Who we

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.

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Our mission

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. 

Our staff

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Board Members

Learning Opportunities

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 are invited by February 10, 2020.

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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. Fellowships are available in New York, Berlin, and London.

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2nd Africa Human Rights Litigation Course

Delivered in partnership with Katiba Institute, this course will encourage practicing lawyers to approach human rights litigation strategically, while viewing it as one step in the process of achieving social change. The curriculum will cover a range of human rights tribunals within the African regional human rights system. Applications are invited by April 11, 2020.

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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

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