ICJ publishes “Strategic Litigation Handbook for Myanmar”

The ICJ today published a “Strategic Litigation Handbook for Myanmar.” In this, the ICJ seeks to offer an accessible, concise and substantial overview of the conceptual basis and purpose of strategic litigation.

The Handbook shows the potential impacts of strategic litigation in Myanmar, by drawing on experiences from Myanmar and other countries, while recognizing the related challenges and opportunities, as expressed by legal professionals and civil society actors. It is intended to be useful to all legal practitioners and community activists in Myanmar.

While there is no universal definition or conception of ‘strategic litigation,’ the term is typically used to describe litigation whereby the interests may go beyond those of the primary litigants. The various adjudication processes it entails are sometimes referred to as ‘public interest litigation’, ‘impact litigation’, ‘test case litigation’, or ‘community lawyering’. What they all have in common is the idea that courts and the law can be used as part of a campaign to achieve broader change in relation to matters seen to be in the broader public interest.

Part one of the Handbook explores core aspects of strategic litigation, including its origins, key concepts, potential impacts, challenges and forums. In part two, areas of law are identified which offer potential options for strategic litigation actions, including procedures, legislation and constitutional writs. Practical steps for the planning and application of strategic litigation, such as media strategy and case selection, are outlined in part three. Finally, part four of the Handbook discusses related challenges in the Myanmar context, including a discussion of requisite reforms required in the justice sector more broadly.

The Handbook (first edition) is published in Burmese and English.

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