If your organization is running a strategic litigation program, or starting one, it is important for all legal advisers to be aware of the themes this program seeks to focus on. Front-line staff – legal services providers and those running community outreach activities – play an important role in identifying patterns of legal problems requiring change through litigation and cases to take to the strategic litigation level, therefore it is vital that they understand both the relevance of impact litigation and the current impact themes that have been selected for potential action.
Training on strategic litigation should consequently feature in inductions for new staff and volunteers, and impact themes should be communicated regularly to front-line service providers, with refresher training when they are updated or changed. You should make sure these themes are updated and available to all legal advocates, and that they are accustomed to checking their case against the designated impact themes.
Front-line service providers must feel confident in using the internal procedures for referring a case that falls within the scope of these impact themes to the strategic litigation team, and protocols for client consultation before taking the case further. Procedures should be clearly set out, easily accessible, and simple to follow.
This is important because one strategic case may be able to set a precedent judgment affecting all future cases of the same kind. The success of a strategic litigation process depends on front-line legal advocates understanding and implementing this quick check in all cases.