March 2023

Child Abduction Workshop in Yerevan

After a hiatus in our Programme activity, we were delighted to be able to start our new programme on Cross Border Family Disputes over Children with a very successful workshop on the theme of Child Abduction.

The workshop took place on 10-11 March 2023 in Yerevan. Sixty lawyers from Armenia, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Russia, Kazakhstan, Czech Republic and the United Kingdom shared their experiences related to the application and enforcement of The Convention on the Civil Aspects of the International Child Abduction in their jurisdictions.

CWI Victims of Crime Seminar March 2021

March 2021

Legal Assistance to Victims of Crime in Russia and England

Following a video course on various aspects of legal assistance and victim support in two countries, the Russian trainees were invited to attend the final event of the programme. On 19 March 2021, lawyers and law students from St Petersburg, Moscow, Lipetsk, Syzran, Stavropol, Novokuznetsk, Maykop (Adygeya), Novocheboksarsk (Chuvashia), Krasnoyarsk and Vladivostok gathered to exchange experiences and receive first-hand recommendations from the leading Russian experts.

February 2020

Disuputes Over Children – Recommendations for Family Lawyers

At the final event of our Protection of Children’s Rights Programme on 14 February 2020, Galina Ibryanova presented a manual she had written specifically for the purposes of this project. The manual contains useful information and recommendations for lawyers dealing with family disputes involving children. Practical recommendations include suggestions on interviewing children, tips on preparing procedural documents, and guidelines concerning circumstances to be considered in various categories of family disputes.

The manual is available in the Russian language from the website of the Legal Training Centre here.

January 2020

Study Visit to the UK

A group of lawyers from St Petersburg, Moscow and Karelia travelled to the UK to learn about the system of protecting children’s rights in England and Wales. The programme included visits to specialist courts, observing hearings and meeting with judges, lawyers and various professionals.

November 2019

New Technology and the Law Conference

The international conference ‘New Technology & the Law – a Human Rights Perspective’ on 4 November 2019 was the first event in Russia on the subject. We are proud of our pioneering role in opening the discussion in Saint Petersburg on the development of technology and Lawtech and its resulting human rights issues and challenges. The conference was attended by 70 participants: practising lawyers, law professors and students from various universities, IT specialists and human rights workers. It gave a good start for further discussion and research to be done by law students and legal professionals.

Benefiting from three screens, simultaneous translation equipment, built-in microphones at every seat, and excellent wi-fi, our distinguished speakers covered the following topics:

Boriss Cilevičs, a former computer scientist and a member of parliament from Latvia, spoke on Justice by algorithm: the work of the Council of Europe on the role of artificial intelligence in policing and criminal justice.

Christina Blacklaws, former President of the Law Society of England and Wales and Chair of its Legal Technology Policy Commission which produced a wide-ranging report and recommendations about the use of algorithms in the justice system, shared her perspective on Technology and Innovation in Law.

Lidiya Voskobitova, professor of law at Moscow State Law University and author of 70 publications, examined the transformation of criminal justice basics in the digital era and human rights safeguards.

Clementina Barbaro, at the Council of Europe (CoE) for 16 years, presented the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice CEPEJ European Ethical Charter on the use of artificial intelligence in judicial systems, which is the first ever document on this issue in Europe and in the world.Roger Smith, OBE, a visiting professor of law at London South Bank University and an authority on legal aid, spoke of access to justice, human rights and technology.

Mike Rebeiro, senior advisor for Digital and Innovation, Macfarlanes LLP (London) rounded off the conference with his talk on protecting the rights to equality and non-discrimination in machine learning systems.

September 2019

First seminar of the 2019-20 Programme

The first event of this year’s programme on Children’s Rights in Civil and Criminal Proceedings in Russia and the UK took place in St Petersburg on 9-10 September.

Lawyers from St Petersburg, Moscow, Nizhniy Novgorod, Republic of Karelia, Ulyanovsk Region and Lipetsk region discussed the work with vulnerable children and young offenders. 

September 2019

New 2-Year Programme

CWI is delighted to announce its new 2-year programme, An Effective Legal Response to Human Rights Protection in Modern Russia.

The objective of the programme is to continue to raise the professional standards of Russian legal practitioners through targeted training in several areas of human rights protections. Over the coming 2 years we will focus our training on the rights of children and persons with addictions and explore the impact of new technologies and the law from a human rights perspective.

  • Our new programme starts with a seminar on Children’s Rights in Civil and Criminal Proceedings in Russia and the UK on 9-10 September 2019in St Petersburg.
  • Soon after, we will be holding an international conference on 4 November 2019 with Herzen University in St Petersburg on new technologies and the law from a human rights perspective. Lawyers from Russia, the UK and other European countries, experts and partner organisations will share best practice and reflect on how new technologies and new initiatives in the criminal, civil and administrative justice systems can best ensure public safety and how to prevent violations of various fundamental rights.

Further seminars, study visits and a conference in London are planned for 2020-2021.

August 2019

CWI Trustee John Harding interviewed for BBC Witness Programme

Listen to our Trustee, John Harding, former Chief Probation officer for Inner London and member of the Parole Board for England and Wales, interviewed on the BBC Witness History programme on his pioneering role in the introduction of community service.

March 2019

Final Seminar of the 2018-19 Programme

A final event of the domestic abuse project took place at the Legal Training Centre, St Petersburg. Two publications were presented, as well as the experiences of the study visit to the UK earlier this year.

February 2019

Study Visit to the UK

A group of lawyers from St Petersburg, Moscow, Niznny Novgorod and Cherepovets visited the UK to learn about legal response to domestic abuse in England and Wales. The programme included observing trials in English courts and meetings with specialist lawyers, judges, police officers and NGO workers.

