Sussex Centre for Human Rights Research

Information for prospective clients of the Clinic

To download an information flyer for prospective clients, click here.

Who can be a client of the Human Rights Law Clinic?

At present, the Clinic receives project briefings from intergovernmental organisations, governments, (international and UK-based) nongovernmental organisations and lawyers working in the area of human rights.

If you wish to be a client of the Human Rights Law Clinic, please contact the Clinic convenor, Dr Stephanie Berry.

Why be a client of the Clinic?

Complementing resources

  • Intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations, as well as governments, come under increasing pressure to deal appropriately with human rights issues, but often in situations where resources are lacking or stretched to maximum capacity.

Free comprehensive legal research

  • The Human Rights Clinic operates on a pro bono basis. The legal research undertaken by its students is provided at no cost to the client. 
  • At the same time, clients can rest assured that students, while unpaid, undertake their work for the purpose of obtaining course credit in their degree in international human rights law.

Quality assurance

  • All Clinic students will have successfully completed the degree’s core module on international human rights law before taking on a Clinic project. 
  • Students work under close supervision of the Clinic’s convenor, an academic and practitioner in human rights. 
  • Short ‘lists of issues’ papers are produced for clients early on in the process so that clients can be sure that the proposed approach of students is in accord with what is being sought by the client.
  • Students participate in regular work in progress meetings, under the supervision of the Clinic convenor.
  • Draft memoranda are closely reviewed by the Clinic convenor, and then revised, before being sent to the client.

Providing students with a valuable experience

  • Working with clients means that students can build on and apply law and theory to real situations, thereby providing a means to research and apply international human rights law in context.
  • This experience is not only valuable as part of students’ studies, but it also provides them with a great insight, and with something that can help make their CVs stand out.

 Here is what some of our past Clinic clients said about the Human Rights Law Clinic:

"The work of the Human Rights Law Clinic was of excellent quality and proved extremely useful to provide us with much needed research in times of ever-changing legal developments."

  

"The memorandum prepared for my organization will serve as a useful report for us to build upon. I found being a client of the Clinic an extremely rewarding process. The student assigned to our project war smart, professional, enthusiastic and brought a fresh perspective to our research."

"It was a good oppourtunity to with with the Clinic, and a nice experience working with students. The process was smooth and straightforward, and the research undertaken was valuable for my work."


What projects does the Clinic take on?

Project briefings may be on any thematic or country-specific issue concerning the application or implementation of international or regional human rights law, framed within the context of a legal question(s) that allow students to prepare a 5,000-word legal memorandum to clients. For more complex projects, students may work together to produce a 10-15,000-word legal memorandum.

For example, a research brief might be sought to feed into a report being prepared by a client. A client may seek legal analysis of a country situation on a specific issue(s) for the client to subsequently use in the preparation of submissions to government, one of the UN treaty bodies, or the UN’s Universal Periodic Review mechanism. Lawyers or non-governmental organisations may wish to have preparatory research undertaken in the context of proposed or continuing human rights litigation, or to feed into an amicus brief. 

See past papers produced by the Human Rights Law Clinic.

What next?

If you are interested in being a client of the Human Rights Law Clinic, please contact the Clinic convenor, Dr Stephanie Berry.

You may find the following guidance note useful in identifying considerations for the client brief and applicable dates in the research process.