Creative Legal Strategies:
The law, the courts and more often than not the judges are conservative – it’s inherent in the system. Social justice legal work is about challenging the dominant power which is often carried through by unjust laws.
The mission of the Public Interest Law Centre is dedicated to using law creatively as a force for social change, or at the very least a tactic to assist a particular social justice campaign. We look to use the law creatively, to use legal principles that enable justice, using litigation strategically where possible to assist campaigners in and outside the courtroom. We look to utilise the the interplay between English law and international law, and develop solidarity with working class communities, including those across borders.
Beyond the court:
At the Public Interest Law Centre we value our work with individuals, social campaigners and working class communities. We work with them to develop our litigation work and social justice struggles of which we are a part. We are dedicated to learning from and contributing to social movements which feeds into the legal work.
Our cases and litigation are part of the wider struggles and the Public Interest Law Centre values our relationships with our clients and community campaigns in this important work. With them we develop our legal strategies and public legal education. In this joint work we look to ensure the voices of clients and social campaigns are heard. This work is essential in the legal action supporting the movement and the movement supporting legal action.
The Public Interest Law Centre organises events such as pickets, lobbies, and letter writing to support our clients. This may also include packing the court and ensuring media exposure.
Another level of our work beyond the court is that we speak at public meetings and at conferences.
How is victory assessed:
As a law firm, the Public Interest Law Centre concentrates much of its work through litigation and legal action. While this is central to our work we do not evaluate our work solely through the cases we win or lose. In taking on a case, and developing a legal strategy we look to the case’s value to the social movements of which it is a part.
The Public Interest Law Centre will take instructions based on the value of the struggle itself, not solely by using a probability scale as to whether the case wins or not.
The value of a case is not determined solely by its potential outcome but also by the attention it can draw to the human rights issues and the social law issues for the communities at stake. We aim to provide maximum effort and a strategic campaign to publicise the case for our clients and causes. Our legal action on behalf of clients unites the law with the movement and using that publicity to not only highlight the issues but to change public opinion.
While the Public Interest Law Centre has won groundbreaking cases – from Supreme Court victories like Tigere to sweeping policy changes like Gureckis, but we also lose cases. However even in defeat there can be success. In such cases, when linked to the movement and also media it can cause a public outcry which could force change or simply it puts an issue on the map that may sow the seeds for change in the future. We will stick with a case for years and try different ways to see it through.