PROJECT: Namati and Community Land Rights Casebase

Namati seeks research assistants to assist in the development of the Community Land Rights Casebase, an on-line collection of court decisions on topics relevant to community land rights. The Casebase is a resource for community land rights advocates and lawyers crafting litigation strategies to fight the dispossession of small communities of their land. The Casebase provides full-text court decisions relevant to community land rights from national, regional and international courts, digests of the important holdings, and a vibrant and collaborative forum for discussing community land rights-related precedent.

Namati’s London-based Casebase coordinator seeks several motivated law students to assist in collecting these cases for the database and developing digests. This is an excellent opportunity for a motivated law student who is interested in developing a first class knowledge of the most current and important community land rights case law from jurisdictions around the world and honing their legal research and writing skills, as well as identifying and working with networks of advocates on issues relating to land, resources and community rights.

Hours per week: from 5 hours, depending on availability

Deadlines: the project operates on bi-weekly cycles, with research assistants completing assigned cases to brief in advance of bi-weekly meetings. Although the project is on-going, there is currently a push to populate the Casebase in advance of its launch in the autumn.

Desired outputs: at least one case brief per week, depending on availability

Possible outcomes and scope for ongoing student engagement: the Casebase will form the basis for a number of projects delving into the effectiveness and impact of litigation in preventing and addressing community dispossession. These projects include:

  1. A practitioners’ guide to legal strategies, featuring successful arguments, why cases were unsuccessful, suggestions for litigation and legislative strategies.
  2. A law review article summarizing the issue, types of arguments, results and lessons learned.
  3. A series of workshops bringing together advocates to inform future litigation efforts.
  4. A book sharing some of the stories behind the cases and analyzing the various legal efforts to halt dispossession and enhance community land rights.

Skills, Qualifications, Experience:

  • Legal training
  • Strong English writing skills; resourceful and thorough research skills
  • Understanding of international law principles, comfortable working with law in a variety of jurisdictions
  • Attention to detail
  • Commitment to deadlines
  • Knowledge of other languages a plus.

About Namati

Namati is an international organization dedicated to advancing the field of legal empowerment and to strengthening people’s capacity to exercise and defend their rights in practical ways. In partnership with civil society organizations and governments, Namati implements legal empowerment interventions that address the following issues: community land protection, increased access to justice, accountability of essential services, citizenship rights, and environmental justice.  To inform global practice, Namati researches and evaluates each intervention rigorously. Namati also actively cultivates an international community of legal empowerment practitioners, convening a Global Legal Empowerment Network to foster dialogue and tools sharing. Namati also provides technical assistance to lawmakers and civil society organizations to champion reforms to policies and institutions and to promote increased investment in legal empowerment initiatives. For more information, visit: http://www.namati.org.

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