Last year Namati published a review of all the existing impact evidence on legal empowerment as we could find – the paper covers 199 program evaluations, academic articles, program documents, and case studies on civil society-driven legal empowerment programs.
Because we coded all of these studies – by LE approach, types of impact, issue areas, etc. – a big part of the paper describes what aspects of LE have been more studied and show greater evidence of impact, as well as what areas of the evidence are relatively thin.
There isn’t much research on legal empowerment programs that engaged directly with private firms. Few pieces of evidence covered LE programs in “repressive regimes.” While quite a few studies fell into the issue area of land/natural resource rights, little evidence related to the environment or showed environmental outcomes. There were 45 studies covering results of paralegal or citizen advice bureau interventions – more evidence than we expected – but much of it focuses only on the resolution of the immediate case without exploring other potential impacts.
Areas where we recommend further research are noted throughout the paper, but pages 42 to 44 summarize some of the key research gaps (where little research has been done to date) as well as many other questions about LE impact that our methodology couldn’t address.
Which of these research gaps do you see as a priority for the field of legal empowerment to fill?
Does your organization have recent impact evidence or ongoing evaluations that contribute to building the evidence base on legal empowerment in these or other areas?
Lots of impact evidence is already available in Namati’s Resource Database - please help us build the collection by uploading your own evaluations and impact-focused case studies!