Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Community Paralegals and the Pursuit of Justice


Vivek Maru, Varun Gauri, Jackie Dugard, Katherine Drage, Jennifer Franco, Hector Soliman, Maria Roda Cisnero, Ward Berenschot, Taufik Rinaldi, Abigail Moy, Lyttelton Braima, Gibrill Jalloh, Peter Chapman, Chelsea Payne
View all contributors
  • Date Published: December 2018
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107159716

£ 85.00

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • The United Nations estimates that four billion people worldwide live outside the protection of the law. These people can be driven from their land, intimidated by violence, and excluded from society. This book is about community paralegals - sometimes called barefoot lawyers - who demystify law and empower people to advocate for themselves. These paralegals date back to 1950s South Africa and are active today in many countries, but their role has largely been ignored by researchers. Community Paralegals and the Pursuit of Justice is the first book on the subject. Focusing on paralegal movements in six countries, Vivek Maru, Varun Gauri, and their coauthors have collected rich, vivid stories of paralegals helping people to take on injustice, from domestic violence to unlawful mining to denial of wages. From these stories emerges evidence of what works and how. The insights in the book will be of immense value in the global fight for universal justice. This title is also available as Open Access.

    • The first full-length study of paralegal movements in the developing world
    • Covers South Africa, the Philippines, Indonesia, Kenya, Sierra Leone, and Liberia
    • Explains what it would take to deploy paralegals at scale to improve access to justice globally
    • This title is also available as Open Access
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'In the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, world governments made a historic commitment to achieve 'access to justice for all'. This book is a must-read for anyone who, like me, believes in the urgency and vitality of that goal, and anyone who wants to understand how we go about achieving it. If 'access to justice' is an abstraction to you, it won't be once you read the stories in these pages of paralegals and clients seeking justice. Those stories are unforgettable. They hold lessons for all of us.' Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former High Commissioner for Human Rights

    'This book brings law to life in a thoroughly original way. It charts, with great empirical care, analytical acuity and historical sensitivity, the obstacles that lie in the path of making justice accessible to marginalized groups. It then addresses the question: to what extent can paralegals mitigate these obstacles? Through wonderful case studies of the incredibly innovative paralegal movement, it throws light on the toughest questions of our time: how can law become a site for an inclusionary imagination. Anyone interested in the future of law and justice will have to reckon with this book.' Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Vice-Chancellor, Ashoka University, India

    'This is a powerful guide to understanding one of the most promising emerging fields in the world today. Community paralegals are heroes on a daily basis. Each individual story is inspiring, and the global potential of this profession to change countless lives is thrilling.' Ricken Patel, Founder and CEO, Avaaz

    'Methodologically rigorous and deeply humane, this groundbreaking and hopeful book transports the reader to the frontlines of global community paralegal efforts to squeeze justice out of the most unlikely places. We bear witness to their successes as they champion the rights of individuals and communities against abuses of power by state actors, private corporations and dysfunctional justice systems. And through clear-eyed analysis of the challenges that community paralegals face, the book makes a convincing argument that only with sustainable financial resources, political will, and dedication to the cultivation of strong cadres of well-trained and supported grassroots advocates, can justice be a lived and long-lasting reality in the lives of the global masses.' Chi Adanna Mgbako, Director of the Leitner International Human Rights Clinic, Fordham University, New York

    'For many people in the United States and worldwide, the law is a ruse for oppression. Frontline legal advocates can help people turn law into the guarantor of equality it is supposed to be. This book shows us how.' Bryan Stevenson, Founder of Equal Justice Initiative and Macarthur Fellow

    'This book consists of detailed and impressive studies of a worldwide program that might well constitute a revolution in the making: relying on ordinary citizens to use the power and majesty of the law to protect their rights.' Owen Fiss, Sterling Professor, Yale University, Connecticut

    'This compelling volume not only demonstrates the significance of 'barefoot lawyering' in nations struggling for democracy. It contains important insights for the world wide effort to preserve and extend fundamental freedoms in the twenty- first century.' Bruce Ackerman, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science, Yale University, Connecticut

    'Community Paralegals and the Pursuit of Justice is a work of prodigious scholarship that represents a significant contribution to the development, human rights, and rule of law fields. Vivek Maru, Varun Gauri and contributing authors have evaluated paralegal organizations in six countries with scrupulous care and have drawn well-supported lessons for improving and expanding the model globally. Community Paralegals and the Pursuit of Justice provides welcome evidence that investment in paralegal organizations can not only pay significant dividends for the poor, but can improve the accessibility, capacity, and accountability of justice systems themselves.' Gary Haugen, Founder and CEO, International Justice Mission

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107159716
    • length: 284 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 156 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.53kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Paralegal in comparative perspective – what have we learned across these six countries? Vivek Maru and Varun Gauri
    2. 'To whom do the people take their issues?' The contribution of community-based paralegals to access to justice in South Africa Jackie Dugard and Katherine Drage
    3. Community-based paralegalism in the Philippines: from social movements to democratization Jennifer Franco, Hector Soliman and Maria Roda Cisnero
    4. Paralegalism in Indonesia: balancing relationships in the shadow of the law Ward Berenschot and Taufik Rinaldi
    5. Kenya's community-based paralegals: a tradition of grassroots legal activism Abigail Moy
    6. Squeezing justice out of a broken system: community paralegals in Sierra Leone Vivek Maru, Lyttelton Braima and Gibrill Jalloh
    7. The contributions of community-based paralegals in delivering access to justice in postwar Liberia Peter Chapman and Chelsea Payne.

  • Editors

    Vivek Maru, Namati, Washington, DC
    Vivek Maru is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Namati, an organization dedicated to supporting legal empowerment around the world.

    Varun Gauri, The World Bank, Washington, DC
    Varun Gauri is a Senior Economist in the Development Economics Vice Presidency of the World Bank.


    Vivek Maru, Varun Gauri, Jackie Dugard, Katherine Drage, Jennifer Franco, Hector Soliman, Maria Roda Cisnero, Ward Berenschot, Taufik Rinaldi, Abigail Moy, Lyttelton Braima, Gibrill Jalloh, Peter Chapman, Chelsea Payne

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.