Access to justice is a fundamental right guaranteed under a wide body of international, regional and domestic law. It is also an essential component of development policies which seek to adequately respond to the multidimensional deprivations faced by the poor in order to improve socio-economic well-being and advance the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals. Women and children make up most of Africa’s poorest and most marginalized population, and as such are often prevented from enforcing rights or seeking other recourse.

This book explores and analyzes the issue of gendered access to justice, poverty and disempowerment across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), and provides policy discussions on the integration of gender in justice programming. Through individual country case studies, the book focuses on the challenges, obstacles and successes of developing and implementing gender focused access to justice policies and programming in the region.

This multidisciplinary volume will be of interest to policy makers as well as scholars and researchers focusing on poverty and gender policy across law, economics and global development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, the volume provides policy discussion applicable in other geographical areas where access to justice is elusive for the poor and marginalized.

part Part I|70 pages

Access to justice in Sub-Saharan Africa

chapter 1|12 pages

Engendering access to justice for the poorest and most vulnerable in Sub-Saharan Africa

ByDavid Lawson, Adam Dubin, Lea Mwambene, Woldemichael Bisrat

chapter 2|19 pages

Access to justice for children in Zimbabwe

ByJulia Sloth-Nielsen, Blessing Mushohwe

chapter 3|22 pages

Children, forced and early marriage

Preventing and responding to early marriage in Uganda
ByAsieh Yousefnajad Shomali, David Lawson

chapter 4|15 pages

A child belongs to (s)he who has paid the bride price

Customary law adoption of children in Limpopo, South Africa
ByKagiso A. Maphalle

part Part II|75 pages

Women – violence and vulnerability

chapter 6|11 pages

Access to justice, gender and customary marriage laws in Malawi

ByLea Mwambene, Robert Doya Nanima

chapter 7|13 pages

Justice for women in traditional and customary courts in Sierra Leone

A feminist analysis
ByAisha Fofana Ibrahim

chapter 8|18 pages

Engendering access to justice in Nigeria

The role of public interest litigation
ByBasil Ugochukwu

chapter 9|13 pages

Without land, without justice

How women’s lack of land rights impedes access to justice
ByAparna Polavarapu

part Part III|47 pages

Advocacy and vulnerability for Sub-Saharan Africa’s poorest

chapter 10|17 pages

Conflict-related sexual violence and access to justice

The case of the Central African Republic
ByIsidore Collins Ngueuleu, Cristina Fernández-Durán Gortázar

chapter 11|9 pages

Domestic violence against rural women in Nigeria

Effective access to justice?
ByIfeoma Pamela Enemo

chapter 12|15 pages

Strengthening access to justice for women refugees and asylum seekers in South Africa

ByFatima Khan, Ncumisa Willie

chapter 13|4 pages


Gendered justice policies on reaching the most vulnerable and extreme poor in SSA
ByLea Mwambene, Adam Dubin, David Lawson