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Albanian Judges Visit UK Law

Seven Albanian Judges who visited UK Law.

On April 16, 2015, the University of Kentucky College of Law and the Patterson School of Diplomacy were pleased to welcome to campus, in partnership with Assistant U.S. Attorney David Grise (UK Law ’83) and U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove (UK Law ’89), seven judges from the Albanian School of Magistrates.  The Albanian School of Magistrates provides initial legal training and is the sole provider of Continuing Legal Education for judges and prosecutors. 

The judges (Sokol Sadushaj, Dashamir Kore, Marjana Semini, Arta Mandro, Vangjel Kosta, Ador Koleka, and Jetnor Tafilaj) served on a panel during a student assembly with Mr. Grise, and Professor Marianna Jackson Clay as moderator. They discussed the similarities and differences between the judicial and legal education systems of Albania and the United States.

Albania has a civil law system which has significant differences from the common law system at work in the United States.  A few examples of this include no juries, minimal application of case law, and a preference for educational institutions designed specifically for judges and prosecutors.

During their visit, the Albanian judges had an opportunity to meet with faculty and staff in charge of several UK Law programs that were of special interest to them.  “The visiting delegation was delighted to hear ways the College of Law has incorporated practical application of legal principles into its curriculum, including litigation skills courses, mock negotiations, legal research and writing classes, and legal and tax preparation clinics,” Mr. Grise said.  He noted that due to the nature of their work at the Albanian School of Magistrates, the judges “were impressed with the College of Law’s active CLE program, especially its distance learning techniques.”

The academic experience for UK Law students is enhanced when exposed to outside judiciary proceedings and policies.  However, it’s more than just students who gain from this exposure; there is much to be said on the importance of judiciaries from different countries getting together to discuss their systems and procedures. “Many developing nations have benefited greatly from a continuing relationship with a U.S. law school.  This is particularly true of nations which emerged from communist governments within the last 25 years, which have no history of adversarial proceedings or independent judiciaries. The relationship also assists the U.S. Institution by exposing its faculty to the advantages of alternative systems and teaching methods,” Mr. Grise explained.

The Albanian judges made the most of their visit to the states.  In addition to visiting the University of Kentucky, the judges also had the opportunity to visit the Federal Judicial Center in Washington D.C., National Center of State Courts in Williamsburg, VA, and National Advocacy Center in Columbia, SC.  While in Kentucky, they will also meet with Judge John Rogers, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, to discuss ethics and technology in the courtroom.