We systematically work to empower citizens and local communities in the Czech Republic and in Poland by helping them to assert their rights and actively participate in public affairs. By providing support to active individuals and local initiatives we aim to strengthen civic society, which is the basis for the solution to the systemic corruption that is deeply embedded in our governance systems.
We provide free legal counselling on a wide range of topics with an emphasis on environmental protection and public maladministration, clientelism, and corruption. Our counselling centre answers more than 500 queries per year. A lot of information (including model legal submissions, FAQs, news, legal manuals and templates) is further being distributed by means of an online counselling centre.
Many of the cases we deal with are characterised by the unlawful efforts of public authorities to prevent the public from participating in administrative proceedings and public decision-making, accessing information related to matters of public interest. As a result, it is difficult and often impossible to prove and punish acts of corruption that stand behind adverse impacts of public authorities’ decisions and policies. Therefore, we are focusing on the enforcement of:
- public participation in environmental cases;
- public control over politicians and public administration;
- transparency of administrative proceedings;
- participation of the public in decision-making procedures;
- effective access to a wide range of information; and
- accountability for the impacts of corruption and unlawful exercise or misuse of powers by public authorities.
Our efforts focus on the systemic support of active grassroots initiatives dealing with cases of strong public interest. This covers extended legal aid in their cases and involves teams of law students to support them and implement the case strategy. It also deals with non-legal help such as generation publicity for their cases and building a network of grassroots initiatives to help these advocates to get in touch, share their know-how and regularly co-operate and support each other’s activities.
We work intensively with law students and engage them in close and continuous cooperation with local initiatives. This greatly increases our capacity to work at the grassroots level and support isolated initiatives while also helping to build up new ranks of public interest-oriented lawyers.
Furthermore, we connect our activities at the local level with our anticorruption efforts at the national level. We base the legislative reforms we promote on the experience of our local partners. In addition, we regularly introduce our national anticorruption activities to local NGOs and offer them the possibility to get involved.