BLAST’s primary concern is improving access to justice in Bangladesh for the poor and disadvantaged, and for marginalized communities in particular. To this end, BLAST provides legal aid in the form of advice and legal representation, as well as alternative dispute resolution (ADR). It conducts trainings and workshops with a wide range of actors within the justice system, as well as with the public to spread knowledge of constitutional and legal rights. BLAST also conducts public interest litigation and advocacy campaigns to help shape and implement laws, and to enable the provision of remedies that ensure access to justice.
BLAST’s advocacy campaigns target multiple dimensions of access to justice, including the activation of institutional mechanisms for justice delivery, such as the functioning of the courts, the activation of the National Human Rights Commission, the development, amendment and implementation of laws, and ensuring that alternative dispute resolution is accessible and effective and conducted within the framework of law and with respect for due process and principles of equality and non-discrimination. BLAST works to not only educate the public, but also to hold the Government accountable. To this end, BLAST conducts investigations, writes reports, and holds meetings with members of the Government and the press to advocate for reforms on law and policy or implementation of judgments. BLAST regularly undertakes public interest litigation to further institutional accountability.
As a legal aid service provider, BLAST is especially concerned about access to judicial remedies. In response to a petition filed by BLAST, the High Court ordered the Government of Bangladesh to implement legal provisions for setting up district courts in the three districts of the CHT according to the Chittagong Hill Tracts Regulation Amendment Act, 2003, and to establish Nari-o-Shishu Nirjaton Bishesh Adalat (Suppression of Violence against Women and Children Tribunals) as mandated under the Suppression of Violence against Women and Children Act 2000, as amended in 2003. The establishment of these courts have provided inhabitants of the three hill districts with a more accessible forum for accessing judicial protection with regard to civil and criminal matters, and have provided women and children an important forum for securing remedies in cases of violence; earlier such matters were dealt with by the Deputy Commissioner (DC), an executive official, and appeals were heard in Chittagong, many hours travel from the homes of residents of the three CHT districts. After BLAST obtained a judgment in its favour, the Government established Courts of the District Judge and an Assistant District Judge in all three districts and also enabled the Tribunals to start functioning.
Public Interest Litigation
- BLAST and others vs. Bangladesh and others [Section 54 Guidelines Case, or Rubel Killing Case, or Guidelines on Arrest and Remand Case]
Writ Petition No. 3806 of 1998
55 DLR (2003) 363
- Bangladesh Legal Aid Services and Trust vs. Bangladesh and others [Chittagong Hill Tracts Courts Case]
Writ Petition No. 606 of 2006
61 DLR (2009) 109
Full Text (Available in Bangla Only)
- ASK, BLAST and others vs. Bangladesh and others [Extra-Judicial Penalties Case]
Writ Petition No. 5863 of 2009
- BLAST and others vs. Additional Divisional Commissioner, Chittagong and others [Chittagong Hill Tracts ADC’s Powers Case]
Writ Petition No. 7013 of 2004
- ASK, BLAST and others vs. Bangladesh and others [KTS Garments Fire Case]
Writ Petition No. 2019 of 2006
- Md. Kamal Hossain and others vs. Bangladesh and others [Spectrum Sweater Factory Collapse Case]
Writ Petition No. 3566 of 2005
- BLAST and ASK vs. Bangladesh and others [Family Courts in CHT Case]
Writ Petition No. 2813 of 2009
- ASK and BLAST vs Bangladesh and Others [Beggar’s Rehabilitation Case]
Writ Petition No. 3015 of 2011