On September 27-29, 2011 an international team of lawyers provided legal skills training to staff at the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), South Africa’s national human rights institution. The New Perimeter team included: Christine Jesseman, Khaya Mantengu, Deshni Naidoo and Matthew Ward (DLA Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, Johannesburg); Daniel Creasey (DLA Piper, Melbourne), Silvia Farre (DLA Piper, London), and Sara Andrews and Joshua Sohn (DLA Piper, New York). The training took place at the SAHRC’s headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa and was provided to approximately 30 legal services staff members.
The SAHRC was established by constitutional mandate in 1995. Its mission is to promote the protection, development and attainment of human rights and to monitor and assess the observance of human rights in South Africa. The Legal Services Programme (LSP) is the division of the SAHRC responsible for investigating human rights abuses and taking steps to secure appropriate redress for violations. In response to a request by the LSP, the New Perimeter team developed training materials that covered a range of legal skills, including: interviewing, information gathering, legal drafting, factual and legal analysis, alternative dispute resolution, and litigation procedures and practice in South African courts. The training materials were based on two teaching hypotheticals involving fact patterns of alleged human rights violations specific to South Africa. The teaching team incorporated the fact patterns throughout the training, which was designed to be participatory and interactive.