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Print this pageChildren's Rights: A Guide to Strategic Litigation




Child Rights International Network

Resource type:

CRIN Guides and Toolkits


Patrick Geary


This guide has been produced to help those working for children's rights to understand what strategic litigation is and consider this as an option for effecting change for children by using the law. The guide is aimed at legal and non legal NGO staff and can be adapted to local settings and procedures.

We welcome comments, suggestions, feedback and links to further resources.

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This guide has been produced to help those working toward the advancement of children's rights to understand what strategic litigation is, and to consider using the law in the courtroom as an option for effective advocacy. The guide is aimed at legal and non legal NGO staff and can be adapted to local settings and procedures.

The report is available online in eight different sections. Each contains links to relevant information, case law, and reports. Please note that these will be updated on a regular basis. Below is a brief summary and link to each section on the website.


Chapter Summaries

 1: WHAT is strategic litigation?

Strategic litigation is much more than simply stating your case before a judge. This section introduces some of the broader goals of strategic litigation, as well as some of the more important considerations that should be addressed before entering the courtroom.

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2. WHEN would you bring strategic litigation?

As with many other decisions, timing can be a critical element to success in strategic litigation. This section looks at when it would make sense to bring a case, what factors influence this decision, when you can expect to get results, and what sort of time line you might operate on.

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3. WHO can bring strategic litigation?

Not just anyone can bring a case to the courts. In strategic litigation, as in all kinds of lawsuits, determining who the players are is key. This section will help you identify who will file the lawsuit, who they will sue, and whether or how people or organizations not named as parties in the lawsuit can intervene or otherwise get involved.

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4. WHERE would you bring strategic litigation?

Filing your lawsuit may not be as simple as going down to the local courthouse. When it comes to strategic litigation, choosing where to file your case has a huge bearing on both your chances of success and the eventual results you achieve. As you do your research, you may be surprised at how many options you have. This section will give you guidance on where exactly you can file your case, and from those options, where it makes the most sense to file.

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5. HOW would you bring strategic litigation?

Bringing strategic litigation can be a lengthy, complicated process, and there will be many decisions to make along the way. This section will help you figure out how you find, select, and pay for a lawyer, how you and your lawyer will prove and support your case, and - once the case is over - how you will follow up on the result.

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6. WHY should you consider bringing strategic litigation?

Strategic litigation is a creative and powerful means of advocacy, but it may not always be the best or most appropriate option. Bringing strategic litigation can undoubtedly be an exciting adventure in and of itself, but you should think through things thoroughly before you pursue it. This last section will address what strategic litigation can do for your cause, what difficulties you are likely to encounter, and whether there would be other ways to achieve the same result.

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Further information:

Previous CRIN Guides and Toolkits items

Organisation Contact Details:

Child Rights International Network
East Studio
2 Pontypool Place
Tel: +44 (0)207 401 2257

Last updated 25/10/2012 17:21:52

Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.

Your Feedback

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Faith Gatimi wrote on 23/09/2008:
Thank you for letting the non legal minds understand this important strategy.

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