What is HELP?
The European Programme for Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP) supports the Council of Europe member states in implementing the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) at the national level, in accordance with the Committee of Ministers Recommendation (2004) 4, the 2010 Interlaken Declaration, the 2012 Brighton Declaration and the 2014 Brussels declaration.
This is done by enhancing the capacity of judges, lawyers and prosecutors in all 47 member states to apply the ECHR in their daily work. Indeed, legal professionals, who are at the forefront of the protection of human rights, including those of victims, must benefit from high-quality training. This is to ensure that they are kept up-to-date with the ever-evolving standards and case law of the European Court of Human Rights. HELP precisely aims at providing high-quality and tailor-made training tools to all European legal professionals.
The European Union (EU) countries benefit from the HELP in the 28 Programme, funded by the EU.
- the only pan-European Network of national training institutions for judges, prosecutors and lawyers in the 47 Member States;
- an e-learning platform on human rights;
- a human rights training methodology for legal professionals.
The HELP Network, the only pan-European peer-to-peer Human Rights Training Network, is composed of representatives from National Training Institutions for Judges and Prosecutors (NTIs) and Bar Associations (BAs) of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe.
The HELP Network is entrusted with the implementation of paragraph 9.vi of the 2012 Brighton Declaration and shall, in this respect:
- promote the development and promotion of initial and continuous training of legal professionals on standards of the ECHR, as interpreted by the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR);
- share best practices and provide advice on curricula, training materials and training methodologies for legal professionals, identifying priority themes for future training activities.
A wide range of training resources on the ECHR, developed and collected under the HELP Programme, is available on-line, translated into the national languages of the beneficiary countries. It is becoming a real challenge for legal professionals to follow the case law of the Strasbourg Court, which evolves quickly and expansively. The HELP Programme is also a platform where they will be able to keep abreast of Strasbourg case law developments through easy available updates.
There are two main types of HELP training resources:
Distance-learning courses are available for selected groups of legal professionals participating in pilot courses moderated by certified national tutors. The list of available courses (including a description) is available in the catalogue of courses.
Self-learning resources are available to any user who has an account on the platform.
They include training manuals on both ECHR Methodology and Key Concepts, as well as Handbooks, standard curricula, course outlines, presentations, case studies, and e-learning courses on the different Articles and themes of the ECHR.
The HELP methodology takes into account the heavy time pressure imposed on legal professionals in their daily work. Its added value is that curricula are drafted on a tailor-made basis, meeting participants’ specific training needs and learning pace, allowing flexibility.The HELP methodology and resources are systematically used in all CoE capacity building activities on the ECHR, organised in the Member States, including within the framework of EU/CoE Joint Programmes.
HELP organises training of trainers sessions, with the aim to increase ownership by national training institutions.