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The value of good advice

Graphic: Tim Tabuteau

Well researched legal advice is a vital tool that can help NHRIs as they grapple with challenging or emerging issues.

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Well researched legal advice is a vital tool that can help national human rights institutions as they grapple with challenging or emerging issues, according to Tim Tabuteau, a paralegal who has been working with the APF over the past six months.

Since completing his law degree at the University of Notre Dame at the end of 2016, Tim has been supporting the APF in its role to provide advice on legal questions to member institutions.

He recently contributed to an APF amicus brief that considered whether the Commission on the Human Rights of the Philippines had jurisdiction to inquire into the human rights impact of large carbon-producing transnational corporations.

"It was a really interesting project because it was such a novel question," Tim said, one that saw him reviewing case law, journal articles, reports and statements of UN bodies and other sources.

"I get a lot of satisfaction from applying legal research methods to untangle a real world problem."


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Working under the supervision of Jenni Whelan, the APF's Legal Counsel, Tim has completed the 25-day practical legal training component of his program of study with the College of Law.

"The APF is really fortunate to benefit from the enthusiasm and skills of new graduate lawyers," Jenni said.

"Apart from being great fun, Tim has been a real asset in our work to assist our members with legal advice."

Tim will stay on with the APF as a research assistant for the short-term, which will provide him with opportunities to further develop his skills in preparing legal advice for national human rights institutions in the region.

"National human rights institutions obviously face challenges and limitations but, from what I've seen, they are also very resilient organisations," Tim said.

"They can draw on advice from a body like the APF, as well as learn from the experiences of other NHRIs in the region, to support them when they do encounter problems.

"The simple fact that they are monitoring, reporting and publishing information about critical human rights issues is very powerful, and especially so when they are operating in challenging domestic situations."


Image credits

  1. Tim Tabuteau - APF