Engaging communities

Strategic Litigation as a tool for social change

Litigation in the public interest demands engagement with the community, but for many lawyers this is easier said than done.

The strategic litigator must not only use the law, but engage and partner with communities.

Watch “Engaging communities”

Conference participants reflected

A strategic litigator:

  • Defends space within which social movements can operate, and expands that space.
  • Responds to, and engages with social movements, to ensure that litigation supports social change.
  • Provides a voice for those who generally aren’t heard or considered.
  • Is authentic, collaborative and humble.
  • Understands his/her privilege and is committed to partnership.

Strategic litigation needs to be grounded in communities:

  • Solidarity between lawyers and activists results in effective and sustained social change.
  • It is Important to understand the clients’ community and to reflect the reality of their lives in litigation.
  • Durable change comes from social movements led by those who are most affected by the injustice itself.
  • Legal teams must reflect the demographics of the community and case.


Further Resources

The Child Rights Information Network, “Children’s Rights: A Guide to Strategic Litigation

The International Human Rights Law Group, “Promoting Justice: A Practical Guide to Strategic Human Rights Lawyering

Advocates for International Development, “Short Guide: Strategic Litigation and Its Role in Promoting and Protecting Human Rights