Go On! PhD seminar: Methods of Human Rights Law Research, University of Iceland (deadline 1 April)


The University of Iceland Human Rights Institute and iCourts, the Danish National Research Foundation´s Centre of Excellence for International Courts at Copenhagen University, will host a seminar on “Methods of Human Rights Law Research” from 26-27 May 2015 at the University of Iceland Human Rights Institute.

Venue: University Iceland Faculty of Law, in the Lögberg building, Sæmundargata 8, room 402.

  • The deadline for applications is on Wednesday 1 April 2015.  Please apply by e-mail to Sigrún Á Heygum Ólafsdóttir, project manager (sah@hi.is).  She will also answer any practical questions regarding the course.
  • All other questions regarding the seminar can be directed to Oddný Mjöll Arnardóttir, course organiser (oddnyma@hi.is).
  • Course Programme (pdf)
  • Course Syllabus (pdf)

For more information, visit http://jura.ku.dk/icourts/news/methods-human-rights-law-research.

On the Job! CJA seeks Senior Staff Attorney/Staff Attorney

The Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA) seeks a Senior Staff Attorney or a Staff Attorney. CJA is an international human rights organization dedicated to deterring torture and other severe human rights abuses around the world and advancing the rights of survivors to seek truth, justice and redress.  CJA uses litigation to hold perpetrators individually accountable for human rights abuses, develop human rights law, and advance the rule of law in countries transitioning from periods of abuse.
Reporting to the Legal Director, the Senior Staff Attorney or Staff Attorney investigates and litigates impact cases on behalf of survivors of torture and other severe human rights abuses. Job duties include non-litigation advocacy involving community outreach, coalition building, writing and publishing reports, planning and participating in public meetings, legislative research and lobbying, and media interviews.
Applicants for the Senior Staff Attorney and Staff Attorney positions should have a minimum of five years of experience as a practicing attorney, including litigation experience that prepares the applicant to handle human rights impact litigation. Senior Staff Attorney applicants are expected to possess experience sufficient to allow them to work with substantial independence in furtherance of CJA’s mission, require little direct supervision, and may have supervisory responsibility and other significant Legal Department responsibilities in addition to handling an individual docket of cases and investigations.
Candidates should have excellent written and oral communication skills in English and Spanish, excellent project management skills, and a keen interest in CJA’s mission.


Primary Responsibilities
Investigation responsibilities include:  
• factual and legal research in the U.S. and abroad,
• developing contacts with survivor communities and human rights activists, and
• analyzing relevant political and legal issues in the home country to assess the viability and likely impact of potential cases.
Litigation responsibilities include: 
• legal research, litigation strategy, drafting legal documents, calendaring, representing clients in trial and appellate courts, writing amicus briefs, and organizing amicus strategies;
• keeping adequate files and completing reports;
• keeping current with developments in the fields of ATS and TVPA law, international criminal and humanitarian law, and related legal issues;
• assisting in securing pro bono co-counsel and expert witnesses;
• keeping clients informed on case development, acting as liaison between clients and the legal team, and assuring that clients’ interests are safeguarded and their needs, including for therapy and social services, are met.
Transitional Justice responsibilities may include providing expertise on witness preparation and testimony, the introduction of evidence, charging human rights crimes and other areas related to human rights prosecutions.
Policy responsibilities may include legislative drafting and analysis, preparing advocacy materials, liaising with congressional and executive branch staff, and organizing grassroots campaign strategies.
Development, Education, and Outreach responsibilities include:
• drafting and reviewing grant proposals and reports, participating in fundraising events and meeting with donors;
• reviewing fundraising, outreach and website materials regarding assigned cases to ensure accuracy; and
• engaging in education and outreach efforts to advance public awareness of CJA and its mission.
• Education duties may also include selection and supervision of legal interns.
Professional Qualifications:
• J.D. or equivalent;
• Membership in good standing with at least one State Bar;
• Fluency in spoken and written Spanish, strongly preferred;
• Superb legal research, writing and analytical skills;
• Strong interpersonal and communication skills;
• Ability and willingness to travel in the United States and internationally;
• Demonstrated commitment to human rights;
• Knowledge of U.S. and international human rights litigation;
• Experience working directly with clients and/or non-governmental organizations;
• A high level of independence, initiative, creativity, and good judgment.

