Global Litigation fund

The Litigation Fund is aimed at broadening the scope of litigation support provided by the Campaign to Decriminalise Poverty and Status – it will fund cases outside of those conducted by Campaign partners, provide additional support to Campaign partners to litigate, and allow for better coordination and oversight of the litigation conducted by Campaign partners.


  • To coordinate public interest litigation challenging offences which criminalise poverty, status and expression to ensure that these cases align with the normative framework set by the regional and international treaty bodies; 
  • To create a progressive body of jurisprudence on offences which criminalise poverty, status and expression; and 
  • To develop strategic litigation and related advocacy strategies which incrementally push domestic courts and States to ensure that criminal laws and their enforcement conform to the principles set out in comparative jurisprudence, including the Advisory Opinion of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Commission’s Principles on the Decriminalisation of Petty Offences.

How to apply:

To apply for support, organisations or lawyers should:

  1. Briefly outline the facts of the case and the legal provisions being challenged and provide copies of the main legal documents relating to the case (if any);
  2. Provide a budget breakdown (we will only cover costs directly related to the litigation); and
  3. Provide a link to relevant articles or posts associated with the case.

Applications should be emailed to the Southern Africa Litigation Centre:

The Litigation Fund can support limited advocacy directly related to a court hearing. Cases will seek to support the capacity of local lawyers to conduct litigation and will encourage collaboration between lawyers and organisations supporting the affected communities to ensure that those directly affected by the laws support the litigation and that there is support to monitor the implementation of a favourable judgment. The Fund is focused on litigation in the global South by lawyers and organisations based in the countries in which they litigate. 

The Litigation Fund supports the Sustainable Development Goals, as they relate to the police and the criminal justice system:

  • 16.3: Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all;
  • 16.6: Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels;
  • 16.7: Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels;
  • 16.b: Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development.
Finalised cases which were supported by the Campaign to Decriminalise Poverty and Status:

Africa: Challenging vagrancy offences in Africa: Advisory Opinion: Request for an Advisory Opinion by the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU) [on the Compatibility of vagrancy Laws with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other Human Rights Instruments]No. 001/2018 (4 December 2020)

Malawi: Challenging police sweeping exercises and the offence of being found without subsistence.JudgmentThe State v The Officer In-Charge| Ex Parte: Banda & Others [2022] MWHC 139 (22 July 2022)

Eswatini: Challenging the provisions of the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act: High Court judgmentMaseko and Others v the Prime Minister of Swaziland and Others [2016] SZHC 180 (16 September 2016). Supreme Court will hear appeal on 12 June 2023.

Uganda: Challenging the rogue and vagabond offence: JudgmentTumwesige Francis v Attorney General [2022] UGCC 5 (2 December 2022)

Malawi: Challenging the rogue and vagabond offence: JudgmentGwanda v S [2017] MWHC 23 (10 January 2017)