Community of Practice

There is a growing desire within the legal field to take a more community-focused approach in litigation work. We are facilitating a Community of Practice for litigators, legal practitioners, and litigating organisations working on cases concerning racial, social, and economic justice issues in Europe to rethink lawyering practices and develop collaborative working methods that centre communities in litigation.

The Community is intended to be a truly participatory, open partnership. It is a space to share ideas, experiences, and best practices, and support each other towards individual and shared goals. The Community also is a means of pooling valuable learning and creating new knowledge while  strengthening the sense of shared values and shared purpose in the work we are all trying to do.

The Community invites participants to:

  1. Reflect on the power imbalances that currently exist between lawyers/litigating organisations and the communities or groups they seek to represent;
  2. Share knowledge, resources, strategies or working methods for addressing these imbalances; and
  3. Share knowledge and experience drawn from their case work, creating an environment of mutual support between practitioners working in these areas.

The aim is for the Community of Practice to build equitable working models that can be shared widely, which will strengthen community-centred litigation overall. It will also strengthen strategic litigation for racial, social, and economic justice in Europe by offering legal practitioners working on such cases day-to-day an opportunity to connect, educate themselves, support each other, and build knowledge.

It is crucial that the Community is a shared space, co-created by its participants. We also recognise that in order to be effective and maintain momentum, the Community will need to be supported and facilitated to ensure participants get high value for their time and participation.

What we have done so far:

Systemic Justice has taken the lead in establishing the Community of Practice and helping set up a process for participation and the operation of its activities. Over thirty organisations have taken part in this process, representing litigation work across a range of issues including environment and climate, LGBTQI+ rights, digital rights, migration, Roma rights, socio-economic rights, equality and non- discrimination, freedom of religion, and social protection.

In October 2022, the Community had its first in-person meeting to set the direction for its work and to kick-start the process of establishing the Community of Practice. Participants co-designed an action plan for next steps, including a framework for drafting a Community Agreement, and conceptualised two concrete projects for 2023, namely:

  1. The development of a methodology for putting communities in the driver’s seat in litigation, and
  2. The organisation of litigation workshops to share and acquire knowledge as a community.

We are now in the processes of cultivating and sustaining the Community by facilitating its activities, organising and managing community events, co-ordinating the creation of a Community Agreement, and encouraging participation.

Our plans for 2023:

The work of the Community continues in 2023, and our collective plans are to:

  • Operationalise the co-created Community Agreement, which will underpin the Community’s functioning;
  • Establish an online collaboration platform to facilitate continuous and active participation in the Community and its activities;
  • Grow participation of the Community, by expanding the number of litigators and litigating organisations taking part;
  • Hold our second annual in-person retreat with the Community to strategise, workshop, and plan activities, which we intend to make a yearly occurrence;
  • Implement two community projects:
    • Developing methodologies for community-centred litigation, mapping existing resources, and facilitating shared learning and knowledge building amongst the Community on this topic, and
    • Hosting at least one litigation workshop for the Community.

The implementation of the community projects include the development of some knowledge sharing tools, including:

  • Skills-mapping to highlight existing expertise within the Community and areas for growth;
  • Resource libraries to pool valuable learnings;
  • Reading groups to promote knowledge-sharing and build capacity in specific areas or fields; and
  • Workshops to collectively discuss specific cases or themes.


If you wish to get in touch about the Community of Practice, you can do so here.

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