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Alternative Law Forum - Human Rights Lawyering Course on Principles and Practices

Traditional teaching on Human Rights focuses on textual traditions such as Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Bill of Rights or the Constitution and Jurisprudence related to the same. In another understanding, Prof. Upendra Baxi notes that Human Rights are authored by people in resistance and communities in struggle. This course aims to arrive at an understanding of human rights through the work experiences and narratives of Human Rights lawyers, situated within a larger socio-political context.

Date: 16th - 20th March, 2015

In India's tradition of Human Rights lawyering, the courtroom is one of the many forums through which Human Rights concerns are voiced, rights contested, accountability attributed and norms created. Human Rights lawyers play a vital role in translating the experiences and demands of grassroots communities into law, thereby giving abstract notions such as dignity, rights and equality invaluable content. This course attempts to shed some light on this alternative process by which the Constitution is brought to life for the marginalized sections of society.

Objectives:

  • To provide a grounded sense of human rights lawyering based on personal narratives;
  • To introduce students to multi-pronged strategies employed by human rights lawyers;
  • To provide insights on the creative use of law to further the struggle for justice; and
  • An analysis of the contributions of human rights lawyers to deepening Indian democracy.

Course Contents:
The course will consist of three hour sessions for five consecutive days, 16th - 20th March, 2015. Training methods would include lecture, panel discussion, group discussion and case studies with an ample use of audio-visual aids. The tentative schedule is as follows:

Session 1:

Introduction to the course

30 mins

Mapping the human rights movement in India

1 hour

Introduction to the concept of human rights lawyering: what makes one a human rights lawyer?

1 hour 30 mins

Session 2:

History of human rights lawyering in India - Gandhi and Ambedkar

1 hour

Contemporary lawyering traditions - Balagopal, Kannabiran & Mukul Sinha

2 hours

Session 3:

Human rights lawyering in conflict situations

3 hours

Session 4:

Countering impunity for mass crimes - human rights lawyers in action

1 hour

Addressing state repression - role of human rights lawyers

2 hours

Session 5:

Contributions of human rights lawyering: challenges and lessons learned

2 hours

Open session + Feedback / Evaluation

1 hour

Resource Persons:
The resource persons for the course will consist of a combination of practising lawyers, lawyer-activists and law researchers. The course coordinators are Arvind Narrain - an activist lawyer and founder member of Alternative Law Forum and Saumya Uma - researcher, trainer and activist on gender, law and human rights. Both are alumni of the National Law School of India, who graduated in 1997 and 1994 respectively.

Other resource persons are Darshana Mitra, Gowthaman Ranganathan and Santanu Chakraborty - lawyers associated with the Alternative Law Forum - a collective of lawyers committed to a political practice of the law. Renowned human rights lawyers in the country will also join the team of resource persons and address the students on specific topics of importance.

Other information:
This course is open to all LL.B, LL.M and MPP students of the National Law School of India. They will get 1 credit for attending all sessions. The course is also open to others who are not students of the National Law School, who will get a certificate for attending all sessions. The Reading materials will be provided in advance for each session.

The course is free of cost.

Contact
Mr. Arvind
Email: arvind@altlawforum.org

Ms. Ramya
Email: ramya@altlawforum.org

Alternative Law Forum
122/4 Infantry Road,
Next to Balaji Art Gallery,
Bangalore - 560001
Phone: +91 80 2286 8757
Email: contact@altlawforum.org
Website: www.altlawforum.org

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