Community paralegals and the pursuit of justice

Community paralegals demystify law and empower people to advocate for themselves. They are at the heart of our movement for justice. But they have been largely ignored by scholars and writers.

This book starts to fill that void. It’s been a long time coming — it’s the product of 8 years of research and writing by 14 authors across 6 countries.

Each chapter is rich with vivid accounts of paralegals helping communities 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 book explores questions like:

  • How have community paralegals adapted to and influenced their changing political contexts, from repressive regimes like apartheid South Africa to newfound democracies and, in some cases, back towards repression?
  • Is it possible for paralegals to receive public funding without sacrificing their independence?
  • What are five qualities of the most effective paralegals, and how can organizations nurture those qualities?

You can download a PDF copy of the book for free from the Cambridge University Press website.

NAMATI would love to hear what you think. Do the lessons the book draws about paralegals and legal empowerment ring true to you? How do the experiences described compare with your own? Share your thoughts with the community here.