Sexual Rights Litigation Network
Join the Movement
The Sexual Rights Litigation Network (SXLN) curriculum has been redesigned to provide targeted support for social movements and lawyers working on SOGIE related issues. The curriculum is divided into two focus areas, with one for social movements and the other for lawyers, each spanning over a three-year period. Three visits will be conducted by ISLA in each year to cover the three modules for the year. A needs assessment is also conducted at the start of each year.
Below, we only have formal modules that are part of the institute. There are also informal modules that involve exercises on values clarification, testing for biases, inclusion, language that helps the lawyers to better serve and support their clients.
The focus area for lawyers covers the following topics:
Key: (X) = Practices & Procedures; (Y) = Thematic Area; (Z) = Trial Advocacy
- Introduction to the Sexual Rights Litigation Network: This topic provides an overview of the SXLN and its mission to support movements using strategic litigation as a tool for achieving social change. DOWNLOAD TOPIC OUTLINE
- (X) Introduction to Human Rights: This topic covers the history of human rights after World War 2; the conceptualisation of state obligations; the importance of human rights discourse; the challenges facing human rights in Africa; and the use of courts as a remedy for human rights violations. DOWNLOAD TOPIC OUTLINE
- (Y) Right to Non-Discrimination: This topic covers the right to non-discrimination and its relevance to SOGIE rights. It is meant to: enhance lawyers’ understanding of how discrimination manifest in various contexts; help them build an appreciation of the elements of a discrimination claim for the purpose of pursuing litigation; and expand their knowledge of comparative discrimination jurisprudence regionally and internationally. DOWNLOAD TOPIC OUTLINE
- (X) Introduction to Movement Lawyering: This topic covers the concept of movement lawyering and its relevance to SOGIE rights. It will enhance the lawyer’s understanding of the historical challenges that can arise between lawyers and movements how lawyers can be of service to movements within and beyond the courtroom. DOWNLOAD TOPIC OUTLINE
- (Y) Right to Freedom from Violence and Due Diligence: This topic covers the right to freedom from violence and the State’s due diligence to protect the rights of marginalized groups. It will equip lawyers with an understanding of the state obligation to protect from violence; build an appreciation of the various due diligence principles; and expand knowledge of development due diligence jurisprudence regionally and internationally. DOWNLOAD TOPIC OUTLINE
- (Z) Trial Advocacy: This trial advocacy session will focus on issues such as: preliminary problem identification; delineating between questions of law against and facts; and assessing what constitutes a human rights violation?
- (X) Introduction to Sexual Rights and the Law: This topic covers the basics of sexuality and its relevance to human rights. It will enhance the lawyers’ understanding of sexuality and gender identity and create space for discussion to safely inquire about and unpack sexuality. It also covers the relationship between sexuality rights and the law, including the criminalization of same-sex relations. It will enhance. It e the lawyers’ knowledge of sexual rights as a legal framework and help them understand the ways in which sexual rights intersects with established human rights. DOWNLOAD TOPIC OUTLINE
- (Y) Right to Freedom of Association: This topic covers the right to freedom of association and its relevance to SOGIE rights, including the legal recognition of LGBTIQ+ organizations. It builds familiarity with regional and comparative African jurisprudence on the right to freedom of association and establishes an understanding of the principles guiding legal interpretation of the right of association. DOWNLOAD TOPIC OUTLINE
- (Z) Trial Advocacy: This trial advocacy session will focus on converting ordinary cases into strategic ones, particularly by looking beyond statutory challenges and thinking around how practices can also be challenged.
- (X) Introduction to Strategic Litigation: This topic covers the principles of strategic litigation and how to develop a strategic litigation campaign, including teaching on knowledge and understanding of strategic litigation and discussing the conditions, strategies and tactics for defending and enforcing human rights. DOWNLOAD TOPIC OUTLINE
- (Y) Right to Privacy: This topic covers the right to privacy and its relevance to SOGIE rights. It will build familiarity with international, regional and comparative African jurisprudence on the right to privacy in relation to SOGIE; establish an understanding of the principles guiding legal interpretation of the right to privacy; and develop an understanding of the right to privacy’s intersection with other fundamental rights, such as the rights to dignity, non-discrimination and equality. DOWNLOAD TOPIC OUTLINE
- (Z) Practice Management: This session engages the SXLN theory of change. It will also look at the difference between running a strategic ligation case and what was/is taught in law school as well as the various actors who have to be managed in the case.
