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Pakistan's top judges turn to University of Hull for help on human rights record


In a bid to transform Pakistan’s record on human rights, nine of the country’s most senior judges are coming to the University of Hull Law School to learn how to best implement new laws.

The delegation of High Court Judges from provinces across Pakistan will spend a week at the University, learning from a range of Law School experts and local judges, barristers and solicitors about international human rights legislation.

The judges, who arrive on Monday (July 15), will also spend a day shadowing judges at the Hull Combined Court Centre so they can see British justice in action.

Pakistan has now signed up to a range of international human rights treaties and the judiciary is aiming to ensure that future rulings are in line with these standards.

The training programme was developed by University of Hull law professor and barrister Niaz Shah, whose research specialises on legal systems in the Pakistan region.

He says: “After the government signed the treaties, Pakistan’s judges realised they needed to work hard to sensitise themselves to international human rights standards.

“Pakistan does have a history of human rights violations but there is a growing realisation across the country for the need to change and learn. We developed this programme to not only offer training in human rights legislation, but to also give judges exposure to the British legal system and see this legislation in action.”

The programme was created by Professor Shah in 2017 and delivers training sessions both in the UK and in Pakistan. The country’s federal judiciary have now adopted the programme and the high court is publishing a training manual from the programme. 

So far, more than 100 Pakistani judges have been through the programme and more top-level visits are now planned.

Professor Shah adds: “It has been very successful. The programme has been very well received and we’ve had great feedback from people on the ground. There has been a real change of perception and attitudes among the judiciary and that is already being implemented in courtrooms across Pakistan.”

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