Civil Society’s Role in the Development of International Law Through Strategic Litigation in Challenging Times

22 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2018

Date Written: October 8, 2018

Abstract

Civil society organisations’ (CSOs) current approaches to strategic litigation are being called into question courtesy of shifting geopolitical dynamics. Brexit, the rise of far-right political parties in Europe and US foreign relations under Donald Trump are but a few of many grave threats to multilateralism and a rules-based international legal order. CSOs’ use of strategic litigation to influence the development of progressive rules of international law is threatened by these and other challenges emanating from the emergent nature of the change-influencing tool. This article argues that CSOs that use strategic litigation should (a) adopt and use a generally accepted definition of the concept and practice of strategic litigation; (b) address inherent weaknesses in the current fragmented strategic litigation model; (c) increase the number and types of jurisdictions and forums in which CSOs undertake strategic litigation; and (d) engage in both political and legal advocacy to counter threats posed by Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) and the high cost of public interest litigation.

Keywords: Strategic Litigation; Civil Society Organisations; International Law; Human Rights; SLAPPs

Suggested Citation

Hondora, Tawanda, Civil Society’s Role in the Development of International Law Through Strategic Litigation in Challenging Times (October 8, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3262661 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3262661

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