Professional Development Courses for Law and Development Practitioners

Younger practitioners sometimes ask me if there are good Law and Development Courses to recommend, as a part of their professional development. I myself have had the same questions for years, and for want of an answer, usually end up self-educating. What I find is that Law and Development is such a broad field, and often conceptually contentious on so many levels, that it is hard to recommend one course that is all encompassing. Moreover, most practitioners come from many backgrounds- a lawyer might need more training in project management and general international development, while a generalist might need more concrete legal training. Sometimes, a specific focus is necessarily- a legal field, a geographical area, a type of intervention, or working with specific donors. 

With those caveats, the UN Rule of Law Unit maintains a broad (ie. non-UN) database of non-academic Rule of Law Courses for practitioners. It builds the database from user recommendations.  Some links to training courses are reproduced below (Please do submit a course if you find that it might be useful for others!):

EVEN MORE (UN-related):

  • ABA-UNDP International Legal Resource Center (ILRC) provides a legal resource capability to assist United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Offices in identifying candidates capable of providing legal advice, normally on a pro bono basis, for the drafting of legislation, judicial reform, building of legal institutions including professional groups and associations, and other legal dimensions of governance. 

  • Anti-Money Laundering International Database (AMLID), administered by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on behalf of several international organizations, is a compendium of jurisdictions' national anti-money laundering legislation and regulations.

  • Centre for Constitutional Dialogue (CCD) is a resource centre established by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support Nepal’s constitution making process through providing training opportunities, expert advice, information, dialogue space as well as promoting public awareness. 

  • CODICES is a constitutional case-law database created by the Venice Commission. 

  • is a joint project of the Comparative Constitutions Project and the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) with the goal to provide designers with systematic information on design options and constitutional text, drawing on the CCP's comprehensive dataset on the features of national constitutions.

  • CRC Knowledge Navigator is an information handling project developed by the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre. A key component of the Knowledge Navigator is the CRC Database, with documents on issues related to rights of the child including juvenile justice.

  • Database on Human Rights Education and Training of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) contains information on institutions which offer human rights education and training programmes, including those related to rule of law; programmes which foster human rights learning, including trainings; and human rights education and training materials.

  • Governance and Social Development Resource Centre provides knowledge services on demand and online. It aims to help reduce poverty by informing policy and practice in relation to governance, conflict and social development.

  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) produces a number of databases related to rule of law. ILOLEX is a trilingual database containing ILO Conventions and Recommendations, ratification information, comments of the Committee of Experts and the Committee on Freedom of Association, and numerous related documents. NATLEX is a database of national labour, social security and related human rights legislation. APPLIS contains information on the ratification and application of international labour standards. The National Labour Law Profiles is an overview of the labour law in a number of ILO Member States.

  • International Judicial Monitor is an international law resource for judiciaries, justice sector professionals and the global rule of law community.

  • International Rule of Law Directory of the International Bar Association (IBA) aims to provide users with reliable information and a compiled directory of Internet resources and links to organizations offering assistance in the rule of law.

  • Lexis Nexis Rule of Law Resource Center provides advocates who are engaged in advancing the rule of law access to critical information such as applicable law, news, and expert analysis.

  • Maritime Space: Maritime Zones and Maritime Delimitation was created and is maintained by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the Office of Legal Affairs. This database provides comprehensive information on (i) the deposits with the Secretary-General of the UN, pursuant to the United Nations Convention on the Law of  the Sea, of charts or the lists of geographical coordinates of points in relation to straight baselines and archipelagic baselines as well as the outer limits of the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf; (ii) the discharge of obligations of due publicity to all laws and regulations adopted by the coastal State relating to innocent passage through the territorial sea and all laws and regulations adopted by States bordering straits relating to transit passage through straits used for international navigation, as well as concerning due publicity given by coastal States, in accordance with the Convention, to the temporary suspension of innocent passage of foreign ships in specified areas of the territorial sea; and (iii) the status of State practice. Regarding the latter, the site contains the national legislation of coastal States and treaties dealing with the delimitation of maritime boundaries, as made available to the United Nations. In addition, the site contains other reference material, such as a summary of national claims to maritime jurisdiction.

  • Peacekeeping Resources Hub of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) contains policy documents, lessons learned and trainings for the peacekeeping community.

  • Refworld, developed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), contains policy documents on refugee issues and documents relating to international and national legal frameworks, as well as special features on topics such as refugee status determination, statelessness, migration, gender equality and women, internally displaced people, resettlement, voluntary repatriation and children.

  • Rule of Law Assistance Directory of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) is a global inventory of development assistance activities in the field of legal and institutional reform, and has been designed to promote compliance with the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. It contains two databases, one relating to "Rule of Law Projects and Initiatives" and the other to "National Justice Strategies".

  • Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts Project supports the application and implementation of international law in armed conflict through reporting on every concerned State and disputed territory in the world, using its global database.

  • United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law, created and maintained by the Codification Division of the Office of Legal Affairs, is a unique multimedia resource which provides high quality international law training and research materials to an unlimited number of recipients on a global level. The Audiovisual Library consists of the Historic Archives, containing documents and audiovisual materials relating to the negotiation and adoption of significant legal instruments under the auspices of the United Nations and related agencies since 1945; the Lecture Series, featuring a permanent collection of lectures on virtually every subject of international law given by leading international law scholars and practitioners from different countries and legal systems; and the Research Library, providing an on-line international law library with links to treaties, jurisprudence, publications and documents, scholarly writings and research guides.

  • United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) Projects Database lists projects funded by UNDEF to support democratization, including in the area of human rights and the rule of law.

  • United Nations Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration Resource Centre contains a library of documents on disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR), including the United Nations Integrated DDR Standards.

  • United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women’s (UN-INSTRAW) database on peace and security contains a Global Directory of Gender, Peace and Security Research Institutions.

  • UN Peacemaker, developed by the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), is an online mediation support tool for international peacemaking professionals and an extensive databank of modern peace agreements.

  • United Nations Treaty Collection is a database with information on the status of over 500 major multilateral instruments deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and a collection of treaties and international agreements registered or filed and recorded with and published by the UN Secretariat since 1946, covering a range of subject matter related to rule of law.  

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