Understanding Civil Society Contributions to Access to Justice: An Analysis of BRAC’s Human Rights and Legal Aid Services Programme (HRLS) in Bangladesh




Across the world, civil society legal empowerment programmes are making important contributions to securing access to justice and inclusive development. From assistance navigating justice processes to independent mediation services, civil society programmes deploying community-based paralegals provide practical avenues to seek rights and resolve disputes. Such programmes add to the range of access points to justice, offer additional avenues to pursue government accountability and improve community knowledge of their rights often at a scale and level of legitimacy in the community that is not readily available to government initiatives alone. The evidence base for the impacts of civil society legal empowerment programmes is slowly increasing. Such programmes have been subject to robust evaluation in multiple countries and legal empowerment programmes themselves are becoming more sophisticated in management and evaluation. From 2014-2016, Open Society Justice Initiative teamed with BRAC Human Rights and Legal Service programme (BRAC HRLS), a large legal empowerment programme in Bangladesh, to explore what BRAC HRLS’s programme data could tell us.

Related information

  • Writer Name: Mila Cerecina Harvard Kennedy School Peter Chapman Open Society Foundations Syeda Sitwat Shahed BRAC Research and Evaluation Division
  • Published Date: Monday, 24 October 2016
  • Country: Bangladesh