Advancing human rights through legal empowerment of the disadvantaged

Lisa Hilbink, Valentina Salas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter makes the case that advancing human rights and fighting poverty requires going beyond institutional reforms to take an approach anchored in legal empowerment. Legal empowerment works to undo the marginalization and deprivation inherent in poverty by strengthening people’s capacity to advocate for themselves and their communities (process) and by enhancing their chances of correcting the injustices they face and improving the conditions in which they live (outcomes). The chapter reviews the theories underpinning the legal empowerment approach and key strategies of legal empowerment in practice, and reflects on the impact that such initiatives have in strengthening people’s legal agency. It then discusses the case of Chile to illustrate that improving the quality of judicial institutions is not enough to advance the human rights of disadvantaged people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Human Rights and Poverty
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781788977517
ISBN (Print)9781788977500
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Editors and Contributors Severally 2021.


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