Law and the Grievances of the Poor. "The poor have, if anything, more legal problems than the rest of society. The recent surge of efforts on their behalf only emphasizes the terrible needs yet unmet in our civil justice system. They make only a long-delayed beginning; new ways and more lawyers are desperately needed. Long-range stratagems to reform laws and institutions that work unfairly against the poor must be simultaneously pursued along with justice in individual cases. More counsel for the poor is basic, the sine qua non. Court costs should be abolished. The poor need legal redress for their legal grievances; to be poor is bad enough; to be poor and denied justice is intolerable."
Why the request for help is needed?
- Because, Customary land laws within legal pluralism over the generations are issues and controversies related to land either in the form of demands for access to it or claim for rightful ownership are not unique to a single state/community/individual in the region but cuts across many borders. Inadequate and/or outdated legislation dealing with land is equally a common phenomenon in the region. I am particularly delighted and honored to be able to quote one of the greatest men, Professor Bill McClain, who said that a sense of justice is not necessarily something that one can work out in a theoretical way – it is much deeper, more intuitive than that. You have to feel for the other person, the victim of injustice, the downtrodden, the oppressed, the small and vulnerable. Bill McClain felt all that. He knew what was right. He knew that unfairness was a stain that could not be ignored. He knew that the weak needed help, through the law, to enable them to lead a decent life. All of that was very clear to him, and he made use of that insight, I think, every day of his life. Although "May" does not like to call attention to herself, she shared the same commitments as "Bill" and put her life on the line – I would like to hear her stories some time.