The STARLIGHT programme promotes the use of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (the Charter) as a tool for strategic litigation. It aims to improve the protection of fundamental rights across the EU, in particular, in those member states where fundamental rights are under threat.
It aims to equip practicing lawyers with the skills and knowledge to use the Charter to protect rights through three core training components:
- an introduction to strategic litigation, the application of the Charter and approach to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU);
- specialized modules on i) asylum and migration law; ii) criminal justice; or iii) the rule of law and civic space/fundamental freedoms;
- a skills module on i) documentation and evidence; ii) legal advocacy; or iii) legal communications and public relations.
28th March - 25th April 2023 (2 x 0.5 days, online)
This introductory module by Prof. Başak Çalı provides an overview of the various aims pursued by strategic litigation in the field of human rights and the challenges of employing strategic litigation within the context of the EU. It will look at lessons learnt from other jurisdictions and will end with a practical example drawing on the experience of lawyers engaged in some of the first rights-based cases before the CJEU.
This module provides an overview of the Charter, and how it can be applied in cases before national courts and the CJEU. It will look at the obligation to apply EU law and review recent CJEU case-law. This module will be taught by Prof. Mark Dawson.
9th May - 12th June 2023 (8 x 2h, online)
This thematic module focuses on asylum and migration law and how EU law – including rights under the Charter – can be more effectively applied. It will address the specific topic of fair trial and effective remedy in this context, where domestic laws and practices have been frequently found in breach of EU law and rights violations are common in various Member States. The starting point will be the right to an effective remedy and a fair trial (Article 47 of the Charter).
The module taught by Prof. Cathryn Costello and Gruša Matevžič will draw on practical examples from recent case law and will benefit from the specific expertise of invited guests.
This thematic module focuses on criminal justice – in particular, the right to a fair trial and its protection under EU law. It will look at the scope of protection under the EU procedural rights directives and strategies to get cases to the CJEU.
The module taught by Laure Baudrihaye and András Kádár will draw on practical examples from cases and will include the expertise of invited guest lecturers.
This thematic module focuses on the rule of law and civic space which until recently was a very under-explored area of EU law. The module will particularly look at the evolution of CJEU jurisprudence on freedom of association and the protection of civic space and on the independence of the judiciary.
The module taught by John Morijn and László Detre will draw on practical examples from cases and will include the expertise of invited guest lecturers.
June - mid-September 2023 (sessions in small groups, online)
The legal clinics provide the opportunity to work on a specific case, based on real-life legal problems. They will foster social learning, connections and collaboration. Groups of 6-8 participants will identify a case based on their own practice area and work. Over a two-month period, they will work on a legal brief with guidance from academics and practitioners.
26th to 28th September 2023 (3 days onsite, Potsdam)
This skills session will look at the requirements for legal evidence including open-source methods and varied tools to discover, preserve, document and verify information in accordance with the Berkeley Document on Digital Open-Source Investigations.
This skills session will explore approaches to legal advocacy and how to ensure complementary legal and advocacy strategies. It will draw on the experiences of different legal practitioners and some of the advocacy supporting recent rights-based cases before the CJEU.
This skills session will explore approaches to legal communications from the language needed for a good legal brief to how to communicate a legal case to different audiences. The session will discuss the role of litigators and how a communication strategy can influence public opinion using a variety of tools including press, media relations and social networks.