Access to Justice: Access to Justice & Peacebuilding Processes

This section elaborates on the origins and functions of access to justice, in particular in relation to peacebuilding processes. One way to understand access to justice is to consider the different stages of a justice process, from recognition of a grievance to a tangible remedy that respect human rights standards. Each stage of this process is associated with distinct challenges or barriers to accessible justice and calls for specific actions to overcome them. While barriers to justice exist in many societies, both developed and low-income, they are especially pervasive in post conflict contexts. Barriers to justice can be grouped into two categories: operational and structural. The growing popularity of access to justice is partly the result of changes in the field of international development, giving place to a human rights-based understanding of this imperative. Access to justice is also perceived as a bottom-up approach to justice reform and reconstruction (as well as the reform of the state at large) which have received greater attention in post-conflict settings. It also plays an important role in furthering transitional justice and contributing to the recognition and protection of human rights.  As an integral element of any peace-building and long-term development process after conflict, it also plays an important role in preventing conflict, consolidating peace, and protecting the most vulnerable groups. Last but not least, access to just in any society is inherently a political endeavor.

Understanding access to justice: from grievance to remedy

One way to understand access to justice is to consider the different stages of a justice process, from recognition of a grievance to a tangible remedy that respect human rights standards.  Those discrete stages are: 1

  • Naming: identifying a grievance as a legal problem
  • Blaming: identifying a culprit
  • Claiming: staking a formal legal claim
  • Winning: getting rights and legitimate interests recognized
  • Enforcing: translating rights into reality
Each stage of this process is associated with distinct challenges or barriers to accessible justice and calls for specific actions to overcome them. 

Access to Justice Framework

                         Actions Needed          Capacities Needed

Grievance     Recognition                  Legal Protection

                      Awareness                    Legal Awareness

                      Claiming                       Legal Aid and Counsel

                      Adjudicating                Adjudication

Remedy        Enforcing                     Enforcement/Civil Society Oversight

Source: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Access to Justice: Practice Note. 2004, 6.
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Operational and structural barriers to justice

While barriers to justice exist in many societies, both developed and low-income, they are especially pervasive in post-conflict contexts.  Barriers to justice can be grouped into two categories: operational and structural.2 Operational barriers are the ones "related to the efficiency and effectiveness of the administration of the justice system," whereas structural barriers reflect "problems that have to do with the very basic form of societal organizations.  These issues are prior to the judicial response to any specific case before a tribunal, but are inherently linked to the administration of justice."3 

Using this typology, the following barriers are commonly found in many low-income countries in general and in post-conflict societies in particular: 4

Operational Barriers

  • Limited financial resources (many people dont have the money to hire a lawyer or to pay court fees);
  • Prohibitive costs of using the formal justice system;
  • Geographic remoteness of the formal justice system;
  • Lack of adequate and affordable legal aid and legal counsel;
  • Lack of operational efficiency (long delays; complicated, bureaucratic procedures; "justice delayed is justice denied") and lack of human resources (trained judges, lawyers, court staff, public defenders);
  • Lack of judicial integrity and accountability (corruption);
  • Lack of judicial independence;
  • Limited hours for court openings;
  • Poor record-keeping practices;
  • Lack of judicial competence due to nepotism and/or poor conditions;
  • Professionals with other engagements/activities and thus limited commitment.

    Structural Barriers

  • Inadequate laws (gaps in the legal framework; legalized discrimination, laws that contradict human rights standards);
  • Reluctance to use the law (mistrust of the justice system);
  • Lack of legal awareness and legal information;
  • Lack of enforcement (lack of de facto legal protection);
  • Non-democratic political governance  (linked to lack of judicial independence);
  • Group-based discriminatory practices (against women, minorities, other groups);
  • Language barriers, especially in the case of minorities (that is, when legal proceedings, documents and laws are in a language that they do not understand);
  • Socioeconomic inequalities.
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The growing attention to access to justice

Although the field of access to justice dates back to the late 1970s, it has attracted increasing attention in the last decade, in international development in general and post-conflict peacebuilding in particular. "Today, the goal of access to justice is adopted across the political and ideological spectrum, from poverty advocates seeking expanded legal assistance to reformers concerned about the impact of costly procedures on citizens ability to seek redress through the courts."5

