Dear visitors to the FAQs webpage of STARLIGHT, you may wish to visit the FAQs regularly. We continue to update this page, whenever we receive queries. If your questions were not answered here, please feel free to reach out to us via this email starlight(at)hertie-school(dot)org and we will try our best to provide you answers. Thank you very much.
The application process
Please visit the STARLIGHT webpage, where you will find the link to the application portal.
To submit your application please complete the following steps:
- Create/login an account on our application platform.
- Select "Executive Programmes".
- Continue to "STARLIGHT" and fill in your data.
- During the process you will be asked to submit the following information in English:
- your personal data,
- your CV,
- a link to a max. 90-sec. video in which you briefly introduce yourself and explain why you are the ideal candidate to join STARLIGHT,
- a brief description (max 300 words) of the litigation experience you have that is relevant for STARLIGHT and an example case you would like to pursue during the STARLIGHT legal clinics.
- Complete your application by 29 October 2023 23:59 CET!
Applicants will be notified about the outcome of their application by early March 2023.
Candidates should meet both criteria listed below.
1. Legal practitioners with a law degree and at least two years of relevant experience, belonging to one of the following professional groups:
- Mid-career lawyers working within law firms/as solo practitioners, with an existing track-record of high-quality work on fundamental rights and rule of law issues with potential for cross-European advocacy;
- Legal staff working within NGOs in the field of fundamental rights and the rule of law, responsible for designing litigation strategies, coordinating their implementation with in-house or external litigators;
- Staff of legal clinics working on fundamental rights and rule of law cases;
- National Human Rights Institutions' (NHRI) legal staff, involved in third party interventions, amicus curiae briefs or litigation.
2. Practicing law or working for an NGO/legal clinic/NHRI in one of the following EU member states: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania,
Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
No, there is no application fee. However, selected participants will be required to cover their own travel expenses to and from Berlin for the skills workshop in July 2024. Hotel costs in Berlin will be covered.
We will select approximately 60 participants, with 20-22 participants for each thematic stream: 1) Asylum and Refugee law, 2) Criminal Justice, and 3) Rule of Law and Civic Space.
No, the target countries for the second round of applications in 2024 will remain unchanged.
Yes, you are required in the application form to propose a concrete case. A number of these cases will be taken up and working on during the legal clinic sessions. In addition, throughout the course recent case study examples will be drawn on and used as learning tools.
Yes, solo practitioners are eligible to apply if you have a track record of work on fundamental rights and rule of law issues, with an interest in EU work.
There will be a set of compulsory and recommended readings for each module. The main assignment will be the legal clinics which will take place between the thematic modules and the skills workshop in the spring. This will require working as part of a group to prepare, based on an agreed case, a set of model legal arguments and a litigation strategy.
Each application will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Some litigation experience is required but extensive experience for example in legal advocacy or support to litigation would be considered.
We strongly encourage organizations to agree on who will apply. In order to foster diversity and facilitate knowledge exchange, participation will, in general, be limited to one representative per organization. However, a second round of applications will be available in the second year of the program. If multiple representatives do submit applications, we encourage you to clearly explain the rationale and why multiple participants will benefit the organisation’s work and the development of strategic litigation in your country.
Our aim is to ensure that the acquired knowledge is effectively and immediately integrated into practice, thereby directly contributing to new strategic litigation cases. However, resources from the STARLIGHT programme will be available on the website for early career lawyers to utilise and please also look at other events organized by the STARLIGHT partner organisations.
Yes, the STARLIGHT website will serve as the platform for disseminating the results and intellectual outputs generated from the modules and the legal clinics. A selection of cases will be chosen, and the litigation strategies and model legal arguments will be made available through the website.
Unfortunately, only lawyers affiliated with organizations from eligible countries may participate in the program. This is due to the program's initial design to support organizations in countries facing limited resources and high pressure on fundamental rights and rule of law. Although we understand that NGOs in other countries may also face resource constraints, the program is intended to provide training opportunities for legal practitioners in regions where such opportunities are scarce. Despite this limitation, we hope that the publicly available outcomes of the program may be beneficial to a wider range of lawyers and organizations.
If your organization has ongoing operations and activities in one of our target countries and strong connections with another organization in a target country, and you can demonstrate the relevance of your work and experience to that target country, please send an email explaining your circumstances or apply and clearly explain your rationale for applying. We will carefully consider your case on an individual basis and determine if you are eligible to participate in the program.
The primary focus will be on these three areas of law, but we may draw on case studies or look at comparative examples, from other areas such as environmental law or non-discrimination law.
We will focus on how to integrate the Charter of Fundamental Rights into your litigation/litigation strategies alongside other areas of EU law – such as the Treaties and individual EU directives.
We have updated the requirements you need to prepare to upload in the Application Portal. While we do not necessarily need a long motivation letter, a motivation letter helps provide further valuable insights to the reviewers. The Application Portal likewise has this option to submit a motivation letter. In this regard, you have two options:
Option 1: Upload a Word document with your same answers to point a) what litigation experience you have that is relevant for STARLIGHT and point b) an example case you would like to pursue during the STARLIGHT legal clinics. We have mentioned under “How do I apply for STARLIGHT” that you should prepare a brief description (max 300 words) to these points.
Option 2: Upload a short motivation letter expanding on your answers to points a and b above and providing additional information.