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Call for input—upcoming report on legal empowerment by UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers

Issued by

Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers


13 July 2023


Issued by Special Procedures


Independence of judges and lawyers

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Human rights law guarantees access to independent and impartial legal systems that fulfil people’s justice needs.


The report will examine legal empowerment and other people-centered methods for achieving access to justice. The Rapporteur will highlight the potential for paralegals and other grassroots justice advocates to expand and transform access to justice—especially to those shut out of, marginalized by, or harmed within legal systems. Submissions will help inform her views and understanding of the issues. The report will include relevant and achievable recommendations for Member States and other stakeholders and made available on her website and other channels.

Key questions

All submissions are welcome and the topics below are not exhaustive. However, the Special Rapporteur would be grateful for comments that address one or more of the following topics:

  • Definitions, understandings, and varieties of legal empowerment approaches and practices;
  • Examples of legal empowerment modalities and innovations at the community, local, national, and international level;
  • Promising approaches to partnership between lawyers and paralegals and other grassroots justice advocates;
  • Shortcomings of existing judicial and other legal systems that illustrate the value of a legal empowerment approach, such as systemic discrimination, exclusion, and harms implemented within legal systems;
  • The contribution of legal empowerment and other people-centered approaches to efforts to achieve equal and effective justice for all in line with Sustainable Development Goal 16;
  • Challenges experienced by those seeking to advance and/or implement legal empowerment approaches; and
  • And other topics that you believe may be relevant to the Rapporteur’s work on legal empowerment.

Respondents are requested to limit their contributions to a maximum of 2,500 words by 5 May 2023 at the latest. Additional supporting materials, such as reports, academic studies, and other background materials may be linked in the body of the submission or annexed to the submission.

Unless otherwise specified by those making a submission, submissions will be made public on the Special Rapporteur’s website at the time that the report is published.

The Special Rapporteur greatly appreciates the effort that goes into making such contributions and looks forward to reading all submissions.

Please feel free to circulate this call for inputs widely in your networks.