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Fair Trials Clinic

Last modified on 29-07-2022
Through the Amsterdam Law clinics, Master's students get the opportunity to work on cases of public interest on behalf of clients.
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In the Fair Trials Clinic you get the unique opportunity to monitor trials in various European countries. Through a partnership with the Clooney Foundation for Justice, the Fair Trials Clinic participates in TrialWatch. TrialWatch is an initiative to monitor and respond to trials around the world that pose a significant risk of violating human rights. The students work together with the NGO Lawyers for Lawyers to carry out their monitoring activities.

Partnership with the Clooney Foundation for Justice: TrialWatch

TrialWatch is an ambitious and global initiative of the Clooney Foundation for Justice. It monitors trials where there is a risk of a human rights violations, publishes reports evaluating the trials’ fairness and engages in related advocacy. Broadly, the project aims to bring transparency and accountability to the trial process and governments’ use of the court system to punish dissent, with a focus on trials in which the procedures violate fair trial standards, the charges conflict with human rights law or prosecution is used to target and punish government critics.

Working with a range of partners around the world, TrialWatch aims to professionalize and scale the practice of trial monitoring, while also involving lawyers and non-lawyers in monitoring trials in their own communities. In the spring of 2019, TrialWatch launched an online, interactive trial monitoring training, developed in collaboration with, and approved by, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and is now training monitors from around the world. TrialWatch also deploys technology, including a specialized app, to facilitate data collection and ensure it is collected in a standardized manner to help track trends and practices in prosecutions and trial outcomes around the world. This will facilitate the grading and comparison of trials, and, ultimately, a ranking of justice systems as a whole.

An illustration of protesters holding signs.

Partnership with Lawyers for Lawyers 

Lawyers for Lawyers has extensive experience in monitoring trials around the world against lawyers who are prosecuted or face economic, administrative or disciplinary sanctions as reprisal for or in connection with exercising their legitimate professional duties. The Lawyers for Lawyers’ office is based in the Amsterdam Law Hub at the Amsterdam Law School.

The clinic work highlighted the vulnerability of effective human rights protection (such as the right to a fair trial) and how easily these rights can be violated in the pursuit of political gain – even by democratically elected leaders in the EU. I would recommend the Fair Trials Clinic to anyone aspiring to work on a meaningful project while gaining valuable hands-on legal experience.
Nathalie VainioFair Trails Clinic, 2019/2020

Clinical work

Students get the unique opportunity to work with worldwide experts and lawyers. If you take part in the Fair Trials Clinic you enhance your knowledge of various national legal systems and substantive legal issues including fair trial rights, due process, and freedom of expression, while gaining hands-on experience and working on projects that could improve the lives and situations of defendants who face unfair trials. At the same time you gain practical experience and work on projects that can improve the lives of suspects faced with unfair trials.

Contact us

For any questions regarding the Amsterdam International Law Clinic, please email usExternal link

Requirements, eligibility and application

In addition to the regular course of the Amsterdam Law Clinics, students participating in the Fair Trials Clinic will have to complete an online training programme (6-10 hours) as developed by TrialWatch. 

All Master’s students are in principal eligible to apply. Other than fluency in English, there are no language skills required. However, as we may be monitoring in countries such as Turkey, Poland, Ukraine, and Hungary, knowledge of these languages will be useful. We select those students who can demonstrate in their application a strong commitment to this project, as it is both very intense but also extremely rewarding and a unique experience.

There are no places left for semester 1 academic year 2022/2023. The deadline for applications for semester 2 academic year 2022/2023 is 21 November at 23:59hrs.

Check out the specifics on how to apply

Contact with former Clinic students

If you're interested in more hands-on information about the clinic and experiences from former Fair Trials Clinic students, you can contact any of the following former students. Send an e-mail to amsterdamlawclinics@uva.nlExternal link and we will provide you with the relevant contact information.

2019-2020
2020-2021
Nathalie Vainio
Sylvia Suhonen
Anna Kohte
Nicola Runge
Elizabeth Cazzadore
Fleurent Beurret

You can also find more information in the Course CatalogueExternal link