Job description

The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, an international non-profit organization tracking the human rights impacts of over 9000 companies worldwide, is seeking a highly motivated person to join an exciting new collaborative project between its Corporate Legal Accountability (CLA) and Civic Freedoms & Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) programmes to map and analyse the scale and nature of the use of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) globally. A growing number of corporations are using SLAPPs as a tactic to intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost and hassle of litigation in order to stop their opposition. They are a serious, growing threat to the vital work of NGOs, land and environmental defenders, community and social movement leaders, trade union representatives, and journalists focused on protecting our fundamental freedoms, human rights, and democracy.

The successful candidate will help map and analyse the scale of this global trend and produce a database of cases and a series of analyses and communications tools that will support the efforts of civil society groups and defenders across the globe. This will involve conducting research to identify and continously monitor cases of judicial harassment and SLAPPs against human rights defenders, including the parties involved, legal arguments used, remedies sought, law firms involved, strategies used against advocates (including legal charges and accompanying delegitimising campaigns), and results of these lawsuits, managing the creation of a publicly accessible database gathering cases of SLAPPs around the world, and writing a briefing analysing data on the scope and landscape of SLAPPs.

The Legal Researcher will also provide support to the Resource Centre’s Civic Freedoms and HRDs programme by identifying cases of judicial harassment, SLAPPs and other types of attacks for its global database of attacks against human rights defenders focused on business-related activities and support with company engagement.

Applicants must have: 

  • Strong commitment to advancing human rights in the business sector and to the protection of human rights defenders
  • Legal education
  • 2+ years of experience conducting legal research, preferably related to human rights
  • Proven track record of working constructively with a range of stakeholders and in very close collaboration with a small team
  • Proven excellent communications skills, including an ability to write clearly and succinctly for a range of audiences and in diverse formats
  • Ability to search for difficult to find information online and analyse this data
  • Languages: English (fluency required); Spanish, Portuguese, French, Russian or Arabic fluency highly desired
  • The successful candidate must have permission to work in the UK by the start of their employment

The Position:

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre is launching a new two-year project focused on the use of SLAPPs to stop the work of human rights defenders. This work will support the leadership of other coalitions and organizations focused on SLAPPs, including Protect the Protest and Greenpeace. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre aims to make a critical contribution to other efforts to stop the use of SLAPPs by creating a publicly available centralised hub of data about the scale and nature of SLAPPs globally. The Legal Researcher will be responsible for conducting the research and analysis to create this hub, as well as management of the project, with the support and supervision of the Civic Freedoms & HRDs and the CLA teams.

The Legal Researcher will also provide support to the Resource Centre’s Civic Freedoms and HRDs programme by identifying cases of judicial harassment, SLAPPs, and other types of attacks for its global database of attacks against human rights defenders focused on business-related activities and support with company engagement.

How to apply:

Please go to our website and follow Link to Job at the bottom of the page, and download, fill and submit the application form on the website by 8 October 2019. We do not accept CVs. 

Specific activities include:

  • Map existing data about SLAPPs and identify gaps in information in collaboration with the Civic Freedoms and HRDs and Corporate Legal Accountability teams;
  • Conduct research to identify and continously monitor cases of judicial harrasment and SLAPPs against human rights defenders, including the parties involved, legal arguments used, remedies sought, law firms involved, strategies used against advocates (including legal charges and accompanying delegitimising campaigns), and results of these lawsuits;
  • Liaise with defenders facing SLAPPs and their supporting organizations, as needed;
  • Manage the creation of a publicly accessible and user-friendly English-language database gathering cases of SLAPPs around the world and an online hub of information with the latest developments regarding SLAPPs and an expert blog series on the phenomenon;
  • Write a briefing analysing data on the scope and landscape of SLAPPs;
  • Create infographics that visualise aspects of this phenomenon;
  • Support efforts to increase reputational and other costs against companies using SLAPPs to stop the work of human rights defenders; and
  • Participate in regularly scheduled Global Team calls and ad hoc calls and meetings as needed. 

Key competencies and attributes:

  • Values: Strong, demonstrated commitment to promoting human rights in business and supporting the work of human rights defenders. Shared values and ethos of the Resource Centre.
  • Human rights experience: A minimum of 2 years’ experience in the field of human rights or social justice.
  • Legal research & analytical skills: Proven experience in conducting high quality legal research and analysis, preferably related to human rights and persistent in seeking out difficult-to-find information.
  • Data analysis skills:Proven experience with data analysis and competency with Microsoft Excel.
  • Project management skills: Highly organised and detail oriented with project management experience.
  • Communication skills: Proven excellent communications skills, including an ability to write clearly and succinctly for a range of audiences (from business to civic society organizations and trade unions), and in diverse formats (including briefing papers, blogs, web-based summaries of cases); experience with social media outreach desirable.
  • Strategic insight: Able to identify key opportunities to enhance impact of project within given resource and time constraints.
  • Teamwork: Able to operate effectively and constructively with team members on a collaborative project and ensure smooth communication despite geographical distances between team members.
  • Initiative and motivation: Able to take initiative and drive work forward independently within agreed frameworks, motivated by achieving external results
  • Organization and prioritisation: Strong organisational and time management skills, enabling efficient and effective work
  • Languages: Fluent English (reading, writing, speaking); Fluency in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Russian or Arabic highly desired.

The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre is a diverse, global team. We are committed to providing equal opportunities for everyone regardless of their background and we acknowledge that people from certain backgrounds are under-represented in progressive movements. We particularly encourage applications from people of Black/ African / Afro-Caribbean, Asian, and Latinx descent, people belonging to indigenous groups, people with disabilities, people who identify as LGTBQ+, and other minorities.

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Business and Human Rights Resource Centre

We work with everyone to advance human rights in business and eradicate abuse.

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Posted on: 13 September 2019
Closed date: 10 October 2019
Job ref: Legal Researcher
Tags: Policy/Research

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