This seminar will plunge students into the real world of litigating international human rights and environmental justice cases—a world that is more complex and contradictory at this moment in time than ever. While the global “discourse” on human rights and environmental law has been ubiquitous and influential over the last half century, actual litigation has either been absent, or cultivated in a handful of limited environments such as the regional human rights bodies and under the U.S. Alien Tort Statute. Neither the discourse nor existing models of litigation give victims of human rights violations and adverse environmental consequences the kind of access to remedies that more familiar genres of law confer in more established jurisdictions. The seminar will look at where international human rights litigation has been and where it’s going. It will examine how core issues of legitimacy and effectiveness are being debated and developed in real cases in a variety of “new” forums, such as international arbitration, institutional petition mechanisms, and formerly unavailable national court jurisdictions, as well as new uses of established forums such as the human rights bodies, U.S. federal courts, and the court of public opinion. In addition to key questions of law and forum selection, the seminar will examine key complexities that show up across forums, such as aggregate/class action procedures, immunity and limited liability defenses, and discovery or access-to-information issues, as well as some practical fundamentals to litigating cases such as financing and advocacy strategies. The course adheres to the traditional seminar model, minimizing lectures and emphasizing discussion and collaborative research. Students choose an ongoing focus case or scenario and throughout the semester develop (1) a presentation, (2) a blog, and (3) a final memo or project, all of which are workshopped with the professor and other students during seminar. In most cases students’ work product is shaped by and shared with actual participants or stakeholders in the case/scenario.
Current & Previous Instructors:
|This course is not currently scheduled.|
Last offered Fall 2015.