Call for applications - litigation workshop

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Posted on: 
20 Jul 2015

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION LITIGATION WORKSHOP

JOHANNESBURG 16 – 18 SEPTEMBER 2015

The Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) will hold a litigation workshop on the right to freedom of expression for lawyers working in Botswana, Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The workshop, to be held in Johannesburg on 16, 17 and 18 September 2015, is designed to assist lawyers who are currently working on issues involving infringements and limitations of expression, or who have potential cases in this area.

All interested applicants must complete the application form (and submit all relevant information set out in the form) before 31 July 2015. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted by 8 August 2015, and must avail themselves for telephonic interviews if necessary on 11 August 2015.

About the Host Organisations

MLDI provides legal support to journalists, bloggers and independent media worldwide to enable them to continue with their reporting. A significant portion of MLDI’s work is currently being conducted in the southern African region; consequently MLDI is continually seeking to strengthen its network of lawyers to work within the region to further the freedom of expression framework.

SALC is a regional legal organisation which provides technical and financial support to lawyers working in human rights law in southern Africa. SALC aims to support cases in its programmatic areas (which include freedom of expression, amongst others), but also to build the capacity of the lawyers with whom it works.

Objectives of the Workshop

  • To identify cases on the right to freedom of expression that could be pursued before domestic courts in southern Africa and/or African fora;
  • To equip lawyers with the necessary skills and knowledge regarding the right to freedom of expression, litigation strategies, and the available African human rights mechanisms.

Criteria for Eligibility

  • The application process is open to lawyers from Botswana, Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe;
  • The candidate must demonstrate an interest in, and knowledge of, freedom of expression issues and international and regional human rights law;
  • The candidate must be involved in, or considering, litigating a case/s that addresses violations of the right to freedom of expression (such as criminal defamation, insult laws and other infringements of expression) and must submit at least one case study of the case/s in which they are working to be discussed during the workshop;
  • Preference will be given to lawyers already working in freedom of expression, but exceptional candidates who have experience in other areas of human rights law who intend to litigate on the right to freedom of expression will be considered.

Application Process

All applicants must complete the application form (available here) and submit it, along with the case summaries, to Caroline James, freedom of expression lawyer at SALC, at carolinej@salc.org.za by 31 July 2015.

Shortlisted candidates will be notified by email by no later than 8 August 2015, and telephonic interviews (if necessary) will be held on 11 August 2015.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I don’t have a case, can I still apply?

A: It will suffice for participants, who do not have a case that is pending, to have identified a law, practice or policy that they would like to challenge in court. However, such participants must demonstrate their ability and willingness to pursue the case after the workshop.

Q: I am not a lawyer but I am interested, can I apply?

A: Unfortunately, the workshop is only open to lawyers who are in practice.

Q: How many participants will be at the workshop?

A: 15 participants will be selected for the workshop. Members of MLDI and SALC and the facilitators (who are experts in the field in southern Africa) will also be present.

Q: Who pays for the costs of participation?

A: MLDI and SALC will cover airfare, accommodation, and other related costs.
Q: Is there any follow up?

A: MLDI and SALC’s lead lawyers will provide ongoing legal support when requested by the local lawyer. The assistance provided depends on the assistance required by the local lawyer.

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