FWLD from its time of inception has been providing legal aid to women and marginalized groups for the assurance of socio-economic, civil and political rights. For this, Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been used as an effective mechanism to ensure the protection of rights. Yet gaps still remain at the local levels in terms of securing the rights of people. With the development in the writ jurisdiction that has been extended to the district courts an opportunity arose allowing the local levels to have easier and more immediate access to legal remedies.
Using local level courts for legal remedies would ensure a bottom-up approach to protecting socio-economic rights. Such an approach will be more accessible to a wider range of the population, particularly marginalized groups and allow for easier implementation than the top – down approach. Through the empowerment of local lawyers and paralegal groups, FWLD aims at using such local remedies to ensure that the socio-economic rights that are provided by the legal framework are implemented at the local level. The project aims at building the capacity of lawyers in order to create a pool of cause lawyers who are committed to securing the socio-economic rights in their respective districts. The office has been set up in 4 districts of Nepal i.e. Banke, Makwanpur, Morang and Nawalparasi and is furnished with resource centers. There are a pool of committed lawyers. The office has also build up a strong networking with various organizations in addressing Economic and Social Rights (ESR) issues strongly. The district offices have been members to many district level human rights networks aswell. A total of 166 PIL’s have been filed since the commencement of the project addressing issues from health, employment, education, clean environment, safe drinking water, protection of public property and forests. Such has created a platform for legal change and awareness amongst lawyers, judges and the public.
With media being constantly mobilized, the projects effectiveness has been reached to each and every corner of the districts. Similarly, in view of creating awareness for the protection and promotion of ESR, advocacy leaflets have been distributed to the concerned stakeholders and government agencies. Dialogues with judges have proven to be a major factor for the effectiveness of the aims of the project. Such interactions have enhanced the knowledge of the judges regarding socio-economic rights (both in the domestic and the international legal framework), and sort out a strong cooperation towards safeguarding socio-economic rights in the districts. The dedication of the pool of lawyers continues to grow towards even today in ensuring ESR through writ jurisdictions.