ECOWAS Court holds training for Sierra Leonean lawyers, law students

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The ECOWAS Court is organising a training programme for lawyers and law students from Sierra Leone during its May 13-16 international conference, the court’s spokesman, Mr Felicien Hounkanrin, said on Friday.

Hounkanrin, in a statement, said the President of the Court, Justice Edward Asante, made this known at  a meeting with the executives of the Sierra Leone Bar Association (SLBA), in the country’s capital, Freetown, on Thursday.

He quoted Asante as saying that the training aimed to deepen the knowledge of the beneficiaries on the court’s processes.

“The training would hopefully close the lacuna in the knowledge of the Court among legal practitioners from the country, based on the realisation that most of the lawyers appearing before the Court for cases from Sierra Leone were from outside the country.

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“The President said it will provide a forum to generate constructive discussions around the strengths and weaknesses of the Court’s relationship with various national stakeholders and propose practical solutions for the enhancement of the role, relevance and effectiveness of the Court.

“Justice Asante urged the leadership of the SLBA to help with the process for the successful conduct of the training and urged them to work in collaboration with other relevant bodies in the country, including the leadership of the law school, to streamline the participation and other elements of the training,” he said.

According to Hounkanrin, resource persons for the training will be drawn from senior lawyers from the Court, who will also be attending the conference that will hold in Sierra Leone.

The spokesman said that the President of the SLBA, Eddinia Swallow, would deliver the goodwill message at the conference, which he noted, would be historic.

He explained that it would be the first time the President of a country’s bar association would be allowed to deliver such a message since the court’s inaugural conference in 2004.

Hounkanrin said that earlier, the President of the SLBA thanked the Court for the ‘amazing opportunity’ granted the country to host the conference, saying it was the fulfilment of a dream for her and members of the legal profession in that country.

The SLBA President promised to work with the Court to sensitise lawyers on the specificities of the Court in order to improve their practice.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that theme of the conference is: “Enhancing the role, relevance and effectiveness of the ECOWAS Court of Justice through the strengthening of synergies between the Court and national stakeholders.”

Justice Asante is leading a 12-member delegation of the Court to discuss arrangements for the successful hosting of the conference. (NAN)

By Mark Longyen

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