- (X) Introduction to Human Rights litigation: This topic covers the fundamental principles of human rights litigation including: introducing participants to the practice and the procedures involved in litigating human rights issues; developing and refining the participants’ critical thinking in respect to specific court procedures in human rights litigation; and getting participants to identify best practices and procedural challenges to human rights litigation in their jurisdiction. DOWNLOAD TOPIC OUTLINE
- (Y) Introduction to the Right to Health: This topic covers the right to health and its relevance to SOGIE rights, including access to healthcare for marginalized groups. The topic focuses on understanding how SOGIE based violations of the right to health manifest; familiarisation with international, regional and comparative jurisprudence on the right to health; and understanding of the principles guiding legal interpretation of the right to health. DOWNLOAD TOPIC OUTLINE
- (Z) Trial Advocacy: This trial advocacy session will focus on the stages of legal drafting including how to structure a document, presenting facts, drafting legal arguments and using different sources of law, and useful sources and techniques for legal research.
- (X) Introduction to Constitutional Litigation: This topic covers the principles of constitutional litigation and how to develop a constitutional litigation strategy in national contexts. It introduces participants to the practice and the procedures involved in litigating constitutional issues in their jurisdiction; discusses the history and development of their country’s constitutional history, doctrine, and principles; helps participants develop and refine their critical thinking in respect to specific aspects of constitutional law; and gets them to critically analyse remedies in constitutional litigation. DOWNLOAD TOPIC OUTLINE
- (Y) Introduction to Harassment: This topic covers the concept of harassment and its relevance to SOGIE rights. It guides lawyers on understanding what constitutes SOGIE based harassment; expands their knowledge of the emerging jurisprudence protecting victims of SOGIE based harassment; and helps them to be able to identify when state harassment is a human rights violation and how to strategically challenge the practice. DOWNLOAD TOPIC OUTLINE
- (Z) Trial Advocacy: This trial advocacy session will focus on principles and best practices in taking witness statements including: planning statement taking, options for taking large numbers of statements, working with interpreters, as well as practical safety, logistics and ethical considerations.
- (X) Introduction to International Law: This topic covers the principles of international law and its relevance to SOGIE rights. It guides participants on the the basic principles and institutions of international law, including their origins and application in practice and guides them on researching and tracking the development of international law when litigating on issues of SOGIE issues. DOWNLOAD TOPIC OUTLINE
- (Y) Anal Exams: This topic covers the issue of anal exams and how this constitutes a SOGIE violation. It covers the background and context of the act, the law on cruel, inhumane, degrading treatment, and it guides participants on challenging anal exams in court and via advocacy.
- (Z) Trial Advocacy: This trial advocacy session will focus on drafting heads of argument, developing oral arguments, and opening and closing statements.
(X) Introduction to the African Human Rights System: This topic covers the African human rights system and its relevance to SOGIE rights. It discusses its history, treaties, regional and sub-regional treaty bodies, procedures and issues of admissibility and jurisdiction. It provides an understanding of the challenges and opportunities of the African human rights system and builds familiarity with major precedents concerning substantial and procedural issues. DOWNLOAD TOPIC OUTLINE
- SOGIESOGIESOGIE(Y) Criminal Defence: This topic covers the principles of criminal defence and how to develop a defence strategy in national contexts. Participants will able to: identify the criminal procedures that are most relevant to SOGIE based arrests in the jurisdiction in which they practise; have a renewed commitment to legal ethics; and understand the ways a seemingly straight forward criminal case may be turned strategic. DOWNLOAD TOPIC OUTLINE
- (Z) Trial advocacy: This trial advocacy session will stage a mock trial where participants will have an opportunity to demonstrate the skills and learnings derived from the curriculum.
- Evaluation & Wrap Up
The curriculum is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the legal framework surrounding SOGIE rights, and strategies to use the law to advance these rights. It is designed to provide lawyers with the knowledge and skills they need to engage in strategic litigation, and to help them navigate the legal system and advocate for the rights of marginalized groups. The curriculum is supported by ISLA over a three-year period, after which lawyers should be able to operate independently and sustain their work.
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.
+27 11 338 9028
Fax: +27 11 338 9029
Address: 208-211 Rahima Moosa Street, Marble Towers, 15th Floor Johannesburg, 2001 Gauteng, South Africa