Equal Treatment in a Courtroom—access to justice of LGBTI persons

The project aims to educate legal professionals on the equal treatment of LGBTI persons and to raise awareness of their needs that may arise in contact with the justice system.

The project has been initiated by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in cooperation with the Campaign Against Homophobia foundation.

The main activities of the project include: development of a comprehensive training for judges and other lawyers in the area of equal treatment of LGBTI persons and creation of the Handbook—an innovative tool for lawyers, designed to enable them to self-assess their awareness of and sensitivity to different aspects of discrimination experienced by LGBTI persons.

The training should cover legal standards for non-discrimination, and soft skills. Lawyers will be educated on international standards concerning the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, also from the perspective of free movement of LGBTI families within the EU. The project also presents legal professionals with the preliminary reference procedure as an EU mechanism used to uphold the principle of equal treatment. Legal professionals will also learn about the specific needs of LGBTI people that need to be accommodated in the course of procedural steps and will be sensitised to stereotypes and prejudices about LGBTI persons.

The Handbook will allow judges and lawyers to independently verify and assess their own behaviour towards LGBTI persons to ensure nondiscriminatory treatment. The handbook will provide guidance on the sensitive areas that a legal professional should address when dealing with an LGBTI person.

The project will also involve the development of a guide on the preparation of training courses for legal professionals on the treatment of different minority groups.

We believe that the project will make the courtroom more LGBTI-friendly and increase the trust of LGBTI people in the justice system.

The project is funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014–2020).