Once upon a time, many people thought that legal aid was the dream tool for justice seekers. Lawyers would promote access to justice, win in court and where they couldn’t they would lead the fight for legal change. Broad-based legal aid programmes could support this effort.
Stephen Golub invited us to think again in his ground-breaking article “Beyond Rule of Law Orthodoxy: The Legal Empowerment Alternative”. He emphasized the need to help to empower communities to lead their own fights against injustice. Lawyers can help to shape legal tools that support communities in a more focused attack on important struggles.
Golub alerted us to the widespread importance of issues related to land. We now understand better that issues related to land tenure, land grabbing, housing, urban planning and sanitation figure at the top of most lists of pressing problems in poor communities around the world.
Pathfinders has started a new series of Justice for All blogs focused on what works to solve people’s most common justice problems. Read the first post on housing here.