The United Against Torture Consortium’s Innovative Lawyers Awards

Deadline: Rolling deadline (we will continue to accept new applications until all available spots have been fill

Across the globe, torture is used to silence those who dissent or to further oppress marginalised and excluded minorities.  

Groups frequently targeted to silence them include human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, protesters, and activists, particularly climate and environmental defenders. This often takes the form of police brutality. Torture is frequently used against women, the LGBTIQ+ community, refugees, migrants, and those facing multiple forms of discrimination. This includes torture directed by State agents, and situations where the State tolerates torture by non-State actors and private citizens. 

The United Against Torture Consortium (UATC) is working to oppose this by using strategic litigation to challenge torture. We work with national civil society partners to hold governments to account and to protect those who may feel powerless to respond to such abuses.  

Strategic litigation is a crucial tool that is used to highlight these issues, determine responsibility, and advocate for policy reform. Through strategic litigation we use the authority of a legal claim combined with other civil society techniques to bring attention to a problem and identify the solutions. We seek to address the underlying problem that allowed the torture to take place and empower impacted communities in the process.  

In many countries around the world lawyers are using strategic litigation to challenge torture relating to discrimination and dissent. We want to know more about what they are doing, and we want to support their work.  

REDRESS is pleased to launch the UATC Innovative Lawyers Awards, to encourage and empower a new generation of lawyers in the anti-torture movement to challenge the use of torture in their communities. 

The aim of the awards is to recognise the vital work of new and emerging anti-torture champions, expose them to a broader peer support network, offer them some financial support to pursue public interest litigation, and to inspire other lawyers and practitioners. 

Those selected will be given a grant of €2,000 to support their work. 


REDRESS is inviting submissions from human rights lawyers using strategic litigation against torture who have deployed new or innovative legal or campaigning techniques.  

This may include legal claims using public interest litigation, human rights cases, constitutional challenges, criminal cases, or civil claims. They might be in national courts, regional tribunals, or the UN treaty bodies. It may include campaigns where legal cases have been supported by innovative grassroots activism, policy advocacy at national, regional, or international levels, or through the use of social media and the press.  

We are particularly interested in strategic litigation that has challenged torture relating to discrimination or the suppression of dissent. 

We are particularly interested in applications from lawyers who are new to the anti-torture movement. 

As this is an award for early-career lawyers, we will be less likely to consider candidates with more than five years of legal experience post-qualification. In this round we will not be able to consider academic lawyers, or lawyers working for large law firms. 

To highlight the work of the winners, REDRESS will feature their work in a blog piece, video or podcast. 

Seven awards of €2,000 will be given. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and we will close the application portal once we have received a sufficient number of applications to make a decision. 

You can apply using the form below. Please note that as part of your application you will be asked to briefly explain (maximum 500 words) the basis for your nomination. This can be based on, for example, your accomplishments in the anti-torture field, innovative work in the anti-torture field, research, strategic litigation/PIL, etc.

To apply: Please fill in the online form here. 

If you have any issue accessing this form, please contact [email protected].

The awards are funded by the European Union as part of the United Against Torture Consortium, which pools the strengths and expertise of REDRESS and five other leading anti-torture organisations (IRCT, OMCT, FIACAT, APT, and the Omega Research Foundation), in partnership with over 200 civil society organisations.