A new policy paper by The Elders outlines frameworks and tools for all nation states to respect and proposes measures for governments, civil society, and the legal community to adopt to ensure that “access to justice and the rule of law form the bedrock of the post-pandemic recovery.”
“Access to Justice for Women and the Rule of Law” examines the impacts that the ongoing global health crisis has had on access to justice for women, including as relates to increased risks of intimate partner violence and difficulties accessing support services. The paper takes turns discussing each of three main barriers women face in seeking access to justice: discriminatory laws, discrimination in the application of laws, and complex and inaccessible justice systems. Recommendations for a way forward include:
- A holistic, long-term, and collaborative approach to understanding women’s justice needs
- Repealing discriminatory laws and enacting legislation that better protects women
- Improving data collection and analysis to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the scale of the justice gap as it affects women
- Efforts by the legal community to increase the number of women in senior positions within the justice system
- Measures to ensure that services for women are accessible and empowering and reflect a people-centred approach to justice
To read “Access to Justice for Women and the Rule of Law”, visit: https://theelders.org/sites/default/files/newsarticaldocument/The-Elders-Access-to-Justice-for-Women-and-the-Rule-of-Law.pdf.
HiiL –the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law— has published findings from a new study that examines the relationship between access to justice and poverty. The recently published “Poverty and Access to Justice” 2021 report includes research carried out across 13 countries with responses from more than 70,000 people. Findings suggest that the relationship between poverty and access to justice is “non-linear” as well as “complex and nuanced”. People who are considered to be poor and the non-poor alike both experience significant problems accessing justice. Notwithstanding, there are more readily discernible differences in the types of legal problems that the poor and non-poor experience, with poor populations generally seeing greater incidents of land rights, family, debt, and social welfare problems. By comparison, the non-poor experience higher rates of employment, personal injury and criminal problems and problems with neighbours.
Learn more about the Poverty and Access to Justice Report by Dr. Martin Gramatikov, Rupinder Kaur, Isabella Banks, and Dr. Kavita Heijstek-Ziemann and published by the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law here: https://www.hiil.org/news/is-development-worsening-the-justice-gap/.
Read the report in full here: https://www.hiil.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/HiiL-report-Poverty-and-Access-to-Justice-web.pdf.
The World Justice Project (WJP) has published the 2021 Rule of Law Index. The WJP Rule of Law Index offers original data on the rule of law as experienced and understood around the world. This latest Rule of Law Index covers 139 countries and jurisdictions (including 11 new countries and the entire European Union), and includes data from national surveys from over 138,000 households and 4,200 legal practitioners and experts.
A global press release by the World Justice Project offers the following highlights from this year’s publication:
• Over 80% of the world’s population “live in a country where rule of law is weakening”; and,
• The areas showing the most significant declines from the global surveys relate to the timeliness of justice, absence of discrimination, constraints on government powers, and civic space.
The World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2021 is available here: https://worldjusticeproject.org/our-work/research-and-data/wjp-rule-law-index-2021.
For a third year, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published a Regulatory Policy Outlook which provides details on how countries “approach the design, enforcement and revision of regulations, and suggests where countries can best focus their efforts to ensure that laws and regulations work as intended.” The report offers additional insights on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and what the global health crisis has revealed about the importance of rule-making to save lives and money. The OECD Regulatory Policy Outlook 2021 also includes a series of recommendations and explores strategies such as regulatory sandboxes and regulations guided by empirical research insights which can facilitate more innovative and efficient rule-making.
An overview of the 2021 OECD Regulatory Policy Outlook is available here: https://www.oecd.org/gov/regulatory-policy/oecd-regulatory-policy-outlook-2021-38b0fdb1-en.htm. Read the Executive Summary here: https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/sites/38b0fdb1-en/index.html?itemId=/content/publication/38b0fdb1-en.
The World Justice Project (WJP) has published an interactive data map and directory of legal needs surveys. The Atlas of Legal Needs Surveys is a newly published WJP resource that provides information on publicly available legal needs surveys carried out in more than 100 countries and jurisdictions. Information on legal needs surveys in the Atlas dates back to 1993. New legal needs surveys will be added to the Atlas as they become available.
To learn more about the Atlas of Legal Needs or to download the Atlas as an Excel file, visit: https://worldjusticeproject.org/our-work/research-and-data/atlas-legal-needs-surveys.
