Strengthening Capacity To Litigate Strategically

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ISLA nurtures the pool of feminist and movement lawyers in Africa within its networks and supports social movements to embrace strategic litigation as a tool for social change. Despite its potential, strategic litigation has been underutilised as an instrument for social change. A core part of our model thus involves promoting the use of strategic litigation by investing in local institutions and individuals through capacity strengthening activities.

Through our networks, we work with the same organisations and litigators over a period of three years, to develop a pool of African feminist and movement litigators who can effectively undertake strategic litigation on sexual and women’s human rights.

We use several approaches to facilitate core learning and we benefit from insights from experts and our partners about the intersection between the law and the required social change.

Our capacity strengthening activities include litigation institutes, in-depth seminars, strategy consultations, country visits, expert advisory meetings, thematic workshops and institutional strengthening workshops.

Our Capacity Strengthening Activities

Litigation Institutes

Litigation institutes are intense and practical capacity strengthening programmes that take place over two weeks for our feminist litigation network partners and may take up to a maximum of five days for our sexual rights litigation network partners. They are designed to impart skills and expertise critical for strategic litigation. Sessions are facilitated by a faculty of experts within the particular thematic area based on our pre-designed curriculum for social movements and lawyers. Each institute focuses on substantive issues arising from ISLA’s programmes and networks, as well as on the existing norms and standards in ISLA’s thematic areas.

Strategy Consultations

Strategy consultations are meetings that facilitate conversations with various stakeholders on thematic areas of interest or priority areas. Strategy consultations are spaces for developing strategies relating to litigation and legal mobilisation and for us to understand where our interventions are needed and relevant. Strategy consultations give clarity on building the necessary partnerships to ensure that litigation is pursued in line with our theory of change and allows for a reflection on the timeliness, necessity and relevance of our interventions. Have a look at our Events page for upcoming capacity strengthening events. Additionally, you may get in touch with the Strategic Initiatives Manager to find out about available seats on: Kay@the-isla.org

Expert Advisory Meetings

Expert advisory meetings help guide the development of our thematic and priority areas. Through these engagements, the organisation gains awareness on policy trends, current needs, and issues that may be amenable to strategic litigation, priority areas, contextual analysis, and partnership opportunities. Also, the meetings help to develop methods required to enhance our strategies in undertaking work.
Read some of the concept notes from past expert advisory meetings.

In-depth Seminars

In-depth seminars are capacity strengthening events for partner lawyers who are developing cases. The seminars are used to develop a litigation plan with arguments to be made, evidence to be presented and comparative and international human rights standards to be relied upon. ISLA staff and external experts also comment on draft briefs, providing substantive input on the cases and setting time frames for drafting and filing cases.

For upcoming in-depth litigation seminars, see our Events page.

Violence Against Women Litigation Institute held from 9 – 20 May 2022 in Diani, Kenya

About Us

Founded in 2014, the Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA) is a Pan-African and feminist initiative with a timely remit: to strengthen strategic human rights litigation across the African continent. Essentially, we aim to change the way that strategic litigation is used so as to enable broader access to justice and to support those who seek to hold states accountable for violations of women’s human rights and sexual rights.

Contact Details

Contact Number:

+27 11 338 9024/9028/9014

Fax: +27 11 338 9029

Address: 208-211 Rahima Moosa Street, Marble Towers, 15th Floor Johannesburg, 2001 Gauteng, South Africa