Justice First: Call for Proposals
Freedom House seeks proposals based in Moldova, the Eastern Partnership region, and the European Union, for forward-looking briefs on the rule of law and judicial reform in Moldova.
Justice First: Freedom House Seeks Proposals for Policy Brief Series
Freedom House seeks proposals from both rising and experienced independent researchers, scholars, and affiliated research analysts, especially those based in Moldova, the Eastern Partnership region, and the European Union, for forward-looking briefs on the following theme:
Education, Training, and the Future of Moldova’s Legal Profession
As Moldova’s justice system works towards building strong institutional capacity, fighting corruption and political influence, and earning public trust, the greatest determinant of its success will be its ability to attract and train dedicated, honest, and effective young professionals – both as public officials and private lawyers. The government’s Justice Sector Strategy lists improving legal education and training as a key priority in improving the effectiveness and independence of the justice system, and highlights concerns with the current state of Moldova’s legal education which underly long-standing problems with the justice sector as a whole. There is insufficient ethical training and a weak professional culture, potentially leading to corruption and openness to political influence; there is a “fragmented” approach to training for court personnel, creating inefficiencies and inconsistency between courts; continuous training is required only for a small subset of legal personnel, making it possible for established judicial actors to fall behind new developments and limiting the development of a unified and independent professional culture.
In addition to these long-standing issues, the justice system increasingly faces new challenges which demand legal professionals take on new skills. Repeated instances of Moldovan cases being overruled by the European Court of Human Rights reveal the need for lawyers and judges who are well-versed in European law and can practice in English, French, or other European languages, while ubiquity of new technologies with legal implications – such as the influence of social media and big data on privacy and data protection regulations – demands new expertise and even greater specialization. In addition, lower salaries and higher workloads compared to alternative work in the EU or the private sector leads to increasingly high turnover and low interest among young people. The Justice Sector Strategy’s discussion of addressing these issues revolves around the role of the National Institute of Justice, which since 2007 has been the government’s core educational institution for initial and continuous training of judicial personnel. However, private universities and some NGOs and have also developed independent programs to help fill these expertise gaps, improve the professionalism of legal actors, and attract young people to the legal profession.
This brief will examine the state of Moldova’s legal education and training systems, and identify areas for improvement to better prepare the next generation of legal professionals. Proposals may take a broad view of the question, or alternatively identify a particular issue area or institution to focus on, such as the National Institute of Justice. Competitive proposals should offer actionable recommendations to a wide range of stakeholders, such as government bodies, international actors, private educational institutions, and civil society organizations.
Please submit concept proposals to [email protected] by June 25, 2021, with “Moldova Policy Briefs” in the subject line. The concept proposal should consist of an abstract of no more than 200 words in English, an outline of the argument and recommendations to be presented, and a CV for the principal researcher or researchers. Organizations may submit proposals for more than one brief.
Contracted researchers will be asked to deliver a draft of 2500-3000 words. The brief will be published by Freedom House, with the byline and affiliation of the scholar or researcher. An honorarium of $250 per brief is provided.
The Justice First policy brief series is a gift of the United States Government, funded by the U.S. State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs under the project “Mobilizing Civil Society to Support Judicial Integrity in the Republic of Moldova” and implemented by Freedom House.