What is Public Interest Litigation?
Public interest litigation is not just the first three letters of our name; it’s in our project’s DNA.
It’s about building legal cases in a way that that creates positive change for others.
Public interest litigation means legal cases that produce positive results for all of us, not just one of us.
At PILS, we combine the insight of human rights NGOs and local solicitors (primed to spot serious issues) with legal practitioners who want to lend their skills – often for free!
There isn’t one globally agreed definition but at PILS, we see public interest litigation as:
- Legal action that is taken on a human rights or equality issue of broad public concern.
- It is an opportunity to clarify, develop or change the law.
- It typically involves groups of people who have been disadvantaged, overlooked or mistreated.
- If the case is successful, it will benefit society as a whole.
Approaching legal work in this way allows one case to solve systemic problems being faced by lots of people.
This stops multiple people having to face the same problem over and over again, maximising the benefit of one case for the whole community.
Public interest litigation saves time, money, energy and prevents stress.
The power of public interest litigation can:
- Unite legal and grassroots expertise
- Hold powerful decisionmakers to account
- Bring real-life problems and marginalised voices into the courtroom
- Solve issues on a large scale, avoiding repetition
- Encourage lawyers to think creatively
If your organisation is considering public interest litigation, PILS’ support services can help.