How can we tell if individuals know their rights?
As reductions in legal aid take effect, the nature of people’s knowledge about the law and how this affects their ability to deal with legal matters is thrown under the spotlight.
New research shows that many people over-estimate what the law entitles them to or misunderstand legislation; in other cases people under-estimate what their entitlements are.
This timely study is a reminder that both empirical and theoretical research is a vital element in understanding the limits and possibilities of educational interventions that address barriers to accessing justice. The multifaceted strategies that everyday encounters with the law demand suggest that effective education and informational interventions need to be carefully adapted.
When it comes to understanding what people know about the law - we have a lot more to learn.
Read more on the research paper - When legal rights are not a reality: do individuals know their rights and how can we tell?
European Networking Project
Demanding Fundamental Rights: Law-Related Education in Adult Learning
We have reached the end of our European work after eighteen months of fruitful exchanges, creative discussion and a shared commitment to finding ways in which we can improve the provision of life-long learning in law-related education. Fundamental rights rely on the capacity of individuals to be able to recognise when their encounters with one-another, their public bodies, and the businesses with which they interact trigger enforceable actions.
Unless the recognition of fundamental rights is matched with the equally important capacity to enforce those rights, their protection is illusory. Perhaps even more saliently, fundamental rights education opens up the opportunity to explore whether fundamental rights as they currently stand meet the needs of those people who seek protection from the law, whether it be women survivors of gender violence, migrants or those campaigning for LGBTI rights.
Law-related education is a part of the dialogue and exchange between people and their governments that redress power-imbalances and evaluate the concrete effectiveness of rights frameworks. Among the approaches we have shared are innovative community based courses to improve access to justice; empowerment of victims of domestic violence; law-related simulations as educational tools; court observer schemes; creative outreach and dissemination strategies for migrants and legal campaigns to expand legal protections to the LGBTI community.
Read about the partners and their success stories: Demanding_fundamental_rights (1.8MB)
You can read more about the project here: European partnership: law-related education in adult learning