Notably, an international Commission on Legal Empowerment was created in 2005, comprising prominent international figures across the world.  The Commissions final report sheds light on the urgent problem of legal identity in low-income countries.6 The shocking reality is that two in every three people around the world (or some 4 billion) lack legal identity (birth certificates).  This means that an estimated 40% of five-year-old children in developing countries are not registered at birth.7  Being legally "non-existent" in turn bars people from accessing judicial institutions to claim rights, secure remedies, defend their interests, and improve their livelihoods.  Therefore, restoring peoples legal identity is a crucial part of expanding and enhancing access to justice.  In post-conflict settings, the problem of legal identity is particularly acute for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have had their legal documents either destroyed or confiscated.  Obtaining new documents is typically a big post-conflict challenge and a test of the governments commitment to the rule of law and peacebuilding.8  The issue of identification document is crucial for other areas of peacebuilding, in particular voter registration, as a high percentage of potential voters have no form of documentation such as birth certificates and identity cards; this often exacerbates the question of defining nationality and citizenship. It is not rare that in post-conflict societies, the electoral card becomes the first identification document people have ever had.
Go to Electoral Processes and Political Parties and Constitutions

Access to justice as human rights

The growing popularity of access to justice is partly the result of changes in the field of international development. 9  First, a strictly economic conception of development gradually gave way to a broader, human rights-based understanding of development.  The goal of development, in this view, is not only to better peoples economic conditions, but also their social and political well-being. In fact, economic development and sociopolitical development are perceived to be mutually reinforcing. As Amartya Sen, the renowned economist and Nobel Prize winner, stated in his pioneering work, "development can be a process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy."10 Access to justice is also framed in the language of human rights. As stated in a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) report on the subject, "access to justice is a fundamental right, as well as a key means to defend other rights."11  Moreover, there is a well-established right to a remedy or reparations enshrined in human rights law, which refers to violations of rights but can be interpreted more broadly to encompass access to justice. 12

Access to justice as a bottom-up approach to justice reforms

Judicial reform and reconstruction in post-conflict settings has received greater attention and more donors' funding in the last decade. The animating idea behind this trend is that judicial reform and reconstruction activities advance good governance, promote economic development, and contribute to sustainable peace by providing mechanisms for the peaceful management of conflicts.13  Yet rule of law assistance to developing countries in general and post-conflict countries in particular have been the subject of important criticism. Critics characterize the mainstream approach as the "rule of law orthodoxy": top-down, state-centric, and technocratic. These reform activities, whether intentionally or not, would also seek to resurrect the tangible institutions of a judicial system (courts, judges) without taking the legal needs of the poor as the starting point for their interventions.  A focus on state institutions, according to critics, is highly flawed because they are usually corrupt, inefficient, and remote from most people, if not seen as dangerous and repressive.     

These criticisms of mainstream rule of law assistance led to the articulation of bottom-up approaches, which, although not entirely new, have gained increasing prominence. Along with access to justice, they focus on legal empowerment and microjustice, understood as "ways of administering justice that are affordable to the poor and alsoattractive to deliver for the providers of these services."14

While important differences exist among these approaches, they nonetheless "share a common concern that legal interventions should benefit the poor, and that their needs and preferences should form the basis for interventions...They make the poor central and try to base reforms on their practices, thus trying to bridge the gap between their needs and what the law has to offer.  They are well aware of the political reality and the resistance that reforms may encounter and actually strive to change power relations."15

Bottom-up approaches seek to bridge the barriers between justice providers (courts, judges, lawyers, informal justice systems) and justice seekers (defendants, victims, litigants).  They consider that "unless supply meets demand effectively, there will be no justice."16

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Access to justice as a central component of peace, trust and confidence-building

Access to justice is increasingly recognized as a key component of post-conflict peacebuilding. More international actors (international governmental organizations, donor agencies, non-governmental organizations) are incorporating access to justice programs into their peacebuilding initiatives.  As a UNDP report states, "Access to justice is an integral element of any peace-building and long-term development process after conflict.  Concepts of redress and justice are central to peace, trust and confidence-building."17

The linkage between access to justice and peacebuilding has several dimensions. 

