PilNet-RLRH Fellowship: refugee access to justice


PILnet is a global non-governmental organization that creates opportunities for social change by unlocking law’s full potential. With programs in Europe & Eurasia, Asia, and at the global level, PILnet aims to reclaim and reimagine the role of law so that it works for the benefit of all. PILnet builds networks and collaborations of public interest and private lawyers who use their knowledge of the law to strengthen civil society and the communities they serve. PILnet’s access to justice initiatives are focused in three thematic areas: climate justice; civic resilience; and refugees and other persons forcibly displaced. 


The Refugee-Led Research Hub (RLRH) supports researchers with lived experience of forced displacement to become leaders in the field of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies. RLRH creates opportunities for displaced researchers to lead research projects on themes related to forced displacement, from start to finish. RLRH also offers a series of academic programmes which support access to graduate degrees and professional development for refugees, asylum seekers, IDPs, stateless persons, and others who have been affected by displacement. Displaced scholars and researchers comprise the majority of the team, most of whom are based at the University of Oxford and the British Institute in Eastern Africa, Nairobi.


The Fellow will work with PILnet, RLRH, RLO/Is, and legal actors to identify the legal needs of refugees and refugee-led organizations and broker partnerships with members of the legal community to address these, including co-designing specific pro bono projects and resources.

The Fellow will also work with PILnet to explore how PILnet and legal actors within its network can support the refugee participation agenda, including supporting PILnet to find actionable ways to meet the commitments it made when signing the Global Refugee Forum’s refugee participation pledge, such as in partnership with the RLRH. 

The fellowship will involve five main areas of work:

  1. Promote availability of pro bono resources/free legal help with refugees, refugee communities, and/or RLOs;
  2. Work with PILnet, RLRH, and other actors to identify common legal needs experienced by RLOs and to identify specific RLO/Is who need legal assistance;
  3. Work with PILnet to broker and sustain pro bono partnerships between the legal community and RLOs and co-design specific projects and tools to address legal needs of RLOs;
  4. Support PILnet to mobilize the legal community in support of the meaningful refugee participation agenda, including embedding meaningful participation within PILnet’s own work; and
  5. Support RLRH and PILnet to establish a working partnership, including supporting with the scoping and brokering of pro bono projects for RLRH and in the exploration of a longer-term fellowship programme.


Note: Please do not apply for this fellowship if you have no academic and professional legal experience.

In order for your application to be considered, you must have the following qualifications: 

  1. Bachelor’s degree or postgraduate student in law, political science, international relations, public administration, or a related field.
  2. Some work experience, preferably in a legal nonprofit.
  3. Fluency in or advanced written and spoken English. Spoken and written proficiency in other languages is a plus.
  4. Strong interest in public interest law, refugee law, social justice, and human rights.
  5. Good organizational and communications skills.
  6. Experience using Microsoft Suite (Excel, Outlook, Access, etc.) and Google Apps is desirable.

Candidates will work remotely and be based in Europe / Africa / Asia time zones (from UTC to UTC+8). The fellow will be supervised by PILnet’s Global Project Coordinator and become an important part of PILnet’s Forced Displacement Team, whilst working closely with the RLRH. In this way, the Fellow will receive supervision and mentorship from multiple PILnet staff members and RLRH.

We strongly encourage applications from LGBTQ+, gender non-conforming, and disabled candidates. If you are uncertain whether you’d like to apply or if you’re eligible, you’re welcome to attend the information session (details below) to learn more about the placement.


Information session:

If you’re interested in applying for this placement and were unable to attend the information session on 24th January, please watching the recording of the session before applying. During the session, colleagues at PILnet and RLRH shared more information about the fellowship, placement activities, and how to put together a strong application. You can find the link to the recording here (password: t3M.7+1a). 

To apply: Once you have attended or watched the recording of the information session, please apply through this application form before 13th February, 5pm GMT.

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