The World Justice Project has published its first Global Insights on Access to Justice report, which presents comparable data on experiences of everyday legal problems and access to justice by people around the globe. The report highlights a range of noteworthy findings, including the pervasiveness and frequency of civil justice problems worldwide and that most people do not go to courts or seek legal assistance from lawyers when trying to resolve their problems.
Based on surveys carried out in more than a 100 countries, the report found that almost half –49%— of people experienced at least one legal problem within the last two years. Overall, the most common types of problems were consumer problems, housing problems, and problems related to money and debt. The Global Insights report also emphasizes the adverse impacts of legal problems on peoples’ physical and mental health, as well as the significant access to justice barriers that people face when trying to deal with their legal problems.
The data in Global Insights report derives from the World Justice Project’s General Population Poll (GPP), which was carried out in 101 countries and jurisdictions in 2017 and 2018 with a sample of 1,000 respondents in each country (and over 100,000 people worldwide).
Global Insights on Access to Justice 2019 is available on the World Justice Project website here: https://worldjusticeproject.org/our-work/research-and-data/global-insights-access-justice-2019.
A new report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Open Society Foundations provides a framework for the development, implementation and evaluation of legal needs surveys to measure access to civil justice. Tools and indicators to assess aspects of civil justice systems have been slow to develop, in particular when compared to criminal justice systems. The newly published Legal Needs Surveys and Access to Justice report offers guidance to create and assess legal needs surveys that is based in learnings and best practices gleaned from a review of more than 20 years of legal needs surveys carried out throughout the world
The three, central dimensions of access to justice that form the bases of the evaluative legal needs framework in the report include:
- The nature and extent of unmet legal and justice needs;
- The impact of unmet legal and justice needs on individuals, the community and the state; and
- How specific models of legal assistance and dispute resolution are utilised to meet needs.
The Legal Needs Surveys and Access to Justice report is available online here: https://www.oecd.org/governance/legal-needs-surveys-and-access-to-justice-g2g9a36c-en.htm.
On May 30th, 2019, the Global Centre for Pluralism will be hosting the Canadian launch of the Task Force on Justice’s “Justice for All” report. The event is being hosted in partnership with the Task Force on Justice and the International Development Research Centre. The “Justice for All” report explores the extent of the global justice gap, the cost of injustice, the benefits of investing in justice, along with other important, topical access to justice issues.
The launch of the report will take place from 8:30-10:00 am EDT in Ottawa and will also be live-streamed. This launch is one of many events that has been organized as part of the Open Governance Partnership Summit (Tuesday 28 – Friday 31 May, 2019): https://www.justice.sdg16.plus/ogpjustice.
Additional information on the Open Governance Partnership Summit and the launch of the report can be found here: https://www.pluralism.ca/event/justice-for-all-canadian-launch-of-the-report-of-the-task-force-on-justice/.
The “Justice for All” report is available in English, French and Spanish here: https://www.justice.sdg16.plus/report.
“Justice for All”, a new report by the Task Force on Justice published in April 2019, explores the global justice gap and, in particular, the impacts on poor and marginalized peoples. The report proposes a people-centered approach to justice, which starts with an understanding of people’s justice needs and designs solutions to respond accordingly. The Task Force identifies a global justice gap with three dimensions:
- At least 253 million people live in extreme conditions of injustice
- 5 billion people cannot resolve their everyday justice problems
- 5 billion people are excluded from the opportunities the law provides
Overall, two-thirds of the world’s population lack meaningful access to justice. The report notes that the burden of this injustice is not randomly distributed across populations. Structural inequalities are reflected in the justice gap, meaning that vulnerable groups find it hardest to access justice. The report also discusses the benefits of investing in justice, makes recommendations for action and calls on all partners to come together in a global and sustained effort to deliver justice for all by 2030.
“Justice for All”, the report of the Task Force on Justice is available online here: https://cic.nyu.edu/sites/default/files/task_force_on_justice_report_conf_version_29apr19_1_1_1_compressed.pdf .
A “Justice for All” fact sheet, press release and graphics are available here: https://www.justice.sdg16.plus/report.
The Task Force on Justice is an initiative by the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies that aims to contribute to better justice outcomes for people and communities throughout the world. The Task Force’s High-Level Group on Justice for Women (HLG) was formed to build a better understanding of, and present evidence on justice problems that uniquely and disproportionately affect women and girls. The High-Level Group’s primary objectives are:
- Measuring the justice gap for women and girls
- Making the case for action and investment in access to justice for women and girls
- Identifying strategies, approaches, and reforms for increasing access to justice
- Determining what commitments national and local actors can make to close the justice gap, along with what cooperation is needed between international and regional actors to support access to justice at the national level
Justice, human rights and gender experts from all over the world recently worked together for the High-level Group’s global report on Justice for Women which identifies women’s justice needs and the challenges facing women worldwide. The report also presents an economic case for reform and investment in justice for women, identifies actions that can be taken to accelerate progress, and presents a call to action based on several major directions that could significantly accelerate progress toward justice for women.
