On 1 and 2 April 2019, a group of 28 Spanish judges, prosecutors and lawyers attended a HELP Training of Trainers (ToT) in Madrid (Spain), hosted by the department of continuous training of the Spanish High Council of Judiciary (CGPJ), with the aim of incorporating the HELP methodology in its training on human rights. HELP is the Council of Europe Programme on Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals. The Judicial School of the CGPJ is among the most proactive HELP Network members, as spotlighted in this article of the Spanish Law Journal “Teoria y Realidad Constitucional” (English – Spanish).
The ToT’s purpose was to provide legal professionals (some also active in the Acedemic work) with the necessary practical skills to effectively implement HELP online courses in their institutions, namely: Consejo General del Poder Judicial (CGPJ), Fiscalía General Española (FGE) and Consejo General de la Abogacía Española (CGAE).
The event opened with welcome addresses by Jorge Jiménez (Director of the Spanish Judicial School), José María Alonso Puig (President of the Madrid Bar Association), María Luisa Roldán García (Director of the department of continuous training at CGPJ) and Isabel Martín López (Training Unit of the FGE)
On the first day, the agenda included practical presentations from different speakers:
Eva Pastrana (Head of the HELP Unit, Council of Europe) provided a detailed view of the HELP Programme, including the catalogue of HELP courses available and their national versions; the facts and figures showing the correlation between the number of users of the HELP e-learning platform and its users and the countries concerned by judgements of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the value and positive results of the HELP programme at national level. Astep-by-step presentation of the HELP methodology was also included.
Rafael Bustos Gisbert (Consitutional Law Professor and Focal Point for Spain on behalf of the Spanish Judicial School) gave a very clear explanation of what is involved in the national implementation of a HELP course (he was the tutor of the Spanish national version of “Introduction to the European Convention on Human Rigths and the ECtHR”), with a particular focus on the role of the HELP trainers and national tutors before, during and after the course. He provided a list of simple tips for trainers, such as the importance of being flexible and adapting the course to the specific audience.
Julen Fernández Conte (Director of the Brussels Office of the CGAE and HELP Info Point for Spain) focused on the HELP platform: its content, benefits, tools and techniques. He highlighted, in particular, the benefits and challenges of inter-disciplinary training in the context of the HELP programme.
Eva Massa presented the new EU-CoE HELP project on “Radicalisation Prevention”, whose course was launched in Barcelona on 28 and 29 March for a multinational group of judges and prosecutors. She also provided an example of the national version of a HELP course -*Business and Human Rights in Ireland”-, based on her previous experience as a HELP tutor. She mentioned best practices, such as the importance of planning and preparation, as well as efficient communication with course participants.
The second session concentrated on the effective use of the online e-learning platform, for which participants were divided into smaller working groups and had the opportunity to use the platform tools under the guidance of facilitators Rafael Bustos, Jorge Jiménez, Clara Carulla, Noemí Alarcón, Juan José Talens, Eva Pastrana and Eva Massa.
Upon completion of the ToT practical assignment, they will be certified and ready to act as national tutors and moderate HELP courses; furthermore, all certified tutors will be included in the roster of HELP trainers which is available on the HELP website.
This ToT event was an excellent example of inter-disciplinary training involving three professions that play a fundamental role in the justice process of adjudicating justice and upholding human rights.
HELP online courses (model courses in English and available national versions) are accessible for free to everyone anytime at the HELP learning platform once you open an account: http://help.elearning.ext.coe.int/