Legal Empowerment: An Impossible Dream? by Hooria Hayat & Khola Ahme
Summary: This paper takes a critical look at the concept of Legal Empowerment, tracing its genesis and differences with the earlier concepts of Rule of Law and Rule of Law Orthodoxy. It then examines the problems emanating from applying Legal Empowerment as a strategy to postcolonial states such as Pakistan and identifies two particular problems: the existence of parallel systems and the imposition of an alien system of law, i.e. the British law, in India. The introduction of English law, its practice and the values that they espoused, although essential to the system they were trying to set in place, were alien and therefore disruptive and robbed the courts that used them of their authority. It argues that the disruption of an evolutionary process in legal developments in India impeded an integrated legal system with legitimacy amongst the people the law is applied to.