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Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School - Green Background

Memoranda Prepared in Response to Judicial Requests

The Center offers free legal research assistance to judges on matters relating to gender justice. Cornell Law students, supervised by Avon Global Center faculty and staff, provide discrete research support upon the request of a judge in any country.  Judges may register with the Center here and send us an email to request assistance.  Please include the specific question or issue on which you seek legal research assistance.

 

    • Child Testimony: Admissibility, Reliability and Procedures (2014)
      This memorandum discusses the strategies courts employ around the world to treat child victims and witnesses and their evidence when giving testimony. International and regional human rights standards have highlighted good practices in the treatment of vulnerable young child witnesses, centering on the foundational principle of the best interests of the child. In turn, domestic courts and legislatures worldwide have created and employed a broad range of judicial approaches to the admissibility of child witness testimony; the reliability of child witness evidence, and the procedures that should be employed to facilitate child witness testimony.
    • Closed-circuit Television in Cases Involving Child Testimony (2014)
      This memorandum discusses the use of closed-circuit television (CCTV) in courtrooms for cases where there will be child testimony. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes recommends that children be allowed to give testimony through CCTV or another mechanism in order to prevent the child witness from being traumatized. Unfortunately, given the funding requirements, few countries have the facilities to use CCTV. Yet, a number of countries have statutes allowing for alternative mechanisms to prevent child victims from seeing the defendant while giving testimony. Some laws providing for the use of CCTV have been challenged, but courts have upheld the laws in nearly every situation.
    • Victim-Witness Protection During Testimony: Current and Best Practices Globally (2014)
      This memorandum focuses on testimonial safeguards to inhibit the intimidation of female victims of crimes such as rape or human trafficking specifically during the trial phase. It also touches on protections and assistance pre- and post-testimony to give an overview of general best practices. The first section outlines Nepal’s obligation to provide effective witness protection under international law. The second section describes obstacles to women’s access to justice in Nepal, which effective victim-witness protection mechanisms can help to alleviate. Finally, the third section consolidates current practices for victim-witness protection and also offers illustrative examples of protections offered in several countries.
    • Anti-Human Trafficking Legislation in Tanzania and 6 Countries Around the World (2013)
      In 2008, Tanzania adopted the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act (ATPA) to combat human trafficking, mandate stricter investigation and prosecution, and afford protection to victims of trafficking. This report: explains and evaluates the ATPA, including the effectiveness of its implementation since its enactment in 2008; describes similar acts around the world, including an evaluation of those laws’ implementation and effectiveness; offers specific recommendations for Tanzania to enhance the effectiveness of its anti-trafficking law.
    • Assessing the Impact of Mandatory Minimum Sentences on Sexual Offences in Tanzania (2013)
      With the goal of assessing the impact of mandatory minimum sentences for sexual offences in Tanzania, this memorandum provides a comparative study with a small sample of jurisdictions – including Canada, Kenya, Lesotho, Zambia, South Africa and Tanzania - to showcase how different countries have utilized mandatory minimum sentences to address sexual offences. It also explores whether imposing mandatory minimums has resulted in a reduction of the commission of the sexual offences they target.
    • Child Marriage in Bangladesh: Birth and Marriage Registration (2013)
      This memorandum discusses the link between child marriage and birth and marriage registration. Section I of this memorandum focuses on birth registration, including the importance of registration, government and civil society birth registration initiatives in Bangladesh and the factors that perpetuate low rates of birth registration and recommendations for overcoming them. Section II briefly introduces marriage registration, the unreliability of which also contributes to Bangladesh’s high rates of child marriage.
    • Child Marriage in Bangladesh: Impact of Discriminatory Personal Laws (2013)
      This Memorandum discusses the impact of personal laws on the treatment of child marriage within Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s antiquated personal laws relating to marriage fail to protect children,reinforce support for early marriage, and directly contradict statutory law in Bangladesh. Examining Bangladesh’s current legal framework highlights the problematic influence that discriminatory personal laws have on the fulfillment of national and international obligations concerning child marriage.
    • Child Marriage in Bangladesh: Occurrence and Links to Sexual Harrassment (2013)
      This memorandum examines the occurrence of child marriage in Bangladesh and explores its link with sexual harassment. Bangladesh has one of the highest occurrences of child marriage in the world. This high rate of marriage of girls below the age of 18 is due to a variety of causes, including patriarchal social mores, parental desire to safeguard girls against premarital sex and out-of-wedlock pregnancies (and the associated social stigma associated with these), and poverty, linked with the perception of girls as an economic burden. In addition to these more widely known causes of early marriage, the widespread prevalence of severe and public sexual harassment in Bangladesh is gaining attention as an important, albeit lesser-studied cause of child marriage.
    • Consultation Paper on Manmade Disasters (2013)
      This consultation paper written for the Law Commission of India discusses whether there is a need for a specific legal apparatus to provide relief to the victims of tragedies and manmade disasters.
    • Domestication of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and the role of national courts (2013)
      This memorandum describes several success stories from countries that have domesticated the Convention on the Rights of the Child into their national laws and also examines the role of the courts. In particular, this memorandum focuses on how Lithuania, Bangladesh and South Africa have implemented their laws and/or the role that the courts have played in preventing child abuse and exploitation.
    • Rape in the Media (2013)
      Case Summaries of High-Profile Rape Attacks & Analysis of the Societal Factors Surrounding Them
    • Class Action Litigation in the United States (2012)
      This memorandum presents information regarding class action lawsuits in the United States, highlighting the importance of Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, outlining the most common types of class action lawsuits in the United States, discussing the pros and cons of using class action litigation, and briefly considering the practicality of utilizing the U.S. model of class action litigation in India.
    • Journalistic Rights to Photography (2012)
      This memorandum discusses the intellectual property rights of a journalist to the photos he has taken outside the course of his employment citing international, United States and United Kingdom law.
    • Judicial Caseloads in the United States (2012)
      This memorandum presents information about the caseload of courts in the United States. The memorandum discusses the structure under which the judicial caseload is broken down and provides the most currently available case statistics for both federal and state court systems. Appendices and references to supplemental resources are included and provide more extensive caseload information and statistics.
    • Problems in Prosecuting or Adjudicating Corruption Cases in Tanzania (2012)
      This memorandum provides a brief overview of corruption in Tanzania and efforts taken by the government to address the problem. The memorandum also examines the problems that emerge in prosecuting or adjudicating corruption cases in Tanzania and the reasons corruption cases fail.
    • Domestic Violence in Turkey (2011)
      This memorandum provides a brief overview of violence against women in Turkey and, in doing so, highlights select reports and news stories, and references key legal obligations and case law touching on this problem.
    • Gender Based Violence in Africa (2011)
      This memorandum provides a brief overview of the issue of gender based violence in Sub-Saharan Africa with relevant statistics.