02/06/2023 (written by abrizuela) – Justice in Mexico recently completed an Oral Adversarial Skill Building Immersion Seminar (OASIS) workshop at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur’s (UABCS) Academic Department of Social and Legal Sciences at the UABCS Campus La Paz. The workshop was held from January 14-20, 2023, marking the third OASIS workshop of the 2022-2023 grant cycle. This workshop was preceded by two other workshops at the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California in Tijuana in October and the Universidad de Sonora in November.
Justice in Mexico’s OASIS program has been active for the past nine years and is funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). OASIS provides Mexican law professors and law students with the opportunity to receive theoretical instruction and practice their oral litigation skills with instructors experienced in oral trials.
Six trainers from San Diego, CA and Santiago, Chile conducted the 40-hour litigation workshops for 40 participants, including students and professors from the UABCS and invitees from other academic institutions . The OASIS workshop began on Monday, January 16 with a welcome ceremony and inauguration. Janice Deaton, OASIS’s training coordinator, led an introduction to oral trials and theory of case. The first day ended with a demonstration of how to conduct an opening statement. The workshop continued with opening statement practice, and then reviewed direct interrogation and counter examination techniques. To end the day, the ethics of the adversarial system were reviewed in a group discussion format. The use and incorporation of evidence and common objectives were reviewed alongside the use of prior statements, refreshing memory and evidence contradiction. Closing statements were then reviewed and practiced, ending with the groups preparation for their mock trial. The OASIS program concluded the week with the presentation of groups mock trials, and upon completion, participants were given a certificate for their realization of the program.
In an interview with UABCS’s University Production (“Punto Universitario Producción de la UABCS”) Janice Deaton reflected on the latest workshop. Janice highlighted the importance of not only teaching students the theory of case, but also providing them with the space to apply theory to the courtroom through mock trials. Participants were given the unique opportunity to work closely with instructors in small groups of 8-10, and left the workshop having presented a case from start to finish without interruption. Ultimately, participants gained the skill-set to build a persuasive case, applying the theory of law to practice.