Foundation convenes first Specialised Dialogue for Judges in the Maldives

Judges from different levels of the Judiciary gathered to discuss fair trial rights in civil trials

On 21 and 22 June 2021, the Max Planck Foundation convened the first in a series of Specialised Dialogues for judges in the Maldives, in collaboration with the Department of Judicial Administration and the Judicial Academy. These dialogues are aimed at advancing experience and knowledge-sharing between judges located in different courts and locations across the country.

This first dialogue was attended by judges from the Magistrate Courts, Civil Court and High Court of the Maldives. It focused on four key elements of fair trial rights in civil trials, namely the role of judges in ensuring access to justice and courts; procedural aspects of the right to a fair trial; judges’ place in advancing equality in civil proceedings; and the enforcement of civil judgments. Each of these themes was explored by the participating judges through the examination of case studies, the discussion of foreign jurisprudence and the sharing of different experiences and perspectives gleaned throughout their daily practice. The judges examined the diverse challenges that they face in protecting fair trial rights within the Maldivian context and considered best practices to overcome these. Moreover, they considered means through which to support one another in dealing with such difficulties.

To provide a comparative judicial perspective, Judge Mohamed El Tawila, judge of the Egyptian Court of Cassation, joined the Foundation in facilitating the dialogue. Judge El Tawila answered specific questions about the means through which civil procedure may be used to advance the fair trial rights of individuals in Egypt and how difficulties such as resource constraints might be creatively overcome. The comparative experiences shared led to robust discussions about the lessons that judges around the world might be able to learn from one another.

The dialogue was opened by the Chief Judicial Administrator of the Maldives, Aishath Rizna and closed by the Head of Programmes for the Judicial Academy, Aisthath Sahma. It was the first dialogue in a series which will bring together judges from around the Maldives to consider topics such as fair trial rights in criminal trials and the creation of a child-friendly juvenile justice system and forms part of the project entitled Stabilising the Rule of Law by Supporting the Reform Agenda of the Republic of Maldives funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.