Banyan: SOAS Advocates – An Introduction


Banyan: SOAS Advocates is a student-run network of postgraduate students studying at SOAS, University of London. Banyan mobilises these students to offer pro bono legal and policy research as well as drafting skills to interested third parties looking to collaborate on projects that have cleardevelopment, human rights or social justice advocacy goals

The society responds to requests from organisations such as civil society actors, law firms and development organizations: for example, it has recently supported a group of eminent legal historians in drafting a brief to the US Supreme Court in the case of Kiobel, concerning alleged corporate human rights abuses.


Banyan operates as a network. Proposals from third parties are circulated amongst its members, and a shortlist is drawn up by the Banyan committee from those who express interest, based on skills and available time. The committee then work with the organisation to finalise the team.

In order to draw together the most effective team, it is helpful to have a clear indication of the substance of work, an estimate of time required, hard and soft deadlines (such as court dates and internal review dates), skills required and desired outputs. If the organisation would like a member of staff to act as quality control on a specific project, that can be explored but may not be possible.


Once the team is agreed on, the team and organisation work together directly to manage the process and to produce and take responsibility for outputs. The committee will keep an overall eye on the running of the projects, and can reach out to the network to draw on additional resources if needed.
If any further information is required, please contact Banyan: SOAS Advocates at

Deval, Jess and Luke – Banyan: SOAS Advocates

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