Building Justice for the Poor

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Building and enhancing access to “rule of law” systems in developing countries is vital. But efforts to do either of these things have a long and unhappy history. ‘Breaking Legal Inequality Traps: New Approaches to Building Justice Systems for the Poor in Developing Countries’, by Caroline Sage (World Bank) and Michael Woolcock (University of Manchester) is the latest BWPI working paper, and can be viewed here.

These disappointments, Sage and Woolcock contend, stem largely from overlooking the interdependence of ‘policies’, ‘laws’, and ‘rules systems’ — and the cultural contexts in which all three are inherently embedded. The political processes by which they acquire their institutional form and legitimacy (and thus the complexities associated with undertaking judicial reform initiatives) also cause failure. The authors set out an alternative approach to understanding ‘legal inequality traps’. This can guide new innovations to improve the accessibility, legitimacy and effectiveness of justice systems for the poor.

And also check out Advocates for International Development here. A4ID works with development organisations and developing countries to facilitate the provision of pro bono legal advice and assistance from leading lawyers, law firms and chambers in the areas of international trade, debt and development.

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