Public Interest Law Widening access to law & reforming legal mechanisms
One of FLAC's main goals is to ensure that there is greater use of the law in the public interest. Public interest law is not a traditional area of law - it is a way of working with the law for the benefit of marginalised and disadvantaged people. It means taking cases, proposing law reform and promoting legal education as tools of change - a union of legal and social justice work.
To achieve this, FLAC promotes strategic legal mechanisms and practices that further public interest goals, such as amicus curiae and class actions. We also try to advance interest in and capacity for using the law among organisations working for social justice, by developing legal strands to their campaigning and law reform work.
FLAC works in the public interest along two channels: its PILA project and its programme work.
- PILA - Public Interest Law Alliance: While public interest law has always been central to our work, FLAC sought to further its use by the wider NGO and legal community. To carry this forward, FLAC established a dedicated project offshoot called PILA (Public Interest Law Alliance). PILA works with lawyers, academics, students and NGOs to promote: the development of pro bono initiatives which match legal expertise with unmet legal need; capacity building of NGOs to engage in public interest law work; the inclusion of a public interest law element into all levels of legal education and training, and the mobilisation of emerging lawyers; and resources and research on barriers to public interest litigation and public interest law issues more generally. Contact PILA at 01-887 3600.
- Programme work: FLAC uses various tools of public interest law to carry out its goal of using law to promote access to justice: strategic litigation, legal training and information, and law reform. We do this across all our priority areas of work - producing legal information guides, seeking cases that will test and/or improve the law, and conducting research and analysis of legal issues to propose better, fairer policy and law that respects human rights and promotes access to justice.