Civil Society

Increasing Access to Justice

We promote social equity in communities by increasing access to justice.

Colleen Julies of Social Change Assistance Trust speaks with paralegals at the Beaufort West Legal Advice and Development Office in South Africa.

How it Works

Justice is essential to development — people cannot improve their lives unless they can exercise their rights.

People wait in line at a community advice office.

Access to justice — the power for all people to understand, use and shape the laws that affect them — is one of the strongest tenets of a just, equitable and sustainable society. The law can mean the difference between a society ruled by the most powerful and one that honors the dignity of everyone. Unfortunately, more than 4 billion people worldwide are robbed of the chance to better their lives because they are excluded from accessing justice. Ensuring all people have equal access to remedies for their legal problems is critical to finding long-term solutions to global challenges and goes to the heart of the Civil Society program’s efforts to help communities thrive.

The Increasing Access to Justice program area provides an opportunity for the Foundation to connect its work in helping underrepresented groups access justice in South Africa to a broader global field. The Foundation has long recognized the value of innovative, community-based approaches to protect and promote rights. This belief is reflected in SDG 16.3, which aims to provide access to justice for all. Mott’s grantmaking will focus on building upon our long-term work in this area in South Africa and Ukraine, exploring additional countries in Africa where our experience is particularly relevant, and supporting regional and global efforts to advance the understanding and practice of community-based, grassroots access to justice.

Our grantmaking in the Access to Justice program area is organized under two objectives:

Development and Expansion

We strive to build the capacity of community-based paralegal organizations in selected countries.

We make grants to:

  • Organizations that collaborate with community advice offices (CAOs) in South Africa to improve legal service delivery to vulnerable groups and strengthen advocacy efforts for the sector.
  • National organizations in selected African countries where there is compelling need and opportunity for development of access to justice initiatives.
  • Organizations providing capacity-building support to the formal network of community legal centers in Ukraine, as well as legal centers operating outside of the network.

Networking and Learning

We work to foster regional and global learning, networking and collaboration within the access to justice community.

We make grants to:

  • National, regional and continental networks that promote learning and sharing within the African access to justice community.
  • Research organizations that collect and disseminate information on access to justice practices around the world.
  • Regional and global support organizations working to ensure successful implementation of SDG 16.3.


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