Poverty reduction and promotion of social rights are usually seen as matters of policy and
not legal adjudication. However, in recent years we have seen that poor groups in different parts of the world choose to mobilise through the legal system in order to claim their social rights. In some cases they have succeeded, while in other cases the courts have disregarded their claims. The main research question is: What explains the different performance of courts in relation to the poor? To answer this questi on, the project uses a common research framework to analyse differences in courts' performance between selected countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Using an inter-disciplinary approach, the project analyses the inter-relations between courts and the poor from three main perspectives; the legal aspects that characterize the judicial decision-making process in the different countries; second, the social and political context within which those decisions are made; and third, the informal barriers po or people have in accessing the legal system and promoting outcomes that favour their interests. The project duration is three years (2005-07).