The Legal Agenda is a non-government, not-for-profit organization (registered under the number 2360 on December 22, 2009) based in Beirut. It aims to lift the barriers between the law and society in Lebanon in particular and the Arab region more generally so that lawmaking is no longer monopolized by those in power and can be understood and critiqued by ordinary citizens, not just legal experts. This is important because the law is a principal means of shaping society and tightening control over marginalized groups. Yet in Arab societies, law is considered a “technical” matter with limited social impact, so it is rarely taken into account in public debate or academic studies on social issues. This situation obstructs the use of effective legal means to secure the interests of marginalized groups, perpetuates the weakness of rights discourse, and obstructs public accountability and the effective rule of law.
Hence, The Legal Agenda aims to follow legal developments in Lebanon and, increasingly, in the broader Arab region and to analyze them from a multidisciplinary perspective. To this end, it publishes articles and news bulletins and conducts academic research projects on socio-legal issues and developments therein. In particular, it addresses the issues of marginalized groups such as refugees, detainees, workers, handicapped persons, women, and homosexuals and their basic rights and freedoms. Via this work, The Legal Agenda aims to help transform the law from an instrument that the authorities – whatever their form – use to tighten their control over society and its members into a weapon to strengthen emancipatory movements, especially the most marginalized ones, against these authorities in order to achieve more social justice.
To this end, at the start of 2011 The Legal Agenda established an Arabic-language website. In September 2013, The Legal Agenda launched a section on this website to publish articles in English.
Additionally, for two years the Legal Agenda issued a quarterly magazine addressing Lebanese and Arab judicial and legal developments in the issues that concern the organization. At the beginning of 2014, following The Legal Agenda’s success and the expansion of its team, the magazine turned into a monthly publication that is distributed with As-Safir – Lebanon’s most prominent daily newspaper – and focuses primarily on rights issues in Lebanon. This success extended beyond Lebanon: in April 2015, The Legal Agenda issued the first issue of The Legal Agenda - Tunisia, a quarterly publication focusing on legal and judicial circumstances and developments in Tunisia and the Maghreb.
Additionally, The Legal Agenda continues to issue research studies and regularly organizes seminars and conferences on important socio-legal issues to which relevant actors and researchers are invited from across the Arab region.
In June 2015, The Legal Agenda published the first issue of The Little Agenda, a legal magazine for young thinkers written by youngsters themselves. In it, they express their ideas and hopes for the future.