Global Disability Cause Lawyering: Perspectives from Leading Lawyers in the Movement

March 24, 2022 10:00pm - 11:30am ET

Adopted by the United Nations in 2006, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has inspired a new generation of lawyers to assist clients with disabilities seeking remedies for human rights violations before local, national, and international bodies.

While many of these lawyers narrowly advocate for their individual clients’ rights, others endeavor more strategically to bring cases that will advance systemic CRPD implementation for the broader disability community. Strategic litigation, or cause lawyering, to advance the human rights of various groups based on their identities (e.g., race), or on thematic issues cutting across populations (e.g., economic, social and cultural rights), has been extensively studied. However, the complex dynamics and considerations that inform disability-specific cause lawyers remain almost unexplored.

This event will present a window into these dynamics by describing the efforts of litigants around the world to advance protections of persons with disabilities’ rights in international and local fora. Co-sponsored by International Legal Studies at Harvard Law School.


10:00-10:15 AM ET – Welcome and Setting the Stage

Michael Ashley Stein, Co-founder and Executive Director, Harvard Law School Project on Disability

David B. Wilkins, Faculty Director, Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession

10:15 -11:25 AM ET – Perspectives from Leading Lawyers in the Movement (and Q&A)

María Soledad Cisternas Reyes, UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Disability and Accessibility

Janos Fiala, Lecturer, Centre for Disability Law and Policy, National University of Ireland Galway

Sanjay Jain, Principal, ILS Law College, Pune, India

Elizabeth Kamundia, Assistant Director, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights

11:25 – 11:30 AM ET – Concluding Remarks