2019-20 Programme

Protection of Children’s Rights

Building on the work of the past years, the objective of the programme is to continue raising the professional standards of Russian legal practitioners through targeted training.

Members of Bar Associations from St Petersburg, the Leningrad Region and other towns in Russia, as well as lawyers working with local NGOs supporting children are invited to take part in the training activities.

The programme includes an introductory workshop in St Petersburg run by Russian and English experts; individual case analyses done by the trainees; a study visit of a Russian delegation to London; and a final presentation of the project outcomes.

The first seminar Children’s Rights in Civil and Criminal Proceedings in Russia and the UK took place on 9-10 September 2019 in St Petersburg.


Children’s Rights in Civil and Criminal Proceedings in Russia and the UK, 9-10 September 2019, St Petersburg

At the first event of the new programme, lawyers from St Petersburg, Moscow, Nizhniy Novgorod, Republic of Karelia, Ulyanovsk Region and Lipetsk region discussed the work with vulnerable children and young offenders.

Day 1: Civil proceedings – working with vulnerable children


  • Galina Ibryanova, lawyer, St Petersburg
  • District Judge Kenneth Grant, London
  • Gill Timmis, social worker, London

Day 2: Criminal proceedings – working with young offenders, victims and witnesses


  • District Judge Naomi Redhouse, Sheffield
  • Lubov Smykalo, Deputy Chair of NGO “Doctors to Children”, Senior Lecturer, St Petersburg State University, Department of Child Mental Health and Early Intervention
  • Andrew Bernhardt, Senior Lecturer, Step up to Social Work, University of Hertfordshire
  • Keith Davies, Course Director, Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, Kingston University and St George’s, University of London


Quotes from Seminar Participants

It was very interesting to hear about the experience of English speakers and to compare our views on the same legal aspects of family law.”

“ I will definitely apply the knowledge gained in argumentation and proof in cases concerning protection of children’s rights.”

“For me personally, the seminar was especially relevant due to the fact that at present I am in the process of determining the place of residence of the child in a case where I represent the interests of a father.”

“On the practical side, these were extremely useful lectures by the lawyers and the psychologist, as well as group work sessions.”

“Presentations by Andrew Bernhardt and Keith Davies once again confirm that these are professionals who are passionate about their work, real specialists trying to do everything possible to adapt children at risk.”


26 January – 1 February 2020

A group of 12 lawyers from St Petersburg, Moscow and Karelia travelled to the UK to learn about the system for protecting children’s rights in England and Wales.

The study visit was organised by CWI with the assistance of Solicitors International Human Rights Group and Family Law Bar Association.

The programme included:

  • Observing FDAC hearings at Central Family Court
  • Meeting with family law judges, solicitors and barristers
  • Visit to Coram Children’s Legal Centre
  • Observing youth justice hearings at Willesden Magistrates Court
  • Visit to Southwark Youth Offending Service
  • Visit to the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service
  • Meeting with Professor Penny Cooper to discuss interviewing vulnerable witnesses
  • Visit to Westminster Magistrates Court and meeting with Deputy Senior DJ Tan Ikram
  • Observing trials at different instances

Quotes from Study Visit Participants

I admired the interest and dedication of judges, lawyers and workers of various social services to children’s cases in criminal and family law. There is no hypocrisy or formalism in the way they perform their duties. On the contrary, there is a sincere desire to help children and families in a difficult situation. It seems that all this activity is filled with the desire to prevent new offences, reform teenagers who have taken false steps and integrate them into the community.”

“In London, we had the opportunity to meet with outstanding barristers, judges of various courts, probation officers and experts in protecting children’s rights. All of them shared the same principles and approaches: strict observance of human rights and especially the rights of children, respect for the law, honesty, openness, fairness, and the desire to do their job well and to benefit the society. I saw that all these people sincerely love their country, their city, and respect the rights of other people and the law.”

“A brief acquaintance with the country’s judicial system and services for helping children and their families, in general, showed us the effectiveness of measures taken by the English society to protect children’s rights and prevent child crime.”

“I liked the fact that formal meetings alternated with non-formal events. For example, visits to courts, agencies and charities during the day, and in the evening meeting with lawyers and judges who kindly answered all the questions that have accumulated during the day regarding the work of the UK justice system.”

“It was great to talk to English colleagues, to hear about their experiences and the problems they encounter.”