Strategic Litigation Management

Managing your strategic litigation program will likely require cooperation by various departments in your NGO. For instance, financial planning, staffing your team, and elaborating related communications and advocacy strategies must all be attended to by strategic litigation managers before proceeding to pre-litigation stages. If your organization plans to keep management ‘in-house,’ or within the strategic litigation department, coordinators should familiarize themselves with other aspects of litigation, beyond mere legal theory (e.g. business operations and human resources).

Therefore, collaboration between functional profiles is key to the success of strategic litigation. Additionally, managers must focus on building-up contacts with potential collaborators, both locally and internationally; and should dedicate substantial time to networking with refugee and human rights practitioners, academics, funders and consultants.

Networks focussing specifically on strategic litigation exist, for example the strategic litigation initiative of the Adjudication of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Working Group. They offer support in the form of networking, case law databases, and capacity building training sessions.

The highly collaborative nature of strategic litigation necessitates the involvement of a number of relationships, which must be managed. For example, the relationships involved may range from those established and built with court or other justice officials, to daily working relationships with interns, volunteer legal advisers and other colleagues. Despite the long, stop-and-start nature of many cases, these relationships should be attended to throughout the process, and beyond, in order to expedite the collaboration of future cases.

The following sections address the diverse and interlinked aspects of managing strategic litigation.