On 2 and 3 December 2022, the School of Law, at the University of Central Lancashire – Cyprus (UCLAN Cyprus) and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Law, Alternative and Innovative Methods (ICLAIM) delivered a Training and Focus Group on ‘Citizen empowerment: Sustainable Rule of Law and European Values in Europe’ under the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence for the Rule of Law and European Values (CRoLEV). Using previous ICLAIM experience and CRoLEV research, the Training brought together practising lawyers, civil society professionals, and members of the public to discuss how Social Mediation can be used as a citizen empowerment tool in defending the Rule of Law in the European Union and beyond. As part of CRoLEV citizen-centred events planned in 2023 and 2024, the remaining two trainings and focus groups are scheduled for December 2023 and 2024 respectively. Each training and focus group will be enriched with research findings from the previous year and feedback received from participants, building further on the enrichment of the activities of the Social Mediators’ Network supported by ICLAIM.
The Training combines expertise and experience from the award-winning Social Mediation project, initiated by ICLAIM in 2018 and research conducted in the framework of CRoLEV, which runs at UCLan Cyprus from 2022 to 2025, and aims at evaluating the available EU mechanisms securing the protection of European values and the Rule of Law in the Union, and its neighbourhood. For the first time, the Social Mediation training was accredited by the Cyprus Bar Association, bringing together Advocates practising law in Cyprus, educators, researchers, civil society, and the general public. Due to its hybrid format the event attracted participants of a diverse background from Cyprus, and abroad.
The Training retained the theory-meets-practice approach taken in Social Mediation Workshops since 2018, addressing issues of securitization and identity through hands-on interactive activities, why it also benefited from a detailed introduction of the Rule of Law principle, and its significance for democratic societies. Specifically, it explored the strengths and weaknesses in the relationship between formal institutional procedures and informal interventions, through the lens of Social Mediation. Ultimately, participants were invited to discuss in a focus group format, how Social Mediation could strengthen the Rule of Law, if applied more broadly as social dispute resolution method. The Training was also complemented with an introduction of the concept of Deep Democracy, by guest speaker Monique Janmaat.
The Training confirmed the hypothesis that there is a link between informal procedures that can strengthen social cohesion and empower citizens, and the sustainability of the Rule of Law principle. The findings, which are consolidated in a report summarising the two-day event, will inform future research and workshops on Social Mediation and the Rule of Law, including the follow up events scheduled for 2023 and 2024.
For more information on all projects mentioned you may visit the websites available through the links above. You may also welcome to contact directly the CRoLEV team at: email@example.com.