Providing Access to Justice

12 January 2011

The poor and socially vulnerable can only protect their rights if they can access the judicial mechanisms that serve them. That’s why PILnet works to make systems of justice more effective and accessible by reforming legal aid, by developing pro bono (or volunteer) legal practice around the world and by promoting other innovative approaches to meeting the legal needs of the public.

PILnet works in collaboration with partner organizations to engage ministries of justice in legal aid reform efforts, to provide comparative expertise, and to support the development of legal aid interest groups and coalitions among NGOs, human rights lawyers, judges, and bar association leaders.

PILnet runs four pro bono clearinghouses and assists other clearinghouses in Europe and globally. PILnet assists NGOs to develop legal aid programs and works with universities to establish and strengthen legal aid-providing clinical programs based at law schools.

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News

  • 25 October 2017

    2017 Global Pro Bono Awards

    PILnet’s Global Pro Bono Awards celebrate efforts by individuals, law firms, and international civil society organizations that protect the public interest and advance access to justice. This year, in recognition of 20 years of growing one of the world’s most respected networks of pro bono professionals, nominations for the awards were welcomed from all continents.  Read more

  • 17 October 2017

    Video as Evidence in the Middle East & North Africa

    After what some dubbed the Twitter or Facebook Revolution in 2011, combined with a consistent growth in mobile and smartphone use throughout the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA), video evidence of crimes and human rights violations has increased dramatically. MENA presents a unique and burgeoning environment for the use of video evidence. However, increased documentation does not necessarily rhyme with increased justice. Read more

  • 05 September 2017

    Law for Change Student Competition

      PILnet proudly presents the inaugural Law for Change Student Competition, sponsored by the WYNG Foundation. This competition will pair law students and pro bono lawyers together to develop innovative solutions to entrenched social justices needs in Hong Kong, while raising general awareness about the role of law as a tool for change. Read more

  • 22 June 2017

    The Barbara Schatz Fellowship Fund

    Established in 2017, the Barbara Schatz Fellowship Fund supports PILnet’s public interest law fellowship program, which provides young lawyers the opportunity to employ innovative legal means to protect the marginalized, disenfranchised, and poor. Named after PILnet’s founding board chair Barbara Schatz, the fund provides financial support for young lawyers from around the world to work at PILnet’s offices for a year alongside a global network of skilled private and public interest lawyers. The fellowship offers recent graduates a unique experience to put the powerful tools and techniques developed by corporate lawyers to work to protect and advance the public interest in the face of globalization, climate change, inequality, and mass migration.  Read more

  • 30 May 2017

    THIS WAY – Finding Community Legal Assistance in Hong Kong

      “I found out I needed to visit many different departments, and I also had to pay court fees,so I didn’t even dare to eat. Every night I was so hungry I could not sleep. 原來要走好多地方同埋要交錢比法庭,當時連去食飯都唔敢,每晚都訓唔著.   Working on a construction site in Hong Kong, "Mr. J" slipped off a building. The fall left him disabled, and before long, facing a myriad of legal issues. The eviction notice came first. He needed time, money, and advice to stave off homelessness, none of which was readily available. Ultimately, Mr. J kept his home but fell further down the security ladder, pushing him into a more marginal existence than before the accident.  Prompted by such need, PILnet and DLA Piper examined the status of access to justice in Hong Kong in a new report, THIS WAY – Finding Community Legal Assistance in Hong Kong. The report considers the legal needs of low income and vulnerable communities in Hong Kong, the free legal services that are available, and the gaps that exist in between. Read more