On October 14, 2021, the WJP will host a global launch for the 2021 World Justice Project Rule of Law Index. For more information, or to register, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/world-justice-project-rule-of-law-index-2021-global-launch-registration-168956985893.
A collaborative study by the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) and the Hague Institute for Innovation of Law (HiiL), and funded by the Bohemian Foundation asked 10,000 people across the U.S. about legal problems that they experienced within the past 4 years; how they resolved these problems; and the fairness of resolution outcomes.
The nationwide Justice Needs survey offers insight into experiences with more than a dozen legal problem types across a range of socio-demographic groups. The findings reveal disproportionate experiences of legal problems based on race, age, gender, income, ethnicity and other factors. The study also reveals that annually, 55 million Americans experience 260 million legal problems. Of the survey respondents who experienced at least one legal problem in the past four years, fewer than 50% reported that their problem had been completely resolved.
“Justice Needs and Satisfaction in the United States of America 2021: Legal Problems in Daily Life” by IAALS and HiiL is available online here: https://iaals.du.edu/projects/us-justice-needs.
The Thomson Reuters Institute has published findings from a study on “The Impacts of the Pandemic on State and Local Courts” in the U.S. The study includes responses from over 200 state, county and municipal court professionals across the U.S., including judges and chief justices, magistrates, court administrators, attorneys, and clerks of the court. The study explores successes and challenges of shifts to remote hearings; the extent to which the pandemic has created or worsened existing court backlogs; court technology gaps and solutions; and the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 era on court hearings.
“The Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on State and Local Courts Study 2021: A Look at Remote Hearings, Legal Technology, Case Backlogs and Access to Justice” is available online here: https://legal.thomsonreuters.com/content/dam/ewp-m/documents/legal/en/pdf/white-papers/covid-court-report_final.pdf.
For additional information about this study, visit the Thomson Reuters website here: https://www.thomsonreuters.com/en-us/posts/legal/pandemic-impact-courts-report-2021/.
A report by the former National Director of Access to Justice for the national Ministry of Justice of Argentina is providing insight into the development of a network of people-centered justice service centers across Argentina. “Putting People at the Center: A Case Study on Access to Justice Centers” offers a discussion of the objectives, strategic principles and operational tools guiding this national access to justice initiative in Argentina.
The report highlights external, political-institutional, and procedural considerations for designing a large-scale access to justice program. It also details the challenges and benefits of implementing a large-scale public program devoted to people-centered justice, and provides an experiential perspective that can serve as a guidepost for similar initiatives.
“Putting People at the Center: A Case Study on Access to Justice Centers in Argentina” by Gustavo Maurino is available in English here: https://530cfd94-d934-468b-a1c7-c67a84734064.filesusr.com/ugd/6c192f_2bfcbb9af90d423083933789ab4b433c.pdf.
More information about this initiative is available from this article by the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies: https://medium.com/sdg16plus/people-centered-justice-matters-a-case-study-in-argentina-df82e5e268f9 .
A recently published paper is drawing attention to the need for more people-centered justice data in order to support decision-making by policymakers, funders, innovators and other justice stakeholders. Weak data can serve to undermine progress. Making the shift to more effective justice innovations and facilitating better justice investment strategies requires an understanding of the types of justice problems that people commonly face as well as the ways that these justice problems impact people’s lives. Available justice data does not yet meet these standards. “Grasping the Justice Gap” discusses these and other key messages and offers insights on failing justice data ecosystems and how to build effect data ecosystems for people-centered justice.
Grasping the Justice Gap: Opportunities and Challenges for People-Centered Justice Data by Peter Chapman and published by the World Justice Project and Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies is available online here: https://530cfd94-d934-468b-a1c7-c67a84734064.filesusr.com/ugd/6c192f_33364b9803b645b8a4fa17433edcb13d.pdf.
A new report by the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) examines various impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the delivery of legal services in Canada. The report is the result of consultations and research carried out by the specially formed CBA Task Force on Justice Issues Arising from COVID-19.
The “No Turning Back” report includes a discussion of the ways that Canada and other countries are meeting the justice challenges presented by the pandemic through modified processes and other justice system changes. The report also presents a discussion of ways to mitigate risks that might be associated with the adoption of new measures aimed at delivering justice in the midst of the pandemic.
No Turning Back: CBA Task Force Report on Justice Issues Arising from COVID-19 is available online here: https://www.cba.org/CBAMediaLibrary/cba_na/PDFs/Publications%20And%20Resources/2021/CBATaskForce.pdf.