Strategic Litigation Programme
Since 2004 the HFHR has been operating the Strategic Litigation Programme. As part of this Programme, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights joins or initiates court and administrative proceedings of strategic importance. International human rights bodies are a key focus of the Programme’s activities. Through its participation in strategic litigation cases, the Programme aims to obtain ground-breaking judgments, which change practices or laws on specific legal issues that raise serious human rights concerns.
The Programme’s activities include the following:
- submitting amicus curiae briefs on behalf of the HFHR, in which we present specific human rights issues that are relevant from the perspective of constitutional and comparative law but do not directly refer to the facts of a case;
- taking part in court proceedings as a third party intervener, which means that representatives of the Foundation have the right to express their opinions and submit motions and statements during a trial;
- representing victims of human rights violations in proceedings before international bodies;
- working with law firms and individual lawyers to procure their pro bono representation and legal assistance for the HFHR’s clients.
The main area of the Programme’s operations is proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights. Recently, one of the objectives pursued by the Programme has been to encourage national courts to refer questions for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
an attorney-at-law, a graduate of the Faculty of Law and Administration of the Jagiellonian University of Kraków, Ms Wiśniewska has extensive experience in managing European and international projects. She is the author and a co-author of a wide range of publications on substantive criminal law, criminal enforcement law and human rights. She is a member of the Legal Experts Advisory Panel, the lawyers’ forum at Fair Trials International. In 2015, she was listed in the Risings Stars – Leaders of Tomorrow ranking, compiled by national daily newspaper Dziennik Gazeta Prawna. Ms Wiśniewska was appointed by the Ombudsman to the Committee of Experts of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture. She is an expert on juvenile justice system, EU procedural rights and proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights, as well as on human rights strategic litigation.
Meet our team:
legal counsel, graduate of the Faculty of Law and Administration of UMCS in Lublin. Author of publications on refugee and migration issues. He conducts advocacy and strategic court cases regarding the rights of refugees and migrants before national and international courts (European Court of Human Rights and Court of Justice of the EU). Participant in legislative works concerning asylum and migration law. He conducted trainings for judges, police officers and public officials. Member of the Expert Committee on Migrants at the Ombudsman. Member of the Programme Board of the Amnesty International Poland.
fifth year student of law at Faculty of Law and Administration at the University of Silesia. She has been cooperating with Foundation since August 2017. Currently working as a lawyer in Strategic Litigation Program and Legal Intervention Program.
a graduate of the Law and Administration Department at the University of Warsaw, an advocate trainee, since 2013 r. a lawyer of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. Previously within the Foundation cooperated with the Article 32 Antidiscrimination Programme and Project “Improving Sensitivity of Judges and Prosecutors in Matters of Equal Treatment”. He is an expert on antidiscrimination law.
an advocate trainee, since July 2017 a lawyer in the Strategic Litigation Programme at the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. Previously within the Foundation cooperated with the Article 32 Antidiscrimination Programme, Legal Intervention Programme and Monitoring of the legislative process within the justice system. A graduate of the Law and Administration Department at the University of Warsaw.
Marcin Szwed LLM
a lawyer for the Strategic Litigation Programme of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. Mr Szwed obtained a degree in law from the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Warsaw, and completed a programme in American law at the Center for American Law Studies, a joint undertaking of the Faculty of Law and the University of Florida Levin College of Law. He also finished an LLM programme in comparative constitutional law at the Central European University in Budapest. Mr Szwed is a PhD student at the Department of Constitutional Law of the Faculty of Law at the University of Warsaw. He has written many publications on human rights and constitutional law and was many times a prizewinner and finalist in national contests for law students. He is an expert in constitutional law and international mechanisms for human rights protection.
The report that presents activities undertaken by the HFHR’s Strategic Litigation Programme in 2018 is available here.