Access to justice is a key governance concern in developed and developing countries alike. Community legal workers aim to help poor or comparatively powerless people defend themselves against land grabs, obtain public services, and challenge corruption. Can this bottom-up approach counter powerful interests seeking to entrench their control? Can legal empowerment help respond to rising authoritarianism and repression of civil society?

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Namati hosted a discussion with three legal empowerment practitioners working in Sierra Leone, India, and elsewhere, on issues of land and environmental justice.

Speakers addressed the connection between local casework and large-scale systemic change, the role of legal empowerment in addressing the global environmental crisis, how to measure progress on access to justice, and whether the state should recognize or finance this type of grassroots legal aid, among other topics. Carnegie’s Sarah Chayes moderated.

To listen to the podcast of the event, visit the Carnegie website.

 

Sarah Chayes, Vivek Maru, Sonkita Conteh, and Manju Menon discuss legal empowerment at a Carnegie/Namati event.