“Justice for Women: High-Level Group Report” can be found here: https://www.idlo.int/sites/default/files/pdfs/publications/Justice-for-Women_report-web-FINAL.pdf.
The Justice for Women Executive Summary and Infographics can be accessed here: https://www.idlo.int/publications/justice-women-high-level-group-report.
The World Justice Project has published its annual report on adherence to rule of law worldwide. The 2019 World Justice Project Rule of Law Index includes data gathered through expert surveys carried out in more than 120 countries. The eight categories for rule of law performance for the countries included in the Index are:
- Constraints on Government Powers
- Absence of Corruption
- Open Government
- Fundamental Rights
- Order and Security
- Regulatory Enforcement
- Civil Justice; and
- Criminal Justice
Overall, the measure for “Constraints on Government Powers” showed a marked decline globally, signalling a troubling rise in authoritarianism. “Criminal Justice” also saw a significant decline over the past year followed by “Open Government” and “Fundamental Rights.” Highlights from the new World Justice Project Rule of Law Index are available in the Press Release here: https://worldjusticeproject.org/news/wjp-rule-law-index-2019-global-press-release. The 2019 Rule of Law Index can be downloaded from the World Justice Project website here: https://worldjusticeproject.org/our-work/publications/rule-law-index-reports/wjp-rule-law-index-2019.
A recently published “Measuring the Justice Gap” methodological paper by the World Justice Project and the Task Force on Justice highlights the urgency of addressing the global access to justice gap, a problem that currently sees an estimated 5 billion worldwide with unmet legal needs. The paper discusses categories of justice need, presents the objectives and principles guiding the assessment of the justice gap, and offers details on question design, methods and definitions included in the justice gap measurement framework. “Measuring the Justice Gap” is available online here: https://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/documents/Measuring%20the%20Justice%20Gap_WJP%20Update_Feb2019_Final-updated_0.pdf.
The international Task Force on Justice is an initiative that launched in 2018 to help tackle the global access to justice crisis – a problem that currently sees more than four billion people around the world living outside the protection of the law. This week, the Task Force’s Innovation Working Group published “Innovating Justice: Needed & Possible”, a report that explores ways that innovation can help to address unmet legal needs, the investment possibilities that justice innovation provides, and parameters for increasing and improving justice innovation in support of UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16.3 – equal access to justice for all. The report offers examples of new technologies as well as technological upgrades that can help to advance access to justice and also calls for financing justice innovation.
“Innovating Justice: Needed & Possible”, the report of the Innovation Working Group of the Task Force on Justice is available online here: https://www.hiil.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Report-of-the-Innovation-Working-Group-of-the-Task-Force-on-Justice.pdf.
The UK’s Ministry of Justice has published post-implementation reviews of Parts 1 and 2 of the the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). Part 1 of LASPO, which came into effect in 2013, deals with reforms to the scope of, eligibility for, and fees that fall within the ambit of legal aid in England Wales. Part 2 is concerned with reducing the costs of civil litigation and rebalancing the costs liabilities between claimants and defendants while ensuring that parties with a valid case are still able to bring or defend a claim.
At the introduction of the reforms to LASPO, the Government at the time committed to conducting post-implementation reviews to determine the impact of the changes relative to their objectives. Though the reviews have come under criticism from the Bar Council, among others, the Ministry of Justice has indicated that they are content with reports’ findings and do not plan to recommend amendments to the legislation.
Post-Implementation Review of Part 1 of LASPO is available online here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/777038/post-implementation-review-of-part-1-of-laspo.pdf.
Post-Implementation Review of Part 2 of LASPO is available online here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/777039/post-implementation-review-of-part-2-of-laspo.pdf.
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ quarterly journal, Dædalus, recently dedicated an entire issue to America’s access to justice crisis. The issue, which is available online for free, was edited by Lincoln Caplan, Lance Malcolm Liebman, and Rebecca L. Sandefur. This first-of-its-kind open access issue on access to justice by the well-known U.S. journal includes twenty-four essays by researchers, professors, access to justice advocates and others. The essays examine a range of civil legal services issues being faced by low-income Americans, various barriers to creating a responsive justice system, and opportunities for improving access to justice through technology, innovation and new approaches. The Dædalus issue on access to justice is available here: https://www.amacad.org/daedalus/access-to-justice.