Access to justice as a factor for conflict prevention

Access to justice can play an important conflict prevention role in post-conflict societies.  It is now generally acknowledged that perceived grievances, if unaddressed over long periods of time and fused with other factors such as political manipulation, play a considerable role in contributing to violent conflict.  If people in post-conflict contexts feel that they cannot access justice to address their legal needs and to assert and protect their rights, then there is the risk that they may resort to violent means of dispute resolution, which would undermine the establishment and consolidation of peace. Access to justice programs, therefore, can potentially prevent the resumption of violent conflict. 

Access to justice as factor for peace consolidation

Access to justice is an important factor for peace consolidation. If people feel that their justice needs are adequately addressed through a variety of mechanisms, then they are likely to trust and approve of the post-conflict ordering of their society. As underlined by the UN Secretary-General in his report on The Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies, "our experience in the past decade has demonstrated clearly that the consolidation of peace in the immediate post-conflict, as well as the maintenance of peace in the long term, cannot be achieved unless the population is confident that redress for grievances can be obtained through legitimate structures for the peaceful settlement of disputes and the fair administration of justice."18

Access to justice as a protection of the most vulnerable groups

Access to justice targets more particularly "the heightened vulnerability of minorities, women, children, prisoners and detainees, displaced persons, refugees and others, which is evident in all conflict and post-conflict situations [bringing] an element of urgency to the imperative of restoration of the rule of law."19  Go to Empowerment of Underrepresented Groups and Disarmament, Demobilization, Reinsertion, & Reintegration

It can be said that "individuals enjoy access to justice when a legitimate grievance can be resolved quickly and effectively."20 But the ability to make legal claims and secure appropriate redress is severely limited in post-conflict settings, especially in the immediate aftermath of war or large-scale violence. The characteristic problems associated with post-conflict justice systems invariably mean that access to justice initiatives face formidable challenges.

"Our programs must also support access to justice, to overcome common cultural, linguistic, economic, logistical or gender-specific impediments.  Legal aid and public representation programmes are essential in this regard.  Additionally, while focusing on the building of a formal justice system that functions effectively and in accordance with international standards, it is also crucial to assess means for ensuring the functioning of complementary and less formal mechanisms, particularly in the immediate term.  Independent national human rights commissions can play a vital role in affording accountability, redress, dispute resolution and protection during transitional periods.  Similarly, due regard must be given to indigenous and informal traditions for administering justice or settling disputes, to help them to continue their often vital role and to do so in conformity with both international standards and local tradition.  Where these are ignored or overridden, the result can be the exclusion of large sectors of society from accessible justice.  Particularly in post-conflict settings, vulnerable, excluded, victimized and marginalized groups must also be engaged in the development of the sector and benefit from its emerging institutions." 

United Nations Security Council, The Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies: Report of the Secretary-General, S/2004/616, 23 August 2004, 12, para. 36.

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Access to justice as an inherently political endeavor

Access to justice in any society can be said to be preconditioned upon a set of norms, practices, and institutions.  These norms, practices, and institutions include, but also go beyond, the justice sector.  These elements are:21

  • Political independence of courts and other justice institutions: justice sector institutions (whether state or non-state) free from political interference, with institutional autonomy, and secure sources of funding.
  • Just laws that accord with popular conceptions of justice and international human rights standards. Mechanisms for identifying and revising laws that are outdated, discriminatory, or anti-poor in their effects.
  • Procedural rules that provide speedy, fair, and effective disposal of cases.
  • Robust institutions that are well managed, free from corruption, and effective in delivering services sensitive to the needs of the poor and other disadvantaged groups.
  • Appropriate and accessible legal services provided by lawyers, paralegals, mediators, or traditional advisers, for accused persons and victims of crime as well as for those involved in disputes over family relations, inheritance, land, unpaid wages, and so on.
  • Legally accountable government with institutions (ombudsman, public complaints commissions, human rights commissions) which provide the poor with a real hope of redress if officials act in arbitrary or abusive ways. Judicial review available to public interest groups to check systemic abuses of power and raise matters of general public concern.
  • Mediating civil society organizations that can help to formulate demands, conduct advocacy, and bring representative cases on behalf of low income or disadvantaged groups.
  • Legally literate citizens who have sufficient trust in the justice system to seek redress for legitimate complaints, and who have access to both the financial resources and institutional skills necessary to use the justice system to vindicate their rights.
These elements clearly show that supply and demand for justice are products of institutional factors on the one hand and civil society pressures on the other.22

