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A cityscape

Enabling Civic Space

We are grateful to ILP for organising a stellar capacity building team and bespoke training support for Open Ownership. We have since routinely used the guidance they provided, both internally and in our work with partners.

Alanna Markle 

Policy and Research Manager 

Open Ownership

What We Do

We collaborate with governments, civil society, and research institutions to deliver advice, training and research on access to information.

We engage with governments, civil society organisations and international bodies to fortify the legal frameworks that protect civic freedoms via strategic litigation, policy advocacy, and the provision of legal advice. Our efforts are aimed at resisting and pushing back against any encroachments on civic spaces, whether they manifest as restrictive legislation, undue surveillance, or punitive measures against activists and dissenters, which includes combating Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs), protecting individuals and groups from legal intimidation.

We support progressive government entities and civic actors that aim to pass laws or change practices which sustainably expand civic space, including providing legal advice and support, capacity building, and collaborating with partners to advocate for the sustainable expansion of civic space.

Why We Do It

Civic space is the bedrock upon which all our programmes are built; being the essential precondition of success in promoting other political, economic, and social goals. It is a cornerstone of any open and democratic society, signifying that states are obliged to protect individuals while upholding and facilitating the fundamental rights of freedom of association, expression, and peaceful assembly. Without these freedoms the changes we seek cannot be achieved.

When civic space is safeguarded and encouraged, it fosters participation in public affairs, which is an essential right. It empowers citizens and civil society actors to obtain information, express their views, associate, organise, and engage in public life, driving progressive change.

How We Do It

We offer tailored legal support and advocacy to environmental human rights defenders to strengthen their capacity to operate safely and effectively. We focus particularly on supporting and defending civil society engaged in exposing corruption and financial and environmental crimes.

We assist partner to shape robust freedom of information laws and beneficial ownership transparency frameworks, empowering citizens to scrutinise government actions and bolstering transparency and accountability.

We help civic actors who face legal assault through litigation assistance and defence against SLAPP suits, libel, and defamation cases, in order to uphold the integrity of civic spaces.

Case Studies

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