For our rights to be effective, we have to be able to enforce them. In theory, we are all equal before the law. In reality, the challenges for marginalised communities in accessing justice can result in denying them the chance to challenge crimes, abuses, or human rights violations committed against them. It can also hinder their ability to exercise their right to a defence. Barriers to accessing legal redress can be social, financial, institutional, procedural, geographical, physical, financial, cultural, and many more.
We believe that justice should truly be open to all. Removing the structural barriers that make navigating legal systems a realistic option only for a privileged minority will make us all equal before the law in practice rather than just in theory.
To make sure our work meets the needs of activists and movements, we conducted a Europe-wide consultation in the first half of 2022 to identify priorities for developing litigation projects.
We explored priorities for access to justice in Europe on 12-13 May with 16 participants from grassroots movements and those directly working with communities. You can read about the gathering and the opportunities for action identified on our blog.
We approached all themes through an intersectional lens, centring how a person’s social or political identity and personal characteristics can combine to create different modes of discrimination, exclusion, and oppression. We considered issues across both digital and non-digital space.
The input from the roundtables was combined with input received through a survey conducted between October 2021 and May 2022, individual conversations, and desk research. The combined findings are available in our 2022 report Surfacing Systemic (In)justices: A Community View.
Based on the consultation process and the mapping of current litigation work in Europe, climate justice and social protection were identified as priority areas for organisations, movements, and collectives working on racial, social, and economic justice that are currently underserved by intersectional litigation. We are developing our first litigation projects on these themes, starting from the priorities and opportunities identified in the consultation.
Systemic Justice will continuously build on this consultation process to ensure our work aligns with communities’ priorities. We will also continue sharing our findings along the way: subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media to be updated about any new publications.