On the 10th Anniversary of the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor, coinciding with the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, we celebrate the commitments made by the world’s governments to ensure equal access to justice for all by 2030 via the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To achieve access to justice for all, the world must make progress on two critical challenges: the financing and protection of grassroots justice defenders. These champions of legal empowerment work at the front lines to help communities know, use and shape the law. Working within civil society organisations, they utilise knowledge of law and policy to address corruption and discrimination while holding public institutions to account. We call on governments, donors and multilateral institutions to take immediate steps on the following recommendations. Only then can we make justice, not injustice, the norm.