Power and rights in the community: paralegals as leaders in women's legal empowerment in Tanzania

Dancer, Helen (2018) Power and rights in the community: paralegals as leaders in women's legal empowerment in Tanzania. Feminist Legal Studies, 26 (1). pp. 47-64. ISSN 1572-8455

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Abstract

What can an analysis of power in local communities contribute to debates on women’s legal empowerment and the role of paralegals in Africa? Drawing upon theories of power and rights, and research on legal empowerment in African plural legal systems, this article explores the challenges for paralegals in facilitating women’s access to justice in Tanzania, which gave statutory recognition to paralegals in the Legal Aid Act 2017. Land conflicts represent the single-biggest source of local legal disputes in Tanzania and are often embedded in gendered land tenure relations. This article argues that paralegals can be effective actors in women’s legal empowerment where they are able to work as leaders, negotiating power relations and resisting the forms of violence that women encounter as obstacles to justice. Paralegals’ authority will be realised when their role is situated within community leadership structures, confirming their authority while preserving their independence.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: access to justice, legal empowerment, legal pluralism, paralegals, Tanzania, women’s land rights
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The Family. Marriage. Women > HQ1101 Women. Feminism
K Law > KL-KWK Asia and Eurasia, Africa, Pacific Area, and Antarctica > KR Africa
K Law > KL-KWK Asia and Eurasia, Africa, Pacific Area, and Antarctica > KR Africa > KTT Tanzania
Depositing User: Helen Dancer
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2018 10:46
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2018 10:30
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/74832

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