Legal Action Worldwide (LAW) works towards equality of all before the law and to deliver access to justice to those who need it most – victims and survivors of human rights violations and abuses in conflict-affected and fragile environments. While these people have the greatest need for protection and assistance, they usually have the least access to legal resources. Often such persons may not know that legal assistance exists, and they rarely know what their options are for redress. The result of this has been widespread impunity for serious human rights violations.
One presumption frequently held is that legal action can only be undertaken where there is a functioning judicial system and that its impact is not felt until a legal case is concluded. LAW believes that these presumptions are unfounded. Creative lawyering, combining national and international expertise with a deep understanding of survivor and victim needs and wishes, presents a unique opportunity to provide recognition of the violation suffered to the victim, to bring attention to the situation and to break the cycle of impunity and recurrence.
LAW’s activities are centred around four pillars:
Legal Aid and Legal Empowerment: providing legal information, assistance and representation to individuals and communities to facilitate their meaningful access to justice, thereby empowering them to recognise and assert their legal rights.
Strategic Litigation: taking carefully selected cases, utilising domestic, transnational and international justice and human rights mechanisms to precipitate significant changes in the law, practice or public awareness.
Advocacy: conducting strategic advocacy with decision makers and supporting national champions to promote human rights and the rule of law.
Technical Assistance: working with justice institutions, law faculties and national partners to strengthen their ability to deliver survivor-centred and effective justice and uphold human rights.
You can read more about LAW’s activities here.
LAW was founded in July 2013 following three expert roundtables with UN agencies, leading human rights and legal I/NGOs, law firms and academics and consultations with over 100 relevant experts globally. This was supported by an in-depth mapping and scoping exercise to review what legal work was being undertaken by organisations on the ground in fragile and conflict affected areas. More than one year of research identified that there was a need for a non-profit organisation which focused on creative avenues for legal redress in fragile and conflict affected areas. It was envisaged that such an organisation would work on the ground, placing survivors and national lawyers in the driving seat and at the same time, linking them to highly innovative lawyers in non-conflict areas.
Antonia Mulvey is the founder of Legal Action Worldwide.