PROJECT: Western Sahara and Leigh Day

Banyan has been asked by Leigh Day to call out for a group of six students to work on the project listed below:


  1. TREATY LAW AND CUSTOMARY INTERNATIONAL LAW: all UNSC resolutions and any other sources of international law that relate specifically to the status of Western Sahara (including any UNGA resolutions which signify customary international law)
  2. INTERNATIONAL CASE LAW: All judgements in international fora which relate to the status of Western Sahara
  3. DOMESTIC CASE LAW: All judgements in national courts around the world, which relate to the status of Western Sahara
  4. INTERNATIONAL SOFT LAW: The ICJ advisory opinion, all relevant UNGA resolutions (not included in section 1), details of every other occasion when the Western Sahara has been recognised as a non-self-governing territory in international and national fora (including domestic parliaments, the EP and so on)
  5. LEGAL HISTORY: A brief legal history of the Western Sahara from the time of the Spanish administration
  6. ECONOMIC SELF-DETERMINATION: arguments for economic self-determination that have been presented to international or national courts – these may relate to other comparable contexts such as West Bank produce and Gazan fishing rights.

Producing bundles (files) for sections 1-4 above, will involve compiling research materials: identifying and locating the relevant documents using online resources such as Westlaw and LexisNexis, the UNGA, UNSC, and EP websites, or other resources at SOAS or IALS libraries, then printing or photocopying them and sorting and filing them in date order (starting with the earliest at the top and placing the most recent at the bottom).  Each section will need an index or contents page with hyperlinks to the relevant documents.  We would ask that students kindly submit their index as a Word document, as well as including it in the front of their file.

Section 5 involves conducting research and writing a short piece of between 1,000 and 2,000 words plus footnotes.

Section 6 would ideally be presented in summary form of between 1,000 and 2,000 plus footnotes linking to the relevant documents, or alternatively, it could be a collection of the relevant sections of case transcripts and judgements (again, sorted in date order, and indexed).

Leigh Day will provide each student with the necessary stationary, such as lever arch files and dividers, and expenses for photocopying/printing, as long as accurate receipts are provided. Alternatively, Leigh Day will accept electronic submissions.

It would be helpful if students could indicate if they have a preference for a particular topic out of those listed above.  The priority areas are Treaty Law and Customary International Law, International Case Law, International Soft Law, and the Legal History.  Students will be assigned sections on a first-come first-served basis, and will work directly with Leigh Day rather than group format to complete the work.

All students who work on this project will be invited to attend hearings for any litigation which we pursue on this issue.


Essential: Legal research skills (ability to use case-law databases), research skills, ability to write concisely, knowledge of international law, international soft law, international customary law

Desirable: knowledge of Western Sahara

Commitments: +-14hours research and writing per file, students working independently

Deadline: The deadline is Friday 2 May 2014, though Leigh Day would welcome submissions before this date.

Confidentiality: Confidentiality is highly important for this project; every participating student will have to sign a confidentiality agreement before beginning the project.

Please email us at with details of your availability and hours you can commit; please also attach a CV that includes information on your knowledge of the competencies, as cited above.

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