Columbia Global Freedom of Expression Prize Rules

Article 1 – Purpose

Columbia Global Freedom of Expression established the Columbia Global Freedom of Expression Prizes to recognize judicial decisions and legal representation anywhere in the world that have strengthened freedom of expression by promoting international legal standards and jurisprudence.

Article 2 – Designation, number and periodicity of the Prizes

The Prizes shall be entitled “Columbia Global Freedom of Expression Prizes.”

There shall be one prize awarded in each of two categories:

  1. Legal Ruling Category: the prize shall recognize a ruling or decision rendered anywhere in the world that has advanced or strengthened global understanding of and international standards of Freedom of Expression and Information. Preference shall be given to rulings and decisions rendered in the last 12 months, although older rulings and decisions may also be considered.
  2. Legal Service Category: the prize shall recognize a legal brief, legal amicus brief or legal defense anywhere internationally that has advanced or strengthened global understanding of and international norms of Freedom of Expression and Information.  Preference shall be given to services rendered in the last 12 months, although older services may also be considered.

In the Legal Ruling Category, the prize shall consist of a certificate conferred upon the judge or the court, as deemed appropriate by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression.

In the Legal Service Category, the prize shall consist of a certificate conferred upon the individuals, institutions, other entities or non-governmental organizations providing the service, as deemed appropriate by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression.

To the extent possible, the prizes will be awarded annually.  Columbia Global Freedom of Expression reserves the right to award an additional prize in each category in a given year.

Article 3 – Conditions/qualifications of candidates

  1. The judicial ruling, judicial decision, legal brief or legal defense shall:
    1. demonstrate sound legal reasoning and an advanced legal understanding of the freedom of expression and information issues under consideration;
    2. demonstrate a global understanding of freedom of expression and information by reference to laws, standards, policies, or decisions regarding freedom of expression; the references may be international and/or regional standards and interpretations of freedom of expression and information, and/or decisions from other jurisdictions;
    3. and protect freedom of expression or information, either with regard to international standards or with reference to case jurisdiction.
  2. The nominees shall have established a reputation for integrity and commitment to human rights, rule of law and legal excellence.

Article 4 – Designation/selection of the prize winner(s)

The prize winners shall be selected by a jury.

Article 5 – Jury

The Jury shall be composed of 5 to 7 members, from the legal profession, academic and civil society, who have established a reputation for excellence in their respective areas of expertise. They shall be appointed for a period of 2 years, renewable once.  The Jury shall be chaired by the President of Columbia University.

Jurors involved in a real or potential conflict of interest shall recuse themselves from further deliberations or shall be recused upon the request of the Chair.

Members shall receive no remuneration for their work but will receive allowances for travel and accommodations, as required.  A quorum of 3 of 5 members, or 5 of 7 members, as applicable, will be required for jury deliberations to proceed. The Jury shall deliberate either in person or by electronic means.  The working language for the Jury’s deliberations shall be English.

The President of Columbia University shall announce the prize winners.

Article 6 – Nomination of candidates

Columbia Global Freedom of Expression shall officially invite the submission of nominations, with a deadline on or around December 15, from international and regional legal, academic and non-governmental organizations active in the fields of freedom of expression and information. Self-nomination will be allowed.

Each nomination shall be accompanied by a written recommendation, which shall include:

(a) a description of the candidate’s background and achievements;

(b) a description of the legal ruling, decision, brief or defense and an explanation of  how it meets the eligibility criteria identified under Article 3.

Article 7 – Procedure for the awarding of the Prize

The Jury shall vote, in person or by electronic means, on or around February 1.

The Prize shall be presented by the President of Columbia University at an official ceremony held for that purpose coinciding, to the extent possible, with an annual conference on international freedom of expression and information.

The prize winners shall, if possible, give a lecture on their legal work and the importance of international Freedom of Expression standards in domestic or regional jurisprudence.