They also illustrate how far the justice system itself is a product of its societal context. Indeed, "judicial institutions cannot be understood in isolation from their use by society."23 The state of access to justice in any society reflects its socioeconomic and political landscape, particularly the distribution of economic wealth and political power. "The ability to access and use legal distributed unevenly in most societies...Making legal institutions accessible and responsive to poor people is one of the major challenges that confront law and judicial reform initiatives."24 Indeed, access to justice is often presented as a contribution to "the reduction of the unequal distribution of advantages in society."25  Therefore, "access to justice programming is an inherently political endeavour, and there may be strong resistance to substantive reform processes, particularly by elites and groups whose positions of power may be eroded or subject to stricter controls, as a consequence of such processes.  At the same time, political controversies may inhibit donors from engaging in substantive reform processes, creating a tendency toward 'superficial' reform that does not alter the structural conditions under which the justice and security systems operate."26

Access to justice initiatives are intrinsically political in that they encourage sociopolitical change from the bottom up by raising people's awareness of legal rights and by promoting avenues (formal and informal, judicial and non-judicial, state- or civil society-oriented) for claiming and satisfying legal needs, opening up civil society, informal, and state mechanisms for claiming those rights, constructively addressing legitimate grievances, and fostering social peace. 

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Access to justice and judicial & legal reform/(re)construction

Characteristics of post-conflict justice systems

Post-conflict situations are "frequently characterized by a complete legal vacuum, devastation of the justice sector infrastructure from courts to prisons, very low human capacity with few, if any, qualified personnel, including judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers, legislators, drafters, law professors, and legal policy experts, and a population with a deep mistrust and lack of faith in the justice sector."27

Post-conflict justice systems have a certain number of common characteristics:

  • A huge discrepancy between the increased need for justice services and the lack of national resources to provide them;
  • Severe shortages of qualified judges, prosecutors, lawyers, police officers, and other functionaries;
  • Politically tainted, under-qualified, and/or corrupt justice system officials, including judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and police;
  • Lack of financial and material resources (e.g., salaries, office supplies)
  • Devastated physical infrastructure (court buildings, prisons)
  • Outdated, inapplicable or inappropriate laws (more particularly: no law to deal with post-conflict challenges and existing laws that often do not adhere to international human rights standards);
  • Uncertainty about applicable legal framework (including substantive and procedural goals; and whether to deal solely with present and future issues or also to redress past injustices stemming from conflict);
  • Backlog of injustices not addressed or inappropriately/illegally addressed;
  • Populations mistrust in and wariness of the justice system;
  • Populations limited access and/or knowledge of justice system and any relevant rights.

While generally weak, dysfunctional, and inefficient, post-war justice systems nonetheless differ and can be divided into a few broad categories: illegitimate but functional; corrupt and dysfunctional; and devastated and non-functional.28  Go to Judicial & Legal Reform/(Re)construction

Each of the above post-war justice scenarios presents distinct challenges to access to justice. It is important however to avoid any preconception that "the conflict left a justice vacuum that now has to be such vacuum exists, even when the state structures have collapsed completely. People will always need ways of settling their disputes, and if there is no more formal way of doing so, they resort to other means."29  As some scholars have observed, "in fact, most of the security and justice in post-conflict and fragile states is not carried out by the state police and judiciary, but by non-state security and justice organisations."30 Paying attention to the plurality of mechanisms for seeking and delivering justice allows gaining a more accurate understanding of the needs of people, the obstacles and the possibilities for accessing justice in post-conflict societies.  Go to Traditional & Informal Justice Systems

Reasons for not using the formal justice system

A number of reasons are generally expressed by citizens for not using the formal justice system; they help understand the magnitude of the issues at stake here:31
  • Mistrust of the law, fear, intimidation
  • Lack of understanding - language issues, unfamiliarity of formal procedures and court atmosphere, low legal literacy
  • Unequal power relations
  • Physical and financial inaccessibility;
  • Formal systems are culturally 'uncomfortable'
  • Formal system lacks legitimacy - can be complicit in conflict and past oppression, corruption
  • It usually takes a long time to process cases, opportunity costs
  • Going through the formal system may lead to more problems between the disputing parties. Especially in cases involving sexual violence, domestic violence and trafficking, the victim/survivor can quickly feel humiliated, not believed, and ultimately in the place of the accused. In post-conflict situations, this is a strong motivation for many victims to not go through the formal justice system. 32

Access to justice and reforms of the state

Access to justice is therefore intrinsically linked to the judicial and legal reform/(re)construction, which concerns three key institutions: courts, police, and prisons.33 The fourth pillar of that reform is the civil society whose participation and engagement are crucial to the success of any reform.

Access to justice complements other programs conducted under the judicial and legal reform/(re)construction, which include:
  • Law reforms
  • Enhancement of adjudicative capacity
  • Legal community support
  • Reform of legal education and training
  • Public administration & corruption issues (as an emerging area of reform); indeed, citizens have interactions with many government agencies that do not directly pertain to the justice system but play an important role as far as their rights are concerned (for the delivery of land titles, building permits, car registration, employment services, social security, etc.); therefore, access to justice is concerned by ensuring that these agencies provide fair, accessible, transparent and non-discriminatory services.34
Go to Judicial & Legal Reform/(Re)construction and Public Administration, Local Governance & Participation

Access to justice has gained prominence largely because of the growing disappointment with mainstream rule of law (or judicial and legal) assistance programs.  These are characterized by a top-down, state-centric approach that places a premium on formal institutions, particularly the judiciary. The basic assumption underlying this dominant approach is that the formal justice system is (or should be) the primary provider of justice.  Accordingly, then, reforming the formal institutions of justice means improving the judicial well-being of a larger population.

However, proponents of access to justice convincingly show that this understanding of change does not correspond to the realities of low-income or post-conflict societies, and that there are significant disconnections between the formal justice system and actual justice practices at the local or community level.  Specifically, these proponents argue that an excessive focus on the state and its institutions is not likely to address the actual needs and problems of many, if not most, people.  As Stephen Golub, a leading scholar on access to justice, writes, "particularly in a fragile, failed or post-conflict state where the government violates the rule of law, it is highly questionable whether such a government (or the forces that control it) will allow such solutions to the problems it mainly rely on them to craft, implement or approve curative strategies is to mistake the problem for the solution."35  Yet, building a rule of law-abiding state is precisely the central challenge of post-conflict peacebuilding. In sum, access to justice activities should complement, rather than seek to bypass or replace, mainstream state-centric rule of law assistance.36  

There is a growing recognition among international actors of the importance of a more holistic and complementary approach to justice reform. A UNDP report notes: "Post-conflict justice reforms tend to focus on the formal institutions at the expense of national human rights institutions, traditional justice, customary law and civil society organizations.  This is not only likely to diminish the overall impact of reforms (by overlooking critical components of the justice system); it also limits opportunities to strengthen the access to justice of poor and conflict-affected communities - by ignoring mechanisms which are used by, and are more accessible to, these groups."37 The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) also stresses: "A broad perspective...towards access to justice, going beyond the judiciary to include other sate and non-state, judicial and non-judicial means by which people realize their rights, solve disputes, obtain remedies (including against arbitrary or abusive conduct by officials), and affirm rules that protect individuals from injury and preserve social peace."38

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Access to justice and traditional/informal justice systems

Traditional/informal justice systems are generally thought to be better placed to provide access to justice and prevent the resumption of violence, especially at the local or community level. Albeit they may have been seriously affected and altered by violence, there is a general assumption that they are likely to remain more intact than formal ones.39Traditional systems operating outside the confines of the state are usually the primary forms of social control, dispute resolution, and reconciliation, especially with regard to familial matters and land tenure issues which are numerous in the aftermath of a war and are exacerbated by the displacements of population and return of refugees. As a UNDP report on informal justice systems notes: "In post-conflict countries, where formal mechanisms may have completely disappeared or been discredited, informal systems of dispute resolution may be crucial to restoring some degree of law and order, and they may be all that is available for many years."40

