Strategic Litigation in Global Context

Strategic Litigation in Global

client Open Society Justice Initiative instructors Jenny S. Martinez
deliverables Legal Memoranda; Policy Report; Conference Papers number of students students (Law)
deadline Winter 2015 quarters offered Autumn


Students are working with litigators at the Open Society Justice Initiative, a law center housed inside the Open Society Foundations, a global foundation, on a comparative research project exploring the impacts of strategic litigation in the public interest. The resulting publication aims to assist strategic litigators, social change actors and rights activists in understanding the promise, risks and complexity of the burgeoning global practice of strategic litigation and in wielding this specialized justice tool more skillfully. The autumn practicum culminated in presentations at the Strategic Litigation Impacts Meeting, a conference at the Law School on December 3-4 2014, with an international audience of practitioners. Students enrolled in both autumn and winter quarters may continue their work on the project through the winter. The project on the impacts of strategic litigation will examine how legal judgments – both positive and negative – and the ensuing record of implementation have influenced, together with other tools of change, the advancement of human rights in a variety of settings. Over the course of the Practicum, students explore one or more of the following human rights themes: equal access to quality education, the death penalty, disability, housing rights, land rights and/or state-sponsored violence/torture. Cases will be drawn from domestic courts across the globe, as well as regional human rights tribunals and UN treaty bodies. Specific questions examined include: What contributions to social, political and legal change has strategic litigation made on particular issues in particular places? What were the conditions, circumstances and manner in which litigation was pursued (in conjunction with other tools) which enhanced its contribution(s), and which diminished them? What does comparative experience teach about the risks and trade-offs involved in deciding whether, when and how to litigate so that it generates the strongest and most enduring impacts? There is a preference for students who can enroll for both autumn and winter quarter.
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Jenny S. Martinez 2

Jenny S. Martinez

  • Provost
  • Professor of Law
  • Frederick Emmons Terman Professorship
  • Senior Fellow, by courtesy, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies