The Lund University Initiative on Legal Empowerment of the Poor is organizing a conference on legal empowerment of the Poor 3-4 March 2010, which will focus on exploring the legal dimension of the initiative. The Conference is organized by LUCSUS – LEP (www.lucsus.lu.se/lep) in collaboration with University of Oslo (SUM) ANLEP (www.sum.uio.no/research/networks/anlep/).

Created in December 2008, LEP is a strategic initiative for cross-faculty collaboration on Legal Empowerment of the Poor (LEP). The initiative aims at contributing to the establishment of a solid and broad foundation for research across these involved faculties at Lund University on the issue of legal empowerment of the poor.

In June, 2008 the Commission on the Legal Empowerment of the Poor (CLEP) issued its final report entitled “Making the Law Work for Everyone“. The Commission developed a comprehensive framework for legal empowerment, focusing on indigenous peoples, women and vulnerable groups, with four mutually reinforcing pillars: access to justice and the rule of law, property rights, labour rights and business rights. The Lund initiative also seeks to expand the scope of legal empowerment and will therefore advocate an inter-disciplinary approach to Human rights. This is chiefly done by integrating two additional dimensions into the pillars: the relationship between the national and the international; and the relationship between society and the environment.

Defined as a process which increases poor peoples’ ability to use the law, the legal system and legal services in order to protect their rights and interests as citizens, ‘legal empowerment’ is increasingly being considered as an important tool in ‘anti-poverty’ research and efforts around the world. However, there has been some critique directed towards the framing of the legal dimension in relation to LEP. Using this critique as a foundation, the purpose of this LEP conference is to discuss and elaborate the legal dimension of the legal empowerment initiative.

Conference Website: http://www.lucsus.lu.se/lep/