January 2019

Work of Interpreters in Court and Police Stations – the Experience of Russia and the UK

At the second event of the 2018-19 Programme interpreters from a diverse range of languages gathered in St Petersburg on 17-18 January 2019 to share experience.

December 2018

Access to Justice for Victims of Domestic Abuse in Russia and Great Britain

This first seminar of CWI’s 2018-2019 Programme  took place in the premises of the Legal Training Centre in St Petersburg on 3-4 December, where lawyers from St Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Pskov, Cherepovets, Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod gathered to share experiences with each other and British colleagues.

Sir Louis Blom-Cooper at the launch of CWI in March 2016

September 2018

Sir Louis Blom-Cooper QC

It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of Sir Louis Blom-Cooper who died on 19 September at the age of 92.

Sir Louis was one of the founding trustees of CWI and supported our work from the very beginning and to the last day of his outstanding life.

His reputation and status as an eminence grise brought enhanced credibility to the organisation on a local and international platform. Sir Louis generously gave his time and ideas to the projects enabling Russian and UK lawyers to work together.

He was an inspiration to the Board of CWI and its partners while also being a constant source of wisdom and great humour. We will always remember his warm smile, sharp sense of humour and glittering eyes that lit up all of our regular meetings.

“You have professional and personal responsibility to uphold principles of the rule of law,” said Sir Louis addressing young Russian lawyers at the launch of CWI in London. They took this message home.


February 2018

Protecting the Rights of Migrants and Persons with Disabilities in the UK and Russia

At the final event of the project the 2017-18 Programme delegates of two study trips to the UK shared their impressions and observations with their colleagues from St Petersburg and other regions.
The seminar took place in St Petersburg on 16 February.

January 2018

Study Visit on Immigration Law

A group of lawyers from St Petersburg, Novgorod, Kaliningrad and Krasnodar visited the UK with an aim to study the UK asylum process. The programme organised by the Nottingham University Human Rights Law Centre was a practice-oriented combination of visits to courts and meetings with judges, barristers, solicitors and NGOs specialising in the work with migrants and refugees.

December 2017

Study Visit on Disability Law

A group of lawyers from St Petersburg were invited to the UK to get acquainted with the system of protection for disabled persons in England and Wales. An intense training in disability law was organised by the University of Nottingham Human Rights Law Centre. The programme included sessions with university professors, practising lawyers and NGO workers, as well as visits to a court and a mental hospital.

October 2017

Interpreters and the Legal Process

Interpreters working with migrants and deaf persons were invited to discuss their work at court and police stations. The seminar took place in St Petersburg on 31 October 2017.

September 2017

Defending the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Migrants

In the first part of CWI’s 2017-18 Programme, this first seminar took place on  place on 29-30 September 2017 in St Petersburg in the premises of the Legal Training Centre.

April 2017

Prosecuting and Defending in the English Courts – Video

In the second  in our series of video lectures, barrister Flora Page shares her experience of acting for the defence and for the Crown in an interview with David Osborne.

March 2017

Legal Lectures in Siberia

Lionel Blackman is to travel to Siberia to deliver lectures in three cities for members of local Bars and law students, concerning the use of visuals in criminal trials.

February 2017

Professional Development and Legal Market Seminar

Seminars to take place in St Petersburg and Kaliningrad 18-19 February 2017

January 2017

Training in Trial Skills Seminars

Seminars to take place in St Petersburg and Kaliningrad 20-22 January 2017

December 2016

CWI Launch YouTube Channel

CWI has opened its channel on YouTube. The first video we have uploaded is the lecture by the legendary solicitor Alastair Logan OBE, entitled “The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance”.

November 2016

Working with Offenders in the Community. Alternative Forms of Justice

Seminar to be held in St Petersburg, 11-12 November 2016.

October 2016

Work of a Defence Lawyer Before Trial – Seminars in St Petersburg and Tver, 10-13 October 2016

Seminars to be held in in St Petersburg and Tver 10-13 October 2016

March 2016

Official Launch of CWI in London

CWI was launched in London on 4 March 2016 at  the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. Keynote speakers at the event included the charity’s trustees Sir Louis Blom-Cooper QC, Robert Brown and Andrew Bernhardt, and invited speakers Maria Razumovskaya and Sergey Golubok (Russia). The guests had an opportunity to speak with Russian lawyers who were in London on a study visit organised by CWI (see below).

February 2016

Feb 2016 : Study Visit of Russian Lawyers to London

A one week study visit to London was organised in late February 2016 for a group of Russian lawyers, for their familiarisation with the UK justice system.  The trip included observing trials at a Magistrate court, a Crown Court and the Royal Courts of Justice; as well as visits to the Middle Temple (as shown in photo above), a law firm, a police station, and meetings with judges and probation officers.

The Study Visit Programme>>

Study Visit Report and Feedback from Participants>>

Report of the Visit by Arkady Gutnikov, Director of the St Petersburg Institute of Law>>

Quotes from Russian Lawyers Visiting London on Study Visit

““A visit to Bishopsgate Police Station was full of unexpected and interesting experiences.”

“In court, I saw boundless respect exhibited by the participants of the trial toward each other.”

“We need to introduce probation service into the Russian criminal justice system.”

“We need to have video control at police stations in Russia, including video recording of interviews.”


Citizens’ Watch International

Citizens’ Watch International is a UK registered charity dedicated to promoting access to justice where human rights are at risk, particularly in Russia and the former Soviet Bloc countries.