Making the law work for everyone: Volume 1: Report of the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor

Date: March 24, 2010
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Four billion people – the majority of the global population – find themselves excluded from the protection and opportunities provided by the rule of law. This exclusion from the rule of law – this very fundamental exclusion, especially at this scale – has serious consequences, primarily of course for the poor people and communities that are excluded. But it also has serious consequences for society as a whole and the state.

So while legal empowerment is an agenda for and with the poor, and while it is based upon a strong belief in their capabilities, it also emphasizes the role of the state. It challenges the state to become more open and inclusive, and to expand its reach to benefit the poor.

Kemal Dervis and Madeleine Albright at the launch of “Making the Law Work for Everyone”
Increasingly, we witness and see that in terms of institution building, development has to have these fundamental dimensions. There has to be, of course, the driving force of prosperity and growth which is the private sector, business and private initiative. We now understand better that without that nothing really happens in development. But at the same time, we also now understand better the role of the state and the important part the state has to play in terms of the legal and institutional framework; development strategies are not about choosing between state-led and private-led development. Rather, it really is about how to bring the two together to provide a framework that affords opportunities for all.

The logo of the Commission symbolizes the rule of law as supported by the four pillars of legal empowerment: access to justice and the rule of law; property rights; labour rights; and business rights. Looking at the logo one can see that the pillars supporting the rule of law are people.


ISBN: 978-92-1-126219-3
Publisher: UNDP
Year of Publication: 2008

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