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HELP Network

The HELP Network, the only European peer-to-peer Human Rights Training Network, is composed of representatives of National Training Institutions for Judges and Prosecutors (NTIs) and Bar associations (BAs) of the 47 member States of the Council of Europe and beyond.

The HELP Network is entrusted with the implementation of paragraph 9.vi of the 2012 Brighton Declaration (“Providing appropriate information and training about the [European Convention on Human Rights] in the study, training and professional development of judges, lawyers and prosecutors”) and shall, in this respect:

  • Support the development and promotion of initial and continuous training of legal professionals on European human rights standards, and in particular the European Convention on Human Rights, as interpreted by the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.
  • Share best practices and provide assistance in the development of study programmes, training materials and teaching methods intended for legal professionals, in the field of human rights.
  • Provide advice in order to assist States improve their human rights training of judges, prosecutors and lawyers.
  • Provide support to improve the capacity of lawyers to lodge good quality applications to the European Court of Human Rights and to meet the admissibility criteria, in order to decrease the amount of unsuccessful applications to the European Court of Human Rights and reduce its workload.
  • Promote the coordination of human rights training initiatives for legal professionals proposed by international and national institutions.

The NTIs and BAs are represented in the HELP Network through the so-called HELP Focal Point and HELP Info Points for each State. The HELP Consultative Board members are also members of the HELP Network.

The HELP Network has annual plenary meetings, at the HELP Annual Network Conference. In between the annual meetings, the HELP Secretariat coordinates constantly with the HELP Network members.

Other key partners of HELP are the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN), the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), UNHCR or OSCE/ODIHR.

Working Methods

The HELP Network will co-ordinate its activities with the Secretariat of the HELP Programme. Meetings shall normally be convened at the premises of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg once per year. Meetings of the Network will be organised as follows:

Plenary Meeting: 94 members (150 including partners and observers), 1 two-day meeting per year. This HELP Network Annual Conference is the opportunity for:

  • an exchange of best practices in the 47 Member States in the field of human rights education for legal professionals; as well as on training methodology (including development of new tools to assess the impact and effects of training);
  • an opportunity for a large-scale training needs assessment for legal professionals in the 47 Member States;
  • setting up the Roadmap and priorities for the following year (identification of priority topics, multinational and multidisciplinary training initiatives, etc).

Partners:

  • The European Judicial Training Network (EJTN)
  • International associations of judges
  • The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE)
  • European Bars Federation (FBE)
  • The European Court of Human Rights
  • National associations of judges and prosecutors
  • Professional associations of lawyers,
  • Legal aid networks and legal clinics specialised in human rights
  • Mémoire Albert Cohen Foundation