uphold constitutional values and principles in their own decisions, the protection of judicial independence in the broader framework of state power and the impact of legal pluralism in Afghanistan on their practice. The Foundation and ALRDO intend to return to Herat for the second workshop in the series.

This event benefited from the kind support of the Supreme Court of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. It was held with generous funding from the German Federal Foreign Office and forms part of the project entitled “Afghan Women Judges Association: Empowerment through Capacity-Building, Partnership and Advocacy“.