Strategic litigation, also known as impact litigation, public interest litigation or class action, is a process that utilizes judicial systems to enforce, describe or define a right. In this context, it refers to the use of courts at the national, regional and international level to address widespread problems preventing the realization of refugee rights, for the benefit of large numbers of refugees.
It may secure the implementation of existing policies and laws, or seek to change these, generating domestic, regional or international jurisprudence that positively affects a right – including through definition or precision – and positively changes the public perception of refugees.
Strategic litigation is a relatively combative method of engaging with governments, and may therefore be seen as a final resort when negotiation, lobbying and advocacy efforts are ineffective.
When time and resources are in short supply, working out how to focus efforts, prioritize cases and maximize impact is crucial. This section details important considerations throughout the case’s lifetime. It highlights factors that might influence case selection – from admissibility requirements and evidential standards of international bodies and courts, to client participation, funding and impact potential. The section also considers the impact of strategic litigation through monitoring activities, and seeks to expand influence by conducting related policy advocacy and media outreach.
Specifically, this section offers guidance on: