The Open Society Justice Initiative and Hertie School of Governance invite applicants for the 2020 Summer School in Human Rights Litigation, to be held in Berlin from June 8 to 12.

The summer school provides a unique opportunity for human rights professionals to build on their experience and to develop their skills to successfully bring cases to the regional human rights systems and the UN treaty bodies, and to use those cases to achieve practical change. The curriculum will combine presentations, case studies, exercises, and discussion groups with preparatory work and further reading to ensure full maximum benefit for those attending the course. Participants will be invited to provide information on their work and those concrete examples will help shape the discussion.

Additional course information and instructions for applying can be found on the Hertie School’s application portal: here

Purpose and Priorities.

The course encourages its 25 participants to approach human rights litigation strategically, viewing litigating a human rights case as one step in the process of achieving social change. It includes modules that examine the steps involved in strategic litigation, such as case selection, client care and forum choice. It also uses case studies to explore how to build a strong evidential record in support of the case, how to develop campaigning and advocacy to raise awareness of the issues involved, as well as how to implement a successful judgment. Other presentations will focus on the challenges of drafting legal petitions dealing with human rights claims, complex case building, use of open source investigation and dealing with the ethical problems that arise in human rights cases.

The curriculum will cover a range of human rights tribunals, such as the African, Inter-American, and European regional bodies, as well as the most frequently used UN treaty bodies. The course will also allow participants to choose specialist seminars to examine key issues in their field. In previous years, these have included the subjects of torture and the right to life, discrimination, freedom of information and expression, as well as socioeconomic rights.


Participants need to be practicing lawyers with some experience in human rights litigation and should ideally have two to five years’ experience in human rights practice. Participants will be required to submit examples of cases and issues that they are or have been involved in. Instruction will be in English. Bursaries towards expenses, including travel, are available where the need can be demonstrated.


The deadline for applications is February 21, 2020. Additional course information and instructions for applications can be found via the online application module here.

When registering, please select “Human Rights Litigation Summer School 2020” understudy programme and upload the documents requested.

The official website link is here.

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