Continue reading

The Court’s dialogue with NGOs in S.A.S. v. France

The European Court of Human Right’s decision in the case S.A.S. v. France has been subject to substantial legal commentary. It was recently featured in the ASIL Insights, where the content of the judgment, the dissent as well as its implications were discussed. Earlier in July 2014 Professor Sytal Kalantry provided an analysis of the judgment, noting the fact that there were a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that took part in the case as amici curiae. The case concerned the French law that prohibits the covering of the face in public. The Grand Chamber of the Court granted a leave to Amnesty International, Liberty, Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), Article 19 and the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University to submit amicus curiae briefs.

Image by Agência Brasil

Image by Agência Brasil

Currently, amicus curiae participants are commonplace in international tribunals. Amicus curiae submissions are a form of intervention by persons not party to the proceedings that involve presenting views on points of law or fact. This type of intervention in judicial proceedings has expanded from common law systems to countries with civil law traditions and to international adjudication. Article 36 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms allows amicus curiae briefs from states, physical and legal persons and Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.

In terms of organizations that acted as amici curiae in the S.A.S case, all NGOs, except the Human Rights Centre from Ghent University Law Faculty are repeat-players. They are veterans in this capacity and routinely submit briefs across a variety of tribunals. In fact, Amnesty International and Liberty are among the most active amici curiae before the European Court. Amnesty International is an active amicus curiae before a number of tribunals. In the past the organization submitted briefs before the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the International Criminal Court.

Continue reading

Go on! European Joint Doctorate in Law and Development (EDOLAD)

By Ingunn Ikdahl & Morag Goodwin


In January this year, a European Joint Doctorate in Law and Development (EDOLAD) was launched. EDOLAD is a unique doctoral programme, developed by 6 universities. The 3-year programme aims to make a significant contribution to the need for knowledge-driven development policy-making. It is an outstanding mix of theory and practice, preparing students for careers across the development sector: in international and non-governmental organizations, in governmental bodies, and in academia.

Objectives of the programme

The programme arises from the recognition that the increasing specialisation within Law & Development may lead to blindness to the history of law and development, as well as obscuring the linkages between different fields of law influencing development. It is further based on a concern about the unwillingness of researchers to conduct substantive fieldwork, as well as a wariness of institutions to support it, causing a loss of research skills within law and development.

In order to counter these trends, the programme provides doctoral candidates with a comprehensive core curriculum which enables them to locate their Ph.D. projects within the broader context of law and development. In order to produce dissertations on the role of law in the development context that are based upon locally-identified needs, all projects are required to incorporate extensive fieldwork, and candidates receive multidisciplinary training in methodology to equip them to carry this out. Furthermore, stakeholders outside academia are involved throughout the programme, as mentors for the doctoral candidates, as teachers during the core curriculum, and as partners during field-work.

Structure of the programme

While each doctoral candidate will have two of the partner institutions as their base, they will meet every year. At the start of the first year, candidates will be together for a four-month period of intensive core curriculum courses, covering both methodological and substantive themes. Before fieldwork during the second year of the programme, all candidates will meet again for a “fieldwork training course”. The third year, candidates will meet for a 1-week research seminar where preliminary findings will be presented for staff and stakeholdes. The partner institutions will take turn in hosting these events, but all partners will contribute to teaching every year. Successful candidates will receive a joint doctorate, as well as a certificate of 60ECTS for successful completion of the core curriculum.

The launch conference

The launch conference, arranged at the University of Edinburgh 21-23 January 2015, was titled “Engaging with Law and Development: Perspectives on Land”. The two keynote lectures followed up on the programme’s general approach: Professor Faustin Kalabamu (University of Botswana) gave the audience regional, national and local perspectives on the challenges of addressing land questions through legal measures. Joss Saunders (General Councel, Oxfam International) emphasised the role lawyers may play in development through examples of Oxfam’s efforts to facilitate cooperation between lawyers working pro-bono and other actors, such as NGOs involved in land litigation or developing states participating in complex international negotiations. Continue reading

Introducing Ingunn Ikdahl

IngunnIkdahlIt’s our great pleasure today to introduce Ingunn Ikdahl as an IntLawGrrls contributor. Ingunn has been an associate professor at the University of Oslo, Department of Public and International Law, since 2014. In addition, she teaches at the wonderful Southern and Eastern African Regional Centre for Women’s Law (SEARCWL), which you can read more about here.

