Position:          Volunteer Legal Aid Expert

Location:         Myanmar (various locations)

Duration:         3 Months – between June and November 2019

The Opportunity

IBJ-Myanmar, an affiliate of International Bridges to Justice (IBJ), seeks an experienced criminal justice practitioner to mentor the local lawyers of our 6 Justice Centres, in the areas of case-review, trial preparation, court observation, and legal skills trainings.  By mentoring staff lawyers, and local lawyers associated with our Centres through “communities of practice,” the volunteer legal expert will help them develop the necessary skill, knowledge, and client-centred values to ensure zealous proactive representation of the accused from the time of arrest through appeal.  In addition, the expert will aid lawyers in identifying illegal practices, and outdated laws to develop practical and legal strategies to overcome them.  The expert will use existing resources, such as the Myanmar Criminal Defense Manual (link below) and will be supported and supervised by the IBJ-Myanmar Director of Strategy and Advocacy and the Country Director.  The three-month period must be scheduled between June and November 2019.  IBJ will provide roundtrip airfare to Myanmar and reimbursement for a work visa, in-country travel, housing, and a modest stiped for living expenses.  The expert will be supported by a full-time interpreter.

International Bridges to Justice

International Bridges to Justice (IBJ) is dedicated to protecting the basic legal rights of individuals in developing countries. We envision a world where the basic legal rights of every man, woman and child are respected in case of an arrest or judicial accusation, in particular: the right to competent legal representation, the right to be free from torture and cruel treatment, and the right to a fair trial. The existence of basic defendant rights in countries around the world requires (1) a sufficient number of trained and available public defenders, criminal defense legal aid lawyers; (2) defenders to be organized in a structure and within a system which ensures that criminal defendants have access to them at the earliest legally mandated time; (3) a judicial environment which respects and embraces the role of public defenders; and (4) international support to accomplish these aims.  IBJ currently implements or supports programs and individual in ## countries.

International Bridges to Justice in Myanmar

Since 2017, IBJ has implemented criminal legal aid Justice Centres, in partnership with the MyJustice Initiative of the British Council, funded by the European Union.  The phase 1 project has been extended to November 2019, with anticipated continuation into 2020 and beyond.  Headquartered in Taunggyi (capital of Shan state), the Justice Centres also operate in five other locations: Hpa-An, Taungoo, Nay Pyi Taw (the national capital), Mandalay (the second largest city), and Kalaw. 

The project has 3 objectives: 1) to provide free legal aid for the criminally accused who are indigent or marginalized; 2) to develop of a cadre of lawyers who have the skills and the commitment to provide such representation and to effect change in the criminal justice system and; (3) to foster more communication and collaboration between criminal defenders and justice stakeholders in government informs justice policy implementation.  While demanding client-centred and zealous representation by lawyers in and out of the courtroom, IBJ also engages with governmental actors such as the Union Legal Aid Board, the Office of Union Attorney General, the judiciary, police and prison officials. IBJ has created and disseminated the first comprehensive Myanmar Criminal Defense Manual which serves as the foundation of our capacity building work.

Defense lawyers hub

Tasks

  • Mentor lawyers’ “case preparation” – including legal research, factual investigation, charge analysis, writing cross and direct examinations, motions, and in-court objections and arguments
  • Observe and supervise of lawyers in-court, at detention facilities and during factual investigations.
  • Develop and implement of in-house trainings
  • Support cooperating attorneys within our communities of practice
  • Meet with governmental justice actors as directed by IBJ-Myanmar leadership
  • Use and update the existing Criminal Defense Practice Manual, as well as “model” motions, elements of the charge sheets, and other templates
  • Ensure the use and accuracy of case management forms and monitoring and evaluation rubrics

Qualifications

  • Licensed lawyer, including public or private defense lawyers, prosecutors or judges, with at least 5 years practice experience
  • Experience supervising or training lawyers, either within practice, through bar associations and/or as clinical legal educators
  • Strong litigation, research and legal writing skills
  • Spoken and written fluency in English (Myanmar language skills are not required)
  • Ability to work sensitively and collaboratively in a developing context

How to Apply

To apply, send your resume/cv and a statement of interest which outlines your experience as a practitioner in criminal courts, training of other lawyers, and your response to the question:

How you would approach mentoring lawyers in still fragile, transitional justice system?  Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

Submission should be made to:

Jake Stevens, Country Director, IBJ-Myanmar

jstevens@ibj.org

www.ibj.org

https://www.facebook.com/IBJMyanmar/