In order to raise awareness of the legal community about the current challenges and problems in the area of ensuring the rule of law, justice and fairness, the Rule of Law Centre of the Ukrainian Catholic University together with the USAID Fair Justice Project (now the USAID Nove Pravosuddya (New Justice) Justice Sector Reform Program), launched a series of public lectures by leading American and European lawyers “Rule of Law Lecture Series” in May 2015. Within 2 years, 15 events (13 in Lviv and 2 in Kyiv) with 16 experts and over 800 visitors of these lectures in total took place in the framework of the project.
This spring, in order to improve the quality of conducting the public lectures from the UCU Rule of Law Lecture Series, the UCU Rule of Law Center conducted a survey of more than 60 permanent lecture participants. Among them there are representatives of the judiciary, legal consulting, law enforcement agencies, civil society institutions, etc. 52.4% of the respondents visited more than half of the Rule of Law Lecture Series events.
During the survey, the respondents were able to share their impressions of individual events within the Rule of Law Lecture Series, about the project as a whole, as well as ideas for improving the project, increasing its usefulness and ensuring sustainability in the future.
It should be noted that all 100% of the respondents gave an affirmative answer to the question on whether the lectures they listened to have added to a better understanding of the essence and role of the rule of law. Besides, most of them indicated that the information obtained during such lectures was not only interesting and relevant but also influenced the improvement of their legal practice and/or teaching, etc.
It is also worth noting that 100% of the respondents consider it necessary to continue the Rule of Law Lecture Series in order to hear new lecturers (70.5%) or because not all aspects of the rule of law were highlighted (19.7%). Among other things, the respondents also noted that it would be desirable to repeat certain topics that have already been considered within the framework of the project, to involve other regions to participate in it, in particular, Odesa and Kharkiv, as well as national specialists.
More than 70% of the respondents have viewed video recordings on the UCU Rule of Law Center website or/and YouTube and recommended their friends and colleagues to watch the video footage. In addition, lectures from the UCU Rule of Law Lecture Series are used by lecturers of other Ukrainian higher educational institutions as academic lectures for law students.
82% of the respondents are fully satisfied with the level of informational and organizational support of the project by the UCU Rule of Law Center.
Survey results indicate that there is a great demand among professional legal community representatives for professional lectures, discussions and the possibility of exchanging views on the main challenges of the rule of law at the present stage. And henceforth, there is a need for the UCU Rule of Law Lecture Series project to be implemented with further expansion of experts, geography of activities within the framework of the project – and most importantly – of the topics in order to effectively solve the problem of low awareness of the actual challenges and problems in the field of implementation of the rule of law, justice and fairness, as well as the low level of ethical and value consciousness of the representatives of Ukrainian professional legal community.