CHR213 | Clinical Workshop on Human Rights Lawyering

Course Information

  • 2023-24
  • CHR213
  • 5-Year B.A., LL.B. (Hons.), 3-Year LL.B. (Hons.), LL.M., Master's Programme in Public Policy
  • III, IV, V
  • Nov 2023
  • Elective Course


This course offers an orientation to goals and methods of human right lawyering, and applies these tools and strategies towards active interventions in contemporary human rights concerns. The course will proceed along two inter-connected segments: (A) Perspectives and case studies of human rights lawyering (‘Methods’) , and (B) Interventions in an ongoing issue through research, documentation and advocacy (‘Interventions’).

The rich traditions of human rights lawyering in India have sought to harness constitutional and human rights protections to pursue socio-political change through Law within an overall hostile and exclusionary legal system. Lying at the intersection of democratic struggles for justice and legal practise, HR lawyering relies on a range of multi-pronged and inter-disciplinary methods to meet its goals. As such, the courtroom is only one site of intervention among a wide spectrum of State and democratic institutions, which also include elected representatives, administrators, media, and the wider public. Students will thus be introduced to methods of fact-finding, documentation, primary research, litigation support and legal aid, advocacy, among others.

As a clinical course, the thrust will remain on the application of such methods to a concrete intervention through deliberative processes within the classroom. Here, students will apply themselves to primary research methods of fact-finding and documentation in two ongoing human rights violations, culminating in reports and other advocacy materials.

Methods: Perspectives and case studies on human rights lawyering

This segment offers an introduction to the goals and methods of human rights lawyering. Drawing from texts and primary materials from human rights movements in India, this segment will interrogate the roles and functions of ‘lawyering’ in relationship with rights and social movements. This will also orient students to various tools and strategies that decentre courts and mobilize a wide range of State, non-State and democratic institutions as primary sites of legal interventions.


The class will be divided into two groups, each of which will work on different assignments involving primary research and culminating in advocacy materials for an ongoing case of human rights violation. Students will get an opportunity to interact directly with primary and secondary materials including official State records (legal documents, reports, etc.), news reports, etc.

The course will be conducted through brief lectures and group discussions on the history, contexts, goals and methods of human rights lawyering. There will be a preponderant emphasis on intensive review meetings throughout the length of the term to map and collectively deliberate participants’ progress on the research and documentation assignments. This structure will be interwoven with discussions on reports, and guest lectures from lawyers and activists who have worked on similar concerns.

The course will be of interest to those keen on studying and/ or practising criminal law, environmental law, human rights, social justice, litigation and alternative lawyering methods.



Radhika Chitkara

Assistant Professor of Law