The Justice Initiative is an operational program of the Open Society Foundations. Rather than giving grants, the Justice Initiative’s lawyers, advocates, and staff pursue legal work that supports the broader mission and values of Open Society.
The Open Society Foundations established the Justice Initiative in 2003 to provide expert legal support for its broader mission and values through strategic human rights litigation and other legal work.
Our lawyers have represented scores of individuals and groups before domestic and international courts and tribunals around the world. These cases seek not only to vindicate individual claims, but to set precedents to establish and strengthen the law’s protections.
Working with partners, we also document violations, propose and pilot solutions, engage policymakers, and draw on our global legal experience so that access to justice can be available to everyone.
The Open Society Justice Initiative uses litigation, advocacy, and legal empowerment to promote and defend justice and human rights. We work with partners around the world to ensure that law—too often an instrument of powerful people alone—is shaped and employed for the benefit of all.
Rachel NeildDirector, Criminal Justice
Zaza NamoradzeDirector, Justice Initiative Berlin Office
Robert VarenikDirector of Programs
Mariana MasPolicy Officer
Claudio GrossmanAdvisory Board Member
Philip LeachAdvisory Board Member
Willy MutungaAdvisory Board Member
Pablo de GreiffChair
Sara HossainAdvisory Board member
Gay McDougallAdvisory Board Member
Yvonne MokgoroAdvisory Board Member
Patricia SellersAdvisory Board Member
Summer school in Human Rights Litigation
Our annual summer school at Central European University provides an opportunity for human rights professionals to explore the use of litigation to pursue positive and practical change before regional and UN human rights tribunals. Applications for our 2020 Summer School will be invited in late 2019.Learn more
Aryeh Neier Fellowship Program
The Aryeh Neier Fellowship, named after the Open Society Foundations’ first president, is a full-time, two-year program that offers lawyers and other advocates the opportunity to gain practical experience in international human rights advocacy, embedding them as an integral part of the global Justice Initiative team.Learn more
Jobs and Internships
As part of the Open Society Foundations, our diverse and inclusive staff is passionate about cultivating a more democratic, equitable world.Open positions