EU Awards Top Honors to ISLP’s Pro Bono Lawyers

The training of Russian and Ukrainian media lawyers by ISLP volunteers Richard Winfield, Natasha Lisman, and Marietta Cauchi was awarded the highest score, A++, by independent European Union evaluators.  The ISLP training sessions were the leading component of the EU’s multi-part €1.1 million Media Freedom Support project which ran for 30 months until March 2017.


Over a total of five weeks in those 30 months, Winfield and Lisman designed and conducted training of over 20 lawyers in Strasbourg; Winfield trained over 40 media lawyers from the former Soviet bloc in Kiev; and Winfield and Cauchi trained several Ukrainians in London.


Among other components of the Media Freedom Support project were training of journalists from Eurasia, developing online tools for the media, building capacity for NGOs, and providing financial help to embattled journalists.  IREX Europe, a Lyon-based NGO which helped implement the EU project, noted that the 37-page EU evaluation report “shows that your (ISLP’s) excellent work trainings for media lawyer received the highest score by independent evaluators.”


The EU evaluators concluded that ISLP’s work “substantially exceed expectations.”


Winfield and Lisman enlisted as co-trainers Judge Ganna Yudkivska (Ukraine) and Judge Dmitry Dedov (Russia) from the European Court of Human Rights, professional Registrars from the Court, and renowned European media and human rights lawyers.  The trainee lawyers received expert guidance in the press freedom caselaw of the European Court, and practical advice in handling appeals and amici curiae interventions in Strasbourg.


Winfield, a co-founder of ISLP, from New York, and Cauchi, from London, are co-chairs of ISLP’s Media Law Working Group.  Lisman, from Boston, is a former ISLP director.  Acting pro bono, the ISLP volunteers, all deeply experienced litigators, worked closely with lawyers from two partner NGOs on the EU project, Mass Media Defence Centre (Voronezh, Russia) and Media Law Institute/Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law (Kiev, Ukraine).


The report, Independent Evaluation of Media Freedom Support, by Michael Randall and Zurab Kodalashvili, was published last month by the EU.