Making law work for the poor

November 2005
Lorenzo Cotula (IIED Sustainable Development Opinion)

Legal processes can help improve the lives of the poor in developing countries e.g. through establishing fair rules on international trade and securing land access in rural Africa. For this to happen, poorer actors – whether individuals or states – must have equitable access to the legal system, including a fair say in law-making processes, and access to effective enforcement institutions. Development agencies should take law seriously and support local, national and international processes that improve legal access and make law work for the poor – including law reform, litigation, training, legal assistance and advocacy.