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Legal Empowerment of the Poor: Innovating Access to Justice

By: Maaike de Langen, Maurits Barendrecht

In this essay, we begin with some general observations on the state of access to justice. Because access to justice is hard to measure and data on such access are scarce, we give a description of the barriers to justice and mechanisms of exclusion and analyze how these work out for the poor in developing countries. Next we describe various strategies to improve access to justice, focusing on the innovative bottom-up approaches highlighted by the UN Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor. We then discuss the agenda for access to justice in terms of what we know and what we do not know yet. We conclude by stressing the need for an innovative approach to the delivery of justice: combining insights from academic research, smart innovation processes, sustainable “business models”, and know-how from practical experiences.

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Uploaded on: Sep 20, 2019
Year Published: 2009
Author: Maaike de Langen
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