The Hertie School and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC), have joined forces to facilitate a more effective use of a powerful yet underused tool to protect fundamental rights in the European Union: the Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFR).

The STARLIGHT project provides legal practitioners in the European Union (EU) with the skills and knowledge to apply the CFR in strategic litigation. Over a period of 12 month, participants in this capacity building programme benefit from seminars, workshops, legal clinics and networking opportunities in varying formats to accomplish two main goals:

  • Applying the CFR and other EU laws in three thematic areas:
    rule of law, asylum/migration, criminal justice;

  • Acquiring crucial skills to engage in strategic litigation at EU level, develop EU jurisprudence and promote systemic and social changes in their respective countries.

STARLIGHT is funded by the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV) programme of the European Union. 

The STARLIGHT training concept

Target countries:  Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Malta, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria. 

The training programme consists of various online and onsite components as well as individual projects. This course structure takes participants' professional commitments into account while balancing these with much-needed opportunities for in-person cross-border networking and professional exchange. STARLIGHT is designed to upskill and connect around 66 experienced legal practitioners in weekly/monthly sessions over a period of 12 months. For further details on the schedule and contents of the programme please consult the Agenda&Dates section

The learning journey begins with a cross-cutting introductory module focused on litigation in front of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). This is followed by an immersion phase of three months in smaller groups, allowing participants to deepen their strategic litigation and communication skills in one of the thematic areas.

During the immersion phase, lectures and workshop sessions will be completed by mentor-lead legal clinics that allow for an in-depth work on individual case studies. Towards the end of the training, participants convene for three days of skills workshops and networking in Berlin. The STARLIGHT cycle will then be concluded by a virtual public closing event.

Hear more about the programme from our Year I alumni:

Find STARLIGHT publications from the legal clinics here: