The Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL) is a rights based non-governmental not for profit organization established in 1999 and incorporated under the Companies Code 1963 (Act 179) as a company limited by guarantee.
The founding of CEPIL has its roots in discussions between Dr. Dominic Ayine, the Executive Director of CEPIL and Mr. Charles Abugre the then Executive Director of Integrated Social Development Center (ISODEC) regarding issues of public and private accountability in Ghana’s Mining Sector.
These discussions led to further thinking regarding the protection of the rights of vulnerable mining communities. ISODEC had then started work on a legal aid program for these communities but the program became still born. With assistance from ISODEC and later Third World Network (TWN-Africa) and of course encouragement from Charles Abugre and Dr. Yao Graham, Dominic set about researching on issues of human rights promotion and protection through public interest litigation.
He designed the organisational concept inspired by public interest law practice in America and India, put together the necessary legal documentation for the incorporation of CEPIL and wrote initial funding proposal to attract financial resources for the organization. With meager resources available, Dominic set about with few young lawyers, Messrs Augustine Niber and Gordon Wiru being the pioneer associate lawyers, to establish track record of public interest and human rights litigation for the organization.
Since its founding, CEPIL has achieved a great reputation as a public interest and human rights law firm. Its landmark cases and activities include the defense of 30,000 squatters from eviction by the Accra City Authorities, the defense of mining communities in the Wassa District and the introduction of the concept of paralegalism into Ghanaian human rights advocacy.