Discredited in the 1970s when it took the form of the "law and development movement," international assistance in the area of reforming laws and legal institutions has flourished anew in the last two decades under the rubric of "building the rule of law." As a result, legal institutions have found an increasingly important place on the development agenda of international organizations (e.g., World Bank, UNDP), governmental development agencies (e.g, USAID, DFID, EC) and private philanthropy (e.g., Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations). This course will examine, in particular, how the use of legal tools by civil society (often described as "legal empowerment," "public interest law" or "human rights advocacy") contributes to development goals through influencing the evolution of legal systems, legal institutions and legal culture.
In addition to reading and discussing scholarship and analytical writings about the field of law and development, the course will focus on human rights/public interest projects supported by PILnet: The Global Network for Public Interest Law, through its fellowship program. PILnet Fellows who have been nominated by NGOs in their respective countries will attend the course and be responsible for developing the projects. In 2014, Fellows come from Cambodia, China, Egypt, Nepal, Nigeria, Palestine, Russia, Taiwan and Vietnam. Students will be paired with Fellows to critically engage with the projects -- which are intended for implementation when the Fellows return to their NGOs -- with opportunities to contribute to the projects' design.
The course will meet in seminar format on most Wednesdays, with one specially scheduled half-day workshop on a Friday in place of two of the seminar classes.
Due to the intensive, practical nature of the seminar, enrollment will be limited and prior approval of the instructor is required. Interested students should e-mail the instructor's assistant Beth Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a description of their relevant prior experience and reasons for wanting to participate and a copy of their CV attached by July 18, 2014.