About the Impact Litigation Project

WCL's Impact Litigation Project seeks to promote the rule of law and democracy within the Americas through the international litigation of pivotal cases lending to promote and enhance the development and furtherance of international jurisprudence and standards.

The term impact litigation describes the strategy of selecting and pursuing lawsuits as a tool to achieve broad and lasting effects, beyond the particular case involved, on both public policy and legislation. At the same time, impact litigation supports the rule of law, provides a foundation for future litigation, serves as a means for documenting human rights and other violations, promotes government accountability, and fosters public awareness and education by attracting domestic and international media attention to the important issues involved.

The Impact Litigation Project seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  • Litigate paradigmatic, high impact cases
  • Obtain domestic and international media coverage of the cases and of related developments (e.g., hearings and reports).
  • Develop impact litigation strategies for widespread distribution to human rights advocates seeking to advance international human rights jurisprudence.
  • Create a formal network of universities and non-governmental organizations committed to promoting human rights, the work of the Project and similar efforts.
  • Submit and call for the filing of amicus curiae briefs in relevant cases pending before international bodies.

WCL has a longstanding experience in litigating human rights cases. Law school faculty, staff and students have participated in cases involving a broad range of issues, including the protection of children's rights, communal property of indigenous populations, freedom of expression and due process of law. Members of the ILP's Advisory Board have been actively involved in impact litigation cases. These cases have enhanced, and strengthened the Inter-American legal framework, as well as the domestic approaches to it within the hemisphere.

The ILP works presenting or supporting cases in the following areas:

  • Human Rights Defenders,
  • Due Process of Law,
  • Equality before the Law
  • Women's Rights
  • LGBTI Rights
  • Indigenous Population