BLAST provides legal advice and representation at all levels of the justice system with an emphasis on providing services to those living in poverty or facing disadvantage or discrimination. Legal services, including mediation, litigation and legal rights training, are provided through BLAST's head office and nineteen unit offices throughout Bangladesh.
BLAST facilitates alternative dispute resolution (ADR) through mediation for family, land, financial, petty criminal, and labour matters. BLAST has settled over 15,000 disputes across the country since 2003. Resolving disputes through mediation allows individuals and families to quickly recover land, assets, maintenance, dower and/or arrears of wages. The recovered funds are used by clients for many purposes: to earn livelihoods, to begin savings, or to send children to school. By providing mediation services, BLAST has also contributed towards reducing the overwhelming number of cases pending before local courts.
BLAST provides advice and representation for individuals whose disputes cannot resolved through mediation or who have been the victims of criminal offences or human rights violations. The overwhelming number of BLAST’s clients are women living in poverty. BLAST has filed over 35,000 cases since 2003, and the majority of resolved cases have been decided in favor of its clients. BLAST’s litigation services play a crucial role in ensuring access to the justice system for poor and vulnerable people. BLAST also files public interest litigation (PIL) petitions in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. See more about PIL and Advocacy.
BLAST conducts awareness programmes across Bangladesh among the public regarding legal rights and remedies, focusing on courtyard meetings for women. BLAST also conducts training workshops for local community leaders to build legal awareness.
Gopigagh Legal Aid Clinic
BLAST’s legal aid clinic undertakes awareness activities for Dhaka slum dwellers on laws and Constitutional rights that affect them most. The clinic also provides mediation services. The clinic mediators are well respected by both men and women of the community, and they are able to improve the well-being of community women through mediation. The clinic also makes referrals to other organizations to make sure individual needs outside the scope of BLAST’s work are met.
BLAST has conducted over 175 investigations of human rights violations, including those impacting on women and girls, religious or ethnic minorities and children. Investigations and research studies have allowed BLAST lawyers to support ongoing litigation by BLAST and other organizations and to underpin its advocacy initiatives to address gaps in laws and institutional responses.