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Irakli from Georgia, Public policy expert

Irakli Kotetishvili University of Sussex

Irakli Kotetishvili
From: Georgia
Studied: LLM International Law at the University of Sussex
Now: Office of Chief of Staff of the President of Sierra Leone (formerly Director of the Civil Service Bureau of Georgia)

What was your career path from graduating in the UK to where you are now?

I went back home and started my career in the Ministry of Justice, the principal agency in Georgia carrying out complex criminal justice reform.

I was privileged enough to be made coordinator of the government working group on the criminal justice reform for two years, during which time we came up with a draft for the new Criminal Procedure Code. This has been adopted by the Georgian parliament and has brought about stronger due process rights and introduced jury trials for the first time within the Georgian criminal justice system.

In 2009 I was appointed Director of the Civil Service Bureau by the President of Georgia. This meant I was head of the agency that focuses on transparency and anti-corruption policies. I served there for four years, and in 2013 my office was recognised with a United Nations Public Service Award for ‘Preventing and Combating Corruption in Public Service’. Later I received a Presidential Order of Excellence for ‘Reforming the Georgian Civil Service and Enhancing Transparency’.

At the moment I'm completing a master's course in Public Policy at the University of Oxford. As a part of this exciting programme I am now based in the Office of Chief of Staff of the President of Sierra Leone. Here I am able to share my practical and academic experience with the local government in designing and implementing large-scale public policy reforms, focusing on improving public services delivery.


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Did you have a legal career in mind before you started studying?

Yes – I wanted to study law, especially as my home country of Georgia was reforming its criminal law system from continental methodology to adversarial procedure at the time I was applying. I intended to go back to Georgia after graduation; I wanted to be actively involved in the Georgian reform process and help my country by sharing my knowledge and experience.

Why did you want to study in the UK?

The British education system, especially the legal education on offer here, always appealed to me – it incorporates centuries of legal thinking and tradition. A UK legal education also sounded distinctly attractive as it would help me engage with the changes that were planned and taking place in the Georgian law system.

What were the highlights of your course and your time in the UK?

The whole year I spent at Sussex was a true experience for me. Every single day was full of discoveries and meeting new people. Campus life was just amazing, with its social life and facilities for sport and culture.

How did your degree help you pursue your career goals?

The education I received in the UK has been a major asset for me during my working life, and very useful to the reform process as a whole, especially the courses introducing me to comparative criminal justice.

Studying in the UK was a big privilege and an opportunity at the same time. Not only did I learn new subjects and discover new theories but I also extended my professional network and met many exciting people, both in class and across academia. I will always be thankful to all of my professors for sharing with me their knowledge and experience.

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