Apply for 2019-2020 Projects

Applications for the LIDS projects are now live! The deadline for submitting an application to join a project is Sunday, October 13, 2019 at 11:59 PM (* Deadline extended *). Below you will find some key details regarding project applications. All those interested are encouraged to apply. We look forward to receiving your application!

If you have any questions, please reach out to the LIDS Project VPs: Allison Beeman and Teja S. Vemuri.

 

DESCRIPTIONS OF 2019-2020 PROJECTS

 

Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG)

Given the context of grave economic suffering under current conditions in Yemen, the design of an economic reconstruction plan is an essential component of the peace process in Yemen and will be a core aspect of establishing durable peace in Yemen.  It is also a topic that local Yemenis emphasize as a top priority. For this reason, legal analysis on the laws that govern post-conflict economic reconstruction will be highly useful to assist in guiding this discussion at multiple tracks within the peace process.  A LIDS team is requested to produce a legal memorandum that provides an overview of international legal standards and laws relating to economic reconstruction, with reference to illustrative state practice throughout. The memorandum should also include at least one section considering whether and how economic sanctions regimes do or do not impact the standards and laws governing economic reconstruction.

 

New Markets Lab

In the summer of 2019, NML launched a research program to re-think the role of development in trade agreements. This work will be part of an ongoing program under the New Markets Lab, in collaboration with partners like UNCTAD and others, to build a more inclusive model for trade that better furthers economic development for all. It is particularly timely given the tremendous potential for economic development through new trade agreements like the African Continental Free Trade Area. The new model will more closely link trade with sustainable development considerations, including the SDGs and the “building blocks” of trade and development, which encompass both “traditional” components of trade agreements (such as trade facilitation, SPS standards, intellectual property, and technical barriers to trade like packaging and product standards), and frontier issues (such as digital trade, food security, labor and supply chains, environment, investment, competition, and gender). NML’s program will produce a set of tools and an inventory of good practices, drawing upon models from around the world and NML’s systems approach, along with recommendations for the future, with engagement in Washington, D.C., Africa, and elsewhere to operationalize more development-driven trade law and policy.

 

UN Global Compact

The unique structure of the UN Global Compact provides the organization with a powerful tool to leverage its initiatives and reach maximum impact. Through the UNGC Academy, the Action Platforms or the recently launched Global Impact Initiatives, the key messages and activities of the UNCG can be disseminated all over the world, reaching companies from different countries, sizes and sectors. However, in order to create real change, we must identify the initiatives and company actions that have the most profound impact on the ground for individual rights holders. UN Global Compact calls on a LIDS team to conduct a research project to identify such abovementioned initiatives and actions. They may specifically examine the impact of: (1) Human Rights Impact Assessments in evaluating companies’ human rights policies, (2) Quarterly financial reporting on human rights programs or initiatives which do not present immediate financial benefits, and/or (3) Non-state-based grievance mechanisms that enable the remediation of businesses’ adverse human rights impacts.

 

Namati: Innovations in Legal Empowerment

Namati Sierra Leone (Namati SL) implements and evaluates innovative interventions along several themes, including community land protection, environmental justice, and the accountability of essential public services. When interacting with large-scale investors, communities face a power imbalance in terms of resources and knowledge. Protecting a community’s right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) is key to ensuring an equitable investment process. Likewise, independent legal assistance for communities in their negotiations with investors remains a major challenge. Sierra Leone’s 2015 National Land Policy attempts to tackle this challenge by proposing the establishment of a legal assistance fund for communities, land owners and land users in negotiation with potential large-scale land investors, but the policy has not yet been translated into a practical mechanism that communities can use. As part of our attempt to help bring about systemic change, Namati is working to ensure legal and other resources for communities that serve as sustainable long-term solutions to their challenges in interfacing with large-scale investors. This effort involves developing recommendations on ways to operationalize new land reform policies that Namati will use to constructively engage policy makers. To assist with these efforts, Namati Sierra Leone is seeking the support of LIDS to: (1) Conduct research on voluntary investor mechanisms for funding community access to legal and other professional services in the course of negotiations and thereafter for crop- or geography-specific investments, and (2) Conduct comparative country research on large-scale land lease and investment agreements for specific crops or commodities, including cocoa, rice, rubber, iron ore, bauxite, gold, and diamonds.

 

Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) of the US Department of Commerce

The Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) is the technical assistance arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce. CLDP works with USAID and the US Department of State in dozens of countries around the world to help improve the commercial legal environment for domestic and international businesses in these countries. CLDP is currently working in the Maldives to help set up the Maldives International Arbitration Center (MIAC). CLDP’s goal is for MIAC to offer arbitration services in the Maldives within the next 12 months. It will be the first of its kind arbitration institution in the Maldives. For CLDP-MIAC to be functional, The main functions to be addressed by LIDS students in the context of this initiative are the following: (1) Arbitration rules and procedures, and (2) Marketing plan/material and business plan.

