In December 2013, North Macedonia started implementing a Western-style system of criminal procedure, requiring new skills, and changing the roles of judges, prosecutors, and attorneys.
Police, prosecutors, and judges have relied on institutional training academies to provide continuing education
to help them adjust to this Western-style system.
However, the country’s defense lawyers do not have the same training opportunities.
In contrast, access to training for the country’s 3,500 lawyers is minimal and sporadic.
In addition, newly licensed attorneys are unprepared for the newer adversarial system as North Macedonia’s law school curriculum has not integrated coursework on trial advocacy skills, despite the passage of a new criminal procedure code that requires fluency in these skills.
A democratic criminal justice system must include competent defense attorneys.
To address this, North Macedonia’s government adopted a National Justice Sector Strategy for 2017-2022 which identified the need for enhanced CLE for defense lawyers.
The strategy’s action plan envisions the development of a program and a methodology for implementing mandatory CLE for lawyers, as well as for amending the advocacy law to impose mandatory CLE through the NMBA.
Advocacy in North Macedonia is considered a constitutionally autonomous public service; as such, the NMBA is independent from the government and traditionally lacks financial and operational resources to build a CLE system for its members.
The establishment of a formal CLE program for North Macedonia’s lawyers will build the capacity of defense lawyers to support North Macedonia’s transition to and implementation of an adversarial system of criminal procedure and will improve Macedonian citizens’ access to justice.
[A1] [A2] Through this project, North Macedonia’s citizens will have access to trained, qualified, and competent defense attorneys, improving protection of their human rights and legal protections.
This project will complement ongoing INL justice-sector programs that support training for all legal practitioners by building the capacity of defense lawyers, thereby shaping and sustaining a just and democratic criminal justice system.
[A1]Please emphasize on how this project will benefit the citizens of Macedonia.
[A2]Please review the blurb in track changes below.