Through its immediate post-conflict functions, traditional/informal justice systems are considered to increase significantly peoples access to justice, in particular for the poor and disadvantaged.41 Four main characteristics of traditional/informal justice systems explain their contribution to better access to justice:
  • Use of local languages: the language(s) used in traditional/justice systems is local and thus familiar to the average person, whereas the formal justice system generally uses only the official language(s) of the state, which may be unfamiliar to many people living in rural communities.
  • Geographical proximity: institutions of the formal justice system are usually located in the capital city or regional capitals, and are thus geographically remote from people living in rural communities.   Traditional/informal justice systems, on the other hand, are located in villages and are geographically easily accessible to people.
  • Cultural relevance: formal legal proceedings can be complicated and confusing, whereas traditional/informal ones are more familiar and easily understood; it has also a better chance to fit the priorities of the community and local implications of a conflict. Therefore, its verdicts may be better accepted.
  • Costliness: referring to the formal justice system can be costly and time-consuming because it often entails traveling long distances, paying transportation costs, and legal fees, all costs that are generally at the very least reduced with the traditional/informal justice; this system can also be more efficient as it is generally not bureaucratic.
In short, "Informal justice systems are often more accessible to poor and disadvantaged people and may have the potential to provide quick, cheap and culturally relevant remedies. Informal justice systems are prevalent throughout the world, especially in developing countries. They are the cornerstone of dispute resolution and access to justice for the majority of populations, especially the poor and disadvantaged in many countries, where informal justice systems usually resolve between 80 and 90 percent of disputes."42

That said, traditional/informal justice systems are no panacea.  In fact, they often entail significant drawbacks and dangers, especially regarding human rights, gender equality and the rights of juveniles.43 In addition, their capacity to contribute to the different dimensions of peacebuilding and social reconstruction must be assessed in relation to a certain number of limitations that can be observed in a variety of contexts, but more specifically in post-conflict situations, more particularly: the erosion and potential distortion of traditional authorities and norms, the risk of abuse of power and domination patterns, the risk of political manipulation, the question of legitimacy and effectiveness of the system, the limited applicability across regions/ethnic groups. 
Go to Traditional & Informal Justice Systems: Key Debates & Implementation Challenges

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Access to justice and transitional justice

Access to justice plays an important role in furthering transitional justice in post-conflict contexts.  Transitional justice refers to "a range of approaches that societies undertake to reckon with legacies of widespread or systematic human rights abuse as they move from a period of violent conflict or oppression towards peace, democracy, the rule of law, and respect for individual and collective rights."44 Transitional justice mechanisms include prosecutions, truth commissions, reparations, reconciliation practices, and institutional reform.  Their overarching goal in post-conflict contexts is to mark a clear break with the past by confronting impunity and ensuring accountability. A successful transitional process is one that can address grievances effectively and legitimately, and provide an array of mechanisms through which people can seek remedies to their justice needs. This is especially important to victims and survivors of violent conflict. 

Yet, transitional justice processes often create a lot of frustration among the population. The support to a greater access to justice may help alleviate some of this frustration by sending a clear signal that even though not all grievances from the past can be addressed in a satisfactory manner, new grievances and new justice needs will find just remedies through legitimate and effective channels.

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Access to justice and human rights promotion and protection

Access to justice is intrinsically linked to the promotion and protection of human rights. If people can access justice institutions (whether formal or informal), then they are in a better position to have their human, political, and legal rights recognized and protected.  Conversely, deprivation of access to justice generally equals the denial of human rights, socioeconomic vulnerability, legal uncertainty and political discrimination.

Access to justice does not only mean accessing judicial institutions. It also suggests the ability to access other (quasi-formal or nonofficial) institutions such as national human rights institutions (NHRIs), ombudspersons office, mediators, and paralegals who help people address their justice needs by claiming their rights and securing remedies.  

Last but not least, access to justice includes the guarantee of a certain quality of the justice process: the conformity to human rights principles and standards. As such, it functions as an important mechanism to ensure the respect of those rights and the supply of remedies.
Go to Human Rights Promotion & Protection

