Conference Addresses Strategic-Litigation Challenges in Russia

June 2012

From May 24–25, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) held a conference on the challenges of conducting strategic, or impact, litigation in Russia. More than 60 people, including lawyers and activists from 13 Russian regions, public interest lawyers from law schools and advocacy organizations in the United States and public interest advocates from Bulgaria and the United Kingdom, attended the conference. Discussions addressed such issues as defining the public interest in Russia and managing the dilemma between being sensitive to an individual client’s situation and utilizing a case to identify gaps in the law and to push for legislative changes.

Participants also debated the proper use of the European Court of Human Rights in Russia: should lawyers and activists appeal as many cases as possible to the court, or should they cooperate to appeal only a few strategic cases? Additionally, they discussed the proper use of public advocacy, including the use of media. Participants said that lawyers and advocates often have too small litigation teams and lack the skills they need to utilize the media effectively.

Smaller groups of participants drafted litigation and public advocacy plans, which ABA ROLI will consider for implementation. ABA ROLI will also compile and publish summaries of the participants discussions and presentations.

To learn more about our work in Russia, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at rol@americanbar.org

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