Legal Researcher

at The Human Dignity Trust
Published November 13, 2022
Location Maseru, Lesotho
Category Legal  
Job Type Full Time  


The Human Dignity Trust is looking to appoint lawyers in Southern African countries to deliver research on hate crimes-focused legislative reform across the Southern Africa region, with the potential for future projects as required.

Locations: Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique (4 open positions, one per country)

The Human Dignity Trust (the Trust) is a legal charity based in London, UK that supports local lawyers and human rights defenders to uphold human rights and constitutional law in countries where private, consensual same-sex sexual conduct is criminalised.

The Trust provides pro bono technical legal and communications assistance at the request of, and in collaboration with, human rights defenders, local lawyers and other partners who wish to use the courts to challenge the laws that criminalise same-sex intimacy or related repressive governmental actions that are justified on the basis of the criminal law. We also provide technical legal and communications assistance to governments and civil society groups working to reform discriminatory sexual offence laws and enact legislation that protects LGBT people, women, persons living with disabilities and other marginalised groups. Since our inception in 2011, we have worked with partners in over 20 countries in all regions of the world.

Laws criminalising LGBT people are often part of a wider set of out-dated sexual offence laws that discriminate against and do not adequately protect women, children, LGBT people and other vulnerable groups, such as laws relating to rape, sexual assault and ages of consent. Many of these are rooted in colonial-era laws that have long since been reformed in the UK. Building on pan-Commonwealth legal analyses that the Trust has been spearheading since 2014, the Trust is delivering a programme of technical assistance to Commonwealth governments seeking to deliver human rights compliant legislative reform.

Our legal technical assistance is carried out by our expert staff team in collaboration with a panel of leading international law firms and barristers who assist us pro bono, and in the case of our legislative reform work also with our Commonwealth Group of Experts comprised of legislative drafters, lawyers, academics and other subject-matter experts.

3. Background and Purpose
The Trust is currently engaged in both legislative reform and litigation work in the Southern African region. Our focus is on exploring and advancing opportunities for legal change to decriminalise same-sex activity and to effect wider change to sexual offences laws and certain forms of protective legislation such as hate crime and equal opportunity laws. In the coming year the Trust will deliver an in-person civil society convening in the region with a focus on hate crimes legislation. LGBT-rights defenders from across Southern Africa will be invited to discuss whether the introduction of hate crimes legislation would be desirable and feasible in their domestic jurisdictions. It is important that these conversations are informed by high-quality and locally informed research into the existing legal context in each jurisdiction. The purpose of these consultancy agreements is therefore to engage with lawyers in countries of relevance in order for their expertise to inform the content of the convening. There is a significant possibility of further consultancy, partnership or litigation opportunities in the future, arising both from this convening and other related activities.

4. Services
The Consultant shall produce a short research paper (5-10 pages) on “Establishing Hate Crimes Legislation in [Insert name of country]”. In doing so the Consultant shall;

Review (1) the Trust’s short existing research paper on the possible introduction of hate crimes legislation in the Consultant’s country and (2) the Trust’s draft research paper on general factors preceding the establishment of hate crimes legislation and provide feedback informed by the Consultant’s in-country legal expertise;
Informed by the above research, identify key outstanding questions relevant to the Consultant’s jurisdiction which require further research and provide recommendations on how to answer those questions;
Liaise, as required, with convening participants from the Consultant’s country.
5. Deliverables
The Consultant shall deliver:

A detailed outline to be presented in an inception meeting with members of the Trust’s staff within a week of signing the contract.
A first draft of the research within three weeks of signing the contract.


Legal Degree

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