1. UK Department for International Development (DFID), Safety, Security and Accessible Justice: Putting Theory into Practice, 37.
2. Martin Abregu, "Barricades or Obstacles: The Challenges of Access to Justice," in Comprehensive Legal and Judicial Development: Toward an Agenda for a Just and Equitable Society in the 21st Century, ed. Rudolf V. Van Puymbroeck (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2001): 69-85.  
3. Ibid., 57, 59.
4.Drawn from the World Bank, “Barriers to Access to Justice;” United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Access to Justice: Practice Note (New York: United Nations Development Programme, 2004), 4;  Michael R. Anderson, “Access to justice and legal process: making legal institutions responsive to poor people in LDCs,” (Brighton, Sussex: Institute of Development Studies, February 2003): 16-20. We also thank Bill O’Neill for his comments (11 July 2008).
5. Shirin Sinnar, "Access to Justice - Topic Brief," (World Bank, Law & Justice Institutions). 
6. Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor, Making the Law Work for Everyone (New York: United Nations Development Programme, June 2008).
7. The Economist, "Law Poor," June 5, 2008.
8. Comment by Bill O'Neill, 11 July 2008.
9. Benjamin Van Rooij, "Bringing Justice to the Poor, Bottom-up Legal Development Cooperation," Paper presented at the annual meeting of the The Law and Society Association, TBA, Berlin, Germany, Jul 24, 2007.
10. Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom (New York: Anchor Books, 1999), 3.
11. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Programming for Justice: Access for All-A Practitioners Guide to a Human Rights-Based Approach to Access to Justice (Bangkok, Thailand: UNDP Regional Centre, 2005), 3.
12. Comment by Bill O'Neill, 11 July 2008.
13. See Neil J. Kritz, "The Rule of Law in Conflict Management," in Leashing the Dogs of War: Conflict Management in a Divided World, ed. Chester A. Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson, and Pamela Aall (Wahsington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2007): 401-424.
14. Maurits Barendrecht and Patricia van Nispen, "Microjustice," (February 1, 2008) TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2008-010, 10.
15. van Rooij, "Bringing Justice to the Poor: Bottom-up Legal Development Cooperation," 1.
16. Barendrecht and van Nispen, "Microjustice," 10
17. UNDP, Programming for Justice, 180.
18. Report of the Secretary General on The Rule of Law and Transitional Justice in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies, UN Doc. S/2004/616 (August 23, 2004), 3, para. 2.
19. Ibid.
20. DFID, Safety, Security and Accessible Justice: Putting Theory into Practice, London:2000, 35.
21. Ibid., 36.
22. Anderson, "Access to justice and legal process," 7-9.
23. Ibid., 1.
24. Ibid., 1.
25. William L.F. Felstiner, Richard L. Abel, and Austin Sarat, "The Emergence and Transformation of Disputes: Naming, Blaming, Claiming?" Law & Society Review 15, no. 3-4 (1980-1981), 637.
26. UNDP,  Programming for Justice, 182-183.
27. Kristi Samuels, "Rule of Law Reform in Post-Conflict Countries: Operational Initiatives and Lessons Learnt" (Social Development Paper No. 37, World Bank, October 2006), 15.
28. Rama Mani, Beyond Retribution: Seeking Justice in the Shadows of War (Cambridge: Policy/Blackwell, 2002),73.
29. Kristina Thorne, Rule of Law through imperfect bodies? The informal justice systems in Burundi and Somalia (Geneva: Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, November 2005).
30. See Bruce Baker and Eric Scheye, "Multi-layered justice and security delivery in post-conflict and fragile states," Conflict, Security & Development 7, no. 4 (December 2007): 512.
31. Ewa Wojkowska, Doing Justice: How Informal Justice Systems Can Contribute (Oslo: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - Oslo Governance Centre, December 2006), 13.
32. Comment by Bill O'Neill, 11 July 2008.
33. See Mani, Beyond Retribution: Seeking Justice in the Shadows of War.
34. Comment by Bill O'Neill, 11 July 2008.
35. Stephen Golub, "The Rule of Law and the UN Peacebuilding Commission: a Social Development Approach," Cambridge Review of International Affairs 20, no. 1 (March 2007), 53.
36. Comment by Bill O'Neill, 11 July 2008.
37. UNDP, Programming for Justice, 181.
38. OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Issue Brief, Equal Access to Justice and the Rule of Law (2005), 3-4. 
39. See Tracy Dexter and Philippe Ntahombaye, The Role of Informal Justice Systems in Fostering the Rule of Law in Post-Conflict Situations: The Case of Burundi (Geneva: Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, July 2005); see also Andre Le Sage, Stateless Justice in Somalia: Formal and Informal Rule of Law Initiatives (Geneva: Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, July 2005).
40. Wojkowska, Doing Justice: How Informal Justice Systems Can Contribute, 5-6.
41. Ibid., 6.
42. Ibid., 5.
43. Comment by Bill O'Neill, 11 July 2008.
44. International Center for Transitional Justice.

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