Specialist in strategic litigation lectures at Leiden Law School
On 6 March, Jelle Klaas, lawyer for the Public Interest Litigation Project of the Dutch Section of the International Commission of Jurists, delivered a lecture to the students of the Advanced Master’s in European and International Human Rights Law at Leiden Law School.
Distinguishing between ‘the case’ and ‘the cause’, Klaas explained that not every legal case makes up for a public interest case. Only cases showcasing a societal problem where victims are also genuine representatives of the situation may be candidates for a public interest litigation case.
At the present time, Klaas’s organization is involved in a public interest case which concerns SyRi (translated as System of Risk Indication), a technology currently under study, which would give extensive powers to the Dutch police. Through the use of algorythms, this system would profile people and alert authorities over potentially high level of risks on individuals. These greater ‘risks levels’ could be an indication that a person would be likely to violate the law. As the system would be fed by several sources of information including State authorities, Klaas reflected on the chilling effect that the putting in place of such a technology would have. He concluded asking: ‘would people keep to trust the government in handing in faithful information if they would know that it could be used against them?’