Strategic Litigation

I’m a lawyer and I require litigation assistance

I’m a lawyer and would like to provide pro bono litigation assistance

As a pan-European alliance of refugee assisting organisations and a network of practitioners with specific expertise in asylum law, we aim at changing domestic law and practices in wider Europe that are not in line with international refugee and human rights standards as well as European law through engaging in strategic litigation.

Our long-term goal is to achieve legal changes ensuring rights of those seeking international protection or benefiting from it at European and national level through proactive, coordinated and needs-based litigation.

What do we mean by strategic litigation?

Strategic litigation is understood by ECRE to have a broad definition encompassing direct engagement with cases, third party interventions, support to lawyers (both formal and informal), training, capacity development, exchange of legal information, knowledge sharing, guidance and statements of supporting evidence.

What litigation assistance we can offer?

ECRE’s strategic litigation assistance includes the following:

  • assisting legal practitioners with litigation before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) through interventions and by providing informal support on legal argumentation;
  • identifying strategic cases that could serve as the basis for a preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and supporting such cases;
  • submitting collective complaints to the European Committee of Social Rights;
  • subsequently engaging in monitoring the execution and implementation of relevant judgments before the European Courts;
  • enhancing the knowledge and capacity of asylum practitioners across Europe to engage in strategic litigation.


The ECRE Secretariat will provide its expertise in strategic cases across Europe that are in line with our litigation priorities »

  • Access to Asylum Procedures

ECRE will be prioritising cases related to access to the asylum procedure at the border and effective remedy. We are interested in identifying cases to be litigated before the EU Court of Justice (CJEU), the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and engaging in domestic litigation if there is a realistic prospect of a CJEU preliminary reference or complaint to the ECtHR.

  • Reception Conditions

We are looking for cases related to the identification of persons with special protection and reception needs; access to reception facilities and treatment of such persons; living conditions and destitution.

We will prioritise destitution related cases potentially resulting in a  preliminary reference to the CJEU; cases on living conditions of those in need of international protection to be submitted to the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) and other cases related to the  reception and accommodation of asylum seekers litigated before the CJEU and ECtHR.

  • Detention

ECRE is looking to support cases related to detention grounds as laid out in the Recast Reception Conditions Directive as well as detention grounds and procedures that are applicable under the Dublin Regulation.  Our preferred litigation avenues for these cases are CJEU, ECtHR and domestic courts when there is a realistic prospect of a CJEU preliminary reference or complaint to the ECtHR. 

  • Family Reunification

ECRE prioritises cases which concern family reunification under the Family Reunification Directive and the right to respect for private and family life under the European Convention on Human Rights. In this respect, we are interested in cases being brought both before the domestic and European courts.

  • Dublin system

ECRE is looking for cases challenging the Dublin system before the CJEU, ECtHR and domestic courts when there is a realistic prospect of a CJEU preliminary reference or complaint to the ECtHR.