Ingunn’s primary research interest is women, law and livelihood – including natural resources, paid and unpaid work, and social security. Her PhD dissertation was on the dynamics of women’s human rights to land, property and housing, combining analysis of international law with field work from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She has also done research on women’s rights to water in Southern and Eastern Africa, with a focus on development cooperation and the multifaceted roles of international development actors. In Norway, her research focuses on topics of welfare law, social security and care work, including the gendered dimensions of these themes.

For the last two years, Ingunn has been involved in establishing the European Joint Doctorate in Law and Development, which is the focus of her first post. Heartfelt welcome!

Welcoming back Anna Dolidze

profile photo new-2It’s our great pleasure today to welcome Anna Dolidze back as an IntLawGrrls contributor. Anna is an Assistant Professor of Law at Western University, where she teaches Property Law and Public International Law. Prior to joining Western Law, Anna served at a number of international and non-governmental organizations, including Human Rights Watch, the Russian Justice Initiative, and Save the Children. From 2004 to 2006, Anna was the President of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, the largest legal advocacy organization in the Republic of Georgia. She also served at the National Constitutional Commission, Commission for the Human Rights in Prisons and the Expert Commission for Georgia’s European Integration.

Anna has taught and lectured transnationally, including at Duke University in North Carolina, Helsinki España-Human Dimension in Madrid, Sorbonne University in Paris, and Elmira Maximum Security Correctional Facility in New York State. Her first post will discuss the S.A.S. v. France case. Heartfelt welcome!

Go On! The Promise and Perils of an International Law of Property



A Symposium on the Promise and Perils of an International Law of Property will take place o9780199654543n March 6 2015 in Pacific McGeorge School of Law. Inspired by Prof. John Sprankling’s new book, The International Law of Property (Oxford 2014), the symposium will assess the impact of an emerging international right to property in a variety of contexts. The morning will commence with an explanation of the legal grounding for an international law of property by way of examining key treaties, practices and norms. Thereafter, panelists will discuss the implications of recognizing such a law and how it might interface with, disrupt, and influence aspirations of various actors within modern society. Panels include: The Framework Shaping the Law: Whose interests are reflected in existing treaties, practices and norms?, Intellectual Property, Natural Resources and Biodiversity, and The Next Frontier: Space and Beyond.

Panels include: The Framework Shaping the Law: Whose interests are reflected in existing treaties, practices and norms?, Intellectual Property, Natural Resources and Biodiversity, and The Next Frontier: Space and Beyond. This program has been approved for 6.15 hours of MCLE credit and is co-sponsored by the Witkin Legal Institute.

Symposium participants include:

  • Raquel Aldana, Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship, University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law
  • Thomas Antkowiak, Associate Professor and Director, Latin America Program, Seattle University School of Law
  • Margo Bagley, Hardy Cross Dillard Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Irene Calboli, Professor of Law and Director, Intellectual Property and Technology Program, Marquette University Law School
  • Anna Dolidze, Professor of Law, Western University Law
  • Josef Drexl, Managing Director, Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, Honorary Professor at the University of Munich
  • Jose Hernandez, Former NASA Astronaut, Pacific Regent, Consultant, Tierra Luna Engineering
  • Jacklyn Jampolsky, David H. Getches American Indian and Natural Resources Law Fellow, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Mike Mireles, Professor of Law, University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law
  • M.C. Mirow, Associate Dean of International & Graduate Studies and Professor of Law, Florida International University
  • Fausto Pocar, Judge, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
  • Rachael Salcido, Professor of Law, Director, Environmental Law Concentration, University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law
  • John Sims, Professor of Law and Sr. Editor, Journal of National Security Law & Policy, University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law
  • John Sprankling, Distinguished Professor of Law, University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law
  • Leslie Tennen, Attorney, Law Firm of Sterns and Tennen
  • Wayne White, Attorney, President & CEO, SpaceBooster LLC
  • Jarrod Wong, Professor of Law, Co-Director, Pacific McGeorge Global Center for Business and Development, University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law



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