 

Transparency International – Initiative Madagascar

During the French colonial period (1896-1960), large agricultural areas in Madagascar were handed over to settlers, mostly to French nationals, but also to French and other foreign companies. According to researcher Francis Kœrner1, it is believed that at least 1.5 million ha were transferred to foreigners over this period. After the Madagascar declaration of independence in 1960, most of these colonial lands were abandoned by settlers who left the country. From then on, those lands were usually used for agricultural purposes by settlers’ former employees. However, the legal ownership of those plots of land was rarely formally transferred to Malagasy citizens who were using the land after the departure of the settlers. In Madagascar, land titles are considered inalienable. Concretely, this means that the progeny of former settlers can even today claim their rights to those land plots obtained during the colonization. In some cases, those land rights are purchased by companies which then use their acquired rights to expel the current inhabitants from their land. No conclusive solution has yet been found to solve this issue which remains open, even decades after the end of colonization in Madagascar. The main questions to be addressed by LIDS students in the context of this initiative are the following: (1) How have other former French colonies dealt with this issue of land registered under the name of former settlers? Other cases involving other countries may also be considered. (2) What do international conventions and agreements say about this issue? (3) What solutions can be found to this problem that are equitable, legally sound and technically feasible?

 

Advocates for International Development A4ID

A4ID strongly believes that the law is a critical role in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs provide a global framework for engagement and mark an opportunity for the legal community to make a tangible contribution. However, there is a lack of understanding about how the law can help deliver the SDGs. Therefore, A4ID is developing a Legal Guide to the SDGs to address the lack of understanding about the links between legal frameworks and the SDGs and to highlight the key role that law, and lawyers can play in achieving the SDGs. Initial consultations with A4ID’s development and legal partners confirmed the relevance and usefulness of the guide. This participative process also helped define the scope and the format of the end-result. Our legal partners provided support for the first round of research and drafting. After a first review, A4ID worked on each chapter to improve consistency in content and language. Each chapter has then been reviewed by a development expert in the specific area.

For each SDG, a chapter within the guide provides lawyers with an introduction to the goal, an overview of relevant international, regional and national legal frameworks related to this SDG, and key insights on legal challenges and opportunities and clear examples of actions that law firms and lawyers can take. A4ID calls on LIDS to support its chapter for Sustainable Development Goal 16 – Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. This SDG is of paramount importance for the realisation of the whole 2030 Agenda. It comprises 10 targets touching various areas such as rule of law, transparent, effective and accountable institutions, respect for fundamental rights, protection against crime and violence, democracy, etc. For more information, see https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg16

 

Advocates for International Development A4ID – Role UK

A4ID’s ROLE UK programme, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), contributes to building long-term partnerships between the UK legal sector and legal actors in developing countries to strengthen the rule of law and facilitate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The ROLE UK programme is now is a new phase of the programme from 2019–2022. The programme team has developed an updated theory of change and log frame for this new period, reflecting lessons learned within the programme, outputs from consultation with programme stakeholders from a range of sectors, and the need to align more strongly with DFID’s Partnerships for Development programme. At the impact level, the theory of change states:

The Rule of Law Expertise (ROLE UK) Programme seeks to improve the rule of law in countries eligible for Official Development Assistance (ODA). The rule of law is the underlying framework that underpins open and fair societies and economies, where citizens, business and civil society can prosper. The rule of law relies on the existence of clear and known laws that hold public authorities to account. It relies on systems which allow the prevalence of law and order and enable citizens to access efficient and predictable dispute resolution mechanisms. Where the rule of law endures, policies and practices will protect human rights and ensure all citizens are treated equally before the law.

The ROLE UK Programme works therefore to improve laws, policies, systems and practices in developing countries. It is rule of law actors in ODA-eligible countries, whether of law societies, bar associations, judiciaries, universities and training institutes or law enforcement organisations, who are able to effect this change. Rule of law actors with the ability to influence legislation, enact changes to policies, improve practices and contribute to transforming systems in their jurisdictions, are provided through ROLE UK-supported activity with the capabilities, opportunities and motivation to change their behaviour to this end.

The ROLE UK programme seeks support from LIDS in further developing this theory of change, specifically by fleshing out assumptions at the impact level and providing evidence showing that improved laws, systems, policies and practices will improve the rule of law.

 

Quro Medical

Hospitalization is a source of several problems and inefficiencies for the healthcare system in South Africa. At present, hospitalization is both necessary and inevitable for many conditions, as there does not exist the necessary healthcare ecosystem to provide a safe alternative treatment plan for patients. Quro Medical is a start-up social enterprise which endeavors to create such an ecosystem, providing a technology-enabled in-home medical care and monitoring service that will enable many patients to be treated safely in the comfort of their own homes. This will both improve patient clinical outcomes and satisfaction while at the same time reducing cost of care significantly. We intend to run a pilot in Johannesburg from October to December 2018, and to commence full operations in January 2019. Quro Medical is positioned to have a broad societal impact as South Africa’s healthcare sector transitions to become more open and accessible to everyone. To this end, we seek assistance from LIDS in advancing this vision. We require research to be done on the following legal/ regulatory questions: (1) In light of our unique model, who bears liability in the unfortunate event of litigation arising from an adverse event that occurs with a patient that has been on-boarded into our care? Does the referring physician remain liable? Do we become liable? Are we jointly and severally liable? and (2) In light of the Health Professions Council Rules and other applicable laws, including the risks of potential litigation, what would be the best employment model for our clinical associates? Should we employ them directly? Should we have relationships that are akin to independent contractors?

This work product will be used to assess our risk as we engage in various funding rounds and prior to our full entrance into the market. This knowledge will enable us to take necessary precautions, such as taking out appropriate insurance, devising appropriate legal strategies etc.