Announcement: SALC launches new project, titled “Using Public Interest Litigation to Strengthen Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Southern Africa.”

31 January, 2012

The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) in partnership with the United Nations Democracy Fund launched a project entitled “Using Public Interest Litigation to Strengthen  Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Southern Africa.” The project aims to use public interest litigation in domestic courts in ten countries in southern Africa to realise and advance the rights of marginalized and vulnerable groups and to strengthen the rule of law. It aims to increase public awareness within southern Africa of the potential and importance of litigation and legal systems in vindicating human rights. Its goal is to enhance the quality of arguments made before domestic courts, to ensure such arguments are supported by rigorous research and applicable authority. In so doing it aims to realise authoritative court judgments establishing strong legal precedents upholding human rights and the rule of law.

The project will work with local lawyers to litigate cases that have a broad impact on law, policy and practice providing technical support by way of case and issue identification, strategy-design, research and drafting assistance and financial remuneration. The project will also capacitate local NGOs, providing training in the use of public interest litigation as an advocacy strategy; through publicity and network-building increase the involvement of private sector lawyers in public interest litigation; and by using already established civil society partnerships and SALC’s regional and international media contacts, ensuring that litigation is accompanied with a broader advocacy strategy.

One of the initial activities supported by the UNDEF-sponsored project was a strategy workshop co-hosted by SALC and the Zambia AIDS Law Research and Advocacy Network (ZARAN) on 21 August 2012. 

The key objective of the workshop was to capacitate private lawyers in Zambia willing to conduct public interest litigation on health related rights.  The workshop was attended by a range of stake-holders invested in public interest litigation in Zambia.