What research should be done prior to bringing a case?
In order to convince judges, research including local evidence is required relating to both the specific case and the broader context.
For systemic violations, it is very important to obtain strong, official, reliable statistics – if possible, statistics that highlight structural problems within social sectors (e.g. insufficient staff, lack of training and infrastructure, too much bureaucracy) - i.e. analyse the real constraints that impede delivery of socio-economic rights: lack of coordinated, inter-sectoral planning and lack of information, infrastructure and training.
For individual violations, strong statistics and evidence regarding the violation for the situation of the individual in question are required.
Properly defined and measured statistics showing the effect of a policy, the lack of reasonable policy implementation or the damage to victims have sometimes been deciding factors in a case.
It is useful (and recommended) to research the following:
Are there/have there been cases of a similar nature – either on the right to education or other cases that may open up economic, social and cultural rights generally – progressing through the courts?
Should litigation be a last resort? Is there an alternative or compromise that will meet the needs of both sides? Are there other avenues available to you?
Does the court structure have a good appeals procedure?
Have the courts previously given out mandatory orders or supervisory orders? (In such cases the court retains jurisdiction and sees them through to implementation.)
Is legal aid available in order for other individuals to use the precedent established to protect their rights?
Has the judiciary been inconsistent in its approach to economic, social and cultural rights, such as the right to education? If so, it may be difficult to predict how the case might be decided.