Lawyering for Change – A conference by ASF

Presentation of the conference
Conference programme
Practical information

Presentation of the conference

The essential premise of the ASF conference Lawyering for Change is that today, access to justice is limited – or even non-existent – for millions of people in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

This situation is an obstacle to socio-economic development and to the rule of law, in that these people seeking justice have no way of asserting their rights.

In view of this cause for concern, what is the role of lawyers and of civil society?

At a time when legal aid systems are threatened, in the future should lawyers have more interaction with other stakeholders – psychologists, doctors, paralegals, etc. – to be able to respond to the needs of the most disadvantaged people seeking justice?

Does the change to better access to justice depend on legal empowerment? Is strengthening the power of action of people seeking justice, communities, and legal stakeholders – including through strategic litigation – the best way to solve these problems?

These are just some of the questions that will be discussed with practitioners from more than 15 countries from several continents. They will share their experiences in order to address the challenge: to reconnect people seeking justice with justice, and to make legal rights a reality.

>> Download the conference programme
>> Download the biographies of the speakers
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Conference programme

Day 1 – Wednesday 30 November 2016 

8:30am Greeting and registration of participants
9:00am OPENING PLENARY SESSION: What is the lawyer’s role in social change? 

  • Francesca Boniotti, ASF Director General (Belgium)
  • Edgar Boydens, Lawyer, ASF President (Belgium)
  • Franck Signoret, Coordinator of the COTA (Belgium)
  • Bruno Langhendries, Access to Justice Expert at ASF (Belgium)
10:00am Break
10:30am PLENARY SESSION: Lawyering for change : straight from Africa, Asia and Europe

  • Arvind Narrain, Founding member of the Alternative Law Forum (India)
    and Director of ARC in Geneva (Switzerland)
  • Sunil Pokharel, Secretary General of the Nepal Bar Association (Nepal)
  • Christophe Marchand, Lawyer, member of the Brussels Bar (Belgium)
  • Delphine Djiraibe, President of the Public Interest Law Centre (Chad)
  • Chantal van Cutsem, Strategic Coordinator at ASF (Belgium)
11:45pm Discussions
12:15pm Lunch (Departure to the workshop venues at 13:15pm)
1:30pm WORKSHOP 1: From Rule of Law orthodoxy to legal empowerment

W1.1 : Client-centered approach: hot tips (FR/EN/NL)

  • Jake Stevens, Lawyer and Capacity Development Expert (USA)
  • Didier Ketels, Director of Droits Quotidiens (Belgium)
  • Reza Kazemzadeh, Director of Exil (Belgium)
  • Miriam Chinnappa, ASF Asia Representative

W1.2 : Can lawyers bring justice closer to rights holders? (FR)

  • Liola de Furstenberg, Coordinator of the lawyers’ Collective “Droit sans Toit” (Belgium)
  • Liliane Umubyeyi, Researcher at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan (France)
  • Cathy Lecrenier, ASF‘s Country Director in Zambia

W1.3 : Bridging the gap between legal education and access to justice (EN)

  • Helena Whalen-Bridge, Associate Professor, National University of Singapore
  • Christopher Mbazira, professor of law and coordinator of the Public Interest Law Clinic at the Makarere University (Uganda)
  • Ulrich Stege, Executive Secretary of the European Network for Clinical Legal Education, Program Director at the International University College of Turin (Germany-Italy)
  • Bruce Lasky, Director of Bridge Across Borders Southeast Asia Community Legal Education Initiative (USA-Thailand)

W1.4 : International justice: from victims to rights holders (FR)

  • Julie Goffin, Lawyer, Human rights Coordinator at the International Association of Lawyers (Belgium)
  • Mariana Pena, Legal Officer for international justice with the Open Society Justice Initiative (Netherlands)
  • Jean-Claude Safari Zozo, Lawyer, Secretary of the Honorary Order of the Bukavu Bar Association (DR Congo)
  • Jean-Philippe Kot, International Justice Expert at ASF (Belgium)
2:45pm Break

> 16.30

WORKSHOP 2: From empowered people to committed institutions

W2.1 : ILN: How to build a community of practice? (FR/EN, until 5pm)

  • Yvonne Inamuco, Lawyer, member of the Bujumbura Bar (Burundi)
  • Bruno Langhendries, Access to Justice Expert at ASF (Belgium)
  • Matthieu Lys, Lawyer, member of the Brussels Bar (Belgium)
  • Bruno Meessen, Economist at the Institute of Tropical Medicine (Belgium)
  • Julien Moriceau, Reasearch Coordinator at ASF (Belgium)

W2.2 : The hidden side of strategic litigation (FR/EN/NL)

  • Catherine Forget, Lawyer, member of the Brussels Bar (Belgium)
  • Antonio Manganella, ASF Country Director in Tunisia
  • Pascal Paradis, Director of ASF Canada
  • Catherine Denis, Legal Counsel at ASF (Belgium)

W2.3 : Domino effect of legal aid on law players (FR)

  • Nicolas Cohen, Lawyer, President of the Belgian section of the International Prison Observatory (Belgium)
  • Sistor Havyarimana, Programme Coordinator at ASF (Burundi)
  • Joëlle Van Ex, Judge, advisor to the criminal division of the Brussels Court of appeal
  • Damien Scalia, Professor in criminal and penal law at the ULB (Belgium)

W2.4 : Influencing access to justice policies: case studies (FR)

  • Manuella Cadelli, President of the Association syndicale des magistrats (Belgium)
  • Zoé Genot, Member of Brussels Parliament (Belgium)
  • Isabelle de Viron, Lawyer, Board Member of the Syndicat des avocats pour la démocratie (Belgium)
  • Catherine Lalonde, Strategic Coordinator at ASF (Belgium)

 Day 2 – Thursday 1 December 2016  – Plenary sessions

8:30am Greeting of participants
9:00am Recap of first day messages and perspectives of the second day

Larry Taman, International Expert on Justice Sector Reform

9:45am Access to justice as a catalyst for socio-economic development

Paul Prettitore, Senior Public Sector Specialist at the World Bank (USA)

10:15am  Break
Access to justice and sustainable development: facts and figures from the field

  • Imane Charra, PhD, University of Oxford (UK)
  • Kirstie FARMER, Research and Policy Adviser at the Norwegian Refugee Council
  • Julien Moriceau, Reasearch Coordinator at ASF (Belgium)
  • Camille Munezero, Researcher and Director of the APDH (Burundi-DRC)
  • Franck Signoret, Coordinator of the COTA (Belgium)
12:00pm Discussions
12:30pm Lunch
1:30pm The role of bar associations in the transition to democracy

  • Patrick Henry, Lawyer, Former President of the Belgian French-speaking Order of Lawyers, President of the human rights Commission of the Council of Bar and Law Societies of Europe
  • Ameur Mehrezi, President of the Tunisian Order of Lawyers
2:00pm Sustainable development goals and access to justice: one year after

  • Michel Benichou, President of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (France)
  • Dominique Dellicour, Former EU Ambassador in Senegal & Head of Cooperation in South Africa (Belgium)
  • Bill Bowring, President European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (UK)
  • Francesca Boniotti, ASF Director General (Belgium)
2:45pm Discussions
3:15pm End of the conference

>> Download the conference programme

Practical information


  • Wednesday 30 November 2016 (8:30am – 16:30pm)
  • Thursday 1 December 2016 (8:30am-3:15pm)


  • Plenary sessions: Salle Dupréel at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Campus du Solbosch, Building S, 1st floor, 44 avenue Jeanne, 1050 Brussels.
  • Workshops:
    • Salle Dupréel at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Campus du Solbosch, Building S, 1st floor, 44 avenue Jeanne, 1050 Brussels.
    • Institute for European Studies at the ULB, 39 Avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 1050 Brussels.
    • Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management de l’ULB, 42 avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 1050 Brussels.

Paid admission

  • Full fee:
    • €80 for both days
    • €50 per day
  • Reduced fee (trainee lawyers, students and members of the International Legal Network as of 01/06/2016:
    • €40 for both days
    • €25 per day
  • Payment: your registration will be confirmed when your registration fee is transferred to the ASF account (communication: “L4C”)
    IBAN: BE08 5230 8022 2513
  • For some international transfers, an additional fee might be added to the entrance fee. Avocats Sans Frontières unfortunately cannot participate in the payment of that additional charge. It is to be taken care of by the participant.
  • Please note that all expenses incurred in attending the conference are to be borne by the participants.
  • For logistical reasons, we will not accept payments in cash on the very day of the conference.


  • Entry to the conference includes coffee breaks and a light lunch.

Working languages

  • Plenary sessions: French, English and Dutch, with simultaneous interpretation.
  • Workshops: see programme above.

Training credits

  • and OVB: 5 training credits per day.

Contact for more information on the content of the conference and the speakers



Other sponsors: ALTIUS / Astrea / Bouteligier Janssens / buyle legal / FLHM Cabinet d’avocats / Paul Quirynen / RACINE advocaten

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