At the European launch of the UN Report “How to Make the Law work for Everyone”, Madeleine K. Albright, Co-Chair of the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor and former U.S. Secretary of State, expressed that legal empowerment should be regarded as a fundamental right, not as a privilege. However, about 4 billion people worldwide cannot rely on the law for protection, and over 80% of property and people remain unregistered. Without legal status they are unable to invest or borrow funds, and are easy targets for exploitation and abuse. This makes it more difficult to escape poverty. Poverty alleviation helps to create a middle class that serves as a tax base for countries to improve infrastructure and provide healthcare and education.
Access to justice for the underprivileged is traditionally delivered by NGO’s, legal aid systems and pro-bono lawyering. The outreach of all these efforts however can only cover a small part of the demand for justice, despite all the hard work of those involved. To create a breakthrough in the improvement of access to justice, innovative models and sustainable, scalable solutions need to be developed and tested. Early stage investment and funding for start-ups is essential to develop and test new models. The importance of funding start-ups will be addressed at the event by His Royal Highness Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands.
XS2Justice Network International has developed the first ever-sustainable model for legal empowerment. They have a proven practice in The Netherlands where 90% of all cases are being solved out of court for a limited fixed fee. The business model has been adjusted to be able to protect employees, small entrepreneurs and others in developing countries. Part of the model is an innovative CSR tool that lawyers worldwide can use for business development. The tool enables the funding of cases that can’t be solved out of court through small donations from individual lawyers worldwide who will also follow the case online. The possibility of going to court with the attention and funding of lawyers worldwide, creates leverage to solve cases out of court and helps to fight corruption through increased transparency.
A small-scale pilot in Kenya has been prepared to prove and tweak the business model after which a nationwide roll-out in Kenya will follow. With a profitable business in Kenya, the company is able to do a roll-out to 10 countries before 2020 and spread the service to as many countries as possible after that. The model and the CSR tool for lawyers will be presented at the event to raise the necessary funding for the pilot and to stimulate investors and funders to consider funding other start-ups in the justice sector that could contribute to improving access to justice.
For the program of this event, see The Hague Institute for Global Justice