Legal Training Program

Are you aiming for a career as a human rights lawyer?

Are you concerned with questions such as:

why, despite existing legal mechanisms, human rights violations often go unpunished,

how transnational corporations may be held liable for criminal acts committed by their suppliers, or

how victim groups with special requirements can be better protected?

Only you can provide an answer to the first question. The others are some of the many issues being addressed by ECCHR as we build on the progressive development of international law over the last few decades. 

The Legal Training Program offers participants a unique platform for the theory and practice of international human rights law. We aim to develop and further a well-founded and critical analysis of the most pressing contemporary issues of law and society.


Our core aim is to further social justice by enforcing human rights and in doing so to find creative ways to push legal boundaries. This idea is also at the heart of our work in training the next generation of human rights defenders.


The Legal Training Program is a hub for up-and-coming human rights defenders from all over the world. Participants are involved in the daily work of the organization within its key program areas and receive a practical training in strategic legal intervention. They also have the chance to take part in a range of educational and cultural activities as part of the Education Program.


The Education Program offers:

  • Up to 10 in-office workspaces
  • Legal and factual research and casework in one of our three specialist programs: International Crimes and Accountability incl Migration, and Business and Human Rights, as well as in media and communication
  • Integration into our day-to-day work, including project-related communication and administration (e.g. writing position papers and/or preparing short translations, co-organization of events
  • Individual supervision by experienced lawyers
  • Teamwork and weekly round-table discussions with trainers and all program participants
  • Regular internal ECCHR Lunch Talks with internationally renowned human rights defenders 
  • Cultural events, e.g. human rights cinema

Participant requirements

Education: Applicants should be at an advanced stage of their education (ideally graduate studies or professional legal training (i.e. Referendariat)) and should have above-average qualifications in law or another relevant field. Due to the minimum wage law, we are unable to consider applications from individuals who have completed their education - unless they qualify for our scholarship call.


Notes: We regret that we cannot offer internships to school students or school graduates. Note for German trainee lawyers: It is possible to undertake a traineeship with ECCHR or one of its associated lawyers as part of the Rechtsreferendariat.


Expertise: All applicants should have a fundamental understanding of human rights and ideally should have previous experience in the NGO sector. They should also have program-specific background knowledge:


Business and Human Rights: Sound knowledge of the international debate on business and human rights and lawsuits taken against corporations on a national level.


International Crimes and Accountability: Excellent understanding of international criminal law (incl. extraterritorial cases before national courts) as well as the current legal and political debates on international criminal jurisdiction. Background knowledge of sexualized violence in international criminal law is a plus.


Migration: Good knowledge of European and public international law as well as the relevant fundamentals of refugee law, ideally also practical experience in migration law or refugee protection.


Media and Communication: Basic experience in political communication, public relations or journalism. Very good written and verbal expression as well as the ability to clearly communicate complex/legal issues. Competence in use of social media, ideally with basic experience in online communication and content management systems. Flexibility and organizational skills. Please note: for media and communications, fluent German is required.


Languages: Strong English skills are required; a good knowledge of German is desirable but not obligatory; competency in other languages (e.g. Spanish, Arabic, Russian and French – depending on current projects) is a bonus.


Duration: Three months – or longer, where the education regulations allow or when you are awarded our scholarship; ideally full time.


Please note that participation in the Legal Training Program is not remunerated.


However, occasionally we have a call for scholarships.

Current Openings

International Crimes and Accountability: We welcome applications for the time from January 2018 and after.

Business and Human Rights:
We welcome applications for November 2017 and after, especially from German trainee lawyers ("ReferendarInnen") and candidates with a background in common law.


Migration: We welcome applications for November 2017 and after.


Media and Communication: We welcome applications for September 2017 and after. Please note that fluency in German is a requirement.

Application process

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and start and end dates of participation in the Legal Training Program are flexible.

We review full applications four times a year in the thematic programs. Upcoming deadlines: 15 July 2017 and 15 October 2017.


You can expect a response from us four to five weeks after the deadline.


Applications may be submitted in German or in English; the choice of language will not place applicants at an advantage/disadvantage.

Please submit the following documents as separate pdf documents by email and without a cover letter:


  1. ECCHR application form (download), with the file name: Last name_application
  2. CV, with the file name: Last name_CV


Please limit your application to the requested documents and do not include transcripts, letters of recommendation or work samples.


Send your completed application to: 

Application documents


Marie Badarne, Coordinator, Education Program
Phone: +49 (0)30 40607157