The Legal Advocate

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Press Release: NITA Teaches Advocacy Skills To Malawi Court Officials

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Program part of NITA’s service commitment to support justice systems in emerging democracies worldwide

BOULDER, Colo., May 29, 2015 – The National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) recently collaborated with Irish Rule of Law International (IRLI) and Justice Advocacy Africa (JAA) in sponsoring a training workshop that taught trial advocacy skills to court officers in the Malawi justice system.

Held April 8–10 in the capital city of Lilongwe, the three-day intensive workshop drew advocates, paralegals and police prosecutors from the Malawi Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Legal Aid Bureau and the Malawi Police Service, respectively, who received specialized training in courtroom advocacy and the trial process. Among the thirty-eight workshop participants were police prosecutors, whose attendance was crucial because, according to Jane O’Connell, IRLI Program Manager, they—rather than advocates—handle over ninety percent of the caseload in Malawi courts. Amidst the challenges faced by the criminal justice system in this emerging democratic republic is very limited governmental funding for legal aid services. Court officers in Malawi worked with IRLI to increase the capacity of court officers through faculty sponsorships by NITA and JAA.

Experienced trainers from NITA and JAA led attendees through a series of brief lectures, followed by mock trial exercises that emphasized the “learning by doing” model. The NITA and JAA trainers were also joined by Irish Senior Counsel Anne Power-Forde, who is a former judge of the European Court of Human Rights. NITA sponsored its board member Linwood C. (L.C.) Wright to serve as program faculty. Wright was joined by JAA faculty, JAA President Steve Fury and Hon. Matthew W. Williams, a Seattlebased district court judge and NITA faculty member. “One of the most effective ways to ensure the continued viability of the rule of law in emerging nations is to have a justice system that is transparent and fair, and as such, garners the confidence of the citizenry,” said Wright. “Solid advocacy is the hallmark of a fair justice system.” The legal advocacy training in Malawi, and others like it in Tanzania and Kenya, is part of NITA’s commitment to supporting the rule of law and justice systems in emerging democracies worldwide.

About the National Institute for Trial Advocacy
The National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) is the world’s leader in advocacy skills training and publications. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in Boulder, Colorado, NITA’s mission is to train and mentor lawyers to be competent and ethical advocates in the pursuit of justice. To learn more, visit, or call us at 303.953.6845.

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NITA’s team of practicing lawyers, professors and judges from around the nation dedicates its efforts to the training and development of skilled and ethical legal advocates to improve the adversarial justice system.

NITA’s Goals are to:

  • Promote justice through effective and ethical advocacy.
  • Train and mentor lawyers to be competent and ethical advocates in pursuit of justice.
  • Develop and teach trial advocacy skills to support and promote the effective and fair administration of justice.
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