The 2nd Myanmar National CLE Mock Trial Workshop was co-organized by the East Yangon University (EYU) and Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia Community Legal Education Initiative (BABSEACLE) Myanmar team, at the East Yangon University Campus, in Myanmar, on the 4th – 5th February, 2016. The event took place over two days and was run by Myanmar Law teachers, trainers from BABSEACLE and its international partners DLA Piper/New Perimeter, UNDP, Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) and the Irish Rule of Law International. The aim of the workshop was to prepare the students for the CLE Mock Trial event planned in East Yangon University for the 6th and the 7th of February 2016. The workshop was attended by 40 students and 50 teachers from 16 universities across Myanmar. The students attended as participants along with many of the teachings while a number of the teachers, familiar with how to teach CLE Mock Trial techniques, also attended as co-trainers. 1 student from Dagon University and 2 students from East Yangon University also participated as observers.
At the opening ceremony, Dr. Kyaw Kyaw Khaung (Rector of East Yangon University) welcomed everyone and emphasized the importance of everyone coming together to share knowledge. He talked about the importance of bridging the gap between theory and legal practice during this mock trial, and the importance of allowing students to develop legal analytical and advocacy skills, and to practice individual and team work. Moreover, he thanked all the participants and sponsors: BABSEACLE, HSF, DLA Piper/New Perimeter, UNDP, USAID, Irish Law Society.
During the opening ceremony Naw Hsar Moo Paw (Legal Trainer, BABSEACLE) stressed the excitement for the workshop and thanked the university to make this happen. She stated that the workshop presented an excellent opportunity to gain knowledge, skills, and values.
Neil Weinstein (Access to Justice Advisor for the USAID Promoting Rule of Law Project [PRLP]) stressed that this presented a great occasion for students to develop their legal skills while they are still enrolled in university. He introduced the work of the USAID PRLP regarding the strengthening of the legal profession in Myanmar.
The workshop included several sessions with a strong focus on the CLE Mock Trial event’s rules and procedures. Moreover, the different stages of the trial (case planning and case theory, witness preparation and testifying witness examination techniques) were explained. The importance of evidence, impartiality and transparency was also covered. The role of judges was analyzed. Other sessions also focused on improving participants’ presenting skills (including opening and closing statements).
The 2nd Myanmar National CLE Mock Trial Workshop aimed to show the students how the CLE Mock Trial is organized, to review its general principles and to deepen their knowledge, skills and value in order to achieve a successful and fair trial. Thanks to the many diverse and relevant sessions, students understood the different steps of a trial and the roles of the different actors involved in a trial. They learnt how to apply and use the facts to the law, how to present a case and the characteristics of an ethical advocate.
The trainers used many interactive teaching methods in their sessions, such as
- Group work
- Participant Presentation
- Each One Teach One
- Power point slide
- Use of the manual supplied
- Audio Visual (photos and videos)
- Lecture style
- Group discussions
- Reflection on opening statements
- Role play
- Flip chart
- Questions and answers (Q&A)
- Yes/No signs.
These teaching methodologies received a general positive feedback from the students and teachers alike.
The 2nd Myanmar National CLE Mock Trial Workshop was a great success and was well attended. It was a great learning experience where knowledge, skills and values were acquired by all. Students managed to bridge the gap between theory and legal practice and they learnt how to work as individuals as well as in teams. This workshop successfully helped students to develop their legal, analytical and advocacy skills, increasing familiarity with court process and enhancing their appreciation and understanding of legal ethics.
All of the teachers and students attending actively participated in the Workshop, and they were keen to replicate the CLE Mock Trial Program at their home universities.
Our BABSEACLE team members would like to thank everyone who gave us the opportunity to conduct this Workshop. BABSEACLE is very proud to have them as partners.
In the end, everyone understood that CLE Mock Trial is all about learning together and it is not a competition, and everyone seemed really excited to experience it.
By Lahpai Nang Doi (Assistant Legal Trainer, BABSEACLE)