Introduction The past couple of decades have witnessed growing interest in linking poverty reduction efforts with improved access to justice. With the UN Millennium Declaration (2000), world leaders appeared to endorse the idea that the abolition of poverty was in reality a matter of international redistributive justice. And 189 countries reaffirmed their commitment to do their utmost to help individuals and groups facing ‘the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty’ and committed themselves ‘to making the right to development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want’.1 Thus, numerous scholars, international agencies and aid practitioners began to advocate in the 1990s for a closer linkage between human rights and economic development. They claimed that a human rights focus ensures that the developmental process is correct, both morally and legally, and helps build stronger national and local institutions based on genuine social mobilization and accountability. Some argued that the human rights-development linkage forces development practitioners to confront the tough questions of their work: matters of power and politics, exclusion and discrimination, structure and policy.2 Others argued that the astonishingly high levels of global poverty required revisiting its root causes, including the role of affluent nations. Accordingly, the existence of poverty in a world of plenty, they argued, should be viewed as a ‘violation of human rights’.3