Who we are
Who are we?
The Legal Agenda (LA) is a Beirut-based nonprofit research and advocacy organization with offices in Lebanon and Tunisia and correspondents in several other Arab countries. It was established in December 2009 by a group of legal professionals, scholars, and human rights activists who institutionalized their efforts to build a critical and multidisciplinary approach to law and justice in Arab countries with a special focus on political, civil, social, and economic rights.
What is our mission?
Since its establishment, the LA has aimed to bridge two gaps in Arab societies.
The first is the gap separating legal studies from other social sciences. The intellectual isolation of legal thought in Arab countries has led to a very technical and uncritical approach to legal issues, thus depriving legal public debates of very important sociological, political, and economic insights and blinding them to power struggles and socio-economic dynamics behind legal practices and institutions.
The second is the gap separating research from activism. Research is often misoriented toward socially irrelevant legal issues, while legal mobilizations make little use of research results. Moreover, social movements have traditionally been reluctant to engage with law because of its assumed technicality.
Bridging these gaps allows the LA to work on promoting the rule of law, which requires effective participation in public policymaking, an independent judiciary, and a system that ensures institutional accountability. These efforts aim to make the community a better living environment by promoting social justice and to ensure that legal means can be used effectively to secure the rights of marginalized groups and strengthen rights discourse.
Through our research, media, activism, and litigation, we seek to instigate positive legal change while ensuring its socially fair implementation. Given this objective, we believe that law is too important to our societies to be left to legal professionals. Hence, this goal entails contributing to public debates in a manner that makes legal matters more accessible and includes traditionally marginalized social actors and rights issues. It involves transforming legal professions to become more socially inclusive and promote social change, with a special emphasis on the role of the judiciary. It requires critically monitoring and documenting legislative, administrative, and judicial activities to evaluate their adequacy regarding basic rights and freedoms and socio-legal equality.
What is our vision?
These fundamental tasks converge toward overturning the traditional relationship between political and economic elites and the law in Arab contexts. Should that occur, then instead of remaining a tool in the hands of dominant powerful actors and protecting their private interests, the law would become a weapon of the most vulnerable segments of our societies, fueling bottom-up mobilizations toward more social justice, freedom, and equality in accordance with the principles of the 2011 Arab revolutions and the 2019 Lebanese uprising.