Human Rights Lawyering: Expanding the Role of BRAC Panel Lawyers in Legal Empowerment

Lawyering (lawyer conduct) is now considered essential to the legal empowerment of the poor and marginalized. This study established a set of Human Rights Lawyering indicators for BRAC’s Human Rights and Legal Services (HRLS) program. It evaluated HRLS panel lawyers’ performance according to these indicators by comparing the experiences of three client groups: 1) BRAC legal aid clients, 2) BRAC panel lawyers’ non-BRAC clients, and 3) non-BRAC lawyers’ non-BRAC clients. The study identified opportunities to improve panel lawyers’ performance. For most indicators, BRAC panel lawyers performed comparably better between their BRAC and non-BRAC cases, and with non-BRAC lawyers. Panel lawyers largely did not appear to neglect or under-perform on their BRAC cases relative to private cases. Nevertheless, there is both need and opportunity for improvement. One cannot expect panel lawyers to practice human rights lawyering without training and monitoring regimes. This calls for the development of new training content and performance metrics. Moreover, as only a minority of panel lawyers reported attending a BRAC human rights training workshop, training programs must be scaled up, possibly in partnership with stakeholders such as Bar Councils, Non-Government Organizations and Government Organizations.

Authors: Evans, Chris; Naomi, Sharin Shajahan; Ali, Rumana
Type: Report
Year: 2010